13 months later

I arrived in Hong Kong just over thirteen months ago, so I wanted to post some reflections to mark the past year of my life. (I missed the anniversary mark, but better late than never). Over the past 13 months, I have learned so much, made a dozen new friends and truly enjoyed my life in HK. Here are just a few thoughts:

  1. I came to HK to work as a “research and advocacy intern” for the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants. I really only knew what the research part meant, and did not know how what advocacy really meant or looked like at the community level. I have learned that advocacy involves several components: rallies, protests, seminars, conferences, etc. It is part of “movement building” (another fancy term I learned here). Advocacy, community organizing, movement building, etc happen around more than just a political campaign or a single issue (it does of course involve those things). But APMM does movement building across East and Southeast Asia to encourage people, develop capacity and ultimately, further the human rights of migrants. APMM focuses on one issue at a time or puts their support into certain candidates, but those actions are part of the larger movement, not the end goal. Something I also experience first hand is the amount of leg work that goes into each and every action. Every pamphlet, poster, event needs to be discussed, conceptualized, written, designed, printed, distributed and of course, funded. Advocacy involves tons of other skills including writing, editing, graphic design, and  computer.
  2. I have learned an enormous amount about global migration and temporary labor migration. I can discuss it forever (most people get bored listening to me). I have also explored connections or intersectionality (to use an academic buzz word) between migration and gender. For example, two of my favorite phenomenon the feminization of migrant and the racialization of domestic work.
  3. I realized the power of the Church to be a positive agent for social change. Between my work, the work of my classmates in this program, and others that I know in other programs (the Young Adult Service Corps of the Episcopal Church for example), I am witness to the Church doing awesome stuff around the world to bring God’s kingdom on earth. Of course, we need to do more (so much more) and ACT more and think more, but I have faith that we can do it.
  4. Finally, I have goals and direction for my life again. I graduated from Smith with very few ideas about what I wanted to do with my life, and now I have some.

Thank you all for being with me over the past year by reading my blog, talking to me on Skype, sending me letters (still losing btw) and praying for me. Please continue to be with me over the next four months as I finish this placement in HK and look towards my next one in the US (no, I don’t know where I’m going yet).

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