I was left on a doorstep outside an orphanage in Hefei, China. My village was infested with pollution, disease, and overpopulation, so my birth mother left me hoping that someone could provide what she could not. Along with dozens of other orphan girls, my fate rested in the hands of someone who could rescue me from a future plagued with poverty.
I saw first responder vehicles blocking off a whole street near my home. As I got to school, the hustle and bustle of class, homework, and friends consumed my attention and I forgot all about the accident—that is, until second period when the school police officer and counselor escorted me from class to the office. I wracked my brain as to what I had done to deserve the attention of the police.
Even lifting the spatula to fry a chicken patty started to feel heavy. After returning from my mission, I struggled to find meaning in my Chik-Fil-A job. Five hours after handing in my apron and black hat, I found an opportunity that would change my life and thousands of others.
My dad, an African immigrant, won a significant City Council race in a small town in Washington State while I was in high school. Nine years after his win, I started working at the Ballard Center, and I decided to follow in my dad’s footsteps. This is the story of why I decided to run for office as a full-time student at 23.
I felt like a failure. I questioned whether doing good was even possible. Could complex problems like poverty, lack of access to clean water, or human trafficking ever be solved? Years passed, and slowly I began to lose hope. Maybe it wasn’t possible.
As we walked down the street, we saw a girl about my age with dark hair, dark eyes, and brown skin just like me selling beautiful beaded bags. What really made us different?