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Jessica Chao
Pondering how to support underserved communities, improve healthcare accessibility, support diversity/equity/inclusion, and promote responsible business

“When you live without your own language you feel weightless and, at the same time, overloaded.” — Jhumpa Lahiri

One of my immigrant mother’s deepest fears was that I would end up in ESL (English as a second language) remedial classes, despite being born in the US. I remember when I transferred to a new elementary school for first grade, the school made me undergo an English assessment. My mom was furious. Out of fear that my English abilities would be questioned, she had already taught me to read at a second or third grade level. …

“Ew, what are those black things at the bottom? That looks so gross.”

I remember elementary school me brimming with embarrassment and bewilderment when the other kids — none of whom were Asian — began to make faces at my beloved bubble tea. They rudely guessed what the slimy black balls might taste like, none daring to take a sip when I offered.

I had gone to lunch with my parents and got a bubble tea “for the road” as I went over to a white classmate’s house to work on a school project. Walking in with my favorite drink…

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