BENEFITING: Human Rights Watch
EVENT DATE: Nov 14, 2014
Friendship! Passion! Freedom! Courage!
Childhood Buddies Cycling Around Taiwan ~
It's Our Epic Ride!!!
Dear Family and Friends,
Some of you may have seen or heard of my cycling trainings in recent months. You may have wondered why that woman who so loved to dance, hike and yoga, suddenly began cycling and taken on such long distance challenges, like riding from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara?! Well, even I couldn't believe it!
Thanks to FB, I reconnected with a group of friends from my elementary school in Taiwan, (yes, I was 'Made in Taiwan!') Magic ensued - how quickly we bonded, as new-old pals! Having reconnected after being absent from each others' lives over the past 3+ decades, we saw our individual and collective lives reflected back at us, as if from many 'lifetimes' ago. Our many youthful innocences and middle-aged selves reincarnated and reconfigured! Together and separately, we discovered that we've come a long way in this journey, called life!
This year, we're marching toward our half-centennial birthday... Wait, what?? Holy macaroni! Holy cow! We are celebrating our birthdays by taking on the challenge of a 9-day cycling trip around the island of Taiwan (11/14-11/22). Not only will this be a challenge that we hope will strengthen us, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but also, to celebrate our friendship and rediscover the beauty, foods and people of our birthplace. Indeed, it's an audacious Epic Ride for a novice!
But as my friend, Eric, the instigator and organizer of this event has paraphrased (source unknown):
"To attempt at something without knowing its challenges, it's foolish; Knowing the challenges and still attempting it, it's courageous. In order to realize and live our dreams, it takes both foolishness and courage. Now, let's do something that will make us smile when we reflect upon it when we are in our 80's."
Throughout the past months, I've been broken down, brought back up and reinvigorated by the fact that I'm still capable of dreaming big, and reaching audaciously for my dreams. However, I couldn't have attempted anything like this without a group of friends who so selflessly labored all the logistics to make this event happen, as well as those who generously accompanied me to train and overcome all of my self-doubts and obstacles.
Through it all, I am reminded again, the beauty of our collective effort, and of the human spirit; how fortunate I am to pursue my dreams freely!! But at the same time, knowing that countless others, near and in far corners of the world, aren't so fortunate. The worst kind of atrocities and human rights violations and abuses, religious and political repressions abound in our complex and troubled world.
As a supporter of Human Rights Watch over the past 7 years, I've been inspired time and again, by the extraordinary braveries of those who risked their lives daily, in order to give voice to those who need it most.
This year, because of this ride, I am unable to attend the biggest Annul Fundraising event for HRW. It seems only fitting that I initiate my campaign, to continue my support and give thanks to the organization that has taught me so much about the human spirit. Whether it was listening to a researcher at the 10th anniversary of Rwanda genocide, who spoke about how they counted bodies, or running into the honoree of the highest Annual Awards in the ladies' room at the HRW Annual Dinner celebration, whose work promoted the rights of women farmworkers in the US, or the young volunteer at the HRW, LA office, who was homeless but defied all odds to continue working towards her college degrees, each personal story is a testimony to the triumph over individual challenges, as well as our aspirations to reach for the collective common good.
So please join me. No financial contribution is too big or too small! There's no shame in giving $500 or $5 to a cause that connects us to something bigger than ourselves, like giving voice to the oppressed and holding the worst oppressors accountable for their crimes!