Erin Kang

Country of Origin:

Canada

Themes:

Asian Heritage, Racism/Discrimination, Human Rights & Social Justice, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity

Photos:

    Browse while you listen: images with relate to audio


Bio

Erin is a passionate writer, storyteller, event producer, artist, entrepreneur, and city-builder with Korean heritage, born in Canada. At the University of Toronto she studied Urban Studies, History, and Human Geography and began to stoke the fires of an anger burning deep inside her. An anger that anyone would be given priority to occupy space over anyone else. Her work, professional and personal, centres around her belief that everyone deserves a voice.

Erin is a firm believer in the power of storytelling to achieve social change and currently works at the Centre for Social Innovation.

Read more about Erin: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/erin-kang/b6/831/657

Read about Erin's storytelling project: storiesofours.org/about

Story

Korean was my first language, but I grew up completely immersed by the dominant culture around me in the small town of Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. For several years I actively suppressed major parts of my identity and prided myself in my Whiteness, while simultaneously celebrating other parts of my Korean heritage. I called myself a Banana, but indulged in red bean cakes. I laughed when men diagnosed themselves with Yellow Fever, but felt enraged at how Canada treats our Native peoples. It was, and continues to be, a confusing road to navigate (read about some musings: storiesofours.org/blog).

In my early childhood, the relationship between my parents began to crumble. A series of events brought me, my mom, and sister to Toronto where I continued to wrestle with questions around my identity, and now also questions around my family. Later I would estrange myself from my dad, bringing a whole new barrage of questions. Identity and the idea of self-worth began to entangle even more. At a young age, I took on responsibilities and pressures that would normally come much later. These pressures added to the pressure any child of an immigrant will feel - to validate the hardships their parents went through to raise us here, in Canada.

It is only in the recent couple years I have begun to sit in all this confusion. Slowly, I've realized it is not my job to untangle this confusion, but rather to be at peace with it. To practice compassion to ourselves before we can to others. To take ownership over my voice, and empower others with theirs.