Dear future daughter,
In response to Trump’s election, your grandmother texted me, “I cannot immigrate to another country again.” The first time was traumatic and uprooting enough. As Chinese-Americans, many of us thought we were “passing.” Some of us learned to work the system, and falsely hid behind model minority lies. Many of us forgot, some of us never learned, how to resist the State. We consented to a country and a dream founded upon genocide, theft, and slavery in exchange for conditional whiteness. In struggling to survive this land through compulsory assimilation, we lost track of our own stories and our collective liberation with other communities of color.
But when you come into your being, I trust that you will be awake. And I trust that you will know not only how to resist, but how to fight. I am not ignorant to believe that you will not have to fight by the time you arrive. But you’ll be okay, because the fight is in your blood and legacy. You come from a lineage of struggle, power, healing, loss, and love. So when the world inflicts violence and brutality in ways you will not be able to fathom, you must keep breathing and remember you come from warriors. No matter how despairing it gets, we will keep fighting.
So here are a few tips, to my future revolutionary:
1. Remain in community.
The day after elections, your mother was a panicked, un-showered zombie of a human until she came home to her community of other educators of color. This is why kapwa,* friendship, and family are so important. Resist despairing in isolation, because we are not meant to carry fear and trauma alone. Our creator created us to need each other. Don’t build by yourself, because you are not your own hero and you will likely burn yourself to the ground. Instead, build in solidarity and mutual honor with those who are different from you, because we are more sustained, powerful, and creative together.
2. Embrace catharsis and critical faith.
You will soon learn that the Christ we worship in our home – undocumented, houseless, queer, feminist, refugee – is not the same Christ that most Christians in the U.S. proclaim. And this contradiction will cause great tension and violence for you and many others. So be rightfully indignant, because there is such a thing as righteous anger in God’s heart. Feel the freedom to cry, be angry, protest, yell, punch things (not people), and cry some more, because our raw catharsis is an expression of worship and a holy reminder of our own humanity. Discover who God really is for yourself, and develop a faith that critically and relentlessly heals, mends, and energizes.
There will be days when you want to give up. Keep breathing. Even if you do not feel like you can thrive, I am here with you to make sure you stay alive. Your survival is enough, and it is radical, beautiful, and miraculous in itself. The thing about breathing is that our bodies do it whether we remember to or not. Our bodies sustain and heal themselves. So trust, listen to, and honor your body. Your body is divine and it belongs to you, even when Empire attempts to plunder it.
I am already proud of you, and I love you. I will hold you when you meet pain, and I will dance with you when you reclaim hope. I will make sure you know your power, your beauty, and your hxstory. And when you arrive, we will do this work, together.
*Kapwa: Indigenous Pilipinx core value. Meaning togetherness, community, not doing things alone.