I went to the White House last week to attend the State Arrival Ceremony of the President and First Lady of South Korea. I went because I appreciate Korean culture here in the United States and in Korea. I was delighted to see that a part of the ceremony was a children’s choir – Korean Americans singing in Korean and English. They were dressed in traditional clothing and they sang gloriously. I was tickled pink when they came and stood in front of me. Also standing in front of me at the ceremony were African American Cub Scouts. All these beautiful children!
I want children to have experiences like this – traditional clothing, extracurriculars, opportunities to be outside of school, and exchanging with adults in ways that aren’t everyday occurrences. I want children who perhaps come from immigrant families to see people of a variety of ethnic backgrounds and races waving little flags from their mother country. I want to see and hear children praised and celebrated for existing at all and I want them to feel joy and encouragement when they do things like perform special songs that they’ve practiced, whether it’s in front of heads of state and international dignitaries, in a school assembly, or at home with their family or friends.
I’ve been blessed to know Korean activists, educators, ministers, yoga instructors, and active citizens. I’ve watched Koreans experience deep pain from model minority myths and from oppressive religious dogma. I’ve watched Koreans persist in loving themselves and in challenging themselves. I want Korean children to know they are allowed to be diverse and that they are a part of our beloved community.
I have a lot of feelings about going to the White House.
It was my first trip inside the White House grounds. I am so glad I went.
I am so glad that I got to see those beautiful children, reminding me of my job as an adult to protect and cherish them.
I am thankful that there is an Educator in the White House. Educators are holy. I said it and I’m sticking to it! 🙂
I am worried about our democracy and about our ability to see ourselves in our government. I believe that some of our politicians, in the White House and elsewhere, are worried about that too. I’ll keep working to ensure that everyone knows there is a place for them in our movements. I’ll keep working to ensure that everyone knows that they are worthy of being seen and heard and celebrated with fanfare, flags, music, pomp, and circumstance.
I’ll keep planting seeds everywhere I can. I trust that the flowers and plants that bloom will be as precious as our children and as beautiful as the White House Rose Garden.