360° – Jamie
I’m the sort of person who needs little time to reflect back on an experience before I can really have much to say about it. Throughout this tour I didn’t say much on this blog but each time I did add to it it was something I had thought out.
It’s been a little over a day that I’ve been back home. I’ve had time to visit with my family, see a couple friends and I even made it to a Swirl Bay Area event last night, a performance by the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors. Towards the last days of the tour we all started asking ourselves if we thought we made any sort of impact, if it had been a worthwhile project or not. While none of us could deny the ways in which the tour didn’t live up to our dreams (it was tiring, events had lower than expected turnouts) we all felt great about the attention we did raise and the spotlight we helped to focus on mixed populations and communities.
I went to an open-house yesterday for the t-shirt supplier I buy from for Like Minded People. It was a warm welcome, everyone in the office asking how my trip was. Some I had just told I was going away for a couple months and with others I had more deeply explained Generation MIX. I was surprised both by my newfound comfort in even mentioning the work I do within the mixed community as well as by everyone’s open reception of it. It was the same as on the tour. People were actually interested. There I also ran into a friend of mine, a t-shirt guy who would frequent the copy shop I used to work at. He congratulated me on what I and the rest of the crew and MAVIN had just accomplished and told me that my mother had brought in the San Francisco Chronicle article I was featured in and that she’d read it over with him and the rest of my old co-workers. And then later last night at that 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors performance, a young woman working the concessions table asked me, “Excuse me, but are you Jamie?” As it turned out she was a recent graduate from UC Santa Cruz, same as me, and had just that morning checked out the Generation MIX site and read up on the tour and all of us. I was definitely taken aback to know that someone out in the real world, someone who I would interact with through such indirect channels would be aware of what I just did.
I’m huge on the power of individual interaction and how a simple personal conversation can greatly impact a person and his or her perceptions. Or how an article in a paper, or a short segment on a news program can do something similar to open a person’s mind and frame of consciousness by exposing them to something they might not ever have heard of before, like a community and culture of mixed race people. Throughout the tour this is exactly the sort of thing we did. From random people at roadside stops to whom we had to explain ourselves and our wildly colorful RV, to television, radio and print media who featured Generation MIX and their audience members who met us and who shared their appreciation for what we were doing with us. Because of them I know we had an impact and for me it was a worthwhile effort to be a part of that. All of this tells me that people are open to engaging in issues of race and its effects in society, and towards that end goal of continued civil rights and social justice, it tells me that people are open to that too, hopefully willing to take a hand in it, because that’s what it’s going to take.
As I readjust to life off-tour and get back into a groove here at home, I return to my world with that confidence to comfortably speak about what I did and what I do in and for the mixed community knowing that people out there are receptive to this work. I return galvanized to explore what all we can do with this increase of interest and momentum present within the community. I know that a big next step that will prove this mixed “movement” as being more encompassing than individual self-identity expression will be true relationship building and collaborative work with other established cultural communities. It’s something that has not been seen much throughout the relatively short history of mixed race organizing, but it has been seen before and has been a positive bond. I think to Hapa Issues Forum and how and for what reasons the organization was founded, and the strides they helped make for multiracial Asian populations in relation to Asian American communities.
Lastly, I return home committed to the continued fostering of the mixed community. It is growing and growing and I can see it all around me. More mixed children, more interracial families, more students organizing and student orgs communicating, more families (like my own) more openly talking about being mixed, more organizations expanding, more attention and understanding. There is a true investment in the community that a great many people share and we can all work for the same cause in many different ways. Most important to me is to think globally, act locally. I will always keep my mind working on questions of the bigger picture, a vision for the mixed community as a whole, and all the while I will be doing work to foster it on a local level where it most directly affects me and my life.
Thank you everyone, thank you Generation MIX.