Fighting the good fight is exhausting. Being on the right side of justice isn’t enough to achieve justice. I have to work twice as hard then fight those who disagree with my definition of justice. It probably doesn’t help that I’m a minority woman fighting this fight.
When I was 9 years old, my mother explained the “consequences” of being a minority women in America. Although my mother immigrated to the United States from India in the early 90s, she faced a lot of discrimination. Honestly, I was terrified when my mother told me all the hardship and struggle I will face. It made me question why my parents left India. Then, I thought: I would probably face a different set of struggles in India. Since my mother told me this, I’ve always felt like an outsider. I didn’t know how to feel when pledging alliance to the US Flag; I didn’t know how to answer questions about my nationality; I didn’t know how to explain to others that I don’t celebrate Christmas; and, I didn’t know how to navigate in this world.
I am not Chinese – and neither is COVID-19. I am a proud Vietnamese American woman. Proud to be Vietnamese. Proud to be American.#wearenotavirus
My name is Lylan, or Jessica, or The-Most-Awesome-Person-In-The-World. Please address me by any of those names. I would like thank Nikki for asking me to write a post for her site. My goal is for you to imagine me sitting in front of you telling you my story. So, get comfortable because I want you to be able to feel all of my emotions, see every eye roll and dramatic expression, and hear every exasperated sigh. But, more importantly, I want you to learn something.
Will this blog be as scatter-minded as my brain? Maybe, but that’s Nikki’s job to make sure it isn’t. (Good luck with that, bitch.)
Will this blog be a hot mess of words? Quite possibly. But, bear with me because this blog will be 99% unfiltered and 100% me.
Just Mercy follows attorney, Bryan Stevenson, as he represents Death Row inmates in Alabama. Although the state of Alabama takes pride in being the home of the famous To Kill a Mockingbirdcase, it is still blind to the racial disparity throughout the state. I can easily summarize the book and the movie plot for you all, but I want to talk about the personal impact Stevenson’s work had on me.
Due to a phenomenal glitch in the Colorado Supreme Court’s beta system, I found out a few weeks earlier than scheduled that I passed the UBE Bar Exam.
Where to begin? No, seriously. I don’t know where to start. I guess I should thank everyone for the love and support, but…let’s be honest…this was all me. My beautiful ass worked hard and created my success.
This victory means more to me than any other victory I’ve had (well, except for that time I was potty-trained because nothing will beat that). I am passionate and hardworking, so naturally, I deserve to be an attorney. I’ve dedicated my career to helping indigent people. And, everyone knows I was born to be a public defender. So, when I failed the Bar Exam the first time, it shattered me. However, I picked myself up pretty quickly. As I wrote in theJoys of Failing, “Failure teaches you humility. Failure teaches you courage. Failure teaches you confidence.” But, what has success taught me other than I am awesome?
As part of our civic duty, our leaders have asked us to stay at home. If we practice social distancing, we can prevent the spread of coronavirus. Yes, this a great way to save lives. But, our mental health will be taking a huge toll.
I am a huge advocate for mental health and self-care. I do a pretty good job of assessing my mental health needs. However, like many others, I am struggling to keep up with my mental health during this time. I hope this blog post will help those struggling with social distance.
Sangeeta woke up early on Sunday. Her bed felt empty, which meant her husband and dogs were already up. Her husband greeted her with a cup of hot tea and a morning kiss. Sangeeta went outside to soak up the sun and breathe some fresh air. It was hard for her to believe that yesterday she was putting out many fires. From her co-workers’ concerns to her boss’s demands, Sangeeta had to come up with a plan to fight coronavirus.
It was maybe the fourth day of my quarantine, and Governor Mike DeWine has not yet declared the Stay At Home order in Ohio. Restaurants and businesses now provided delivery and curbside service. Although you cannot dine-in or shop around inside, you can still go out and support the economy. Also, during this time, President Donald Trump continued to call COVID19 a “Chinese Virus.” Annoyed and frustrated with our nation’s leader, I sat at the dinner table with my parents discussing my quarantine routine.
“And,” I continued, “I think we need to order food from our favorite local places and leave a generous tip. We have enough money to do so.”
I believe I have a personality that belongs on network television.
As you all should know by now, I am my favorite person. I simply adore myself. Not in like a narcissistic, can’t-see-my-faults way. But, more like a damn-I-am-proud-of-myself way. As Demi Lovato sings, “what’s wrong with being confident,” I too find myself asking this same question. My confidence is often humorous to those who don’t understand why I am confident. I think I should be confident. I donate to charity, I am a social justice warrior, and I am occasionally honest about my whereabouts when parents ask. In a nutshell, I know I have nice looks, cool personality, and some emotional intelligence. So, why shouldn’t I be confident? Rather, why is my confidence funny to some? I find myself on the other end of people’s laughter when they notice my confidence, as though someone who looks like me shouldn’t be.
Leon Hampton and I are not best friends. However, we are people who greatly admire one another. Leon does not judge people by their successes or failures. Instead, he respects a person’s character and their inner mission. Leon is one of my dearest friends for one reason: we genuinely like the other’s character and believe in each other.
Leon grew up in Harlem, New York. Raised by a strong, hard-working woman, Leon learned that “when there is a will, there is a way.” Leon saw his mother work several jobs at a time to make sure he had every opportunity to grow. And, he took advantage of all those opportunities. Leon learned the importance of hard-work at a very young age. He developed determination and perseverance quickly by embracing his Caribbean and Black American culture.
“So, why do you think we help others?” I asked him one day.
“Because it’s the human thing to do. It’s innate in us.” He replied. “It takes a lot of learned behavior to not help someone while they’re in pain, Nikki.” I found this to be true when I interviewed Leon.