Immigrants of the Global Majority

Last weekend I led an Immigrants and Children of Immigrants of the Global Majority Workshop. I am pleased with the work we were able to do. I received the following from two of the participants.

Simply taking the time to write this is proof of the impact the workshop had on me.

As an immigrant I have always chosen work—and the relentless pushing of myself to do and achieve more—over relationships. My mother came to the United States to work, leaving my sister and me behind for most of my childhood. This set in place the pattern that said that work and getting material resources were the number-one thing. This is how assimilation affected my family and me. We gave up so much to “make it” [succeed].

The workshop helped me to realize that part of getting myself back from the effects of assimilation is setting values for myself that are different from those offered by capitalism. I do not have to work myself to exhaustion to prove myself or to buy and accumulate more stuff. It is revolutionary to know that I am enough. My American dream is not to work to “get rich” but to create a life of meaning and connection. 

I appreciated Cheng’s thinking about giving up victimization and claiming U.S. identity. I have been a U.S. citizen for a while now, and I haven’t realized the extent to which I still see myself on the margins. Since the workshop I have read the RC USer commitment* and cried about this country being my home and what it would mean to take full responsibility for making things right. As I read the news, I am pushing myself to think about what is happening here—as an “empowered citizen” instead of an angry outsider. Cheng gave time [counseling attention] to a woman who appreciated aspects of U.S. culture and what she had gained from living here. Seeing the United States solely as an imperialist, oppressor nation is inside of victimization. My family and I have benefitted greatly from living here. Thank you, Cheng, for this revolutionary perspective. This is my home. I belong. My United States! I will take my place in the center and also challenge the wrongs.

The workshop was a contradiction [to distress] in so many ways. Cheng created space for all of us to claim openly the various identities we carried, to show the oppressions we got targeted with, and to discharge on whatever came up. I gained a new perspective on my struggle to give up victimization and where I feel unwanted and marginalized.

Reading the USer commitment, especially the part about claiming the United States as my own, brought up tons of feelings for me. I was able to look at the place where, as a nine-year-old immigrant, I was told repeatedly that I was not welcome here, that I should “go back to my country,” and where I felt defeated and marginalized. I had stayed and built a life here in the United States, but my mind was still stuck in feeling small and like an outsider.

I used my sessions to take a powerful stand against my early distress by saying, “I’m staying; I’m not going anywhere.” I plan to continue with this direction post-workshop. I can see that it will open space in my mind to be at the center of taking action against oppression and to do it alongside others. I am not alone. I cannot and need not fight this alone!

Bonung Koo

Oakland, California, USA

(Present Time 189, October 2017)

* For the survival and cleansing and long-range flourishing of my beloved United States, I promise that, from this moment on, I will speak out and act against every injustice, no matter how long-established. I will insist that the ideals and goals which inspired the founding of our country, and for which our people have repeatedly striven and fought and sacrificed, shall be lived up to.The United States is my country. I shall forever claim her with pride in her every good quality and with determination to correct any of her past, present, or future wrongs. My United States! With freedom and justice for all!

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00