Put Your Money Where Your Politics Are
I start to lose my mind if I think about our flaming pile of government too much, especially with the recent Muslim ban disguised as an immigration ban.
3 of my 4 parents are immigrants. My dad arrived in Detroit from India when he was 19 years old. My mother-in-law is from the Philippines and my Muslim father-in-law is from Iran. As far as we know, right now he cannot visit his family in Iran and his family cannot visit him.
This is personal to me.
Despite those feelings of doom and gloom that I can't shake, shutting out reality is not an option. I find myself desperately trying to figure out what I can actually do. Marching and protesting is something, but it's certainly not enough. I've landed on a few actions so far, like calling my local reps and using the spaces I've created on the Internet (like this one and @themidwestival) to be louder about things that actually matter.
In addition, I'm going to put my money where my politics are by supporting businesses owned by refugees, immigrants and minorities as often as possible.
This is one small thing I feel like can always do in my daily life, and I hope you will join in if you're up for it.
Here in Minnesota, it's not at all difficult to find a Vietnamese mechanic. It's no sacrifice to buy fresh cilantro and mint from the Mexican grocery store. It's no more expensive to get your eyebrows threaded by a Somali woman. It's a small and manageable intention, but if enough people make the same effort over time, it means something.
To make good on this unofficial pledge, my husband Afsheen and I went to HmongTown Marketplace in St. Paul for lunch today. HmongTown is an indoor/outdoor market with amazing food. There's a fresh produce section that feels like a farmers market and several stalls that sell Hmong barbecue, fresh papaya salad, meatballs, sticky rice and all sorts of other culinary wonders. I haven't been there in the summer, but I think it's a lot more happening in the warmer months with additional stands outside too. This weekend, we picked up these rambutan fruits (pictured above), ate a mountain of spicy beef larb, stuffed chicken wings and dreamy tamarind mangonadas.