Like many of you, I’m flabbergasted by the sweeping order restricting so many of our brothers and sisters from returning home to America, and heartbroken that those who need our compassion the most, those who have been through more turmoil than many of us will ever know, are being turned away.
Over a decade ago, as a college student, I was honored to have the opportunity to use my proficiency in a foreign language to help those in need of legal advice. Working as a Spanish translator for an attorney meant testing the capacity of my language competency, and stretched my heart to capacity. Knowing I was able to help in some small way has been a cornerstone of who I became as a young adult.
From marching in human rights demonstrations, to spending my weekends volunteering with a border pedagogy program to affect change right here in our border towns through the development of curriculum that could serve all children, to helping families in need including refugees to acclimate to drastic changes in their lives… every small action has results and, as I became a parent, I knew this, too, would be a part of my story.
I, like so many, come from a family that includes immigrants and soldiers. My father’s family originally hails from France and England, through Canada, and he followed his father’s footsteps by serving in the military. My mother was born in Taiwan, to a father who was active duty in the Navy and later served in the Army until he retired. My sister enlisted in the Navy on her 18th birthday. My mother’s first language was Japanese, her second English, and her third French. I learned Spanish in high school and minored in it in college before going on to grad school as a bilingual educator.
These days, the amazing company I work for is currently donating 100% of the proceeds of an entire product to help an organization sending aid to the last hospital in Aleppo – here are the incredible details. And last week at work, our first event was visited by a classroom of upper elementary students cheering and carrying signs for Kindness Week, that had all of us blinking away tears.
At Christmas, my children and I chose coloring books and gifts for a local Syrian refugee family. And Beau Jest, the show at our playhouse that I’m in, is partnering with a local organization that helps underserved families in our area by running a Kids’ Kit Drive.
Our playhouse recently helped lay the foundation for an organization that connects nonprofits with theatre organizations and it has been a blessing to know that, while sharing the arts with families in our community, we can also make a difference for others as well. As I work on our upcoming campaigns and partnerships, and think about how we can help those nearby, support those around the world, and affect change, I’ll continue to do whatever I can to show my children that I am on their side, on the side of good, and standing for the peaceful world. I think about these things always, but especially now as rights are disregarded at a time, the lunar new year, when happiness and prosperity are the wish for all.
The time to act is NOW. The time to speak is NOW. And actually, it was yesterday, too. There is no act too small or inconsequential – any small kindness, any act of servitude, any word or phone call to someone with the ability to affect change matters.
And so we are making plans, my kids and I together, to make whatever difference we can, to speak out against injustice, and to change this world. I’m collecting ideas, small things a four and a six year old can do… post coming soon.