“I am here to speak. Say the words. Her nearness has delivered me to this moment, an ever-lengthening moment between her breaths, that I might finally speak the words turning inward, for the first time, in my own beginning and lonely language: Do not be afraid. It is all right, so do not be afraid. You are not really alone. You may die, but you will have been heard. Keep speaking — it is real. You have a voice.” (Chang-rae Lee)
During my last year of college, the now defunct Asian Week Magazine named me as one of Ten Asian American Women Who Will Change the World. It was a grandiose title to be sure, but at the time– it seemed, at least, remotely possible. I was working on the steering committee of the Support 121 organization to pass a resolution through Congress (which did pass… unanimously), I was one of the first to graduate from DePaul University with a minor in Asian American Studies and helped plan the Association for Asian American Studies 2008 Conference. The Asian American student group for which I served as President had just won the University’s “Organization of the Year” award:
My double minors in Asian American Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies gave me a critical perspective on the inextricable link between racism and sexism. I was determined to use everything I had learned at DePaul to fight injustice and make the world a better place…
But then real life responsibilities like finding a job and paying rent crept in and changed my priorities. I started on a career path that led away from social justice and ended up… here. I began to feel comfortable in a world of blanket scarves and Kendra Scott earrings, leaving advocacy and fighting for the cause to others. I became quiet about things that truly mattered to me, out of both fear and complacency.
I lost my voice.
That is until this year’s election season rolled around. I’ve already explained my feelings about the impending Trump Presidency on this blog, so I won’t use this post to add to the long laundry list of his disqualifications and atrocious statements. As daunting and depressing as this past week has been, I feel oddly encouraged. Posts in the Pantsuit Nation Facebook group, supportive conversations with friends/colleagues, and the Joe Biden/Obama memes, are giving me LIFE. I’m ready to take up the cause again and fight.
I’m blessed to have the best of friends by my side through all of the chaos. Our mission with this series has always been to bring people together and celebrate each other’s differences. Trump’s divisive platform represents the antithesis of Diversity Chic, so we decided it was time to put on our favorite power blazers and get to work!
Valery was kind enough to let me borrow her amazing black and gold brocade blazer for this shoot, since most of my fall/winter clothes are still packed away in our garage. If you’re currently in the market for a new classic blazer, take a look at some of my picks below:
After our shoot, we wanted to take advantage of our time together and do something productive. Last year, we wrote letters as a group for Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign, and decided we should make it a tradition of sorts.
The Write for Rights campaign helps convince government officials to free prisoners of conscience, support human rights defenders, and end other urgent cases of abuse. It requires only a small effort, yet could mean everything to someone in need.
All four of us are looking into more ways we can give back and move forward. I’ve volunteered my web design/social media services to a local Democratic organization and started researching ways to support organizations whose causes are close to my heart such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and ACLU. I’m cleaning out my closet this weekend so I can make a donation to Dress for Success. All things that are the least I can do while slowly working my way back to leading political demonstrations in front of the White House status. There’s a long and arduous road ahead, but mark my words– I just might prove Asian Week correct and change the world yet!