“Taking This Chance Changed My Life”

I am mixed-heritage Korean and Welsh, a USer, and the mother of two daughters. When my children were very young, my efforts to change the world were close to home. My partner and I threw ourselves into raising our children with RC family work and building strong connections with our RC and non-RC communities. Mostly I felt too overwhelmed by caretaking to “take on the world.”

My mother lived through colonialism, World War II, and civil war in Korea, so I’ve also had to discharge terror about disaster striking my children.

After ten years of being a parent, I decided that I had to move toward environmental activism. At an Asian liberation workshop in 2013, Teresa Enrico (the International Liberation Reference Person for Pacific Islander and Pilipino/a-Heritage People) talked about care of the environment in a way that helped motivate me to focus on it. She said that it was a key to the liberation of everyone and that RCers would play an important role in unifying all people through care of the environment. I felt driven as a parent to make a better future for my children and their generation. However, I didn’t know what to do, or where to begin in the wide world.

I took a chance one day and accompanied a friend to a presentation by the Pachamama Alliance on climate change. Taking this chance changed my life. Afterward my friend and I started a women’s environmental group to learn all we could about the present situation. We have met for four years and have learned a lot.

Here’s a big thing I have learned: Regularly putting my attention on the environment with others has made it easier for me to put attention on the environment in general. I am more able and willing to read articles and books, watch documentaries, and go to protests, because I do it with others.

My distress makes it difficult for me to feel that I could possibly lead or speak up for what I believe in. It comes partly from growing up as one of very few Asians in my community. As a child I did not feel that it was safe to speak up or to take up a lot of space in a group.

I have finally chosen to lead in RC because of Sustaining All Life. In the Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA) Region we have a regular gathering on care of the environment, established by Pamela Haines (the Area Reference Person for the Schuylkill I Area in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA). With her support, I have been leading the group for several years. I have to discharge fear about leading every single time we meet.

In the group we discharge about current events and on early defeats that have left us feeling powerless. In addition to our regular gatherings, we have held a Sustaining All Life fundraiser, gone to multiple environmental rallies, gathered for two protest art-making events, and watched a film about Standing Rock (Indigenous Water Protectors in the United States).

My motivations for leading are to

  • change the world;
  • contradict my patterns and lead a big life and enjoy leadership;
  • show my daughters and myself that Asian women are good leaders;
  • build a community in my Region around care of the environment;
  • connect and have fun with people.

I am an artist, and all of the discharging, learning, and leading I have done on climate change has helped me realize that my goal for my community and public art projects is to relate them to environmental issues and involve children. In my personal work, I explore my feelings about nature and the environment. How wonderful that I get to discharge about all of it and keep trying new things.

Eurhi Jones

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of parents

(Present Time 190, January 2018)

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