The esteemed Oprah Mag recently relaunched as Oprah Daily on March 25, 2021 and released a digital feature entitled, "100 Women of Color Remember Their First Encounter with Racism - and How They Overcame It," written and compiled by Monica Chon.
This is the text that I wrote when sharing the article on my social media channels:
TW/CW: Racism, hate crimes
(To clarify, this warning is for those who would be exhausted reading this because you live through it constantly. If you’re someone who frequently finds themselves in shock that such things are happening in 2021, please read on.)
I wish my first feature on Oprah didn’t have to come with a trigger and content warning.
Although the focus of this piece was intended to be on our collective resilience as 100 women who overcame and continue to overcome racism throughout our lives, it can be very difficult to read through as they are essentially 100 accounts of our earliest experiences of racism.
My voice was heard last night at a rally on solidarity that took place here in Pittsburgh, PA, and I feel compelled to share my words here once more:
The small things that you don’t think matter, do.
The “harmless” jokes, stereotypes, microaggressions, even the song lyrics and children’s books of our yesteryears. There’s a reason we hear with new ears and see with new eyes; we are meant to evolve and be better. These small things accumulate into the systems that oppress us, into the systems that enable violence.
In the same way, the small acts of dissent and resistance are what accumulate into forces that can formidably disrupt and dismantle.
I bake cookies! But I bake them with intention. And the cookies I’ve baked made their way through curriculum across this country, introducing stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to our youngest ones, histories that would have otherwise continued to appear separate from and not part of the American story.
Your small acts accumulate.
In memory of the 8 lives we lost in Atlanta -
In memory of our elders, our mothers, our sisters and children attacked, pushed to the ground, beaten with a lead pipe, thrown acid on, set on fire, and stabbed -
And in consideration of all of us whose resulting hypervigilance makes us question OUR sanity before we question the SYSTEM that is designed to make us feel this way! -
I plead that you always keep your conscious awake to examine how your small actions make a difference, for better or for worse.