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The Root of Passionate Activism | Projekt NewSpeak
The HanSarang Activist
Posted: 2010-04-01

Hey everyone, Edward Hong here but I will go under the alias of the HanSarang Activist and be one of the lucky Projekt Newspeak bloggers. I will present the activist and performing artist within me and share a bit of myself and my views on fighting for social justice, especially for Asian Pacific Americans. This will be my introduction to you all so welcome! Please feel free to provide any feedback and constructive criticism of my thoughts and muses.

Finding direction and passion about something in this world is a dilemma that troubles many people around the world and more often than not, people wander aimlessly in frustration and resignation. For me, I found my passion in activism and what it took to get me on this path has made me recently wonder if this applies to others who are passionate activists as well.

I know that I became a passionate activist to fight social injustice because I felt the strong need that the world can become a better place. But where did all of this desire come from? For me, I look back on my childhood and I know that I’ve had severe rough patches throughout my young life. Rough patches when I was riddled with self-hatred, rage and hatred towards my family and ethnicity, and a complete sense of loneliness and isolation that encapsulated me. Through a sheer case of coincidence or miracle, I have met people who have helped me to find beauty within my ugly self and make something out of it. Because of that, I am a passionate activist in order to pay it forward. I want to keep learning and appreciating what makes us so beautiful and terrible, and I want to help troubled youth so that they can find a direction where they will have passion in partaking.

Do all passionate activists also share this same route in life? Did they undergo great hardship/tragedy/suffering to come out on top and utilize all the hurt and pain to make sure nobody else will have to go through the same?

I know for sure that this is the case for me. I know that ever since the VA Tech shooting, my life would be dedicated to this cause. As for the story of how the VA Tech shooting affected me, well, that will be a story for another time. What I can say for now is that the incident forced me to look into the immeasurable amount of rage I carried within myself. It was only until sophomore year of college that a few wonderful people in my life listened to what I needed to say…what I needed to express so that I could finally be free and learn to love as much as possible.

I have a feeling that I am alone in this. Not many people know about the mental health issues Asian Pacific Americans go through and one of the main reasons why it’s never mentioned because we are seen as the model minority. When we do express there is something wrong with us, our families and society turn a blind eye and tell us that it’s nothing significant and worse, that we need to hush up because it should not be spoken.

During my involvement with the College of William & Mary’s Muslim Student Association, the student group created a t-shirt that said “This is what a Jihadist looks like” on the front and on the back, the Arabic term for ‘peace’ was written in the shape of a dove with “I struggle for ______” at the back. To everybody who got the t-shirt, they had the choice of filling in the blankĀ  with whatever they struggle for. For me, I struggle for honesty above all things because I believe we live in a world where honesty and truth is not encouraged and all too often shunned because we fear what the truth may contain. We want to live in a worry-free, fast-paced fashion and whenever there is a remote possibility that there may be something wrong within us, we look for the fastest remedy possible without searching for the root of the trouble.

I am not afraid to say what needs to be said. I am not afraid about the darkest moments of my life because I believe that true strength comes from the ability to be honest about your weaknesses and flaws.