The cover article of this year’s June issue of The Atlantic magazine concerned a woman called Lola. “My Family’s Slave” was written by Alex Tizon, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Filipino-American writer.
Lola had lived with the Tizon family and cared for them since before Alex Tizon was born. She had come with them from the Philippines to the United States. To Tizon and his siblings, it had always seemed like she was part of the family, until it didn’t.
The title of the article was not an attention-getting ploy. It was Tizon’s choice for a story he had struggled to tell.
The essay had been ready for publication since January, but was sidelined repeatedly by Trump administration news. In March, Tizon died suddenly. When the article finally hit the internet and newsstands, Tizon wasn’t there to defend himself. His family took the brunt of the extreme reactions that ensued.
Recently, Filipino-American writer and activist Jose Antonio Vargas interviewed Tizon’s sister, Ling Tizon Quillen, and wife, Melissa Tizon. Their conversation offers personal insight into a complex human trafficking story that may seem hard to believe but must be believed and better understood.
Melissa Tizon, Ling Tizon Quillen and Jose Antonio Vargas spoke at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on September 6. Sonya Harris recorded the discussion.
Listen to the full version below: