A FEW YEARS ago, a friend was working on a documentary on the immigrant story. He asked if he could tell parts of my childhood story of growing up in an inner-city neighborhood in Baltimore.
SOMETHING IN ME broke when I heard about Eric Garner. As I watched the cell phone footage of police officer Eric Pantaleo choking the life out of him, it was like I was watching a summary of America's relationship with Black people.
I GREW UP in a Korean household where the news was always on in the background. It would play in Korean, so I distinctly remember not understanding what was happening.
MY BROTHER DIDN'T REALIZE Mom had died until her funeral. The relatives still say that it was better for him not to experience that final moment when she died of Stage IV pancreatic cancer. Who knows if they were right.
I CAN STILL vividly recall the night I knelt by the side of my bed begging God that I didn't want to be gay anymore. Tears were pouring down my face as I struggled to get my words out past the choking sobs.
I WAS 15 years old when I began a relationship with a man 10 years my senior. He was the youth leader at my church.
I GRADUATED high school with over 30 unexcused absences from classes — each red mark an indictment on a day that I physically couldn't bring myself to get out of bed.