Xiao Lin Mei


2022 Contestant #1

What's in a Name?

大家好!I love Chicago Chinatown because the community is my home.

From being born in Toishan to moving to Utah at the age of 6, growing up was a challenge as I struggled with the cognitive dissonance between Chinese collective values and Western individualism. It was not until I started volunteering in Chicago Chinatown at the early age of 13 that I was able to understand my Chinese heritage better and grow into my own skin. This led me to advocate for the Chinatown Vision Plan, Ping Tom Field House, re-installation of the 31st Street bus, and registering hundreds of voters.

A decade later, thanks to the civic leadership I gained in Chinatown, I now work in philanthropy to close the racial wealth gap in the Chicagoland area and am currently working on a specific initiative to achieve an equitable economic recovery for Black and Latinx Chicagoans.

As an Asian American Studies graduate, I have learned that history will repeat itself unless we work together to rise together. Thus, I hope to use my platform as a Miss Chinese Chicago contestant as a bridge to a stronger community through building racial solidarity. Building racial solidarity encompasses my lifetime’s work to create change for the community I love. Only together will we be able to celebrate the sacrifices of our ancestors and build a successful future for the next generation.

The Chinatown gate says “天下為公”, meaning the world is one community. If you ever see me in person, I would love to hear your ideas on how we can work to build one resilient community together.