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A Google VP's Father's Day Letter to His Asian American Kids: 5 Lessons to Learn When You're Older

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Every year, I make time reflect on the promises, lessons and ideas that I want my two young daughters to learn when they're older.

As an Asian American parent, husband and business leader, I wrote a Father's Day letter encompassing many of those things that I look forward to sharing with my kids one day:

Dear Polaire and Ceboline,

This past year and 2021 (so far) have been incredibly challenging. A global pandemic killed hundreds of thousands, sickened millions and affected the daily lives of billions.

We're also living through historic social unrest, ignited by long-standing racial injustice. The Black Lives Matter movement feels more profound than any I've experienced in my lifetime.

These events have changed how we live, work, learn and relate to one another. So here are some valuable life lessons I hope you'll contemplate on when you're older:

1. Your mother and I will never stop fighting for the fairness that everyone deserves — and you should commit to do the same.

When I was growing up, my family and I didn't have the open dialog about race and human rights that your mother and I do with you today. Nor did we participate in marches. Your grandparents were Chinese immigrants whose aspirations were more centered around survival.

When you're old enough to have kids of your own, I hope you'll look back with deep appreciation for my and your mother's commitment to raising anti-racist daughters.

2. Always look for opportunities to grow as an individual, in both your personal and professional lives.

Beyond family, there are broader cultural forces that will continue to shape your lives and worldviews, and I'm increasingly seeing the positive, amplifying role they can play. Most obvious? Technology and social media.

I hope you'll join these conversations — not merely to participate, but to grow. Seek out diverse perspectives. Find ways to educate yourselves. Recognize the risk of "echo chambers."

3. The conversation will always be just the start.

Starting a conversation makes a huge difference. But taking action is the standard, in part because there are fewer barriers today. It's so much easier to discover and support causes you believe in. Advocacy and donation resources, for example, are a click away.

These recent months have been an especially difficult time for Asian Americans. Long-standing issues of discrimination and racism toward us have come to the forefront.

4. Amplify your voices, share your stories and listen to other people's stories, too.

At an alarming rate, Asian Americans have been physically attacked and verbally abused. (Remember when you asked about why there was a guy yelling at us at the mall? He was blaming us for causing Covid-19.)

While these events have made me sad, they've also motivated me more than ever. I'm starting to understand the power of using my voice and sharing my stories. I've spoken on panels, sat in more listening sessions than I can count and have tried to better educate myself and those around me.

5. You're not just an ally to the communities around you, but also to yourself.

In both of you, I already witness deep ownership of your identity, and an abundant sense of self-worth — much more than I had at your age.

Your support and pride of Asian culture astounds me every day. When I came home to find you both working on this poster (unprompted), I was filled with pride ... and a bit of sadness.

Marvin Chow

Your passion, energy and commitment makes you an ally to all communities around you. But as you grow up and the societal pressure to conform intensifies, never forget that you are your own ally, too.

Don't let your support for others overshadow the progress you want to make for your own community. Teach others, and yourselves, about the richness of your culture and history.

Find ways to proudly stand with — and stand up for — all in the broader Asian American and Pacific Islander community. As with every dimension of your voice, the world will become a better place for hearing it.

Love always,

Dad

Marvin Chow is the VP of Marketing at Google, where he leads marketing for some of the company's largest and most strategic products, including Search, Maps, Chrome, Photos and Messaging. He also oversees global efforts in social media and advises on select stealth products. Marvin and his wife JiYoung live with their daughters, Polaire and Ceboline, in California. Follow him on Twitter @theREALmarvin.

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An earlier version of this article originally appeared on Medium.

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