Los Angeles, CA
This morning I asked my mom if she wanted to go to the LA protests with me. I wasn’t sure what she was going to say or if I was dishonoring her by asking this question because of our family’s painful memories connected with the LA Uprising decades ago. In the ‘92 Uprising, we lost our family business, which led to bankruptcy and set off a series of devastating circumstances in our family’s history. But surprisingly, my mom responded, “Of course, we must go. I was going to ask you to go together.”
I was so taken aback by her response— but then remembered a story my mom had shared with me a while ago. When my mom was a nursing student in her twenties in Korea, she had taken part in the #gwangjuuprising #seouldemonstrations . College students, civilians, and democracy groups came together to create a movement against the president’s authoritarian regime and injustices perpetuated by the government. The protests were getting violent and she felt with her medical training she could help. I remember asking her then, “Weren’t you afraid? What if something happened to you?” And she said she didn’t think about those questions much— she just knew it was the right thing to do. She said she just knew she needed be there.
Today, as we marched, I kept staring at her as we stood side by side, and as she fumbled over the words, shouting “Black Lives Matter!” and “No Justice, No Peace!” in her Korean accent. I was in awe of her boldness and fearlessness. I couldn’t believe we both felt God calling us into this work. It was powerful and emotional to march alongside of our Black sisters and brothers, allies together. I saw my mom’s generation waking up along with ours. I felt the power of the movement— intergenerational, intersectional, interracial, all of humanity interconnected. I realized today that the same fire for justice that burned within my mom 40 years ago burns within me.