- This Labor Day, Eileen Gu‘s spontaneous speech at an event in New York undoubtedly left many enthralled!
- Attending an event organized by the Bank of China’s New York branch, Gu made a stunning appearance in a vibrant red cheongsam.
- By delivering an impromptu speech, she showcased her impressive ability to articulate her thoughts, leaving the audience spellbound.
Gu, who has been committed to amplifying the influence of Asians and Chinese people worldwide, shared her views on hate discrimination, cultural inclusivity, and global collaboration during her speech.
Notably, she stated, “Any form of discrimination is wrong. We need to find a way to unite everyone, making dialogue, communication, and cultural inclusivity more important than ever before.”
“As a young person, it’s easy to feel that our social, political, and cultural atmosphere is shrouded in hatred and division. It’s easy to see anti-Asian hate through our phones. Be it the COVID-19 pandemic or recent crimes in San Francisco, believe me, I understand better than anyone the impact that cyberbullying and online discrimination can have on young people.
“I received death threats when I was 15. During the Olympics, many people didn’t support what I was doing, and this continued for a long time. But what encourages me is that for every negative comment, there are hundreds of positive ones. This has made me feel the power of family, community, culture, tradition, and faith.”
“These voices come from my Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander American friends and family. They energize me and give me a sense of belonging, making me feel that I have a warm home.”
“I appreciate different cultures, not comparing them through the same lens, but genuinely appreciating the unique feelings they each bring. This shows that we are neither strong nor weak because of division.
Especially in the face of hatred, discrimination, and all forms of inequality, we need to stand up for ourselves, and for those like us. For Asians, for Asian Americans, and for Asian Pacific Islander American friends and family.”
“We must also stand up for those who may not look like us. If we’re not Asian, we can’t be bystanders. If we are Asian, when other ethnic groups are discriminated against, we need to stand up for them as well.”
We can achieve the same goals through many different paths – business, art, food, and cultural exchanges are all viable routes. So, I encourage everyone here, especially the young people, to make your voices heard. Activate your social media, voice your opinions through various platforms, show your power, and demonstrate that we are here for each other to bring about the positive change we hope for.
As an optimist, someone needs to stand up, and why can’t it be us?
I’m proud of the progress we’ve made together. There’s still a long way to go, but I know we’ll achieve our goals, and ultimately, we will be equal.”
Eileen’s mother immigrated to the United States early on, and Eileen herself was born in the U.S., having had limited opportunities to immerse herself in Chinese culture.
Nevertheless, Eileen’s mother placed significant emphasis on her daughter’s education in the Chinese language and traditional Chinese culture.
From an early age, Eileen’s mother provided her with an education in Chinese, and today, her Beijing-accented Mandarin was cultivated from her youth.
For over a decade, every summer, Eileen’s mother would spend one to two months taking her back to China for study, training, and leisure, fully immersing her in a Chinese language environment.
Family members would encourage her to make new friends, participate in short-term courses, and “immerse” herself in Chinese culture.
Under her mother’s influence, Eileen developed a strong sense of identity from an early age.
When she first entered a Los Angeles school, she even wrote “Chinese” in the ethnicity column of the school survey.
According to her mother, when Eileen was young and visiting Beijing with her mother, people would curiously come over and praise her as a “beautiful doll.” Eileen would immediately explain:
Under such family education, Eileen did not follow the typical path of elite family education.
Her developmental journey seemed free from the burden and pressure of prestigious schools.
Everything was cultivated according to interests and hobbies; she was taken to the ski slopes by her mother when she was just three months old.
With her rapid progress, ski instructors noticed her growing boredom with basic skiing movements.
So, while other children were crying out of fear at the sight of the skis, Eileen was already practicing slalom skiing.
Eileen’s talent became more and more exceptional with age, and by eight, she was the only girl on the professional ski team in the Lake Tahoe area.
Less than a year after joining the team, at nine, Eileen’s won the juvenile group championship in the U.S. freestyle skiing competition and began to dominate the USASA American Youth Championships, ranking first overall.
At 11, she won the U.S. under-13 downhill obstacle race championship and the all-around runner-up.
At 13, she began to participate in adult competitions and has so far won over 50 gold medals.
In June 2020, Eileen graduated early from high school in the United States and was admitted to Stanford University as a Chinese citizen.
Her achievements are enough to make most people envious. Even in highly competitive Stanford, she didn’t get in just because of her “world champion” title or her parents’ status.
Out of a perfect SAT score of 1600, Eileen’s scored 1580, nearly perfect, higher than 99.8% of test-takers worldwide.
With her skiing championship and SAT score of 1580, being in the top 0.2%, equivalent to the top 1000 out of 500,000 Chinese Gaokao (高考） takers, Stanford’s average score is in the top 1%.
What more can be said about such an accomplished young woman?