“My late mother grew up in Alhambra,” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Thursday. She spoke to constituents at the Hilton San Gabriel as part of her “Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) for Hillary” campaign. The initiative aims to rally supporters and donors from the AAPI community.
Clinton talked about the traumatic childhood of her mother, Dorothy Howell Rodham, who was rejected by her parents in Chicago, and put on a train with her younger sister to go to live with their grandparents in Alhambra.
Rodham left her grandparents at age 14, and worked as a maid for a family in San Gabriel. She was encouraged by her employer to read and attend Alhambra High School. She graduated in 1937 and moved back to Chicago in an attempt to reconcile with her mother. Rodham died at 92 in 2011.
“When I think about this part of California, the first thing I think about is my mom, and how kind people were to her here when her own family was not,” Clinton said at the rally.
Her speech segued into her vows to increase the minimum wage, accelerate the process of family reunion visas, reduce the cost of higher education and several other issues that are considered top priorities for voters from the AAPI community.
The AAPI community has been treated to relatively little discussion in the Democratic and Republican primaries, the Associated Press reported. As the fastest growing minority group, Asian immigrants are projected to become the largest immigrant group in 2055, and the growing pool of Asian American voters will be a factor in upcoming elections.
“We are hearing a lot of hateful rhetoric out there on the campaign trail, calling immigrants drug dealers and rapists, using offensive terms to describe the citizen children of immigrants, saying we should bar all Muslims from entering our country,” said Clinton. “They forget a fundamental lesson about our great country: Being an open and tolerant society does not make us vulnerable, it is at the core of our strength."
Special thanks to Alhambra High School yearbook "The Alhambran"