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.
It's always so interesting and a true gift to see what our kids choose to be for Halloween when given total choice over their costumes. 🤩
May we always encourage our children to freely express every aspect of themselves and not project our own old socially-constructed programming about what they “should” do, like, or be in this world. Let's give them the autonomy to decide and embrace the things they show interest in. 🎃
And also, let's not forget---it's also up to us to guide children in understanding that **CULTURE IS NOT A COSTUME** so that we can, as a family, be careful and conscious about the harms of appropriation.
What costumes did your children choose this year? 👻
Parents & adults—I know it’s Monday but let’s enjoy some Halloween fun! Give yourselves permission to not take yourselves super seriously today, K?! JUEGA! PLAY! Use this opportunity to let your inner child shine and play, too. Your children will appreciate it far beyond Halloween. 🥰
So, what are you dressing up as today? What about your kids⁉️
I often tell my children that they have a right to say, "No," even to me.
Setting boundaries has not only been good for my children but it’s also benefitted my entire family (my own Mami is so much better at advocating for herself now, too.)
With the holidays just around the corner, it's the perfect time to get comfortable setting boundaries for you and your familia.
✨ As challenging as it can be, it will be liberating for us and generations to come. ✨
Check out the full article under Press Features under our bio!
And, if you'd like to learn more about boundaries and how to set them with confidence, check out our A Mi Manera Workshop! Our supportive workshop will give you the tools to approach different situations respectfully and firmly. Plus, you'll learn how to truly be an advocate for your own kids so they can feel confident using their voices as well.
Then---on November 12th, I'll be holding a LIVE Integration Session where we'll dive into the workshop content a little deeper and discuss all the ways you can implement boundaries with your familia y queridos.
Equity pricing IS available---we don't want anyone to miss out on participating! You can see the details on the checkout page of our workshop.
👉🏽 🔗 in BI0 to save your seat!
Years ago, my comadre was expressing frustration her struggle to have a relationship with her own parents after her son had been born.
She & her husband lived in the family house & her parents would frequently cross boundaries: expressing preferences between grandchildren, openly giving her & her partner unsolicited advice about how to raise & discipline their son, frequently gaslighting, & guilt-tripping them when they would attempt to set a boundary, undermining any limits attempted to be set with their son, frequently asserting non-consensual affection, & gossiping about other family members including their other kids. 😓
This created a stressful & harmful environment for her little familia. They were trying their best to be grateful, respectful, & tactful about this, but also recognized that it wasn’t healthy for their son to be in that environment, even if it was family.
As a collective cultura, this story may feel familiar to a lot of us. Everybody’s been up in everybody’s business for generations & we’re now realizing that it doesn’t feel good, and it may not be right for our familias.
No matter what, the well-being of our growing niñes comes before the feelings of loved ones. And grandparents, tíos, tías, primas, etc. *DO NOT* have the right to have access to our niñes, period. As their protectors, we have the option to take access away if it gets to a point where boundaries have been violated.
Pero...HOW do we do this? Well, it’s hard! We need support around it, and LOTS of practice.
If you've been struggling to set boundaries in your familia, then I'm inviting you to enroll in our “A MI MANERA” Workshop. We discuss how to set boundaries firmly & communicate our needs with our families while preserving relationships.
Then, on November 12th, I'll be holding a LIVE Integration session for all participants where we’ll gather and talk about the ways we can apply all this to everyday situations. No te lo piedras! ⏰
👉🏽 🔗 in BI0 to learn more & enroll! #LatinxParenting #EndChanclaCulture #RaisingFutureAncestors #DecolonizeOurFamilias #IJustWantMiGenteToHeal #TheCycleStopsConmigo...