Subversive Celebrations

The entrance to the seafood restaurant is flanked by a series of large windows. Inside I see white folks sit at the bar laughing, and nursing glasses of wine. Some glance as we pass, following us as we enter through the wooden door. We are here to celebrate Jonathan—our son graduated from college today. At […]

Mothering in Black, White and Red

When I was very small, my mom only bought me black baby dolls because she wanted to do right by me.  She was familiar with the studies where little brown girls reject black baby dolls and she wanted to be sure, as a white mother of brown daughters, that she was raising my sister and […]

Centered. Unapologetic.

I am Centered. I am Unapologetic. In due season, I praise God for everything I never got. I am not, by nature, given first to gratitude, though I am deeply, profoundly grateful. I am by nature “…of a few days and full of trouble.” First of all, I conformed, or so I tried. I sat […]

The Grito as Prayer

I watched her draw in a deep gulp of air, opening her airway, chest firm and ready for battle. La Maestra closed her eyes, and on her mark, in unison, twenty-two of us let out a hum whose vibrations and frequencies resonated across our torsos. We could feel each other without touching. From where our […]

The Beauty of Multicultural Unity

There is no division of race on the battlefield, only one line, unified. My father fought on that front line in the Philippine jungle in WWII. As a Philippine scout, he engaged in hand-to-hand combat, face to face against the enemy. He was captured by the Japanese, along with 75,000 other Filipino and American soldiers, […]

See, Say, Spell, Repeat

“Could you spell that?” My name. You ask about my name. Countless times. Almost every week, in fact, you ask me to repeat or spell my name. For years, I lamented the fact I did not have a simple American nickname to make this part of life easier, for you and me both. When I […]

Objectification and Reconciliation

One month ago, I called up a local beautician and told her that I have decided to go natural but was afraid to do the “Big Chop”—that courageous move so many sisters of mine have done where all the chemically-altered hair is cut off, leaving only new growth in your natural curl pattern. It’s efficient. […]

Making of A Remnant Keeper

Someone just blew up my neighborhood with an AK57 etched with these letters- g e n t r i f i c a t i o n. My layman’s definition of the word is “moving Black folks, so white folks can move in.” Black folks are not alone in this war. Our Native American brothers and […]

Ain’t I a Black Woman, Too?

After a few days of hoopla I figured I should sit down & finally watch Beyonce’s Lemonade. Admittedly I’m a fan, but never I-will-defend-Queen-Bee-to-the-death as some are prone to doing. I expected an enjoyable viewing experience, but what I got was so much more.   I read that Lemonade’s concept was being described as “every […]

Asian. American. Christian. Woman.

I walk each day as an Asian-American Christian woman drifting between four separate worlds (Asian. American. Christian. Woman.). These worlds often have opposing values affecting my mindset, responses and how I make decisions. I grew up in Boulder, CO one of a handful of Asian-Americans. At the age of nine, I accompanied my dad, producer […]

There Are No Experts

I listened carefully as the man in the center of the room, a well-respected black civil rights activist, shared about his years of experience in community organizing and advocacy. Then he said a word that made my insides clench in shock: “Orientals.” I hoped it was a slip of the tongue. Surely a longtime native […]

A Meeting Place

I’ve had this image in my mind since I was a little girl; it’s of my grandmothers meeting for the first time. I imagine them meeting in a liminal space, an in-between place where neither of them have ever been. They find a small cluster of metal patio furniture that make up a café of […]