Reflecting on Our First Spring Leadership Exchange

During the summer of 2015, we piloted a 5-week long series of trainings called the API Queer Justice Leadership Exchange (APIQJLEX). Participants came together for a few hours each week to learn skills, build relationships, and reflect deeply on the queer and trans API community.

A core part of our work is leadership development because a core part of our belief system is that everyone can be a leader, regardless of age or experience. After such a successful summer, we wanted to push ourselves to see how the LEX could take new forms to reach even more audiences. This is how the Spring Intensive of the LEX was born.

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Image Description: Sine stands in front of the room, motioning towards a brown-paper timeline of immigration histories

Our Leadership Development committee spent nearly four months crafting a day-long agenda of interactive activities that worked to build community and highlight lessons learned from previous social justice movement. At the end of April, participants came together for the exchange! Here is what one participant, Avery, had to say about the experience:

“It was intensely fulfilling to come together and be reminded about our roles as leaders within the work we do with APIENC as well as in our respective communities. It was a great idea to open up the leadership trainings to other volunteers, and I hope to attend more days like it! –  Avery Nguyen  

Image Description: A group of 10 participants are huddled in a circle, facing inward, some raising their fist in solidarity.

Image Description: A group of 10 participants are huddled in a circle, facing inward, some raising their fist in solidarity.

During the training, facilitators led exercises on QTAPI movement history, focusing in on specific case studies of leadership and conflict within movement spaces. The day ended with skills trainings, which gave participants the chance to choose which topics they wanted to explore further. Calvin Ho, one of our Spring Interns, received trainings on How to Make a Strong Ask and Conflict Resolution:

“The LEX allowed me to overcome certain issues I came across when it came to becoming an activist. I didn’t know how to approach people, or how to resolve issues with opposing parties. The time I spent at this training allowed me to nurture my social skills while reinforcing the reasons why I am advocating for our community. – Calvin Ho

We are so thankful to all of the folks who came to experience our first Spring LEX! Look out for more training opportunities in the future, as we continue to work to make our leadership trainings more accessible to our community.

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Image Description: A selfie of all the APIQJLEX participants and facilitators