This past year was a whirlwind. From rampant hate crimes, to attacks on valuable public programs, to a national rhetoric crafted to make our people feel afraid—it seems that those who refuse to see our humanity have become even more bold in their hate. Interpersonal violence has pushed people into further isolation, and the election results have illuminated cracks in our current movements and strategies. This past year, many people were left asking, “what’s next?”
Yet, even with these difficult moments, we have also learned from the brilliance of our communities and the many transformative movements across the country. Nationally, we saw how the Movement for Black Lives continues to shift the national perspective on race. We learned from indigenous communities at Standing Rock, who asserted that Water is Life and who reminded us of our connection to spirit and the land. We celebrated the work done by Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities in dismantling NSEERS, a Muslim registry program.
Within our own organization, we’ve seen how powerful it is when we are able to create and share beautiful art, when we can reflect on the wisdom from our youth and elders and make those histories publicly accessible, and when we’ve come together after moments of pain and loss and share the resources that we need. You can check out some of our top highlights in this new 2016 review graphic.
[Image Description: Small preview of the 2016 APIENC graphic, filled with photos and updates from our programs]
While 2017 is filled with many uncertainties, we know that we are strong enough to dig deep, build strategy, and hold our communities closer than ever. Now is not the time to be fearful and alone. Resistance is in our bones. In this coming year, here are some of the things we’re looking forward to:
- Expanding our Trans Justice Initiative to provide healing, reflection, and resource spaces for trans, gender nonconforming, and queer API people, as well as trainings on crisis response, peer advocacy, and direct action
- Implementing two versions of our API Queer Justice Leadership Exchange—one for local Bay Area organizers, and another for high school-aged youth across the country to prepare to organize against impending attacks on LGBTQ API communities
- Launching a Bay Area-based digital walking tour of LGBTQ API history that explores personal experiences, movement moments, and shifts in political and collective history
- Holding a multimedia showcase of QTAPI narratives, collected through the Resilience Archives, that empowers personal storytelling and documents community change at a time in which many of us are being silenced and erased
- Training people and organizations in the Bay Area and nationally using our new Trans Justice API curriculum, which explores personal and historical experiences of trans, GNC, and third-gender identities in our API communities, in order to build better, more intersectional movements for justice
APIENC needs your support in manifesting our dream worlds, protecting our futures, and empowering our communities. In 2017, with the wisdom and passion of our people, we will continue this fight. Build community and resistance with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. Help us start the year with power and abundance by becoming a sustaining donor.
With love and in community,
Sammie Ablaza Wills