As we are about to embark on a New Year, I want you all to ask yourselves what this year is going to mean to you.
I’m sure a majority of you have written your resolutions (i.e. quit smoking, drinking, lose weight, save money, etc.) but I ask that you add one more to that list: Stand up for yourself and your fellow Asians.
Racism is still prevalent in our society and I honestly don’t think it will ever go away. But look how far we have come: my grandfather came to this country in 1949, when the Communists came to power in China. He risked his life by jumping ship, because he didn’t know what was going to happen to his family, had they stayed in Shanghai. He heard of America as being this glorified country, the land of opportunity and freedom. For ten years, he lived and worked his ass off here while his family remained in China, so that he could one day send them over, just as many of your ancestors did.
I couldn’t fathom being without my family for ten years. To a family of four sons, nonetheless.
They all worked extremely hard when they got here and believe me, it was not easy for them. They had to learn a language that was foreign to them, sit in classrooms where they were ridiculed by kids and teachers because of their skin color, and worry about money, food, and clothing on a daily basis.
My grandfather passed away in 1981. He was only 65 years old and had just retired when he died of cancer. My poor grandmother, who is now 93, was left a widow.
We Asians have come a long way but we still have a ways to go. My grandfather was old school: A traditional, humble, Chinese man. I don’t think he would have initially been happy when he found out I was having a baby with a Black man, had he been alive nearly 8 years ago. But after seeing the beautiful children my husband and I have created, I know he would have been proud regardless of his race.
It’s amazing that my grandmothers have lived long enough to see their great grandchildren; I only dream that my husband and I will be so blessed. That is why it is my destiny to teach my kids about their bi-racial culture, at the same time my husband and I learn from each other and our families.
So I ask that you find it in your hearts to really search for your identity. To ask your relatives questions about your ancestors and where they came from. Speak up if you are a victim of racial inequality or if you witness injustice. Don’t just think about yourselves, but think about the world as a collective whole.
Our ancestors fought for us, don’t you think you owe it to them to fight for our future generations?
ABOUT SERENA: I was born March 10th 1976, in Rego Park, NY to two amazing Chinese immigrants. My astrological sign is Pisces and I was born Year of the Dragon. I have lived and traveled all around the world but my present hometown is North Bergen, NJ where I am married (although not officially) to a wonderful Black man whom I raise two Blasian kids with.