Carrying the Torch

Jacky Zheng’s parents emigrated from China to the United States in hopes of providing their children with more than they had a steady income, a strong education and a measure of certainty about the future.  

“They’re definitely role models in my life,” says Zheng about his parents. “They sacrificed so much for me to be able to come here and have better opportunities.”

As a Carolina Covenant Scholar, Zheng made it a priority to support the Chinese community during his time at Carolina in hopes of honoring his parents’ sacrifice.

“This community has trouble accessing health care because not many clinics have translators,” says Zheng. “And, there’s a real disconnect between Chinese medicine and Western medicine. It’s a lot for them to navigate.”

Zheng became the co-director of the Mandarin interpreter services at UNC’s Student Health Access Coalition (SHAC). Volunteering as an interpreter at SHAC was about providing others with access to what they needed — to health care and the right to be healthy — as so many had done for him.  

For many, he has been able to light the way, just as his parents did for him.

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