Sowing Seed

Like most Black people, I know that racism is real.  I know the truth about the traumatic history of our people and the ongoing assaults on our dignity. I feel a sting from implicit, explicit bias, and each racist act. Yet I was unaware of how racism planted seeds that inflicted racial trauma, which exhausted […]

Disruptive Love

When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34) I am talking to my neighbor and friend, Rosa. I’m sitting in her […]

I Won’t Look Away

Our eyes grew wide in disbelief at the yelling, shoving crowd. We had been warned, to be fair, that our trip to the Mogamma, the towering government building in Tahrir Square, would be difficult. But this was something entirely otherworldly. We clutched our passports to our chests and braced ourselves against elbows to the ribs. […]

The Immigrants’ Daughter

It’s maybe her first memory: The rocking boat, tempest-tossed* and cutting through Atlantic waves. “You always remember what makes you afraid,” she smiled. Fear mingled with hope as the USNS General M.L. Hersey entered the safety of the Lady’s harbor. Embrace was not a word she understood. Not in English. At three years of age, […]

Encouragement in a Time of Cynicism

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend, and the subject of her immigration status came up. She currently has protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program–an executive action under President Obama that provided legal status for those who were brought to the U.S. as children; often, they are called DREAMers. […]

What My Aging Auntie Teaches Me About Navigating the 21st Century

My Tía Naty is in her eighties and never learned how to drive. She’s lived in the United States for over fifty years, has grieved as a widow for nearly ten of those years, and speaks broken English—only when necessary. She elicits translators to assist her with her healthcare needs or her disputes over the […]

Staying Thirsty, Staying Hydrated

“Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink,” said the poet. That was my experience last month but under slightly different circumstances: I got the worst stomach flu of my life. I had just spent a fabulous weekend in holiday-festive New York City with my family when my body turned against me. First came […]

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 […]