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 reformed system of forced labor and exploitation was implemented in Suriname as indentured labor, affecting various communities from China, India, 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 (2013-2019)

Christa Wongsodikromo became politically active at the age of 19, 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 by the Dutch government, including unlawful restraining orders and preventative arrests, which are widely recognized as human rights violations. She has also been the target of threats of extremist violence, including by convicted terrorist Vincent Teunissen.

Since 2019, she has transitioned to pursuing international opportunities, acknowledging the hazardous conditions in the Netherlands. She has managed to reconnect with her family in Indonesia and Suriname, overcoming the separation enforced by Dutch colonialism.

Global Perspectives and Public Speaking

With a multi-continental identity encompassing the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Europe, she has developed a keen global analytical ability. As a Javanese woman, she has personally experienced and critically analyzed the (colonial) dynamics of oppression on an individual scale. Using a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach, Christa strives to center the knowledge and experiences of societies in the Global South, placing them within a global historical context. She shares her insights on Dutch colonial history and postmemory through international speaking engagements and educational efforts, reaching diverse audiences in the USA, Indonesia, Suriname and the Netherlands.

Past and Future Projects (2019 -)

In the Netherlands, Christa has successfully coordinated the launch of several startups and initiatives. She serves as a board member for various organizations and as an advisor to policy makers, programme makers and creative producers, contributing to the enhancement of various productions by providing theoretical depth and bridging the perspectives of the Global North and South. Her significant contributions also extend to the redesign of the University of Michigan’s Dutch and Flemish studies program.

Currently, Christa conducts field research to produce knowledge that aids in the decolonization process of formerly colonized countries, which she uses in her community organizing efforts and in writing her upcoming book. Her commitment to community building is evident in her active involvement where she focuses on emancipation, identity development, and fostering connections within the Javanese-Surinamese and Indonesian communities in the Netherlands and Suriname. 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.