an epitaph for justice
Dios te salve, Reina y Madre de misericordia, vida, dulzura y esperanza nuestra, Dios te salve. A ti clamamos los desterrados hijos de Eva. A ti suspiramos gimiendo y llorando en este valle de lágrimas. Ea, pues, Señora, abogada nuestra: vuelve a...

Dios te salve, Reina y Madre de misericordia, vida, dulzura y esperanza nuestra, Dios te salve. A ti clamamos los desterrados hijos de Eva. A ti suspiramos gimiendo y llorando en este valle de lágrimas. Ea, pues, Señora, abogada nuestra: vuelve a nosotros esos tus ojos misericordiosos. Y después de este destierro, muéstranos a Jesús, fruto bendito de tu vientre. Oh clemente, oh piadosa, oh dulce Virgen María. Ruega por nosotros, Santa Madre de Dios, para que seamos dignos de las promesas de Cristo. Amen.

(Source: newyorker.com)

love your enemies

Since 1946, the US has trained some of the most notorious dictators, drug lords, and death squads in Latin America.

Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on us, sinners.

In 1953, the US toppled a democracy via a coup, in order to install a puppet government.

Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on us, sinners.

In 1964, the US attacked a country in its sovereign waters, then declared a decade long war in response.

Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on us, sinners.

In 1988, the US shot down a passenger plane thinking it was a fighter plane, killing 290 people, and it awarded those involved without apology.

Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on us, sinners.

In 2003, the US claimed that a country had weapons of mass destruction as the basis for an invasion, leading to almost two decades of war.

Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on us, sinners.

In 2019, we pray that the US will not seek out more violent conflict, but practice peace.

Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on us, sinners.

"The reason that people try to climb Mount Everest is because it grabs a hold of them and they feel like they just have to make the summit. And so you’ll have some people in distress and not necessarily getting help from the people who are around them. It’s this kind of bizarre thing to be surrounded by hundreds of people, and yet totally alone at the top of the world."

— Grayson Schaffer

(Source: NPR)

designing equity

When we view the world, it perhaps is often seen as a tabula rasa– a blank slate upon which we can encounter and experience. But we shape it. Every action, small or large, further creates and builds upon a world already created.

There is a truth that we all need to face: we aren’t all the same. 

The farce of one-size-fits-all is a convenient approximation and statistical erasure of our common diversity. Chairs, office temperatures, band-aids, photo light sensitivity, even astronaut spacesuits, when we create and design, it is imperative that we have equity in mind. Are we designing for the median or the margins? Are we enabling participation to the fullest for each person? And perhaps more critically, do we have the multitude of voices at that table?

Linguistic theory describes that our view on the world is constrained and shaped by the language we use to navigate it. Ask any person who is multi-lingual, and you will learn words that seem futile to translate as it is requires a particular mental model, a construction of the world to understand.

The world we navigate is no accident. Some things may be unintentional, but we are navigating a river in a boat built upon by prior generations. We must be willing to recognize the neglect that they have left; we must be willing to work to rectify the harm that persists; we must be willing to design a world that reaches the margins.

Critically, Jesus has given us a model for equity here on earth: the Eucharist. Jesus calls all to Him, experience Him through our first and final action – eating true Food, the Bread of Life. You might never evangelize to millions, you might never lead, you might never read, you might never be able to feed yourself, but you can receive the Eucharist and be united with Christ who has given Himself so that all might be saved.

2019: developing ai governance

AI is already an everyday part of our lives. From voice recognition on smart assistants to advertising, very little of what we do is not being funneled into some enormous data processing machine. Although you can choose to disable Facebook and avoid using Google (disclaimer: I work here currently), these individual actions don’t really allow you to escape from reality: the domain of AI is not only in the digital sphere, but also in the physical. The advent of autonomous vehicles, government-sanctioned mass surveillance and facial recognition and AI being integrated into criminal sentencing all are signs of the drastic societal shifts which are occurring. 

Data sovereignty and AI governance are critical policies that we need to implement. AI is not some magical science – at its core is data that has been defined, curated and determined by humans. Our action (or inaction) can either further perpetuate issues of injustice or stop them. Furthermore, it also is not enough to think of making sure that AI treats everyone the same, from the AI Now 2018 Report:

Definitions of fairness face a hard limit if they remain purely contained within the technical domain: in short, “parity is not justice.”

This is complex work, and systemic change is needed. There are no easy answers, but this is the time to push for change.

