January 2017 Recap

 
January 2017 Recap
 

If January was any indicator of what the rest of 2017 will be like, then we’re in for one very turbulent and demanding year.

Like many people, I was excited and prepared to put my best foot forward when the new year rolled in – only to realize that one of the most influential countries in the world took an enormous step backward.

I was hoping that my first of many monthly recaps would have a more cheerful tone to it. However, in light of recent events and as a child of two incredibly honest and hardworking American citizens who left their home country for a better future, I decided to shift gears for a bit. Still, I'm sure we all want a quick break from the doom and gloom, so here are a few things in January that didn't suck. 

SAN FRANCISCO TRIP

I can’t think of a better way to kick off the year than by spending time with my two best friends in one of the most eccentric and culturally diverse cities in the world.

In San Francisco, I ate amazing Burmese and Moroccan foods, laid eyes on empowering street art, and explored some of the quirks that make the city so whimsical and fun. There’s a lot to love about San Francisco, but one of my favorite things about the city is that it doesn’t seem to have any shortage of creativity and open-mindedness.

LUNAR NEW YEAR WITH THE FAMILY

Although the celebrations here are pale in comparison to the ones in many parts of Asia, Lunar New Year is still easily my favorite holiday. Sure, red envelopes are great and I have yet to recover from three separate food comas, but it’s also the time of the year when I feel the closest to my Vietnamese heritage.

My family and I opted out of the boisterous festivals this year, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. After a night filled with traditional games and food, we visited a Buddhist temple nearby where we paid our respects and prayed for a healthy and happy year.

100% HUMAN BY EVERLANE

 
Everlane Shirt
 

My resolution to spend less money on clothes in 2017 went out the window within two weeks. I regret nothing. My favorite purchase, by far, has to be this shirt from the 100% Human Collection by Everlane. The shirt itself is incredibly comfortable and minimalist, which I absolutely love. However, what drew me in was the fact that for every 100% Human product sold, Everlane is committed to donating $5 to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU is a nonprofit organization that defends the civil rights and liberties promised to everyone in the United States by its Constitution and laws. They were one of the major groups that sprung into action to protect these rights immediately after that discriminating and unlawful executive order.

I'm not ashamed to be an American. Besides, it's neither fair nor right to judge an entire group based on the actions of a select few. On the contrary, I'm actually proud. Amidst the fears and turmoil, people from all backgrounds are coming together to support one another and stand for who and what they believe America should represent.

We've got a long year ahead of us and there’s still a lot to be done. Seeing that it’s also Black History Month in a few days, I’ll leave with this quote:

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
— Martin Luther King Jr.

If you decide to attend protests, please stay safe. 

If you want to donate to causes that are important to you, see ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and other charities.

If you want to speak directly to policymakers, call your member of Congress or attend a public forum.