Each year, I take time to think about the promises, lessons, and ideas that my two young daughters will want to learn as they grow older.
As an Asian American parent, husband and business owner I wrote a letter for Father’s Day – This includes things – I can’t wait to share with my kids one day:
Dear Polar and Zebolin,
Last year and 2021 (so far) were incredibly tough. The global epidemic has killed hundreds of thousands of people, made millions sick and affected the daily lives of billions of people.
We are also experiencing historical social unrest fueled by chronic racial injustice. The Black Lives Matter movement runs deeper than anything I have ever known in my life.
These events have changed the way we live, work, learn and relate to each other. So here are some valuable life lessons I hope you will consider as you get older:
1. Your mom and I will never stop fighting for justice that everyone deserves – And You have to promise to do it.
When I was growing up, my family and I did not have an open conversation about race and human rights. We did not participate in the marches. Your grandparents were Chinese immigrants, and their aspirations were more focused on survival.
As you grow older to have children of your own, I hope you will look back with deep gratitude for my and your mother’s commitment to raising anti-racist daughters.
2. Always look for opportunities to grow as an individual in your personal and professional life.
Beyond the family, there are vast cultural forces that continue to shape your life and worldview, and I see more and more of the positive and multiplying role they can play. Too obvious? Technology and social networks.
I hope you will join these conversations – not only participate, but grow. Take a look at different perspectives. Find ways to train yourself. Recognize the danger of “echo chambers”.
3. Conversation is always a start.
Starting a conversation makes a huge difference. But taking action is the norm, because there are fewer obstacles today. It is very easy to identify and support the reasons you believe. Providing advocacy and resources, for example, with just one click.
The last few months have been particularly difficult for Asian Americans. Long-standing issues related to discrimination and racism against us have come to the fore.
4. Increase your voice, share your stories, and listen to the stories of others.
At an alarming rate, Asian Americans are physically and verbally assaulted. (Remember when you asked why a guy in the mall was yelling at us? He blamed us for causing Covid 19.)
If these events made me sad, they encouraged me more than ever. I begin to understand the power of using my voice and sharing my stories. I spoke in panels, attended countless sessions I could count on, and tried to teach myself well and get better information.
5. You are not only a partner of the communities around you, but also of you.
In both of you, I have already seen a deeper acquisition of your identity and a greater sense of self-worth – much more than you were at your age.
Your support and pride in Asian culture amazes me every day. When I got home (uninvited) to see you two working on this poster, I was so proud a little sad.
Your passion, your energy and your commitment make you a partner of all the communities around you. But as you grow older, as community pressure to comply intensifies, do not forget that you are your own friend.
Do not allow your support for others to obscure the progress you want to make for your own community. Teach yourself and others about the richness of your culture and history.
Find ways to stand up proudly for all members of the larger Asian American and Pacific island community. As with every dimension of your voice, the world will become a better place to hear it.
Marvin Chow He is the Vice President of Marketing at Google, where he leads sales of some of the company’s most important and strategic products, including search, maps, Chrome, photos and messaging. He also oversees global social media efforts and advises on some pirated products. Marvin and his wife, Jeong, live in California with their daughters, Poler and Zepolin. Follow him on Twitter RETREALmarvin.