Big, Free, and Flexible

I attended the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, in Durban, South Africa, as a member of United to End Racism (UER). I am grateful to all the people in the RC Community who gave support to UER.

If I was to write everything I saw and felt in Durban, I could write a whole book. One highlight was that Wako Ono * was with me for seventeen days as my interpreter. She and I had Co-Counseling sessions and exchanged views. In the process, I realized how important it is for people who are discriminated against to have allies.

My feeling about the word “Japanese Korean” is that I cannot become “Japanese,” I am not going to become Japanese, I do not want to become Japanese, I do not even want to think about it! I experienced much discrimination in Japan, and the result was that I made myself very small.

Wako never let my distresses alone. She contradicted them by saying, “I won’t let you remain victimized. It is you who will lead and tell others what you think and what you have been through, as you are intelligent and precious.” Wako’s statements made me cry.

My commitment to not stay a victim any longer has brought me a new and wider world that is in my hands. This might be like a feeling children have—believing in a strong bond with all the people in the world.

I used to think that countries were more important and bigger than people, but actually I am more important and bigger than my country. In Durban I felt like this for the first time. I am big, free, and flexible, and nothing can tie me down anymore. When I saw many people gathering from all over the world to end racism, and I shared this historical moment with Wako in South Africa, I was moved, and tears fell from my eyes.

The liberation of the oppressed cannot be achieved without allies. In my UER activities I will make efforts to build good, strong counseling relationships with Japanese allies, while I am building support groups for non-Japanese, such as Koreans and other foreigners living in Japan.

In Japan there are Ainu (Indigenous people living on Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan), Buraku people (the group ranked lowest by Shintoism, and segregated), Oki-nawans, and Koreans. In the case of Japanese Korean people, the Japanese government forced assimilation, so that we have ended up with strong Japanese patterns.

Wako and I did a UER report-back in Tokyo in June. My mother, sisters, and two nieces attended. It was an impressive and special report-back for me. My mother decided to take a fundamentals class.

I have a dream that the RC Community in Japan will develop a rich membership of many nationalities. Surely I will make it come true.

Kyonja Hwang
Sapporo City, Hokkaido, Japan


* Wako Ono is an RC leader from Sapporo City, Hokkaido, Japan, and was a UER delegate to the United Nations World Conference Against Racism.

 


Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07