Christa Wongsodikromo is a fourth-generation Javanese-Surinamese diaspora residing in the Netherlands and the first generation that did not live under colonialism. Her family history is deeply rooted in the legacy of colonialism and exploitation. Following the abolition of Transatlantic slavery, her great-grandparents were kidnapped and trafficked from Indonesia to Suriname. At that time, Indonesia was exploited under the Dutch apartheid regime, while Suriname remained a Dutch slave colony. After the abolition of the Transatlantic slave trade, a new system of forced labor and exploitation was implemented in Suriname as indentured labor, affecting various communities from India, China, and Indonesia. Once in Suriname, many members of her family were “re-educated” in boarding schools, where their culture was forcibly and violently suppressed to impose a westernized culture.

Political Activism and Grassroots Initiatives

Since 2013, at the age of 19, Christa Wongsodikromo became politically active, organizing multiple anti-racist grassroots collectives in the Netherlands. Her activism originated within the anti-blackface movement, aiming to challenge colonial glorification and mobilize protests against colonial symbols of oppression, including the Golden Coach, Efteling Theme Park, colonial statues and streetnames and National Remembrance Day. Through legal actions against blackface, she has effectively elevated discussions on Dutch colonial oppression, bringing it to the forefront of the Dutch national agenda on multiple occasions.

However, her activism and initiatives have frequently put her in harm’s way. She has been the victim of state repression, like preventative arrests and unlawful restraining orders. She has been the target of threats of violence, including by convicted terrorist Vincent Teunissen.

Global Perspective and Initiatives

With a multi-continental identity encompassing the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Europe, she has developed a keen global analytical ability. As a woman of color, she has personally experienced and critically analyzed the dynamics of oppression on an individual scale. She shares her insights on Dutch colonial history and postmemory through international speaking engagements and educational efforts, reaching diverse audiences.

She has successfully coordinated the launch of several startups, initiatives, and the political youth organization Radicaal. Additionally, Christa serves as the secretary of the Indonesian Reparation Committee (Yayasan Komite Utang Kehormatan Belanda) and is an active board member of the foundation Javanese in Diaspora the Netherlands (Javanen in Diaspora Nederland). Her significant contributions also extend to the redesign of the University of Michigan’s Dutch and Flemish studies program. Dedicated to community building, Christa actively engages in fostering connections, empowerment, and identity restoration within both the Javanese-Surinamese community and the Indonesian community in the Netherlands.

Furthermore, Christa Wongsodikromo collaborates closely with LUSU, where she serves as a dramaturge. In this capacity, she provides artistic advice rooted in her theoretical expertise on decolonial subjects, enhancing the creative direction of their productions.

Research and Future Projects

Currently she is researching her book on the Dutch residential school system in Suriname as it is part of the cultural genocide committed in colonial boarding schools world-wide. Her research delves into the intergenerational trauma stemming from these institutions and their long-lasting effects on identity. Additionally, she actively shares her expertise through guest lectures on the colonial history of Suriname and Indonesia, intergenerational trauma, and identity. Inspired by the visionary leadership of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, Christa is determined to contribute to his legacy of fostering unity and harmony on both collective and global scales.