Contact CU Independent Writer Graham Crawford at Graham.Crawford@Colorado.edu.
Lily Williams, who announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Jan. 12, has had a long journey prior to running a campaign.
Two months prior to her 24th birthday, Williams arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, taking her first steps toward freedom. The Chinese native, who is scheduled to speak at the University of Colorado on Tuesday, Feb. 2, began her trip to the United States when she first applied for her visa, and was accepted into the University of Texas at Austin.
This marked a 20-year span in which Williams took steps to free her mind from the oppressed information she previously received. Originally from the Sichuan province of China, Williams grew up during the 1960s-70s Cultural Revolution, spearheaded by the Communist leader Mao Zedong.
Williams has fears that “this country is becoming more like the country [she] left.”
Williams’s childhood was filled with adversity. Growing up in government housing, she never had experienced the novelties of air-conditioning and plumbing. Her bathroom was in a separate building with two holes in the ground, one for the women and one for the men. Trips through the looming darkness caused Williams to be “afraid to go to the bathroom at night.”
Along with poor living conditions, food was also scarce. Williams said she and her family lived off of food stamps, and picked vegetation from a nearby field to top their plain rice.
Yet, she and her family were misled to believe that this was a quality standard of living. The People’s Republic of China told its citizens that they should be thankful, and that the rest of the world was consumed by poverty, Williams said.
As she grew older, school started to become a part of her life, but the year she was scheduled to start first grade her parents held her back. They were unable to afford child support, so Williams was charged with the task of looking after her 1-year-old brother. For an entire year she watched her brother, waiting for her chance to attend school.
When the opportunity finally arrived, she didn’t take it for granted, excelling in all categories of her academic life. When she was 7 years old, she told a dear friend she aspired to be one of Mao’s Young Pioneers. A Young Pioneer was a youth activist who pledged to study hard and abide by the rules and ideals of the Chinese Communist Party. Having a goal at this young age had been viewed as a positive thing in American culture. That was not the case in China.
The results: a teacher publicly humiliated her for her eagerness and was deemed un-humble, which then resulted in being held back in school yet another year. The cultural norms that existed in Communist China contrasted with those that reside in the United States. Through that setback, Williams learned her lesson of conformity at a young age.
These morals stemmed from the controlling Communist leader Zedong, and became more and more relevant as she continued to thrive in school.
After high school, Williams attended Fudan University in Shanghai. At Fudan she studied law, and “realized that China was ruled by man, not by law.” During her time at the university, Williams met an American foreign exchange student. They spoke about the opportunities and freedoms of the United States, and her “mind was completely enlightened.” She continued to study, and following her graduation she took the necessary steps to move to the U.S.
Since her arrival in 1988, Williams has earned her masters degree at the University of Texas at Austin, served as the chair of the Libertarian Party of Colorado and raised three children with her loving husband.
“I achieved the American dream,” Williams proclaimed.
Now she wants achieve a new goal — become a U.S. Senator. Based on her libertarian political beliefs, Williams will be running on pro-small government, pro-second amendment rights views and against the Common Core educational system.
Williams believes people must be weary of a large government.
“All they want is more money and power,” Williams said.
She feels people cannot trust the government, and the country as a whole is on its way to a police state.
“I was once a slave before, now I have tasted freedom,” Williams said.
As a Chinese American immigrant, Williams feels that she must send a message.
With gun laws being a heavily discussed topic in the U.S., Williams feels she must make a stand to defend her view of citizens’ Second Amendment rights. She relates this topic of discussion to what she has experienced in China, and references the example of Tiananmen Square. During this massacre, she thought,”what if these citizens had guns?”
Williams’ last main running point is her opposition against the education system known as Common Core. Williams feels the education system would benefit if it were to fall under parents’ control. She feels the system represents much of what her educational experienced was in China, which “[was] total political brainwash.”
“Why are we doing the same thing in America?” Williams said. “I went through [it] in China; its called Communist Core.”
Although Williams, “[doesn’t] care about being a career politician,” she “[believes] an individual can make a difference.”
Williams is scheduled to speak on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. at CU’s Engineering Center, room 265. Follow her on Facebook and visit her website to learn more about her story and policies.