Tag Archives: Swirl

Multiracial Families: Counted But Still Misunderstood

By Guest Contributor Jen Chau, cross-posted from The Time Is Always Right …

In the past couple of years, I have noticed a certain complacency that I never noticed before, in my eleven years of leading Swirl. The same passion and the same excitement around building multiracial communities had faded a bit. In the one year leading up to the Presidential election, we launched five new chapters (the norm had been a chapter every year or every other year). People were excited by the energy created by Obama’s campaign, and they were motivated and eager to be a part of creating supportive and inclusive multiracial communities.

And then once Obama was firmly placed in the White House, something happened. It got quiet.

My theory was that it was all related to the claims that we were now in some sort of post-racial wonderland. I think it very much had to do with the fact that Obama is of multiracial heritage. This fact resulted in a sort of sitting back. A sentiment that sounded like, “we’re good now.” The idea that Obama understood so many of us, and that he cared about diversity was something that gave people a reason to relax. Take a breath. Stop pushing so hard. I understood this and even felt a bit of it myself. The other reality is that in an individual’s development, one may feel a strong desire to connect to community at one point and not at another. Swirl has always understood and been supportive of this.

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Back to the beginning

by Jen Chau, originally published at The Time is Always Right

Swirl Ice Cream Meet Up

A friend recently asked me about the beginning of Swirl.

I told her how I started it. And why. She interrupted to clarify – she wanted to know how I felt. What specifically I was experiencing when I came up with the idea, when I took the first steps to incorporate, when it all came to fruition. I had to think about this – after all, it was nearly eleven years ago.
And there wasn’t one feeling, but a pretty good mix of many emotions from the time the idea started to form in my mind, through the very first year of Swirl’s existence.

Hopeful – as I sat down at one of the big wooden tables in the Center for Work and Service on Wellesley College’s campus in April of 1999. The whole world ahead of me as I looked for my first job after college. I knew I wanted to work at an organization that served multiracial people and families.

Confused and disheartened
– about ten minutes into my research at the Center for Work and Service as I realized there were no mixed race organizations in New York City to which I could apply and beg for a job. Continue reading