Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Root of Passionate Activism

UPDATE: Someone in the YouTube community flagged my video for the spoken word piece, "To Seung-Hui Cho" and YouTube has been kind enough to remove the video. To this, I will put up another video but this time you will actually see my face when I perform it. And because people are so quick to judge, I will put a foreword so that I can explain myself to the stupid and judging people out there in the world.
Finding direction and passion about something in this world is a dilemma that troubles many people around the world and more often than not, people wander aimlessly in frustration and resignation. For me, I found my passion in activism and what it took to get me on this path has made me recently wonder if this applies to others who are passionate activists as well.

I know that I became a passionate activist to fight social injustice because I felt the strong need that the world can become a better place. But where did all of this desire come from? For me, I look back on my childhood and I know that I've had severe rough patches throughout my young life. Rough patches that was riddled with self-hatred, rage and hatred towards my family and ethnicity, suicidal attempts, and a complete sense of loneliness and isolation that encapsulated me. Through a sheer case of coincidence or miracle, I have met people who have helped me to find beauty within my ugly self and make something out of it. Because of that, I am a passionate activist in order to pay it forward. I want to keep learning and appreciating what makes us people so beautiful and terrible and I want to help troubled youth so that they can find a direction in where they will have passion in partaking.

Do all passionate activists also share this same route in life? Where they underwent great hardship/tragedy/suffering to come out on top and utilize all the hurt and pain they went through to make sure nobody else will have to go through the same thing?

I know for sure that this is the case for me. I know that ever since the VA Tech shooting, my life was changed forever because I somehow felt a connection with Seung-Hui Cho. When his life and mental health issues were revealed to the public, it made me wonder because I had a fair share of mental health issues of my own that resulted in years of anger management classes and clinical therapy to attempt to subdue the immeasurable amount of rage I carried within me. It was only until sophomore year of college that a few wonderful people in my life listened to what I need to say...what I needed to express that I felt would cause others to see me as insane.

I have a feeling that I am alone in this. Not many people know about the mental health issues Asian Pacific Americans go through and one of the main reasons why is that it never gets brought up because we are seen as the model minority folks. When we do express there is something wrong with us, our families and society turn a blind eye and tell us that it's nothing significant and worse, that we need to hush up because it should not be spoken.

During my involvement with the College of William & Mary's Muslim Student Association, the student group created a t-shirt that said "This is what a Jihadist looks like" on the front and on the back, the Arabic term for 'peace' was written in the shape of a dove with "I struggle for ______" at the back. To everybody who got the t-shirt, they had the choice of filling the blank in for what they struggle for. For me, I struggle for honesty above all things because I believe we live in a world where honesty and truth is not encouraged and all too often it is shunned because we fear what the truth may contain. We want to live in a worry-free, fast-paced fashion and whenever there is a remote possibility that there may be something wrong within us, we look for the fastest remedy possible without really searching for the root of the trouble.

I am not afraid to say what needs to be said. I am not afraid about my darkest moments of my life because I believe that true strength comes from the ability to be honest about your weaknesses and flaws. So with that said, I present to you a spoken word piece about a certain boy who allowed me to find love within myself.

1 comment:

Larry Shinagawa said...

Edward, keep in touch if you are interested in a Ph.D. Program in American Studies.