2019: confronting climate change

Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time. We only have 11 more years to implement sweeping changes before we hit a 2 degree Celsius increase that will be catastrophic to our world and human family. To not act will be the greatest sin of omission and the most forward lack of neighborly love.

“The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains – everything is, as it were, a caress of God.”

- Pope Francis in Laudato Si

Although there are actions we can take as individuals to mitigate effects, the reality is that a broad reform of systems and enforceable policies are needed to ensure the drastic cultural and societal shift needed actually takes place. What we do need to confront personally is our resiliency to austerity.

There are many different ideas and approaches to this as expressed by different people – but the time to act is now.

  • Call your Congressional representatives and senators to support a Green New Deal
  • Participate in organizations working to take action on climate change such as the Catholic Climate Covenant
  • Consume more sustainably (more to follow in #5)
  • Tell your friends and family to do the same


The work of justice continues onward until the coming of our Lord. In 2019, focus is needed to both affect policy and personal behavioral changes in 5 key areas:

1. Confronting Climate Change

2. Developing AI Governance

3. Racial Justice

4. Repairing Masculinity

5. Sustainable Consumption

In the following days, I will be posting further information and actionable steps that we, as the people of God, must take to prepare the way of the Lord, both for our own salvation and that of the whole world.

Lord, have mercy on us for lack of concern, action, and willingness to die to the flesh.

Give us the fortitude and resilience to be faithful.

Mary, Mother of God, pray that we might bring forth more justice and peace as you did.

This song by H.E.R. captures the sentiment of Advent. Written by two of my favorite singer-songwriters, Scott Mulvahill and Alanna Boudreau, Lord is Coming evokes that depth of longing for justice. In the midst of the lion’s den, in the midst deep injustice, in the midst of seeming hopelessness, there is hope that is known even if it is not felt.

2018 has been so full of darkness:

  • Refugee children being separated from their parents at the US border
  • White nationalism and antisemitism with the murder of 11 people at the Light of Life synagogue
  • White nationalism in the deaths of Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones in Kentucky
  • Mass shootings in Parkland and Santa Fe schools and the unwillingness by our leaders to make actionable change
  • The murders of Antown Rose, Emantic Bradford Jr., Botham Shem Jean, Jemel Roberson and so many other black men, women and children unjustly by the hands of police officers
  • The continual denial and dismissing of climate change by the US government

And yet, the Lord is coming

To imagine Mary as the birth of Christ neared – how was she longing? How was she preparing? In the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), she sings these words:

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the humble. 

He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

How much we too must long for this justice! Christ indeed is our hope; He is here, yet He is coming. Come, Lord Jesus, come!


Theotokos, pray for us!

(Source: benwildflower)

(Source: facebook.com)

proving citizenship

I am an American.

I am an American by birthright.

I am an American by birthright through Taiwanese immigrants.

120 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that Wong Kim Ark was a valid US Citizen through birthright, despite his parents not being American citizens. In fact, according to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Chinese immigrants were excluded from naturalization. Wong Kim Ark was detained and denied re-entry upon returning to the US from China even though he had documentation of his citizenship.

My own encounters with going through Customs has often had this shadow of a thought: “what if they don’t believe me?” What makes me a citizen of this country? A birth certificate? A bunch of paperwork? Jurisprudence? Throughout my life, I have felt a consistent need to prove that I am a ‘true’ American. The feeling of humiliation and constant reminder of being an other in this country have occurred through “where are you from?” questions and being denied an internship opportunity due to relationships with family back in Taiwan and being scoffed at for not knowing my grandpa’s Anglicized name since I always call him 阿公.

In 1943, Chinese immigrants were finally allowed to naturalize; it wasn’t until almost a decade later that all Asian immigrants were given that opportunity. Now, white nationalists and my President are trying to erode and erase the foundation of my citizenship.

I was born an American citizen off of the long-suffering fight for justice. I know that many might view my family and I as some sort of special exceptions – “you all are good immigrants! Don’t worry, we got your back.” 

But the reality is that I am not your Asian exception.

I am a part of the rule of so many immigrant families who have sought new and often better opportunities in America. I don’t want you to have my back – I want you to have all of our backs. 

Our livelihoods are tied up with the rest of our brothers and sisters. Refugees migrating north to flee violence propped by our government, armed vigilantes and military deployments to stop them, bomb packages targeting the targets of Trump, eleven – eleven people killed in my city by a domestic terrorist in the frenzy of fear whipped up against immigrants… 

My brothers and sisters, now is the time to act. Now is the time to pray. Now is the time to vote. Now is the time to denounce fear. Now is the time for love. This is what it means to be American.