“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I revised my first resume at age nine.

Red ballpoint pen in hand, I was my parents’ editor of last resort — delighted to mark up misplaced modifiers, oblivious to the quiet tragedy of fifteen years’ English practice rendered inadequate. Every email required copious proofreading; every presentation, hours of rehearsal in front of a camcorder. We replayed those recordings until their magnetic tape frayed, our own immigrant genre of home video.

What does Webster’s say about our Asian-American Dream? Lacking language fluency, my parents spent their careers held captive by the soft bigotry of invisibility — huddled masses yearning to speak, unwilling inheritors of the legacy of 1882.

Ten years ago, I was elected to represent one of the largest and most diverse school districts in America. When I placed my right hand on the Bible, I was no longer a stranger in a strange land, subtly corroded by someone else’s Yellow Peril. I signed my oath of office wielding the collective hopes of a generation of immigrants, forcing us ceaselessly forward into a more inclusive future.

Representing my community is my moral imperative. I have to speak for those who cannot, carrying the ink-stained dreams of my parents, deferred no longer.

— Alan Xie