2008 Presidential Election, Race and Racism
Professor Vernellia Randall
Speaking Truth to Power!

Elena Ong supports Hillary Clinton


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Elena Ong


Martin Luther King, Jr. implored our nation, not to judge a person by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. So the message that brought tears to my eyes at Saturday's rally, was the quote that motivated Mayor Ron Dellums, one of California's most progressive anti-war, and civil rights leaders, to endorse Hillary Clinton for President. It was a quote related to Hillary's life's cause - the elimination of health disparity, a quote that demonstrated she had no tolerance for any social injustice that would create and/or perpetuate health disparity.

For you see, I know hope, poverty, and despair, because I went to school in Harlem, and helped co-found a free clinic in a community where there were no bilingual doctors who would accept the medically uninsured and medically uninsurable. I know first hand what it's like to be inspired by visionary leaders and social movements of global magnitude, because it was the anti-war movement, the civil rights movement, the women's rights movement, and the voting rights movement, that empassioned me to become a social architect, and put me in touch with phenomenal leaders for social change, leaders like Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman, and Congresswoman Patsy Mink, the first Asian-American woman, to run for the Democratic Presidential Nomination in the same year. Who would have ever imagined that I would one day be asked to be California Director for US Senator Carole Moseley Braun's bid for US President in 2004? Who would have ever imagined that as a multi-disciplinary student/scholar of "race, class and gender" that I would have to one day choose between supporting Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama for US President in 2008? I.e. why couldn't I have it all, "race, values, and gender?"

But sometimes we have to choose, and my decision to support Hillary was predicated on a few things. My experience and her experience. My life's passion, and her life's cause. Universal Access to Health Care. Human Dignity & Human Rights. Equality. For in 1993, I was the Strategic Planning Administrator for the second largest health care safety net in the nation, responsible for ensuring that Los Angeles' uninsured, had access to affordable, quality health care. That year, I got a chance to witness First Lady Hillary Clinton's intelligence, and her power of conviction. In 1996, I got a chance to work on President Clinton's Rapid Response Team, in 1998, I got the opportunity to serve as the Governor's appointee to the California Commission for Women, and in 2000, got a chance to run for Statewide Treasurer of the California Democratic Party Women's Caucus. One thing led to another. In 2003, I was asked by Carole Moseley Braun to serve as her California Director, and in 2004, I attend the 2004 DNC Convention, where I had a chance to witness US Senator Obama give a speech that inspired our nation to unite the People the United States of America. At the end of the day, I chose Hillary, because of her commitment to universal health care, and the speech she gave in Beijing that empassioned the world, "Women's Rights as a Human Rights, and Human Rights as a Woman's Right." And Hillary chose me to be one of her Southern California Co-Chairs of AAPIs for Hillary. I chose Hillary because of all the presidential candidates, she is the only candidate who has made "Equal Pay" and "Equal Rights" the cornerstone of her Presidential platform (none of the other candidates focused on Equal Pay or Equal Rights). Hillary understands that when women (or men) make 25 cents less than their counterpart, they have 25% less to invest in their savings, their education, their career, and even less to retire on. So as our nation faces restructuring of America's Social Security system/safety net in 2008/9, Hillary Clinton is the President I trust to be fair to persons/domestic partners who have experienced pay discrimination, and job loss, because of childbearing/childrearing/family illness, responsibilities. She is the President I trust to appoint a US Supreme Court justice who will protect our nation's constitutional rights: civil rights, women's rights, voting rights, health care rights, and a woman's right to choose. She is the President I trust to protect the American Dream, by addressing the mortgage crisis, expanding educational and employment opportunity, and the creation of green jobs, and laws that value human rights and dignity.

This year, in 2008, we have a chance of a lifetime, to elect a President, who will break the marble ceiling, and change forever, how the world views women and people of color, and how women, men and people of all colors, view each other. This year, no matter which candidate wins the Presidential nomination, we will all win.

But my first choice, and I hope yours, will be US Senator Hillary Clinton for US President. I support Hillary because of her experience. Not only does she have 35 years of experience as a respected world leader, she has a proven ability and track record of working with world leaders to deliver enduring to deliver enduring and tangible change/results.


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