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Kindergactivism, is that a word?

Some people say that if you bring kids to a political rally, that it’s not age appropriate. Well, we’ve been bringing Maiya to community events since she was two weeks old (Day of Remembrance commemorating the anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 in 1942, which led to the incarceration of 110,000 Japanese Americans, including my parents as children and Tony’s grandparents), and her first of 6 annual trips to the Manzanar Pilgrimage was when she was 14 months old.

I may not be as active in the API/activist community as I once was, as meetings and volunteer work goes, but we manage to squeeze political awareness and social justice values into most things that we do. Whether it’s going to the Farmer’s Market to buy fresh, locally grown and organic fruits, participating in 5K walks in a stroller to help raise money for homeless or the arts, teaching Maiya about the Nestle Boycott and how it affects her Halloween bag, bringing her lunch in stainless steel containers and cloth napkins, explaining in kid-friendly terms what it means to be gay-friendly, enrolling her in Buddhist summer camp to participate in Japanese/Japanese American arts and culture, or a Japanese language immersion school; we try.

These first pictures are from when President Obama came to our hometown and went to a fundraiser for his next campaign practically across the street from our house. We went down to the corner to watch the POTUS motorcade with Tony’s parents, who were in town for Passover (see NaBloPoMo#9).

Also attended a rally, a few streets away from our house. Most of the participants were students in support of the DREAM Act, and a whole lot of Armenians about the genocide, something I know little about. Some were talking about the Chemtrails. Still others were protesting us and calling for no taxes, no government. No one was necessarily protesting Obama himself (in the same way we used to villify Bush), more they were trying to get his attention for their causes.

A few days later, we took Maiya to the local School Board meeting at City Hall, also walking distance from our house. The purpose was to protest budget cuts and to keep the cuts as far away from the classroom as possible, and that meant supporting all the teachers who received pink slips. We saw Maiya’s Kindergarten teacher in the audience, one of many red shirts, including us. The room was packed and we had to leave the meeting before it was over because it was a school night, but we thought it was important to share this with her.

Here Maiya is reading the book Mottainai Grandma, a story about not being wasteful, in Japanese, to her grandma. In a few posts, you’ll see pictures of Maiya’s participation in Auntie Nobuko’s music video called, “Mottainai.”

Anyways, I’ve just coined a new term…Kindergactivist. Peace. Full. Out.


* This article was originally published on KuidaOsumi’s Alternative Blog on November 10, 2011.

© 2011 Jenni Emiko Kuida

activism family poiltics