Tag Archives: Boston

Honoring our Past, Present, and Future


In honor of May being Asian Heritage Month, I thought I would share one way in which The Genki Spark honors our heritages.  For those of you that missed our Making Women’s History Event back in March, or you were so inspired and excited about it and can’t wait until next year’s event…here’s an “encore” of one of our new pieces debuted that weekend, “Honoring Past, Present, and Future.”

Below you will find the speaking parts of the piece and a video of our performance.  We at The Genki Spark honor and celebrate those that came before us as we continue their work for a happier, healthier, genki-er world.  We are excited for our future and the future we are creating for those yet to come.




Today we reflect on the experiences of our ancestors. As immigrants and minorities, the generations before us faced many challenges. Their stories of sacrifice and struggle include:

  1. Having to change their names because they were “too hard to pronounce.”
  2. Being forced to “speak good English,” abandoning the languages their families had spoken for generations.
  3. Being denied jobs or access to education.
  4. Working endlessly under exploitative conditions, building railroads, cleaning houses, picking crops.
  5. Forfeiting their professions or dreams in order to provide a better life for their families.
  6. Facing the burden of proving loyalty to a country that was at war with the homeland of their ancestors.
  7. Being expected to keep quiet and endure indignities because they were women.
  8. Being harassed or beaten for their skin color, race, religion, who they fell in love with.

Despite all this, the generations before us not only endured, they excelled. Their pride, strength, and courage enabled them to continue despite a society that tried to keep them down. They demonstrated resistance through organizing or simply trying their best to persevere day after day. Let’s honor the legacies of the men and especially the women who continue to inspire us.


Today we envision the future.  The future we want to leave for our children, grandchildren and generations to come.  A future that honors those who have come before us.

What is this future we see?

A future that is just, equitable; where there is equal pay for equal work regardless of gender, race or religion.

A future that provides places where each of us can flourish, celebrating our unique strengths and talents; including opportunity for any girl who dreams of being president to do so!

A future where the media portrays women & girls for their strengths, skill and ability, not their hairstyles, bodies or sexuality.

A future where we fight through numbness and dumbing down to act with courage and conviction.

A future where women and girls leave competition and judgment aside to fully support each other.

A future where in the presence of strong women and girls men and boys find their strength and compassion

A future where we ALL listen to the needs and experiences of one another to empower healing, liberation, and positive change.

A future where each of us contributes to a healthy, sustainable planet,

A future where we live lives of hope, love and peace.

How can we create this future and carry on the legacy that has been given to us?  What can we do to create this future?


Today, we are in the present. The history of our past and the progression of our future, meets today, right now. Because we are interconnected.

This is our time. What are we going to do now?

The efforts of our past have contributed to progress. Today we still take on challenges including inequity, discrimination, and other forms of injustice. Every moment is an opportunity for positive change. Everything we do, what we say, every interaction, is important because what we put into the world, is a ripple effect that leads to what will come.

Because we are interconnected.

What are the choices you’re making now? When you do something or say something, are you thinking about the impact? How it might make the other person feel? How it might impact our communities? How it impacts the world? What we put out, even the little moments, matter.

What we do now is going to not only impact us, but will be what we pass on to our children, and our children’s children, which will continue to be passed on to future generations.

We invite you to join us, in spreading respect and peace in the world, with fierceness, so that our positive vibrations will spread and heal our communities and world.

We are interconnected.

Join us in making positive change, NOW.


Racism in our Backyard


photo(24)Last week, a Newton North High School put on a musical called Thoroughly Modern Millie.   The script to this musical portrays some extremely racist characters who perpetuate Asian stereotypes.  Consequently, many community members, many of them Asian parents, teachers, and students, expressed disappointment, anger, and frustration.  There was a Talk Back a day or two after the musical was put on.  I did not attend the event, nor did I even hear about the musical being put on until it was already done.  However, as a member of an arts and advocacy organization, and specifically one that promotes Asian American culture and works to bring awareness and break down oppression, this was something I wanted to learn more about.

From the little research I’ve done on the musical and the process in which Newton North took to put on the musical, I have many questions.  Who should we hold accountable for the fallout?  Who is being targeted by the musical’s content?  Who is speaking up?  Who is being silenced?  I found out the school tried to address the racism before and after the performance.  They even wrote a letter in response to the community’s outcry.  In it, the principal talked about the discussions, consulting one of their Asian teachers (ok, this felt a little like tokenizing), having the students of the Asian club talk to the director, inviting people to the Talk Back, and even asking the company who owns the rights to Thoroughly Modern Millie to see if they had another script without the racism (surprise! they didn’t).  You can read the whole response here: Millieresponse While reading this, I just kept thinking, “This obviously isn’t enough!”  I kept wondering why a school would choose to put on a musical knowing it would cause such negative reactions.  Was this a way to open a dialogue about racism?  This wouldn’t be the route I would take, but I’m not a theater director at a majority White suburban high school.

