Activist and podcast host Cindy Wang Brandt is a revolutionary voice for parenting and progressive social justice issues. She is host of the Parenting Forward podcast and the Parenting Forward conference. She is a well-known advocate for healthy parenting through her large social media platform, podcast and published work. Brandt is the author of Parenting Forward: How to Raise Children with Justice, Mercy and Kindness and her first children’s book, YOU ARE REVOLUTIONARY will be published by Beaming Books (October 12, 2021).
Cindy is widely published in Huffington Post, Sojourners, SheLoves Magazine, Geez Magazine, Taipei Times, and more. She holds a Bachelors in Business from Wheaton College and Masters of Arts in Theology from Fuller Seminary. Brandt founded and moderates the popular Facebook group (over 20,000 followers) “Raising Children Unfundamentalist,” a space where people share experiences of religious oppression and how best to raise children with healthy spirituality – in whatever philosophy or faith of their choosing. Brandt was born and raised mostly in Taiwan and attended a primary school for missionary children, in order to expose her to a Western education. It was a full immersion in the Evangelical culture of the 1990s and the zealous fundamentalism continued throughout her education, which left a lasting impact on Brandt. She began a life-altering shift that deconstructed her own faith while a missionary in China with her husband and first child. Brandt is a vocal advocate for healthy spirituality, social justice reforms, empathetic and empowered parenting, as well as an activist for marginalized communities. Cindy lives in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, with her husband and son, her daughter recently left to attend Wesleyan College. She currently serves on the board of One Day’s Wages, a grassroots organization to combat global poverty.
Congratulations to you Cindy on the birth of your children's book, You are Revolutionary. Leslie also had the opportunity to speak to Cindy in a recent Instagram Live Community Plática.
welcome our guest blog contributor: Cindy wang brandt
When I told my husband I was writing a children’s book about kids and activism with the message that every kid is a revolutionary, he wasn’t convinced. He pointed out that our own two kids are not revolutionaries. They tend to be introverted and are not particularly outspoken. They didn’t grow up in political families and don’t engage in activism. They are just ordinary kids--they play, eat, and go to school. Although their mother never misses a Pride parade, they have never been much interested in attending any public forms of protest or civic action. Every kid is a revolutionary? Not ours, he said.
Not to be deterred by this message I firmly believe in, I told him I wanted to write this book for families like us. Families who aren’t especially political, who have ordinary kids.
My husband, like many, has some misconceptions about what it means to be political activists, and what someone who are activists might look like.
We often too narrowly define politics, and I believe that’s by design. We think politics, and political engagement is only for politicians, and the most power we have over politics is to vote the right politicians in to do their job. So unless a person, or a family, is actively engaged in the political world as a career, we say things like, “Oh, we are not political.” We end up in this state of helplessness and political disenfranchisement.
What I have learned is that the sentiment of not being political is only ever stated by people whose power and status is protected by the current political system. If the status quo threatens a family’s livelihood, their health, their ability to access basic rights--not being political is not an option.
Politics is about the policies that impact our daily lives so the reality is that we are all political. We are affected by policies and we make choices that either perpetuate the status quo or make changes that impact all families. The food we eat around the dinner table affects the food supply chain, the workers, the climate, and our health. The schools we send our children to are determined by the economy and impact teacher’s salaries, the connections our children have with their peers, and their access to social mobility. What house we live in, what activities our children join, who they play with, all of this is profoundly shaped by the policies of our communities and the reason we don’t think we are political is because we are being disenfranchised into believing we can’t make a difference in the way we live our lives.
We internalize this way of thinking from when we are young. We are told we have to be older and wiser to make a difference. We think only special and extraordinary people can hold office and make big, important decisions. We don’t believe we have a voice unless we are exceptional.
Every kid is a revolutionary, I insist to my husband, because we all are political people--inhabiting spaces that are political, internalizing or pushing against policies that affect us and our communities.
Every kid is a revolutionary because we don’t need to be especially outspoken or have eloquent rhetoric, we don’t have to be fierce and loud, the only requirement to be someone who has a say over our own lives is to be a human being.
“From the moment you were born, you changed the shape of history.” This is how my children’s book begins, because at that first breath, we have value and rights by virtue of being human.
Every kid is a revolutionary because they have the inherent agency to imagine a better world and to participate in the process of changing it.
I managed to convince my husband that yes, even our ordinary kids are revolutionary. I hope you believe yours are too.
There was a señora, we’ll call her Doña Lopez, in the 16-week Reparenting series that I just completed for a long-term community partner. Doña López could WRITE.
