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.
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.