Tag Archives: love

What Makes You GENKI?

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Genki is the Japanese word that means,

HAPPY, HEALTHY, VITAL, FULL of LIFE.

At this year’s Boston Pride Festival, we asked folks what makes them “genki” (happy, healthy, and full of life). We got responses from, family and friends, hugging, to self-acceptance and pride. Check it out! What makes YOU genki??

 

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Check out our FACEBOOK ALBUM for more photos.

–Genki Sister Karen

Being an Ally

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Last week The Genki Spark held a Skill Share for members on how to be an ally. With PRIDE just around the corner, this space was a perfect opportunity for a member to facilitate an activity, training, lesson on something they are passionate, knowledgeable, or strong in. I led this Skill Share as being an ally is something that I care a lot about, and work very hard to aspire to be.

Those of us at the Skill Share reflected on how privilege and oppression affect our daily lives. We also discussed traits of a good ally and a not so good ally.  Here’s what we came up with.  What do you think makes a good ally?

~Trisha

 

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We also completed two phrases to show how we feel about allies to us and how we can be allies to others.  Why do you think allies are important?

ALLIES ARE IMPORTANT BECAUSE…

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I AM AN ALLY BECAUSE…


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Honoring our Past, Present, and Future

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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.

Peace,

Trisha

PAST

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.

Future

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?

PRESENT

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.

When Your Family Doesn’t Fit in a Box

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I saw this post today and thought I would share it. Being mixed heritage Chinese/Japanese raised in a mixed race/mixed family, I remember getting all kinds of strange comments from people. My mom was Chinese, my stepmom was white, my dad was mixed Chinese/Japanese, my siblings were mixed and we called ourselves a family.

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I think what I appreciate most about what this single mom is doing is that she isn’t letting her adopted daughters quietly internalize these comments. She decided to rally with her daughters and figure out how to use this situations as a ‘teachable moment.’ Many times I’ve been so stunned I haven’t known how to respond when targeted by ignorance and racial comments. My ‘be polite and agreeable’ upbringing didn’t teach me how to confront or strike back when someone cast an ignorant comment and so many issues would be left unchallenged. Often as a young one I would be left silent and alone with these experiences thinking that it was somehow my fault these experiences were happening to me. ‘If I wasn’t Chinese this wouldn’t happen to me …  If I didn’t look the way I do … If I wasn’t a girl … If I wasn’t big-boned, … If, … If,… If …’

Ignorant comments and targeting happens all the time.  It’s always ugly but I think the hardest and most damaging part is being left alone. Congrats to this mom and her daughters for figuring out how to talk about these experiences and not go silent.

— Karen

http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/kim-kelly-wagner-photo-series-girls-adopted-china-191940669.html

Thoughts on Being an Ally

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Boston’s Pride Festival is this Saturday. For those of you unfamiliar with Pride, it’s a celebration of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) communities. It’s an opportunity for LGBTQ folks to celebrate their communities and for us allies to celebrate them and our connections with them. For the third year in a row, The Genki Spark has the opportunity to participate in the festival, both marching in the parade (with taiko in a truck!) and perform on the festival stage. I’ve performed at the past two and am looking forward to this celebration again this year.

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I’ve been putting off writing a piece on what it means to be an ally because I wanted to put a lot of thought into what I was going to write. Since the inception of this blog, I keep telling myself that I would write this piece around this time to let my LGBTQ friends and family know that I back them for who they are, and to let other allies know that they are not the only ones. This year I’ve decided to stop putting it off and just write what’s on my mind now.

This year is extra special for me because I have taken the role of organizing my Genki sisters for this event. It’s been stressful, exciting, and all together a roller coaster (mostly in my head). I offered my time to take this position on because as an ally, I thought to myself, “I need to step-up in being an ally to my LGBTQ folks.” I have people I hold very dear to my heart that identify as queer so being an ally to the LGBTQ community means that I have to be a visible ally. I was also inspired to write this piece because I read Jason Lydon’s blog entry on being an ally to LGBTQ youth.  (If you haven’t heard of Jason Lydon, he an amazing anti-prison organizer and founder of Black & Pink, an LGBTQ-focused effort on ending the prison-industrial complex.)  As someone who also works with youth and youth of color, I applaud his being an ally to a group that is often silenced differently than other young people.  While I can write a lot about what it means to be an ally to various groups, I thought given that June is Pride month, and in line with Jason’s train of thought, I want to share with you what I will be celebrating at this year’s Pride as a loud, proud, genki LGBTQ ally:

  • All the bright colors that people will be wearing.  What a great way to show off who you are in the biggest and boldest way possible
  • Young allies- It matters that you are here and I am grateful that there will be many allies for many, many Pride festivals to come
  • LGBTQ folks of color- I march alongside you because as an ally of color I know that I only understand part of the oppression that you experience.  In order end racism we must also end all other oppressions.
  • The singing, dancing, acting, jumping, marching, laughing, crying and other expressions that are part of being human
  • My LGBTQ friends and family- I embrace and celebrate all of the beautifully perfect person you are.

Special shout-out to my fellow allies…I’ll to see you on Saturday 

Trisha

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Reflections from Boston: Payal

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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.

Payal

Reflections from Boston: Karen

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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.

Karen