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Sharon Ming

Sharon Ming

Chinese-American Businesswoman & Volunteer

Born: Cleveland, OH, United States
Heritage: Chinese American

Take advantage of the opportunities presented to you. you are lucky to have those opportunities. In the process of you being successful always think and know you need to give something back to the community. Without the volunteers, Edina wouldn’t be nearly the place you now live.

Sharon Ming

Chinese-American Businesswoman & Volunteer

My name is Sharon Ming. I’ve lived in Edina since 1981. My birthday is April 9, 1951. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. After high school I attended college at the University of Chicago. I got my bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Chicago. In 1974, I moved to Minneapolis and became a CPA.

When I was ten, the kids in my school were very good students. However, the kids in my neighborhood weren’t always the best students. We used to hang out at the neighborhood playground and talk. There was less “scheduled” activities back then. When there was work that needed to be done, the kids did it. Family work was also considered playtime.

I’ve spent time over the past 16 years keeping businesses competitive. I own my own business now, which sells tools and things needed to make a product. We focus on cutting tools. I sell to businesses, not individuals.

Both of my parents were Chinese. We were first generation immigrants. I’m 100% Chinese but have never been to China. Someday I would like to visit China. Being Chinese and growing up in suburban America was different, because other than looking in the mirror, I don’t think of myself as being Chinese. My father passed away 20 years ago. My mother is still living. She is 86-years old and lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

My dad was a chef. My mom was a waitress and hostess. They were busy feeding us and keeping a roof over our heads. My father always wanted to own his own business. He tried a number of times but wasn’t successful. He filed bankruptcy and had to start over. Your parents influence you in ways you can never imagine.

My parents never spoke Chinese with me. I don’t understand it and don’t have the slightest fluency. My siblings and I were born in America. Our parents wanted us to be Americans so we spoke English.

In the 1940s, during the World War II era, there were a lot of things going on in China with communism. There were a lot of people who wanted to leave China to come to the U.S. Back in those days there were more people who wanted to come than the quota would allow. There was a quota for each family. My father was a Yee, but that quota was filled. He changed his name to Ming because that quota wasn’t filled.

Part of the immigration dream is to work hard so your kids will have a better life than you. Chinese immigrants built a lot of the railroads out west. It was hard labor but the Chinese did it!

I have volunteered in the schools for about 15 years, since my son Mike was in third grade. My favorite volunteer task was serving on the Highland Elementary Site Council. I love the energy of the elementary building.

Notation: Download PDF

Honoring Sharon Ming

I’m Proud To Be Chinese-American

My Grandfather came to America
Found it hard to survive
In the years of the Depression
Work was hard to find
He went back to China
Later on he returned
To work in a laundromat
This one thing I’ve learned
I’m proud to be Chinese

When my father first came here
His last name was Yee
But the quota for that name was filled
He changed his name to Ming
Immigrants will do this
To find work in the U.S.A.
As it was back then
It still is true today
I’m proud to be Chinese

Before people from China came
Immigrants came from the west
They all seemed to look the same
As all the rest
If you are the kind to hate
Those who don’t look like you
The Japanese and Chinese
Became targets in World War II
I’m proud to be Chinese

My father was an engineer
Before he came to this country
When he came here he became a chef
To support the family
Mom and Dad never spoke
Chinese to us when young
So we would learn to speak English
To be American
I’m proud to be Chinese

Every parent wants their kids
In life to succeed
Yes I guess I have fulfilled
My parents’ dreams
After working for big companies
My own boss I’ve become
To have more time
To be a mom
For my only son
I’m proud to be Chinese

The volunteer side of my life
Has been fun for me
It’s made me feel like I can
Influence the community
Always help those less fortunate
A helping hand to lend
Where in life would we be
Without family and friends
I’m proud to be Chinese

Words by LARRY LONG with Lisa Stordahl’s and Nickie McClure’s 5th Grade Class of Countryside Elementary School
(Edina, Minnesota)

© Larry Long 2006 / BMI