Congresswoman Grace Meng is the first Asian American elected to Congress from New York. In Congress, she’s created the first comprehensive federal legislative agenda to promote the health of women and girls by making menstrual hygiene products safer, more affordable, and more accessible. It’s since been used as a model for state and local policy across the country. Congresswoman Meng is also Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
In the last year, what has been your proudest accomplishment?
I’m proud of the many issues I’ve championed that seek to enrich the lives of Asian Americans and highlight the contributions of the Asian American community. Some of these initiatives include working to get the House to recognize Lunar New Year, helping to establish a Lunar New Year School holiday in NYC, and honoring the Chinese immigrant laborers who helped build America’s Transcontinental Railroad. I’m proud to help empower the Asian American community to ensure our voices are heard and I want to make sure that the stories of Asian Americans continue to be told.
How has your ethnic identity impacted you personally or your career?
Naturally, I’m honored and proud to be the first and still the only Asian American member of Congress in New York. Being an Asian American female also gives me unique perspectives and those insights help greatly in policymaking.
Who are some of your biggest supporters and trusted advocates throughout your journey?
My grandmother has been a huge inspiration in my career and in my journey through life. She was the first in my family to come to America and she took care of me and my siblings while my parents work. She never went to high school or college and she was never involved in politics, but she was one of the wisest people I’ve ever known. She learned English by watching soap operas! She and I became very close and the values and lessons she taught me remain with me today: the importance of being a good listener, serving your community, and treating people the way you want to be treated.