A person holds a green sign that says "embrace empathy" with a red heart underneath.

Reader Profile: Sabine Won

The ARD is only possible because of the commitment of its subscribers and readers like Sabine Won, an activist who uses The ARD to build change in her community and move people around her to action. This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

Q: How did you get involved in organizing? 

During the previous administration, I was marching and protesting with friends, but it just didn’t feel like enough. So after the murder of George Floyd, somebody emailed me and said, “We want to start a local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), are you interested?”

I jumped on it right away. I had, for many years, not just been protesting but trying to educate myself and learn, unlearn, and relearn things I had never been taught in school. I am half Chinese and half German, so I’m biracial. In the last seven years, I learned a lot more about racial justice issues. 

We started SURJ San Mateo with six or seven people as a grassroots organization. The mission is to mobilize and educate white people and those with privilege to support organizations led by people of color. There are already a lot of organizations doing the work, fighting the good fight. SURJ exists to mobilize those of us who want to help support that. 

Q: Why is community involvement important to you? 

At this point in my life, I have been looking for something to do that makes a difference. One of my best friends is Black, and I marched with her to support Black Lives Matter. The next year, she marched with me to protest Asian hate. We didn’t think it was a big deal to march together, but apparently, it was a novelty to the world because NBC wrote an online article about us, and we were contacted by the Tamron Hall Show to do a video about our activism.

I didn’t want to sit around and be angry all the time and anxious. I decided to turn that anxiety into action. I’m doing something and not just sitting by. 

The reading I’m doing to educate myself, I want to pass it on to other people. I work as an educator, so this really resonated with me. Education is a crucial piece in trying to change society. It won’t happen without educating people. What’s important is having a shared history. 

Q: How has The ARD been useful for you? 

We use The ARD as an educational resource because it’s a great tool. It’s got great information. You can just read it and learn something, or click through and go further. The research is so well done: it’s history, it’s current events, it’s how they tie into other things. It’s really, really useful. 

Q: What would you like to tell other ARD readers? 
It’s heartening to know that a lot of people are kind of united through TheARD, and actively spreading empathy through education is what gives me hope for the future. Because sometimes it feels like there’s not a lot of hope. If there’s some way to get all of us networked, to work towards making some real change, that’s the big question for all of us.

814 1120 Andrew Lee

Andrew Lee

Andrew Lee is a writer and organizer plotting a better world in Philadelphia. His work has previously appeared in Notes From Below, Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, Plan A Magazine, ROAR Magazine, and Teen Vogue.

All stories by : Andrew Lee
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