I don’t want to ignore the difficulties of the past year, of which there were many. But in celebration of Abba’s abundant love, here are several ways I’ve felt blessed in 2018. From the upper left and going clockwise, then ending in the center:
- Reconnecting with old friends. For example, this mini-reunion in Orlando of the Clear Creek High School (Galveston County, TX) Class of ‘89! I hadn’t seen Marnie, Huy, and Lorie in 25-plus years.
- Connecting with a bunch of new friends. E.g., I finally got to meet up with Annie (co-founder of End Rape on Campus), whom I’ve known over Twitter and Facebook for awhile. Here, we’d just come out of service at Annie’s church in D.C., Foundry United Methodist, where Hillary Clinton was a regular.
- On-campus activism. For several months, I served as the interim Violence Prevention Coordinator for UCI CARE at UC Irvine. I took this photo of the deeply moving Clothesline Project, which I was helping to oversee, in April. Though I was one of three finalists for the permanent VPC position (out of 100 applicants), that week, very sadly, was my last on staff.
- Everywhere-else activism. I received several invitations from across the country to speak and/or participate in panel discussions about #MeToo and other justice issues. This one was for KPCC 89.3 FM at its studios in Pasadena, CA.
- Rich convos with many remarkable people. Here, I interviewed the absolutely amazing congressional candidate Dr. Mai Khanh Tran for this blog.
- Political involvement. It was a huge relief for me that the Democrats won back the House in the midterm election. A week before, I took my 12-year-old daughter to her very first political rally, held by the faith-based, justice-oriented Vote Common Good, whose goal was that very victory.
- Family fun. Just one of the cool family things this year was that both my girls, even my nine year old, began to enjoy watching superhero stuff with me. (Age-appropriate, of course!) On this occasion, media news site Collider provided my older daughter and me tickets to a preview of SpiderMan: Into the Spider-Verse at the ArcLight in Hollywood, including a Q&A with the directors and writers.
- Feeling seen. Representation matters! It’s hard to put into words how meaningful it was to see a bunch of Asian American-centered stories in media, like Crazy Rich Asians.
- Telling my story. There is no media outlet of which I’m aware that does what KPCC does through its amazing Unheard LA programs. KPCC doesn’t just report news; through Unheard LA and its other KPCC In Person programs, it builds community. In September, I shared with the Unheard LA audience at Long Beach State how I went from being a pastor to becoming a women’s rights activist.
See y’all in 2019!