In multiple sessions, she would read something she wrote in between our times together. On the final night, which was Tuesday, she asked the group if she could read a four page letter that she had written to her mother, and intended to translate it for her daughter.
She emailed it to me this morning, all four pages and in ink, signed by her. I recorded the audio (without identifiers) and I want to play it for the community with her permission at some point. She mentioned to the group that she had found the letter, but as I heard her read it and as she shed tears (and we all did), I knew they were her words.
They were poetic words, poignant and beautifully painted on the page. I know good writers because I am one (or try hard to be one lol😅)
Randomly, this screen shot from April 2022 came up in my memories on my phone, and it made me think about Doña Lopez, mother of three, immigrant, service worker, healing inner niña, and natural born ESCRITORA.
I felt so proud and honored to be shared her writing. I didn’t even assign a final project! But I did weave in writings throughout that were meant to inspire some kind of creativity.
Access to our artistry is liberatory. We continue to fight systems of oppression so that we can choose art. We deserve access to the parts of our brain that are not survival-ridden. Our comunidad especially is one FULL of brilliant minds. Doña López is just one or them.
Now, go practice resistance by resting in an art practice. Mine is writing and dance.
[English Caption in Comments] Comunidad, una de las formas en que podemos honrar a las víctimas de la violencia armada es luchar por el control de armas para que ninguna otra familia o comunidad tenga que pasar por otra tragedia inimaginable.
Nuestra voz es nuestro poder y no podemos darnos el lujo de permanecer en silencio por más tiempo. La violencia armada continúa siendo la principal causa de muerte en los niños y es hora de que le pongamos fin.
La semana pasada hablé con Patricia Paduy-Oliver, quien perdió a su hijo Joaquín en el tiroteo de Parkland y fue una conversación que no olvidaré. Ninguna madre o familia merece perder a su hijo o ser querido por la violencia armada.
Mientras recordamos a Uvalde hoy, únete a nuestra lucha junto con @mamasconpoder y @changetheref para exigir que el Congreso tome medidas contra la violencia armada de una vez por todas.
1. Firme la petición para que el Congreso sepa que es hora de prohibir los rifles de asalto militar AHORA.
2. Manténgase actualizado con @mamasconpoder enviando un mensaje de texto al 747464
3. Visite www.myfirstschoolshooting.org (http://www.myfirstschoolshooting.org/) para leer Mi primer tiroteo en la escuela por Patricia Oliver y @changetheref y envíelo a sus funcionarios electos.
Cambiemos la realidad en la que vivimos y luchemos para asegurar un futuro en el qu
e nuestras familias y comunidades se sientan seguras contra la violencia armada.
🎨: @tinamariaelena | “Shout out to the mothers who are healing their own childhood trauma.
The mothers who are healing emotionally and spiritually.
The mamas making the effort to break generational curses.
And the mamas who are putting their children’s mental, emotional, and spiritual needs first.
You are Superwoman without the cape, making sure you are raising emotionally intelligent children.
I see you and I honor you.” —Toshia Shaw
P.S. Our Healing the Madre Wound Introductory Workshop: Re-mothering the Latinx/Chicanx Mother is always accepting enrollees! Our workshop will not only support you in healing your Madre Wound, but help you in navigating your relationship with your mom, and setting boundaries when needed so you can thrive in your healing journey.
Remember, when you sign up for ANY of our Escuelita offerings, you get an invitation into our ✨special community✨ with other alumni who have taken the workshop so you can connect & grow with others who are also healing their Madre Wounds.
When children have questions about the world around them, and where adults may stumble to answer them, this book provides just the right amount of simplicity, thoroughness, and thoughtfulness needed to add or begin important conversations with our kids. This is truly an important children’s book that both kids and adults alike will love.” Leslie Priscilla, founder and owner of Latinx Parenting “You Are Revolutionary is beautifully written and is accompanied by such thoughtful and engaging illustrations. This book is such a powerful way of igniting the path to self-empowerment for our youngest leaders and change-makers.” Nina Mata, New York Times best-selling illustrator of I Promise by Lebron James “An uplifting, simply worded picture book about noticing injustice and making change in the world.” — Publishers Weekly.
Lewis, author of You Are So Wonderful “This book is revolutionary. When children have questions about the world around them, and where adults may stumble to answer them, this book provides just the right amount of simplicity, thoroughness, and thoughtfulness needed to add or begin important conversations with our kids. This is truly an important children’s book that both kids and adults alike will love.” –Leslie Priscilla, founder and owner of Latinx Parenting “You Are Revolutionary is beautifully written and is accompanied by such thoughtful and engaging illustrations.