Personal stories have the power to connect our communities, guide the work we do, and inspire each of us. Earlier this week, I was in Washington, D.C. to lead a history session at a national convention of Asian and Pacific American non-profit organizations. The purpose of this session was to acknowledge the difficulties we face in navigating a political environment where vulnerable communities are under heightened attacks—and to find lessons in our shared history, where we have seen this repeatedly.
To get us grounded, we each told our personal story of why social justice work is so important to us.
We heard family histories of coming from war-torn Vietnam and Cambodia, growing up as a Chinese American amidst racism in a Midwest town, journeys to explore Polynesian roots, being in Koreatown during the L.A. riots, and Japanese American families incarcerated during World War II. Sharing and hearing these powerful stories gave me a feeling of empathy, inspiration, gratitude, and resilience.
If you feel overwhelmed by the daily mind-numbing examples of racism and injustice happening in our country today,
take a moment to find your own personal story and share it with someone else
. Then ask that person to share their story. I hope making this connection will give you strength and clarity as we face the difficult days ahead.