30 under 30: ramey ko

Ramey Ko
Age: 28

Why he's influential: Because Asian names shouldn't have to be "easier for Americans to deal with." Today's entry is written by Eugenia Beh, a friend and reader who has some very complimentary things to say about Chinese American political activist/attorney Ramey Ko, recent nemesis to Texas state Rep. Betty Brown:

Ramey is my Ashley. I first learned about him when I was in grad school at UT and was frustrated by the lack of opportunities for young Asian Americans to become politically involved on campus and in the community.

By luck, I happened to hear about this guy, Ramey Ko, who was head of Asian Americans for Obama (perfect for an early Obama supporter like me!) and even better, was a lawyer in Austin, TX. The amazing thing was, he was only 26 years old at the time.

Since then, he's gone on to form Capital Area Asian American Democrats (a Democratic organization in Central Texas dedicated to promoting issues of importance to the Asian American Pacific Islander community within the Democratic Party), and became a national delegate for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention.

Most recently, Ramey squared off against Texas state Rep. Betty Brown (R-Terrell), who infamously suggested that Asian Americans change their names to make it "easier for Americans to deal with." This incident made the front page of The Huffington Post, was mentioned on SNL's Weekend Update, and even inspired a Betty Brown name generator.

Perhaps more importantly, the incident rallied Asian Americans and non-Asian Americans to take action against Brown, from signing a petition created by the Asian American Democrats of Texas calling on her to apologize, to joining the Down with Betty Brown Facebook group in droves, to donating money to support Texas Legislative candidates who support voting rights.

Sadly, Ramey may be leaving Austin soon, but be sure that he will continue the good fight when he makes the move to a larger stage. Plus, if you knew him before he became famous, join this group to remember the good times!

(Contributed by Eugenia Beh)

See the rest of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30 here.

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