We Have Not Stopped Trembling Yet
Letters to My Filipino-Athabascan Family
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A father’s personal and intimate account of his Filipino and Alaska Native family’s experiences, and his search for how to help his children overcome the effects of historical and contemporary oppression.
In a series of letters to his mixed-race Koyukon Athabascan family, E. J. R. David shares his struggles, insecurities, and anxieties as a Filipino American immigrant man, husband, and father living in the lands dominated by his family's colonizer. The result is We Have Not Stopped Trembling Yet, a deeply personal and heartfelt exploration of the intersections and widespread social, psychological, and health implications of colonialism, immigration, racism, sexism, intergenerational trauma, and internalized oppression. Weaving together his lived realities, his family's experiences, and empirical data, David reflects on a difficult journey, touching upon the importance of developing critical and painful consciousness, as well as the need for connectedness, strength, freedom, and love, in our personal and collective efforts to heal from the injuries of historical and contemporary oppression. The persecution of two marginalized communities is brought to the forefront in this book. Their histories underscore and reveal how historical and contemporary oppression has very real and tangible impacts on Peoples across time and generations.
E. J. R. David is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is the author of Brown Skin, White Minds: Filipino -/ American Postcolonial Psychology, editor of Internalized Oppression: The Psychology of Marginalized Groups, and coauthor (with Annie O. Derthick) of The Psychology of Oppression.
"And when you do read We Have Not Stopped Trembling Yet, I hope you'll recognize it for the milestone that it is. With the exception of the work of Leny Strobel, I know of few other non-fiction books on historical trauma written from a Filipino-American perspective. It is an important guide for how to talk about historical trauma from colonization, how to process it, and how to face up to it as part of ending the intergenerational transmission of historical oppression." — Jen Soriano, Slag Glass City
"…the perfect synthesis of scholarship and personal revelation that neatly tackles the questions of historical and modern oppression, their roots, and their long-term effects." — Midwest Book Review
"This is an intensely personal book and one that will provoke intensely personal responses from its readers … in the closing pages of this emotionally wrenching work by a husband and father who knows his family will always face hurdles in America owing solely to their mixed ethnicity, he somehow still finds reason for hope." — Anchorage Daily News
"What you're reading is a groundbreaking book: part personal memoir, part rigorous scholarship, part passionate manifesto, altogether original. We Have Not Stopped Trembling Yet is an essential work in these unprecedented times. E. J. R. David is among the leading Filipino thinkers we have today, and this book more than lives up to that distinction. Read it, share it, talk about it." — Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and founder and CEO of Define American
"David, through his deeply personal words to his family and community, masterfully calls our attention to the systemic injustices that perpetuate themselves under the false promises of the American Dream; offered only to some, invisibly blocked to others. We, the witnesses and fellow victims to this truth cannot look away—we must not. Maraming salamat, E. J., for your vulnerability and courage. May it serve to grow the awareness necessary to shift the trajectory of our future ancestors' experiences." — Jorie Ayyu Paoli, Vice President and Indigenous Operations Director, First Alaskans Institute
"David is gifted with the wisdom and philosophical acumen of an Elder. I emerged from the deep, dark truths about the aftermath of colonialism emanating from David's heart with an amplified sense of urgency to instill hope, resilience, and belief in current and coming generations that this world can and will be 'a better place.'" — Pausauraq Jana Harcharek, Director of Iñupiaq Education, North Slope Borough School District
"David has written a spiritual, self-examination, and cultural critique of his American and his Filipino family. It reminds me of the duality of Black consciousness elegantly depicted by W. E. B. Dubois. In the final summation, he exhorts his native family to love and believe in themselves, to shed the idea that they are special because of their Americanness, and to reclaim their kapwa—their humanity. He also challenges White America to find theirs. David has rendered a powerful and valuable meditation, guided by self-reflection and familial love, and grounded in intellectual discernment and a generosity of spirit. An inspiring and informative read." — James M. Jones, author of Prejudice and Racism, Second Edition
"This book is a heartbreaking and heart-validating masterpiece about a Filipino American immigrant man who worries about the future of his children in what was once deemed a 'post-racial' America. In his letters to his family, he tackles a spectrum of issues affecting people of color—from unlawful police deaths to historical trauma to immigration reform. His intersectional lens in understanding how his own multiracial kids may be forced to overcome obstacles like colonial mentality, toxic masculinity, institutional sexism, and stereotype threat is one that is rare, raw, and refreshing for an academic. He brilliantly uses personal stories, historical facts, and contemporary media accounts, while tying in scientific psychological and epidemiological research, to demonstrate how racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, and other forms of oppression are slowly killing us. In sharing the grief, anger, and trauma of losing his childhood friend to unjust police violence, his voice becomes one that represents the weight that 'woke' Black and Brown Americans carry with us daily, as we continue to survive, thrive, and tremble in this society." — Kevin L. Nadal, author of Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice
"David takes often theoretical constructs such as 'internal oppression,' 'white privilege,' 'historical trauma,' and provides visceral, emotional contexts through examination of his own personal life and the lives of his loved ones, both ancestral and current. He delivers those contexts through well-crafted letters to his wife, sons, and daughter explaining the complexities of their realities in an approachable, easy-to-understand manner. One of David's most striking analyses is bridging the perceived gulf between Native Americans and his status as a Filipino who immigrated to Native American lands. This is an important work that ties together histories, generations, and peoples and provides the reader with a solid grounding to challenge the dominant narrative." — Bonnie Duran, Indigenous Wellness Research Institute, University of Washington
"History is about stories of conquests through the ages. Historians often write those stories with a dispassionate view of colonization and oppression. E. J. R. David's book gives a personal narrative on topics of oppression and racism to his family. It's also a gift to others whose voices have been muted. 'Letters' to his family is a time capsule worth reexamining." — Jim "Aqpayuq" W. LaBelle