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A Happy Anniversary

“none of us can do it alone, but together we can do a lot” by The Durfs Photography

Robbie and I have a lot to celebrate today. It is our third wedding anniversary and our first one as parents. It seems only fitting that we celebrate our relationship and our world together the same day that we celebrate the birth of our country, the only place capable of setting the stage for the serendipitous events that brought us together. It was the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave that welcomed Robbie’s paternal grandparents, and it was the Land of Opportunity that brought in Robbie’s mother from the Philippines and my parents from India. If this country had not been a beacon of hope and prosperity, then Robbie’s parents might never have met, I might have been born elsewhere, and the events that culminated with Aashi might never have been.

But it would be ignorant to celebrate our nation on its birthday without recognizing those who fought through more turbulent times to make my life, my marriage and my family possible. After all, on July 4, 1776, our country was not perfect. So it is difficult, if not impossible, to appreciate where we we are today without recognizing our Founding Fathers and their system of checks and balances that provided a mechanism for change – change through seminal decisions like Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia and legislation like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the immigration Family Reunification Acts (to name a few) – changes that forever altered our country’s political and social climate for the better. And when I consider Aashi in the context of all of this, she seems to me not just a symbol of our joint families and traditions, but also of the change that drives this country forward.

And so in honor of our Founding Fathers, who in 1791 created the Bill of Rights to protect our individual freedoms and balance the powers of our newly formed autonomous government, I think it’s only appropriate to acknowledge a new Bills of Rights – for all those who represent the changing face of America, and at the same time, symbolize our nation’s numerous triumphs that led us here in the first place.

The Bill of Rights for People of Mixed Heritage
By clinical psychologist, Maria P.P. Root, Ph.D.

I HAVE THE RIGHT . . .
Not to justify my existence in this world.
Not to keep the races separate within me.
Not to justify my ethnic legitimacy.
Not to be responsible for people’s discomfort with my physical or ethnic ambiguity.

I HAVE THE RIGHT . . .
To identify myself differently than strangers expect me to identify.
To identify myself differently than how my parents identify me.
To identify myself differently than my brothers and sisters.
To identify myself differently in different situations.

I HAVE THE RIGHT . . .
To create a vocabulary to communicate about being multiracial or multiethnic.
To change my identity over my lifetime – and more than once.
To have loyalties and identification with more than one group of people.
To freely choose whom I befriend and love.

Happy Fourth of July!

And to my husband and meticulous editor, Happy Anniversary.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. This is beautifully written, you inspired me this morning reading this. It will be one that will be hanging in my office.

    July 5, 2012
    • Thanks, Jamie. Maria P. P. Root also wrote the book, “Filipino Americans: Transformation and Identity,” which I think would offer interesting perspectives as well. I thought you would like this new Bill of Rights 🙂

      July 16, 2012

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