Thanks for visiting me! I am Jora Trang. Even as a little girl, I have always been optimistic about the ability of people to grow, evolve, and move past their struggles to be the best that they can be. Raising a child as a single teen mother with limited family support was not easy for me.
I worked several jobs at a time for years in low paying jobs while working my way through school. Wage theft and sexual harassment was an everyday thing. For years, I lived paycheck to paycheck – sometimes my paycheck was only enough to cover rent, leaving nothing but pennies for food. But somehow, I learned how to stretch a dollar to feed and nurture my growing child.
Along the way, I searched for and found friends that became my tribe, mentors that adopted me and became my family, patience and love to strengthen relationships in my birth family, and communities that became my village. Despite a grueling work and school schedule, I prioritized time with my child above everything else in my life – priding myself in spending every single night of her childhood at home with her. I found ways to engage her intellect, taught her how to get past her shyness and learn how to roar, and instilled values in her that I held dear: social justice, integrity, honesty, loyalty, and empathy.
But it wasn’t easy. I was young. I was broke. I was single. I wanted to party. Together, my daughter and I stumbled and fell often (literally). But we both got up – together. We’ve spent endless hours fighting and being irritated at each other but we’ve also spent endless hours laughing.
I’ve always been a social justice activist at heart. From marching against Maquiladora factories, to teaching kids how to read in juvenile halls, to representing unaccompanied minors in court and women in sexual harassment cases – I’ve fought the good fight.
But there were so many times when I felt like I was doing absolutely nothing. Times when I felt useless because I was too busy raising a child, catching buses to take her to and from school – too busy to be able to attend rallies, or write letters to my Senator, or boycott stores that were the only stores I could afford to shop at. And there were people who made me feel small – like my little bit of activism was insubstantial to the “movement” – that if I wasn’t at the meetings, volunteering the hours, burning the midnight oil in pro bono hours, then I wasn’t really doing anything worthwhile.
But they were wrong.
We are all a part of an ocean and one big wave alone can’t sustain all the ripples you see that leads the water to break onto a shore. Every intentional act that supports a movement is necessary. Every person who contributes important.
Alongside every single person we call our “heroes” – Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Angela Davis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg – are dozens of individuals whose everyday acts are all a part of a greater whole. From the worker who shares their story of being sexually harassed at work to the firefighter that braves flames to rescue people to the first African American man to be elected as President, we all play our part.
My favorite quote is claimed in both Asian and African culture. The essence of the quote is:
If you want to move a mountain, move a stone a day.
In this blog, I’d like to share some ways you can be a hero every single day of your life no matter where you are in your life – at the cusp of despair or at your very best. Sometimes being a hero means performing open heart surgery. Sometimes it means writing courageous poetry. And sometimes, it means taking care of yourself so you can live to fight another day. Let’s talk about all these ways.