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Hidden Houston
Embracing diversity

Seeing parents overcome racial discrimination inspires Houston leader to make a difference

Everyone has dreams, but not everyone has the audacity to make them a reality.

Alongside 110,000 people of Japanese descent, Linda Toyota's parents were interned in a War Relocation Camp despite being Asian-Americans. The martial discriminatory measures, however racial, inspired Toyota to lead a life that celebrates her heritage while championing cultural inclusion.

As the president of the Asian Chamber of Commerce in Houston, her motto is to welcome Houstonians of all walks of life for collaboration and growth.

"It's not about being Asian," she says in a video interview with Cindy Garcia of 713News. "Houston is the most diverse city in the United States, so we embrace everyone to be members, to be sponsors and to attend our programs."

Much of what Toyota values she learned from her parents. In spite of the interment, her father enlisted in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a troupe comprising mostly soldiers of Japanese background that fought in Italy, France and Germany. His decision formed one of Toyota's core principles: She's a conduit to help others realize their full potential.

Watch the video vignette above for the full story.

Editor's note: Hidden Houston, an interactive multimedia series, aims to reveal the many things that are unique about the Bayou City and its surrounding areas.

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