FOCS family in ParentMap magazine: Intergenerational Home Culture

05/08/2014

PicturePhoto courtesy of ParentMap

Here’s a great story of a FOCS family about intergenerational home culture. Lillian, Dennis & Ellington share their home with Lillian’s parents, which enables them to be entrepreneurial with their fantastic businesses, The Urban Buggy Deli & The Brown Sugar Baking Company.Read their story, “There for each other, feeding others.” Interesting stats of the ways that grandparents are proudly helpful in raising children. Really emphasizes the need for many of us without the grandparent support system & intergenerational culture, to build a community network of support and coop care, as FOCS.

New Arrival magazine features FOCS as an important newborn parenting program in Seattle

05/08/2014

PicturePhoto by Amy Pak

FOCS IV newborn mamas are featured here!

FOCS family in Seattle Child’s magazine: Conscious Parenting & Activism

05/08/2014

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Our òhana Chera Amlag & @prometheusbrown aka Geologic of Blue Scholars, sharing the livelihood of conscious parenting to mainstream media. Great job Seattle’s Child for keeping their truth in the article of the local & global work! GO FOCS! The article can be found hereFrom Chera, FOCS IV mama: “To our family, kasamas, aunties, uncles – this is dedicated to all of you for being a part of the village which helps raise our kids, helps them hike mountains, plays with them during late night meetings, encourages date nights, draws cartoon characters of national s/heroes to teach our kids their history, watches our children while we crazily prep to feed 100 people, and dances to Madonna in our living room while 8 months pregnant. We are so honored to be on the cover of Seattle’s Child who did an article about Parenting & Activism. Shout out to the amazing Amy HyunAh Pak founder of FOCS – Families Of Color Seattle for recommending us.”

Happy One Year, FOCS!

05/01/2014

Amy Pak, founder of FOCS, resides in the diverse Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle with her husband, Daniel Pak, lead musician for Kore Ionz. Their sons, 5yr-old full-of-life Jahyoo and 2yr-old sweet Asa, are 3/4 Korean and 1/4 Japanese. Pak writes to the community from Hawaii celebrating the birthdays of Jahyoo and Daniel and now commemorates the first birthday of FOCS! Everything else about Amy and her work in FOCS speaks for itself in her heartfelt letter below. 

PictureJahyoo, Daniel, Amy, and Asa

WHAT THE FOC? We are ONE!
by Amy HyunAh Pak   박현아Congratulations to our FOCS community as we celebrate our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of building a loving community of families of color and connecting new parents in Seattle. Who would have ever known the affinity to gather with other families of color would be so visceral and profoundly shared by so many others. As your friend, founder and sister mother, I want to deeply thank each of you for having the faith in the spirit of FOCS and for entrusting me to guide the process of our gatherings and growing our community during such a precious and sacred time as a new parent. One year out, the candid and genuine affection shared amongst our mothers and children has been something quite remarkable. Let’s applaud our community response to create a space for families of color, by collectively saying “IT’S ABOUT
DAYMN TIME!”Our one year anniversary also brings us to the point of no return! We are in the midst of growing bigger and more communal, to create a non-profit FOCS 501c3 with a FOCS family center and spaces for moms to run their own businesses and classes to have careers based on their own terms. BUILD WITH US.

What a touching and humorous path we have shared the past year lending to each other’s glows and grows. From learning that brown nipples are not the norm, to wearing fashion forward spit-up styles, to comparing notes for elimination communication and cloth diaper washing green mamas, to amusing non-vegetarian vegetarians, to loving fierce little brown girls, enjoying lumpia rolling parties, eating best comida caseira, trading black hair tips, and compelled by our north-end playdates posse, twin-toting wonder women, white guy dads, in-house baby massage & sign language & mandarin singing mama warriors, Blasians, island boy partners, and the spirit of “Redefining Fatherhood” by new dads of color…

This is us. BROWN, BEAUTIFUL, HAPA, HAPPY, WHOLE & COMPLETE. This is FOCS.

Our eldest son, Jahyoo, turned 5yo this week and we are celebrating with four generations of Korean and Japanese òhana in Hawai’i. Understanding the brilliance of discovery and growing spirit of a 5yo is something fascinating. I reflect on my first years in Korea as a 5yo orphan, about to be adopted to America, into a White family, the Molines of small town, Minnesota. My life would forever change. My only truth of my Korean child self that I can speak of says that I was raised in a country marketplace in rural Korea, just outside of Seoul in 1975-1979, cared for by the elders and shop keepers, as my birth father drank himself to death. Buddhist monasteries were known to care for children post Korean War, and thus made up one of my four homes in Korea. A serendipitous change in fate occurred, where my probable life as a Buddhist monk was intercepted by a compassionate and progressive female monk who was concerned for my education being that I, a precocious girl, wasn’t fit for a life of monkhood. I was sent off to the universe and eventually lifted to Minnesota to be raised by my incredible parents, Joel and Carol and my non-biological Korean adopted big brother, David. Their world view & cooperative culture laid ground to what I would later unknowingly define as my value system and sense of home.

It was not always idyllic being one of a handful of children of color in our White Protestant small town of 10,000, Minnesota, yet I thrived in the innocence of freedom. However, not feeling comfortable in my skin or eyes was deafening. Now I understand this as internalized racial oppression. I was able to sustain a resilient and loving spirit and ignite the curiosity of discovery for something beyond what had become my norm in midwest White America. This drive and affinity led to Tacoma for college in 1993 and brought me back to living in Korea and Brasil and traveling around internationally discovering a connective thread of global citizenship and consciousness. Through serving youth and community organizing in South Seattle, I became self-actualized and gratefully acknowledge the path that I have traveled. To understand how this life experience has brought me to my first biological connection, my own 5yo child; to impress onto him the power of loving your self, your family history and culture, to understand your power in the path you forge ahead with a strong community and self-identity. To be free, thus Jahyoo’s Korean namesake.

People ask, how did you start FOCS? I think of the spirit of the Ubuntu saying, FOCS is because you are. A nod to Paulo Coelho of the Alchemist, who writes, “Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life.” FOCS ignited based on one walk with new mommy and acquaintance Stephanie Jones Perguero, who is Korean and Black and was concerned for her Dominican, Korean and Black little baby girl. She wanted to make sure she would have a community of other brown babies like Soleil and desperately wanted to find something beyond what the mainstream mommy groups offered. And to not feel so marginalized. And here we have our springboard: you all have created FOCS to what it is today. Our truth speaks and our truth creates.

We celebrate FOCS, our beautiful growing powerfully talented community of loving and remarkable families. Happy Mother’s Day to us all and we welcome our DAD FOCS to connect deeper and share their truths.

in solidarity and love,

Jahyoo & Asa’s Omma