I haven’t seen the musical and don’t know anyone who participated in the production.  This incident is just another reminder that racism still is a problem and should be addressed.  From what I’ve learned about the fallout in Newton, I’m hoping more work can be done to raise more awareness on why people reacted so passionately.  Check out some reactions from the Talk Back.  What it showed me wasn’t so much people wanting to fight one another or even looking for apologies, but people from the Newton community wanting visibility around the issue–to not brush it under the rug as racism often is, especially when it comes to anti-Asian racism.  I look forward to learning more about how this community will continue to figure out how to address a complex issue such as this.

—- Trisha

Reflections from Boston: Payal


photo (5)
photo (6)

Healing Our City: An Interfaith Service – worth getting up at 5:30am for. 🙂

After 2 hours in line, meeting/connecting with new Bostonians, getting a group of 6 of them to sing “Lean on Me” in line and build community without waiting for church, getting interviewed, turning down interviews, cracking jokes at the NBC Los Angeles anchor that seemed totally out of place, and airport like security, it was worth it.

As a spiritual person, being part of an interfaith community was great. Great energy, powerful reflections by faith leaders. Cardinal O’Malley was especially powerful, as well as Nasser S. Wedaddy from the American Islamic Congress.

What was also powerful was Menino’s speech [listen, think what you want of the Mumbles, but he loves Boston, and his energy and voice verified that for me], and President Barack Hussein Obama’s speech. To explain why the president’s speech hit me hard, as I agree wholeheartedly with some of his approaches and disagree wholeheartedly with others, here’s a bit of my heart:

It was especially important for me to attend, because being brown in this city at this time is scary for me. On Monday, I feared leaving my house for two reasons, one, because of the bombings, and the worry that it was not over, and two, because I did not want to cross the path of a suspecting stare, violence fueled by fear or anger, a look that “other-ed” me more than usual, or feared me or those that looked like me.

It is fresh in my head that not less than 6 months ago, Sunando Sen was pushed onto the path of an oncoming train and killed by a woman who blamed Muslims AND Hindus for the attacks on September 11th. In New York City. Oak Creek Wisconsin is fresh in my head. My friends who have been scared THIS WEEK to go to their mosque occupy my thoughts.

Obama’s speech was responsible. Uplifting, powerful, catered to Boston [sports, sports!], but overall, responsible. I needed that, for me, and for my family, and for my brothers and sisters. This was not cowboy mentality. This was unity, community, and support. The church sat at the edge of their seats, caught with his every word, and for a figure like that, arguably one of the most influential people in the world, to send a message of love, not fear, was a very, very good thing.

We are Boston. I AM BOSTON. Let no one, regardless of who is responsible for the acts on Monday, forget that.


Reflections from Boston: Karen


This week in Boston has been challenging to say the least. 

Thank you to all our friends and family who have written, texted, and called to check on our well being. We’ve gotten messages of concern from all throughout Boston and New England and as far away as Japan, Alaska, Hawaii, and California. It’s been personally reassuring to hear from folks.

Many of us were at practice on Monday. Our dojo is on Beacon Street and our windows face the street — right on the marathon route. We saw the runners all afternoon, then we saw lots of police cars, by the time we left at 4PM the streets had been cleared and the trains had been shut down.

Mostly I’ve been stunned by the bombings. I’m horrified about the numbers of people who died or were injured and I worry that public events will be banned and no longer allowed. I worry about the future and what will result from this tragedy.  I worry that art and music festivals, parades, and celebrations will require so much security that they will no longer be accessible.

Terrified of racial profiling, more wars in the world, and more acts of violence, I keep praying that the person responsible is a US citizen. I know that may sound horrible but I can’t stand the idea of innocent black and brown people with ‘foreign’ names being beat up, murdered, spat on, or dragged into custody due to panic and hysteria.

Stay strong everyone — I have to believe that love, compassion, and understanding will prevail.


Reflections from Boston: Lisa


“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” -Leonard Bernstein

At times, I find writing to be therapeutic. Here is something I wrote today, in remembrance of a friend of mine who took his own life a few years ago, along with a photo I took during the marathon.

Dear B,

Between the 3 year anniversary of your passing and what happened at the end of the marathon today, I’m in a pensive ol’ mood. Not sad, grieving, or depressed, just thinking about the ups and downs of life.

None the less, I am thankful for how gorgeous the morning was, and grateful for the fact that I got to witness the abundance of love; support from the crowd for the runners. And the runners- amazing. Running to compete, to better themselves, to remember loved ones, to raise money for a good cause, or just to say, “I ran the m’f’ing Boston Marathon.” What a wonderful dose of positive energy.

I took a lot of photos during the marathon, but this one is for you. I think the best way I can honor your memory is to live well, take care of myself and appreciate moments of beauty like these.

ALL my love. ♥

Your friend,