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.
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.
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