{Though our stories are often written, our platform welcomes stories told in other ways. We invite submissions of Spoken Word poetry or performance art, dance or music, and visual art as well. We only ask that if it's not a literary submission, that you offer some written contextualization of the piece.
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"The Promise" by Gawon Yoo

     I’m not a writer, but I hope to share my story to empower Asian Americans. 

    When I was in third grade, I had a hard time making friends. Although it was probably because I didn’t communicate well and was introverted, I found the fault in my appearance. 

    Growing up in a mostly white community, I thought the only way for me to fit in and live “normally” was to force myself to not “look” and “act” like an Asian. I begged my parents to get my hair dyed and became embarrassed when my parents packed Korean food for lunch. I sometimes skipped lunch because I didn’t want others judging me. I was denying the utmost components of my identity.

 

    As I grew and matured, I slowly recovered from that toxic mindset. I came to realize that my racial identity wasn’t something that I should be ashamed of. Soon after I made real friends who loved the real me, I began to find pride in my own identity.

I learned to love my black eyes and black hair. 

I learned to love my culture.

I learned to love my background. 

 

I know as I move forward in life, I will undoubtedly face judgements based on my background and ethnicity. 

And we will continue to fight until all races are treated equally. 

 

But what I want to say right now is that whatever comes in our way, we should never ever get discouraged by our race and appearance. 

I’ve made a promise with my third-grade-self that I would never ever feel that way again. 

I hope that you all reading this will make this promise with yourselves.

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