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Headlines | Aug 8

A Whole New World

Can I possibly describe my overall experience in Washington, DC as an APAICS intern at the Department of Veterans Affairs in two words? Yes. “Life changing.” Let me explain why. Imagine yourself an adoptee from South Korea, with two amazing parents who have absolutely no Asian American cultural ties, in a town of 6,000 people in Northern Michigan. Imagine yourself as the only minority on the hockey team, the only minority in your close circle of friends, and one of the only minorities in the entire school. Imagine yourself leaving home to attend a liberal arts school named Grand Valley State University, based in a city with less than 2% Asian American population. Now imagine yourself leaving that environment to participate in an internship program named the Asian Pacific Americans Institute for Congressional Studies. Imagine arriving in Washington, DC without having any legitimate housing plans, no social connections, and no solid idea what it really meant to be an Asian American. This was my reality.

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Headlines | Aug 8

What a Wonderful World

My name is Lin Rui [lin-ray] Li. Rui is not a neglected middle name, but a crucial second half of my first name. I have not mastered how to confront wrongsayers of my name in person, but I was advised by the Honorable Tammy Duckworth, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) , to tell it as it is to the right people and eventually, everyone will get it. The World Wide Web seemed an appropriate person to tell.

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Headlines | Aug 1

No Place Like DC

Surrounded by thousands of proud Americans who packed the National Mall for the Independence Day fireworks spectacular, one of my first experiences in DC was camping out on the Mall on Fourth of July. As the sky grew darker, the crowd also grew--a sea of families, couples, and summer interns. That I was sitting right beside the Washington Monument, listening to the outdoor concert blare country music, and watching the lights in the sky above our nation’s capital all contributed to an incredible feeling. I didn’t know it at the time, but that moment marked the beginning of a summer full of incredible experiences that I wouldn’t have known anywhere else in the world.

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Headlines | Aug 1

Building Bridges Cookout

My summer with APAICS has not only been an educational and inspirational experience, it has been a fun one as well. We have had opportunities to meet and talk with various leaders in the Asian Pacific American community, attend conferences and also to meet our counterparts with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) interns. Over the course of the summer, we really got to know each other, and there was no better way to cement our budding friendships than a toasty barbecue.

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