This July, I had the honor of attending the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance’s California Leadership Summit. This summit brought together AAPI activists from Northern, Central and Southern California as well as Hawaii. It was a whirlwind of 14 organizations and 48 activists packed into one intensive weekend. In “Margins and Mainstreams” we unpacked identity and the spectrum of privilege. In “Building Inclusive Organizations” we identified marginalized communities within the LGBTQ API spaces and explored strategies to shift dynamics. And in the course of leadership training, we shared our individual and organizational hxstories with each other.. This summit drew fresh and mature organizations, experienced and eager organizers, even parents of queer children. Hearing the unique struggles and successes of those present was affirming. Each of our hxstories are unique. But they also resonate with each other. Interdependence gives us strength. Collaboration makes it possible. It is affirming to know that we are in this together.
This was (re)emphasized on Saturday as summit participants took action on immigration reform for LGBT immigrants. Collectively, we made over 400 phone calls to urge people to contact the White House and demand comprehensive immigration reform that respected the lives, experiences and struggles of LGBT immigrants. I felt so privileged to be in the presence of such passionate, driven, radical queer AAPI folx for my first action. The collective energy that went into phone banking was phenomenal. It was nerve-wrecking. Inspirational. Frustrating. Empowering.
We are appreciative of all the work put into the NQAPIA summit, and we look forward to continue fostering the connections we made!
Cam Bui is a volunteer for API Equality – Northern California. Read more about her here.