Joe Chang is the Chief People & Operating Officer at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. He was the first in his family to earn his bachelor’s degree from UCLA, as well as a Master of Business Administration.
“Under the sky, under the heavens, there is but one family.” — Bruce Lee
While I am intentionally sharing these pieces during AAPI Heritage Month, I would prefer to resist the pageantry of a calendar that celebrates the history of different groups by month while the entire year is imprinted with White revisionist history. Our American story will not live up to the standards of heaven until the devastating impacts of White history are as salient and commonplace as we expect basic math and language skills to be in this country. We are still so far from achieving our humanistic and historical task of liberation…
But in the interim, we have what we have always had: each other’s eyes, hearts, minds, and stories. Let us continue finding each other — let us find hope in the power of critical connections over critical mass. Let us co-create something new.
I want to thank the many people who shared resources with me and took the time to engage in the heavy conversations I needed to have this past year. I especially want to thank the growing AAPI community around me. In many ways, these writings are just my way of regifting back to you the perspectives, learnings, and insights you have offered me over time. To everyone else, I hope the many links to other texts throughout these pieces will provide a treasure trove for continuing your engagement in the shared history we are always in the midst of making.
Lastly, I offer you a poem for this moment of rebirth and re-emergence…
let us renew but not return
to the life we saved
holding close the voices lost
the weight of earth is shifted
the fire next time still burns within
as a searing needle pierces skin
may the dawn of our liberation rise
a final flag of white
may the sword of comfort yield at last
to the love and warmth of other suns
and bloom the eyes of self-conviction
to see the colors of our abundance
may the shield of shallow lay at rest
and open chests to brave
a new depth of connection
a new wholeness of redemption
a new aliveness for all without exception
may our wounds be seen and held to heal
the lungs that heave in each of us
the blood that breathes in each of us
for under the heavens we are but one
Originally published on Medium. Reposted with permission from the author.