As we settle into the New Year (or get ready to celebrate the Lunar New Year), we at API Equality – Northern California can’t help looking back before we move forward.
For many, 2009 was a year of reflecting, refocusing, and reenergizing.
It was a year of healing, and we are stronger for it.
In 2009, API Equality – NC formed a Steering Committee to inform the strategic priorities of our work with representatives from over ten LGBTQI and API organizations, including API Family Pride, API Legal Outreach, APIQWTC, and GAPA among others, as well as important thinkers and activists in our community like Lia Shigemura & Helen Zia, Stuart Gaffney & John Lewis, Jen-Mei Wu, and Alain Dang, to name a few.
This Steering Committee has helped to reshape the way we at API Equality think and how we approach the problems in the world. From our over 5 years of community building and education experience, we know we must use our time wisely to continue to build support for marriage equality. But, we must also get back to basics to transform those community members and organizations still struggling to understand our issues and our lives. Equally important, we must build a large and diverse coalition. As a result of this reflection, API Equality now sees it work as two mutually reinforcing and necessary objectives:
To reduce and eliminate prejudice and oppression based on gender and/or sexual orientation in the diverse ethnic communities of the API populace; and
To combat and eliminate racial-based and/or xenophobic prejudice and oppression in the LGBTQI community.
What this means in practical terms is that we are now being more intentional about our commitment to intersectional social justice issues; just as many of us span multiple communities and care about multiple issues, so too does API Equality – NC.
As we move forward in 2010, we will continue our core work of community education and visibility by participating in both API and LGBTQI events in the SF Bay Area and have those important 1-on-1 conversations on marriage equality and other important issues. We will continue our message development and media advocacy work so we can identify the best stories and messengers, get them out there, and then hold both the ethnic and mainstream media accountable to fair and equitable reporting practices. Currently, we also have some exciting developments and new collaborations:
Our newly revamped Speaker’s Bureau will focus on helping our current allies become stronger while also introducing newer partners to this work by providing much needed skills and issue trainings.
In partnership with Marriage Equality USA, Colage, Lavender Seniors, Equality California, and others, API Equality is producing a traveling multimedia exhibit which highlights our lives and our stories. The exhibit opens at City Hall on Friday, February 12, 2010.
With the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and the Asian Law Caucus, API Equality will be organizing a series of screenings of the movie, “Papers the Movie: Stories of Undocumented Youth,” with accompanying discussion on the intersections of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the LGBTQI Justice movements.
Whether as a volunteer in the field or in our Speaker’s Bureau, or as a donor or a interested member, we hope you will take the time this year to join us as we take equality into our own hands and move forward together to justice.
Director of API Equality – Northern California