By Katelyn Skye Bennett | Editor-in-chief
Earlier this month, we welcomed Joanna Chin as a new member on the Intersected Team. We’re pleased to have her as a staff writer for our publication and hope you’ll extend her a warm welcome! She wrote about mestizaje in the fall, shared about the complexity of dating more recently, and kicked off Women’s History Month by tackling period equity.
We already knew Joanna was a beautiful writer and critical thinker, but we wanted to know more. What drove her to be a part of our work, and what makes her unique? Thus, Skye met with her via email for a Q&A.
Skye: Why are you driven to work for racial equity? Was this always the case? If not, when did you consciously join this work?
Joanna: My motivation to work towards racial equity is informed by my Christian faith, which challenges me to both recognize God’s image in those considered “other” in our society and address the structural and individual ways we have fallen short in loving all our neighbors.
My journey in navigating my racial and ethnic identities from a young age really kickstarted this bigger journey of examining the deep wounds of racism in our world and how they provoke so much tension in ourselves and with each other.
I consciously joined this work of engaging racial injustice in college after learning from the stories of my sisters and brothers of color, and my experiences in social work and later as an academic advisor reinforced this resolve.
Skye: What are you most passionate about?
Joanna: That’s a tough one, but I would say I’m more passionate about encouraging others to see the beauty in themselves, in others, and the world around them. I believe that’s the work of reconciliation God cares about, and it frees us to be more fully ourselves and participate in the restoration of a world in desperate need of hope. Sharing that hope with others is so important to me, especially in these difficult and unpredictable times.
Skye: What would you identify as your strengths, and how do these contribute to your vocation?
Joanna: I would say one of my strengths lies in being able to exercise empathy in my writing and interactions with others. Because I believe all of us fall short and have things to unlearn and grow in (including myself!), I ask myself often how I channel grace into how I approach others, and how to hold that grace and accountability at the same time.
That and having a good sense of optimism and humor have helped me in my work with college students and the issues they are navigating.
Skye: When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer? Tell me about the first time you were published!
Joanna: I knew I wanted to be a writer in elementary school when we got to publish our own “books” as a project, and I felt so much delight in being able to create something and share it with other people.
I was always writing anyway: poetry in my notebook margins when I was sleepy in class, monologues about nature when lying outside in my backyard, rewritten lyrics for early 2000s pop hits.
So of course the most natural course was to continue! I could hardly do otherwise with something that activates my mind and spirit and gives me an opportunity to both examine the world around me and play in it.
Skye: What is something fun or quirky about yourself that you want to share with the world?
Joanna: I love creating cosplay for nerdy conventions — or really any time I can make an excuse to wear a costume. In the past two years alone, I’ve been Miss Frizzle, Shakespearean Thor, Captain Kirk, and Nas from Old Town Road.
Skye: Is there anything else you want to share?
Joanna: If there’s anything I’ve learned from this pandemic, it’s that it’s never too late to either reawaken an old love or try something new. I’ve been writing more lately, but I’ve also been baking scones, creating music videos with my cat, learning Bollywood dances, and trying out watercolors again. And it’s not even about being productive or output — it’s feeding my sense of play and finding the things I delight in.