Proud Of My Asian-American Kidney

Rally sign "Protect Asian Women"
A recent rally against the hate-driven murder of Asian-American women in Atlanta.

Hate-driven murders, such as those of six Asian-American women recently in Atlanta, have historically left me feeling outraged but powerless.  Becoming a living kidney donor hasn’t changed the outrage, but it’s changed the powerlessness. York, the kidney formerly known as mine, now belongs to Lee, a Korean-American woman in the Bay Area.

Lee expresses much joy at having a healthy kidney and a full life again. Which makes me joyful, even as I grieve that Asian-Americans have been targets of hate crimes ever since the pandemic started.

It turns out that kidneys have not heard of racial differences. While tissues have to match, that matching happens routinely despite the differences in skin color and facial features that humans have chosen to call race. 

From Dec. 16th, right before the surgery that sent my surplus kidney to Lee. I’m eager for our roles to be reversed: me holding Gloria’s hand prior to her receiving her new kidney.

The paired donation kidney story I am living with Gloria, who is Black, and Lee, who is Asian American, feels to me like a microcosm of the above photo of a recent rally against the Atlanta hate crimes. Women of different colors can stand in solidarity with each other, whether the threats are hate crimes or fatal diseases like kidney failure. 

Legacy has told Gloria she will likely receive her long-awaited new kidney in April or May. Hopefully those words will become reality as Gloria continues the stressful life of being tethered to dialysis.

I’ve made a donation to Asian American Pacific Network of Oregon (APANO) in memory of the women murdered in Atlanta. I did not mention to them that my kidney York is now Asian-American. But I am proud that he is.

8 thoughts on “Proud Of My Asian-American Kidney”

  1. Hi Alison: I so love the way that you find the deeper truth within your actions. It is so much more than “woman gives kidney away”. It is really “white woman feels deep responsibility for years of racism and oppression and manages to triangulate with two sisters of other races and cultures to blend Asian, Black, and White rivers of common humanity into one.” Love you – Marilyn

    1. Susan, it’s especially good to get your feedback on this post since we are cousins, and share some of the same genes! Thanks for your support.

    1. June, thank YOU for leading our Anti-Racism group. Thanks to our meeting last night and your good example, I reached out today to three Asian-American friends to express support. They seemed to appreciate it. Sadly, it hadn’t occurred to me to do this until I heard you tell our group you had done it. This helps to explain why I hold such a high value for groups.

  2. I have been following your journey from the beginning but cheered you on mutely. Well done, Alison. Your self analysis and honest altruism are inspiring.

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