Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Mother’s Take: Creating Safe Faith Communities

More than 10 years ago, Aiden was asked to leave a local Lutheran church we were attending. In the kindest voice, a visiting minister told my child that he could return when he found himself … in other words, when he was not gay. Those words pierced my son’s heart.

Aiden loved God, but on that day, he believed that God no longer loved him. He left the church and has not returned.

I left the church as well, never feeling completely safe. I was afraid for Aiden, and I was not brave enough to stay and try to change the way this church viewed the LGBTQ community.

Today, I am stronger and more determined to transform the way the faith community sees LGBTQ individuals and their families. I believe the greatest hurt to this group has come from the faith community, and I feel the world will never be safe for Aiden if churches, temples and mosques condemn those in the LGBTQ community and call them abominations... [Read More]

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Mother’s Take: A Double-Edged Sword

     Someone once told me that a positive quality could become negative if carried to the extreme. I didn’t quite understand this concept initially because I thought how could something positive become something negative. Then upon reflection, I realized how true that was.

     If I care about something too much, that could lead me to worry needlessly, be overly protective or jealous and not give others the space to grow and learn what is important for them.

     If I am generous and kind without boundaries, my life can be out of balance. How many times have I given so much of my time and energy that I get sick or become so tired I can’t enjoy time with my family?

     Our lives need balance. We must give to ourselves as much as we give to others. We need to receive in equal amounts … the love, care, support and consideration we often so generously share...[Read more]

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Second Chance: How An Educator Helped My Trans Son Find His Greatness

 

Recently I had the opportunity to thank someone who I believe changed the course of my child’s future. I didn’t realize it completely, until the moment when Dr. David Vannasdall walked into the room and tears began to roll down my face. He is the superintendent of a local school district and we had been brought together to film Diane Sawyer’s 20/20 Special following up on Caitlin Jenner’s story and talking about transgender issues.
But let me begin at the beginning . . . .
Ten years ago, my daughter announced to me, “I am not going back to school.” I was devastated, because she was a senior in high school and had 6 months to graduate. My position at the time was a director of educational programs for a dropout recovery charter school. And here I was faced with a child who was ready to drop out. (Read More)

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Mother’s Take: Speaking Up

Recently, I attended a book launch for “Fred Korematsu Speaks Up,” sponsored by Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Los Angeles and written by Stan Yogi and Laura Atkins. Stan Yogi and I worked on Okaeri 2016 together, and I wanted to support him. I also wanted to learn more about this courageous man whose image I recently saw Google change their home page icon to on Jan. 30. This day had been chosen because in 2010, the Governor of California signed the legislative bill establishing Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. It was also Fred’s birthday. This was the first statewide day in U.S. History named after an Asian American.

What struck me deeply at this book event was that Fred’s children did not know what their father had done until they heard about him from others. He had stayed silent about his defiance of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which allowed the military to imprison close to 120,000 Japanese American citizens and send them off to desolate areas of the country...(Read More)

Friday, February 10, 2017

A Mother’s Take: Taking Back My Mind

For the past three months, I have walked around in disbelief, like many of you, wondering where my country is headed. I have watched more news and commentary in the past six months than I have in the past six years. I have felt my blood boil from some of the comments and the untruths that are perpetrated by the current president. And part of me has felt so powerless, desolate and disheartened by all that is dividing our America.

I know I have written about some of my feelings regarding this election before. So, this is a continuation of my thoughts since then. Uneasiness has returned to me when I see all the hate and bigotry being bolstered by the words of the president and the people he is surrounding himself with. I am saddened when I hear my son has sleepless nights worried about his future and the future of his friends … not just LGBTQ friends, but Muslim, Latinx, black, Asian and so many others. I, too, have struggled, and many days I have had difficulty getting out of bed because I felt such despair...(Read More)

Friday, December 16, 2016

What I Will Remember This Season

With each passing year, I feel that time is moving faster and the choices I make are becoming more important because I am older, hopefully wiser and have less time to dwell on things that take me away from what I love. It seems like just yesterday, I was the mother of two young sons, and now, those little ones are 28 and 25 years of age. I remember walking down the aisle on my father’s arm to start my new life with my husband, and today, we have been married 44 years.

Time has gone by so fast .…

So, when I think of what season, time of my life or event I want to remember, I want to remember and cherish them all. And each season has been an important part of who I am today. Writing this article has given me the opportunity to reflect on what makes a season memorable to me. And these are some of the things that have stayed in my heart from years gone by... (Read More)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We Were Welcomed Home

okaeri_logo-03.pngOn Oct. 14 and 15, Okaeri 2016 took place at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. The gathering began with a networking mixer on Friday, which drew many from the Nikkei and API community, both LGBTQ and allies. Representatives from PFLAG, JACL, NCRR, Little Tokyo Service Center, Keiro, churches and many other organizations made this event a wonderful way to kick off the weekend that was to continue on Saturday. Thank you, Sean Miura and traci kato-kiriyama.

Saturday began with the planning committee arriving very early, many of us juggling a HUGE cup of coffee to help wake us up. But once we began to set up and saw people arriving to register, the enthusiasm and anticipation was palpable... (Read More)