Maj. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Speaks to Chinese American Museum Coalition

Major General Joseph Carvalho was one of many distinguished speakers. As a third-generation Chinese American from Hawaii, he told a powerful story of overcoming financial barriers and of his thirty-eight-year career in the U.S. Army. General Carvalho grew up in a blue-collar family of five children with aspirations of becoming a physician. Initially signing up for an ROTC program to pay for his college tuition, he found a passion for serving our nation, a true testament to American patriotism that transcends one’s ethnicity. He served in a variety of positions during his long tenure as well as fulfilling his childhood dream: serving as an Army physician, retiring in 2017 as a Major General. However, throughout his life journey thus far, he emphasizes that he “never thought of [himself] as disadvantaged…all [he] ever wanted was to have a chance.” Although claiming at the beginning of his speech that his upbringing was “atypical,” his unique story perfectly embodies the complexity of Chinese Americans experiences. At the end of his speech, he puts forward a strong call to action: “tell the myriad stories of Chinese Americans who, together, paint the picture of integral contributions that forged this country into the greatest nation on Earth.”