Today was one of the first days since diagnosis and treatment that I was able to relax at home with Shiloh, Luna, and the cats. We vacuumed and played with cars and ate scrambled eggs with a side of marshmallows-only from the Lucky Charm’s box. I didn’t have any assignments due for my creative writing grad classes and the only work phonecall I got was from the boss lady at NOVA asking which community college classes I would like to teach. Many days when my body is still weak, I desperately need my husband to take over when he arrives home, but not today. Even now, there is a calm in the house.
There is a lot of buzz around Independence Day tomorrow. Some people have miniature American flags posted around the perimeter of the lawn and are currently looking at their outfit for tomorrow and also checking to make sure all the food is ready. As the national anthem plays, eyes will become misty and pride will pound deep within hearts. Others, discontent with the political climate, have sworn off celebrating tomorrow and have vowed to emancipate themselves from all who dare celebrate injustice. Some have rallied to protest tomorrow. And still, others want to denounce America altogether.
Here is what I know –
I am the product of an Army dad and a first-generation immigrant from Korean mom.
I had the privilege of watching my mother get sworn in and naturalized.
I was not given the deep sorrow of a deployed father or mother who did not return from Iraq – but they were my classmates and friends and neighbors and comrades.
I teach every single student who walks into my classroom. Period.
I have made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for children in my classroom without money for lunch because they have to keep the lights on in their home.
I’ve read gut-wrenching narratives of the girl who sat in the left corner of my room on how she crossed the border because her brother was shot in front of her eyes, and it was the only way to stay alive.
Today, no one called my existence, mixed race, unholy or tried to kill me – or my son who is sleeping upstairs.
I live happily with my husband and our beautiful mixed race family without rocks being thrown in our windows for being alive and in love.
I am a college educated woman with a bachelor’s, a master’s, and working on another master’s.
I was not stopped or imprisoned for wearing shorts outside and having short hair because of indecency.
My life was saved by several extraordinary WOMEN who chose to be doctors and nurses.
I have the privilege of teaching and knowing and loving people of different backgrounds and race and religions. This is why I chose to teach in the public school.
I pay my own taxes because any wealth I earn belongs to me and not my husband.
I know my taxes go toward people who do not have a home and whose only choice was to stay alive any way they could.
I can vote for whomever I please regardless of my mixed race or gender. And believe me, I will.
I know on this land we may borrow for 100 years of life, we are all immigrants.
Tomorrow, I will celebrate the 4th of July and call myself an American. Not because everything is being done right, but in spite of the wrongdoing. I hope I never have to post everything that is wrong in each era. I hope my actions speak louder than a typed post. I hope for a better future. I will not denounce America because I refuse to turn my back on so many people. We have the immense privilege of being able to resist evil and speak it aloud in ways other people in the world would be killed for even thinking.
As with any child who walks through the door of my classroom or home, I want to celebrate all you CAN BE, apologize and amend the evil done in the past, and hope and pray tomorrow will be better — and even if it’s not, even if we are in a failing system – just like people say of public schools – I will fight with my life and will not abandon ship. I will dig my heels into the concrete and not relent because people elsewhere dream of this privilege to resist and hope.