I was born in Shanghai, China in 1947. My beloved Chinese-French grandfather gave me the name Milly, after which my parents gave me my Chinese name, Mianli. It was unusual to have an Anglican name before a Chinese one, especially back then. But my name reflected my unusual upbringing: our household was international and my parents were both doctors renown throughout Shanghai, factors that played against us years later during the cultural revolution.
In 1967, the Chinese Cultural Revolution sealed my fate. In order to save my parents the grief of losing their only son, I volunteered to take the place of my brother as one of the thousands of teens ordered by Chairman Mao to spend the rest of our lives as peasants in the countryside. After eight years of torture and hard-labor, standing knee-deep in the rice fields every day had filled my joints and muscles with rheumatism. I found myself straddling the thin line between life and death. And when I was sent away in a cart, pulled by a donkey, barely conscious, I chose life, and somehow made it back to Shanghai.
In 1987, I moved to the United States, with two suitcases, $10 in my pocket and my three-year old daughter, Jenny. With humble beginnings as a house keeper and caregiver, teaching myself English at the age of 40, I worked my way up and into Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering, the top law firm in D.C. at the time.
In 2007, I turned 60, and Live Wright Society was born. What initially began as a mother-daughter effort to share stories, wisdom, and ideas on improving the quality of life, has turned into a growing community of inspirational conversations, experiences and influential actions.
In 2027, I will be 80. But I won't be an old lady, just a girl with wrinkles.
Every 20 years, my life seems to hit a milestone. I very much look forward to spending the next 20 working with you, to make our lives better and better.
Today, my daughter and I are working on telling our own story, with the hope of spreading a strong legacy of hardship, unconditional love, ambition and heart. Join our journey and share yours with us!
Love and live,
Milly Xu Founder Live Wright Society
Milly and Jenny performing in Shanghai, China (2014)