Monday, October 28, 2013

Mixed Heritage and Knowing We Still Have Work To Do



"When I think of heritage, I don't think of race"

"I'm just Japanese"

"I'm just mixed"

"I consider myself mixed within the context of Mexico"

"I just feel whole because I'm human"

"I'm confused. What box do YOU want to put me in?"

*  *  *
 by Sharon H Chang

My head is swimming as I sit here wondering how to begin. On Saturday night I had the distinct honor of sitting as a panelist for Mixed Heritage at Seattle's Union Cultural Center along with youth speaker Saiyana Suzumura and Jabali Stewart, Director of Intercultural Affairs at The Bush School. The event is part of an annual series Dialogues of Resistance & Healing funded by a recently awarded 4 Culture grant. The dialogues are a forum for folks to come together around issues, conversations and art forms that are important to the community but often underrepresented. That formally and technically said, these are no ordinary dialogues. You won't find yourself sitting in a conference room with stock commercial carpeting and fluorescent lights; over-warmed, under-cooled by artificial air and a central system; eating bagels and cream cheese, muffins or veggies off a Costco party platter.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Meet 3 Wonderful Women


I am thrilled and honored to introduce to you the 3 amazing women who have agreed to serve on my thesis committee. Please take a moment to meet them. These women are not only beautiful and intelligent, but powerful allies; academics/professionals invested and interested in listening to our stories. They bring an incredible range of personal/professional experience and expertise to the table in helping me refine and move my research towards publication. They are fabulous and I am deeply grateful for their contributions...


Sheila Capestany
Sheila Capestany has over twenty years of experience in nonprofit leadership, strategic planning and policy work. In addition she has extensive experience in bringing multiculturalism and anti-oppression work into systems and organizations. Sheila holds a Master of Public Health and a Master of Social Work from the University of Washington. She currently serves as Executive Director of Open Arms Perinatal Services, a community-based nonprofit whose purpose is to provide community-based support to pregnant women and their families. Sheila has served in positions with the Seattle City Council, Seattle Human Services Department, Public Health Seattle & King County and Big Sisters of King County. She is passionate about community work and the well being of women, children and families. Sheila and her husband have three children.


Dr. Wei Li-Chen
Wei Li-Chen was born, raised, then worked and had her undergraduate education in China. After she came to the United States with a one-year UNICEF fellowship, Wei completed her Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Early Childhood Education in University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where she met her husband who also came from China and contributed the “Chen” part in her current last name. Personally and professionally a main focus has been parenting her two U.S. born children to be bilingual (Chinese/English) and bicultural persons (Chinese/American). Wei lived in the Seattle area for 11 years, served as a Core Faculty and Academic Director of Human Development Program for Pacific Oaks College Northwest, and was the Lead Researcher for Asian/Pacific Islander Child Care Needs Assessment in King County, 2000. Following, she lived and worked in Shanghai, China with her family for 8 years. Wei currently lives in Southern California.


Lu Pilgrim
Lu Pilgrim has been active in the field of Human Development most of her 78 years as a student and a teacher, occupations that, from her point of view, tend to intertwine.  Her formal education, B.A. and M.S. was completed at Utah State University and the University of Utah, the places she found herself when the time was ripe. A number of other institutions of learning contributed to those degrees along the way over a period of 40 years.  Her vastly more important education she says, has been life long and springs from life experience, nature, observation, self-reflection and mentors of the moment, of whom there have been many. Lu is currently a faculty member at Pacific Oaks College. She has lived in many places but presently makes her home near Ann Arbor, Michigan where she gardens, experiments with recipes, writes, mentors students who are pursuing ongoing education, and enjoys the companionship of family, friends and pets.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My 3 Year Old Has Experienced Racism (and yours probably has too)

(image by Tina Kugler)

©  Sharon Chang, Aug 26, 2013  as seen on Racism Review


I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But if there is a child of color in your life and if you ever read to them – then they have already experienced racism. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Resisting Racism: The Anti-Bias Classroom

 ©  Sharon Chang and MultiAsian Families Blog, Mar 22 2013 

So what does an anti-bias classroom look like?? I’ve certainly thrown the idea around a lot. Here in Seattle “anti-bias” is also thrown around quite a bit by schools trying to speak to our increasingly diverse population. It’s become a sort of buzzword in education. Fashionable and trendy. But as I have mentioned before, many schools don’t practice what they preach. In fact, it doesn’t seem they even know how. And I sense from parents a total sense of bewilderment when they stumble across the term. They like the idea. Looks good on paper. But they’re not exactly sure what it is, or how to ask administration/educators about it.