Connection and making a difference. Isn’t that what our human journey is about? Making meaningful connections with others and aspiring to make a difference along the way. It is my hope and vision that my TEDx talk could connect with others in a way that evokes emotion, examination, and pause. My wish for viewers and listeners is that after hearing my talk, it will prompt them to understand the unconscious and conscious implications of our words and actions on others. My message is particularly personal and important to me so naturally I wanted this message to be equally important to others.
Immediately following my TEDx talk, I was overwhelmed to discover that my “Assimilation is Colonization” message had resonated and connected with others in meaningful ways. I received warm words of support from individuals who identify as indigenous, refugee, immigrant, undocumented, stateless, Mexican, Muslim, Asian, Latin American, European, Black, Jewish, Middle Eastern, African and along with many other ethnicities, faiths, and cultures. Although their individual identities varied dramatically, they all shared two common threads. First, they believed that my narrative was also their narrative and that they had a personal connection with my truth. Second, they shared how they’ve also experienced the harmful impact of cultural colonization.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude to know that communities that I serve in the capacity of cultural worker, social justice advocate, storyteller, and educator had connected with my personal message. It’s humbling to know that individuals and communities had connected with my broader mission. I believe that it’s important to shed light on this message through generating authentic and vulnerable conversations on assimilation and colonization.
Words and actions matter. How we use these vessels of communication matter. I hope that by sharing my truth, this will encourage others to recognize the power of words as well as its potential detriment. I hope that by sharing my talk it will evoke an even broader, more vigorous, and honest dialogue between amicable as well as adversarial parties alike. It’s time to reexamine the concepts of assimilation and colonization.