(National Review) -- On June 13, during a nasty storm, a group of Chinese New Yorkers gathered in front of the gates of Gracie Mansion, the New York mayor’s residence on the Upper East Side, to protest. Inside, Mayor Bill de Blasio was meeting with two dozen or so representatives of the Asian-American community to discuss his controversial plan to reform the meritocratic admissions process for the city’s specialized high schools — the first such meeting since he announced the plan out of the blue a year ago. The protesters, crowded under umbrellas or clad in ponchos, blamed the mayor for taking so long to hold the meeting and for handpicking most invitees from government-funded entities, thereby shutting out key opponents of his plan.
The rain was pouring and the wind howling, but when a soft-spoken, skinny man made a speech in front of the crowd, the protesters paid attention. “Today there are no politicians or leaders. We are all ordinary parents,” he told them, standing in the rain without any protection. “But we should believe in our power. As long as we fight together, we are able to protect the future of our children.”
His name is Donghui Zang, a rising community leader who was little-known in the Chinese community until a year ago. Zang, the father of two teenage boys, first came out on the streets to protest on June 5, 2018, two days after the mayor announced his plan to eliminate the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) to diversify the intake of the city’s top high schools, where a majority of students are Asian and very few are Black or Hispanic.
Advertisement - story continues below