Place

Where I’m Supposed to Be

I push the stroller out of the parking structure elevator, and the scenery takes me back in time. So much is the way it was more than 15 years ago. The Edwards movie theater, Tillys, Old Navy, Barnes and Noble- all the stores I used to frequent are still there. Even the people wandering about […]

The Time I Ruled the World

Before there was Barack or Hillary, there was me. Black. Female. President. In the photo above, I had just been elected Beaumont Middle School’s first Black President. I knew in my heart I had enough love to change the world—one heart at a time. Our student body council bonded quickly in the name of “equality” […]

Sharing: A Practice of the Heart

How do you decide to voluntarily limit the space you occupy in the world? When I moved to Germany four years ago with my family, I thought we’d live the romantic European life. An apartment instead of a house and garden, string bags for the daily grocery shopping, errands by streetcar, vacations by train, and […]

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 […]

I Am Not White

I am not white. Don’t laugh because I know some of you might. I’ve heard the laughter. When I’m invited to speak on the topic of race and racism I often start out my presentation with that line, and it often is received with laughter. There is a hint of righteous indignation in the laughter […]

I Don’t Fit a Label

When it comes to race and culture, I am confused just like I am with most things in life. I have so many roots that it makes it very hard for anyone to put a label on me. It makes most people uncomfortable. We like our labels; we like to know exactly what or who […]

Always a Foreigner, Never Home

My face is the filter through which people see me. It can’t be helped. When people look at me, they see an Asian girl. To some, it’s the face of familiarity, but to most it’s the face of a foreigner. It creates distance, division, and tension. It brings up questions of heritage and place and […]

Remembering Vincent Chin

His last words were, “It’s not fair.” I remember the first time I read the story about Vincent Chin. It was in Helen Zia’s book, Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People. I was reading it for my senior thesis in seminary, which also became a huge influence on my writing Making Paper […]

Do We Idolize the Brokenness?

I was 17 and living in my small town with two stoplights when I declared I wanted to grow up and become an urban missionary. And I was 19 when I left college to spend a year serving in downtown Atlanta. It was a crash course on life in the margins, and I was hooked. […]

Tasting Beauty in the Suburbs

Flashback Friday: This post was originally published on May 10, 2016. It had been a string of days with too much noise—me, children, politics, social media—so I took to the neighborhood walking paths to work things out in my body, while my husband constructed things out of wood (his own way of working things out). I […]