This summer, API Equality – Northern California partnered with ASPIRE and the Chinese Progressive Association to pilot our very first API Queer Justice Leadership Exchange (APIQJLEX). Over the course of five weeks, the APIQJLEX brought together leaders, summer interns, and fellows from each of our three partnering organizations for a series of workshops grounded in the stories of queer and trans API community organizers and activists. Each of the workshops focused on a community organizing skill such as 1-on-1 relational meetings, conflict resolution, and radical welcome. These trainings took lessons from our Dragon Fruit Project, and put those lessons in conversation with issues of queer liberation, economic justice, workers rights, and immigrant rights.
Here’s a bit from our participants themselves:
Justin Kong, Seeding Change Fellow, Chinese Progressive Association
“Being able to explore my own understanding and practice of gender, sexuality, and queerness was what I took away most from the APIQJLEX. While it was challenging to be around so many interesting, motivated, and political folx, with only a limited amount of time to build and develop with them outside the program, this is also why I think that the 1-on-1 training was so great. In the future, I hope to continue doing more 1-on-1’s, and I hope to continue to discuss the experiences of undocumented folx and what allyship on that front can look like.”
Lily Pham, Summer Intern, API Equality – Northern California
“The queer leadership exchange helped me further develop and understand different methods of leadership and how to implement them in my life. I was able to bring back new ideas and ways to be more inclusive of people with multiple identities to my on campus organization which I am currently serving as an executive board member. It helped me challenge myself by forcing me out of my comfort zone in order to be a better and more inclusive leader. I’d say that my biggest takeaway from this program was the way it got me to reexamine my day-to-day experiences through the lenses of those who live their lives with different forms of marginalization that I had not been conscious enough of before.”
We are grateful to all our community partners and to the participants who helped us shape our first-ever APIQJLEX with their thoughtful reflections, feedback, and input. Be on the lookout for future iterations of the Leadership Exchange!