I've lived my life in-between places.
You may recognize this tagline from my book, Somewhere In Between. The "in-between place" was the ever-changing world where my characters, Rom and Magnolia, would hang out after school. This landscape was abandoned and overtaken by strange vines, and was different every time they returned. I crafted this landscape as a commentary on the world we live in, how it never seems to stay the same, how growth and decay and opposing forces always seem to be in flux.
But there are real ways in my life where I occupy in-between places.
I am mixed-race: I must navigate my racial identity as someone who is both Chinese and White and Neither at the same time. I am the daughter of an immigrant while also being sixth generation Bostonian. I received my education at an elementary school for wealthy elite, a public high school for the arts where classmates needed to take jobs after long rehearsals to help support their families, and I attended a liberal arts college but did the majority of my coursework at a public university. Aside from three months in Osaka, Japan, I've lived my entire life in Massachusetts.
Last June, I moved to Missouri and currently live in Kansas City.
Donald Trump has been elected president, and barring any effort to stop the electoral college, will be sworn in to office on Friday, January 20. His rhetoric, proposed plans, and temperament pose a terrifying threat to our democracy and the health of our planet. On a more personal level, I am fearful for my loved ones, the majority of whom are the most vulnerable to his policies and the hateful actions of Trump's followers.
Since the day after Election Day, I have been taking stock of my skills and resources, trying to see what I can do as a citizen and a writer to protect the people and country I love, and fight against hate. It took me 48-hours to figure it out: I'm starting this blog (and, note, I will continue to be working on fiction as well as finding other ways to take action by volunteering or protesting in my community).
This project, In Between Places: essays about america, will be an on-going series of personal blog posts, interviews, and photographs intended to get me, a minority woman with light-skinned privilege, engaging in the less diverse communities in red America, and offering friends and followers on the coasts a look at what life is like here in the Midwest. My goal with this project is to help break the ideological barrier that is insulated by our regional divides and the echo chamber of social media. I want to help us find some empathy for each other.
This is not a call for complacency, or "giving Trump a chance." This will be a critical examination of our culture here in America, and my hope is try to shed some light so we can all be better informed about the lives of people who don't look like us, who have opposing points of views, or live in different parts of the country we all share.
Racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia, xenophobia, and homophobia will not be tolerated on this blog.
I will post as often and as brutally honest as I can.
I will do my best to get the words right, to stay in my lane about my varying privileges, and use my privilege to fight systems of oppression.
What I don't do perfectly, I will learn to do better.
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There are many important legal, environmental, and human rights organizations that need your support right now, so I would prefer you give them your donations. But, if you have already made a donation to one of these groups and want to back this project, your support will help me put gas in my car and travel to further counties and regions around the country. You can do so by making a one time donation at the bottom of my website, or becoming my Patron on Patreon.
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I do this because when Hillary Clinton said, "Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can," I saw that as a call to action.
This is the good I can do.
I do this because I have woken up every day since the election fearful for my husband, my friends, my family, for our country, and for the planet.
I do this because I'm worried that it's already too late.
I do this because not giving up without a fight.
I do this because I believe that we really are stronger together, and because I refuse to lose faith in our capacity for love.