Rep. Judy Chu Speaks at Arcadia High School

Ziming (Sarah) Wang, Staff Writer

The Arcadia High School (AHS) Young Democrats club featured a special event on the sunny Friday afternoon of Feb. 4 — a Q & A session with the first Asian American Congresswoman, Judy Chu, who is also the Congressional Representative for our district. The event was held from 4:00-5:00 p.m. in the lecture hall with many AHS students interested in listening to her stance on current political issues. 

At the start of the session, Rep. Chu stated that she is very glad to know that AHS has a Young Democrats Club, and how younger generations are in support of the democratic cause. Rep. Chu stated that she “believ[ed] in the ideals of the Democratic party for equality and justice,” especially on modern issues affecting the daily lives of civilians.

Rep. Chu first addressed the recent shooting in Monterey Park on Jan. 21, which left 11 dead and 9 injured. Rep. Chu has lived in Monterey Park for 37 years, and with the city being a major part of her childhood, she expressed her deepest condolences to the victims’ families. Rep. Chu felt deep grief that this event happened at a time of celebration, and to assuage the fear in the citizens’ hearts, she encouraged local residents to continue attending the Lunar New Year festivities. 

“We cannot let this shooter bring us backwards,” said Rep. Chu. “We must continue to live our lives, and let us do it together.”

She then talked about Brandon Tsay, the 26-year-old resident who immobilized the gunman and saved countless lives. Rep. Chu claimed that the brave young man earned his place as a hero in the hearts of herself and the rest of America. She stated that Tsay has been invited to the White House for a personal meeting with President Joe Biden, who appreciates Tsay for his courage and bravery. 

Because of the Monterey Park incident, Rep. Chu has taken immense actions to reinforce gun laws in the U.S.

“We need to make sure victims and their families get the help they need,” announced Rep. Chu. “And we need to make sure that mass shooting does not happen again.”

Rep. Chu articulated the need to spread awareness about red flag laws—the gun violence prevention laws which restrict individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves and others from being able to purchase any kind of firearm. Rep. Chu claimed that Huu Can Tran, the Monterey Park shooter, had reportedly gone to the police station days before the shooting, complaining about the mistreatment he faced in his family. Rep. Chu stated that reporting “mental deterioration” should be more acknowledged within immigrant communities, and translated in different languages to rid citizens of ignorance to prevent the loss of more innocent lives. 

Rep. Chu stated that assault weapons sold in the U.S. are weapons designed for massacre with no other purpose. Thus, she noted the “Universal Background Check” regulation, which requires the background check of all individuals purchasing firearms, no matter the circumstances. Rep. Chu is concerned that people are beginning to find “loopholes” in the background check requirements, such as in gun shows where no prohibition exists to the process of purchasing weapons. 

After the mention of this heavy subject, Rep. Chu uplifted the audience’s spirits by listing a couple things she is proud of the Democratic party has achieved in the past two years. 

First, she is proud of the Inflation Reduction Act, which lowers the cost of prescribed drugs and invests massively in fighting climate change. Rep. Chu promised that once the Democrats are in power again, they will ensure a brighter future for the next generations. 

Next, Rep. Chu is proud of the Respect for Marriage Act. She states that the Supreme Court is trying to demolish rights to same-sex marriage, and she is doing everything in her power to prevent their success.

Finally, Rep. Chu touched on reproductive rights. She is concerned about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and in response, she proudly announced that her 2022 bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act, had passed the House of Representatives. Rep. Chu is not pleased with the “unelected judges of the Supreme Court” stripping away the rights of Americans, and used the incident of her arrest to assure the people of the U.S that she will “always put [herself] on the front lines of reproductive rights.” Rep. Chu is disappointed by the fact that “young women nowadays have less rights than their grandmothers,” and promised the audience that their rights will be protected at all costs. 

Many AHS students had the opportunity to voice their concerns of the current societal issues. The following are some of the questions that Rep. Chu was able to answer.

“Why do you focus on STEM education so much?”

Rep. Chu replied that she sees the importance of “looking forward to the future.” Right now, the U.S. is falling behind in science and technology. She claimed that the production of semiconductors in the U.S. have dropped from 40% to 12% in the past few decades, and she is in great support of opportunities such as STEM programs for young people to have a better future. 

“Do you think gaining a gun license should be a similar process to acquiring a driver’s license, where individuals have to pass through a certain test?”

To this question, Rep. Chu restated the necessity of background checks and safety precautions surrounding gun ownership. She is very glad that California is currently ranked #1 on its number of gun laws, making it #44 on the number of gun deaths that happened in-state—the least likely state to have gun violence. Rep. Chu thinks more states, such as Arizona which have no background check procedures at all, should begin to take action in restraint against assault weapons and maintaining the safety of its citizens.

“What are your life experiences that led you to become a congresswoman today?”

“I thought that I would be a computer science major,” Rep. Chu stated. But her interests in politics began as she took an Asian American studies class in college and realized the discriminatory laws that were passed against immigrants. Rep. Chu mentioned the English-Only Movement that occurred in Monterey Park in the 1980s, which imposed a ban on the existence of Chinese on products, to eventually speaking them in public. Due to the pressures enforced on Asian Americans and the lack of action taken by the mayor, Rep. Chu decided to run for city council, succeeded, and eventually ran for state assembly to better represent and defend Asian Americans for their cause. Rep. Chu stated that she will never forget the day after she won the election when former President Barack Obama congratulated her for becoming the first Chinese American congresswoman in history. 

Rep.Chu provided an empowering experience for the Arcadia High School Students, giving us a chance to learn more about our modern world and how we can involve ourselves in helping to solve the existing issues today. We thank the Young Democrats Club for giving us such a significant opportunity to meet an American leader, which serves as an unique inspiration for many AHS students to achieve great things in the future!


Photos courtesy of Arcadia Young Dems