a spoken word poem. watch the performance here.
Dear Asian Girl,
Let me tell you a story.
She was young, at first.
Young and proud, at first.
Roots nurtured by her ancestors,
she would lie on the ground
to soak up their wisdom.
Short, stubby branches reached out
to touch their souls
and she would feel the life
that once danced on this sacred land.
She would taste the golden nectar of her language
from the seeds her mother planted.
Her pride: the sunlight that fed,
her stories: the sweet water that nurtured,
her traditions: the soil—a structure of all things beautiful.
But soon her branches grew,
grew into the unknown
and she went into the world
in search of greener pastures.
But instead she found dying roots.
Savage—they called her.
Chink, Paki, Dink, Gook, Raghead.
They claimed she stung with her thorns
but they didn’t know her thorns were her beauty.
And they tainted her sunlight until the fire burned her insides,
casted a dry spell until it robbed her of her water.
Stole her fruit,
Snapped her branches,
Colonized her soil.
Until her songs became only a faint memory on her lips
and her stories stayed forgotten dreams.
But Dear Asian Girl,
Do not forget where you came from.
Lie on the ground again and
turn back the clock.
Revisit your mother’s kitchen,
fill the air with notes of sour and sweet
and feel prickles of spice soothe your throat.
And Dear Asian Girl,
you know you’re home.
Like that of a child,
let your people’s lullaby sing you to sleep.
Harmonize to a chorus so sweet
that you can taste the wonders on your tongue.
Because Dear Asian Girl,
we sing our tunes in different tongues,
different swirls and different drums
beat the same beat.
Our hearts still beat the same beat.
And together, Asian girl, we create our own harmony-
a battle cry so loud,
you can hear it in your chest when you breathe
and smell the burning fire when you scream.
Look around you,
see how far we’ve come?
Well dear Asian girl,
we’ve only just begun.
- Stephanie Hu and Ashley Lee