Eugene Cho

broadening worldview

Two of our children are now in the public school system in Seattle and our third will be on his way in 1.5 years.  I’ve always been a fan of the public school system mainly because it’s all I know.  I entered Sherman Elementary School immediately after my family and I immigrated to San Francisco in 1977.  Philosophically, it makes sense to invest heavily into the public school system in order for ALL children in ALL neighborhoods to benefit.  On paper, it’s supposed to work but sadly, easier said than done.  The Seattle Public School system has been in much disarray and the school that my kids attend, Whittier Elementary, have been in more disarray with the removal of the principal for disciplinary reasons – a difficult and painful story I’ll probably write about at a later time.

Anyways, Whittier is an excellent school.  The teachers are caring; the parents are very invested; and resources – like technology and a great library – are available.  We’re also only five minutes away from the school.  We should be loving it but every single week when I drop off my kids at school, I can’t help look around and notice the lack of diversity.  It’s no fault of the school – it just reflects the neighborhood.  So, we’ve considered moving – except we want to live in the neighborhood our church is located; so, we’re considering the possibility of transferring our students to a school called Sanford International School – if we can get in. Whittier is about 85% Anglo and there’s only couple ethnic teachers – two of whom we’ve enjoyed through our children.

While we want the best for our children like any other parent, there’s not a week that goes by when I don’t think about my immigrant and minority experience – and how this impacts my children.  For Minhee, it’s a very fresh experience since she only immigrated ten years ago.  I still remember a dinner conversation couple years ago when our oldest daughter J shared how kids were laughing at her ‘Chinese eyes.’  Minhee and I tried not to weep visibly but it was painful – not only because others were making fun of her but because she didn’t know that they were making fun of her…

How do we help our children to fully embrace who they are – as Koreans, as Asians, as Korean-American, as US citizens, as children of God, and as followers of Jesus Christ – in a larger culture that is dominated by the White Worldview?  How do we shape and nurture them to accept, care, and embrace others – that don’t look or think like them?

It’s for this reason that we attempt to share our ethnic identities with our church, our neighborhood, and our other communities.  I was unable to go but Minhee joined our oldest daughter’s third grade class last week to help educate them about Lunar New Year and Korean New Year.   I appreciate Minhee so much – not only because of her sincere faith and trust in Jesus but the manner in which she lives out her faith.

Long post simplified in one line:  We all owe it to our children (and to ourselves) to broaden their worldview…

Filed under: asian-american, justice, seattle

3 Responses

  1. anonymous says:

    thanks for sharing this eugene. i wholeheartedly agree.

  2. Tracy (Noah and Ari's mom) says:

    What a blessing to read this…keep on keepin on!

  3. james says:

    e: you are blessed! minhee is wonderful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 2 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 2 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 2 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 5 days ago
  • Father, bless these Iraqi and Syrian refugee children that have already endured so much. As we pray, teach us how t… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 6 days ago
  • Pray for Iraq. Pray for persecuted Church, minority groups (Yezidis) and Muslims alike who are suffering under ISIS: instagram.com/p/BZF2j6Ngrna/ || 6 days ago