"But I was heartened to see that so many other students really rejected that narrative and rallied around a message of acceptance and inclusivity."
- Apirl Lou is gaining national attention for winning election for student council president at the University of Virginia. The first transgender and Chinese-American to do so. His identity wasn't central to his campaign, but it became an issue.
- It was used to mobilize a portions of the student body against me, but I was heartened to see that so many other students really rejected that narrative and rallied around a message of acceptance and inclusivity.
- Lou won overwhelmingly in an election that had a turnout twice the previous year that appears to reflect acceptance during a period of reflection and self-examination nationally over race, inclusion, and anti-Asian attacks.
- Are we a school that will rally around people who are transgender or are Asian-American? And with 80% of the vote, UVI clearly said, you know, we pick an equitable and open way forward.
- Lou is focused on leveraging his position to bargain with university administrators on behalf of student needs. However, he also sees his election as an opportunity to address larger issues facing society.
- If you have a platform, you need to use it to speak out against violence or discrimination in any form, especially when it impacts the communities that you're a part of personally.
- A third year economics major, Lou sees a fast emerging Asian Lives Matter movement. In his view, Asians, blacks, and other groups face unique challenges. But addressing them requires solidarity.
- What matters most is solidarity across racial lines, class lines, gender lines in a fight against a common enemy of white supremacy.
- David Louis, ABC 7 News.