Defend DACA Now, Protect all Immigrants Forever

We are devastated, horrified and angry that the Trump administration has decided to continue attacking immigrants, people of color, and queer and trans people by terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA has allowed more than 800,000 undocumented young people to access healthcare, work, travel, and live in this country. In this unending torrent of attacks on our people, the decision to end DACA escalates the crisis our communities have been experiencing.

Our communities, led by undocumented young people, fought for and won DACA five years ago. We fought for and won protection for thousands of undocumented people; fought for and won a sense of relief for so many of our family members. To “rescind” this program is to put at risk the dreams and livelihoods of our people.

At APIENC, we are committed to defending DACA. With this, we also know that DACA was not and cannot be the end of our fight. ALL undocumented people, regardless of age or educational attainment, should be protected from the risk of detention and deportation. It is not enough to put forth the narrative of a “good immigrant” while people have already been violently torn from their families, homes, and communities.

If you are in the Bay Area, we hope to see you at 5pm at the SF Federal Building to rally in support of DACA. If you cannot attend, but are looking for ways to support, please give resources to our family at ASPIRE. If you are TGNC and undocumented, the TIDE program by Transgender Law Center has pro-bono lawyers available for support.

[image description: white text reads "PROTECT DACA PROTECT IMMIGRANTS BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY" over red, orange, and pink flowers and an orange background] art by The Unapologetically Brown Series

[image description: white text reads “PROTECT DACA PROTECT IMMIGRANTS BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY” over red, orange, and pink flowers and an orange background]art by The Unapologetically Brown Series

#HeretoStay #DefendDACA #ProtectionforAll

Contribute to the THIRD Dragon Fruit Project Zine!

[Image Description: A flyer advertising the DFP Zine. The background is white, with accents of a Dragon Fruit pattern on the corners.]

[Image Description: A flyer advertising the DFP Zine. The background is white, with accents of a Dragon Fruit pattern on the corners.]

Do you fancy art? Are you an artist? We need your help to make our 3rd Dragon Fruit Project Zine happen!

Hello APIENC Community! My name is Ralph and I am an APIENC summer intern. I will be helping with the Dragon Fruit Project, ensuring that the hxstories of our community are accessible. One way I’m doing that is by coming up with media strategies, such as this zine, to amplify the hxstories of the people in the Dragon Fruit Project.

But what is a zine? A zine (short for magazine or fanzine), is a self published work that centers around freedom of self expression and that serves to visibilize issues outside the mainstream. We believe it is befitting to create a zine for the Dragon Fruit Project (DFP), an intergenerational oral history project that explores queer and transgender Asian and Pacific Islanders, so that we can visibilize our historical, present day, and future acts of love, activism, and revolution.  

Through reading interviews, I learned that resistance manifests in many ways, and, at different moments of our lives. These interviews provide a window to the breadth of what resistance can look like. The Dragon Fruit Project showed me that embracing my existence, in a society in which a certain kind of person is allowed to thrive, is a radical act of resistance. These interviews allow me to access my inner self, open myself up to vulnerability, and lean on the support of the collective past to move through my present uncertainty. I live by my truths knowing that others before me have lived by theirs and have overcome and carried on. The Dragon Fruit Project empowers me to resist in a myriad of forms –from simple daily acts of resistance to more revolutionary forms.

This edition’s theme, Daily Acts of Resistance, explores different forms of resistance, and also what resistance can do to empower, heal, and unite people. It serves to remind us that resistance can be practiced daily, as part of a broader picture of activism. The personal is political and for as long as there have been queer and trans Asians and Pacific Islanders, there has also been resistance.

Here is a healing. Here is love. Here is resistance. Help me explore what it means to resist through the Dragon Fruit Project. I encourage you to show us your form of resistance by contributing to the third Dragon Fruit Project Zine. I invite you to collectively reflect on these interviews and how you are learning to resist on your hxstory to inspire others in their process of writing their own.

Submission Guidelines

  • Deadline for submissions is July 30, 2017
  • This will be a half page zine (8.5in x 5.5in). Submissions should be 1-2 pages.
  • We are looking for a mix of visual art (drawings, paintings, illustrations) and text (short poems, stories, and rants).
  • Text based submission should be in Word or Rich Text format and online art submissions should be 300-600 dpi or.pdf files.
  • Submit via e-mail at ralph@apiequalitync.org with subject line: DFP Zine 2017 Submission, or mail to 17 Walter U. Lum Place, San Francisco, CA 94108
  • To see our first DFP Zine, click here http://issuu.com/apienc/docs/dragon_fruit_project_zine and to go to see our Dragon Fruit Project click here http://www.dragonfruitproject.org/
  • If you have any questions, contact us at ralph@apiequalitync.org

Join Asian and Pacific Islanders for Trans March 2017!

Join APIENC (API Equality – Northern California) for this year’s Trans March to show our power as Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Asian and Pacific Islander people!

Image Description: A large group of LGBTQ API people and allies pose with banners, flags, and signs at the 2016 Trans March. They have raised fists, and are looking fiercely at the camera.

Image Description: A large group of LGBTQ API people and allies pose with banners, flags, and signs at the 2016 Trans March. They have raised fists, and are looking fiercely at the camera.

Last summer, our contingent of Asian Pacific Islander trans, GNC people, and cis allies was over 100 people full! This year, with the leadership of TGNC API community members, we are turning out once again to claim space and build power for transgender and gender non-conforming people of color.

In preparation for the march, we’re also partnering with Gabriela SF and Vietunity to host a community discussion and art build! More information about this event will come shortly.

TRANS MARCH DETAILS

Date: Friday, June 23rd
Time: 2 pm – 7 pm
Place: Start at Dolores Park, march to Taylor and Turk Street
RSVP: Sign up HERE for more information!
Access Info: Length of march – walking from Dolores Park to Taylor and Turk Streets (specific route and access information coming soon)

COMMUNITY DISCUSSION AND ART BUILD

Date, time, and place TBD!

Apply to POP: People Over Pride Training Camp!

NQAPIA-Flier-print-3

[Image Description: Flyer for POP! People Over Pride Training Camp. Logos of APIENC and NQAPIA are present in a black box, over images of APIENC at Trans March. Flyer by Cynthia Fong.]

POP: People Over Pride is a national training camp for LGBTQ API youth. A partnership between APIENC and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), POP is an opportunity for young LGBTQ API leaders and activists from around the country. Our goal is to create space for LGBTQ API youth activists to build relationships, deepen their politicization through learning about history, become trained in values-based hard organizing skills, and directly apply their training in support of initiatives that serve to further immigrant rights, racial justice, and LGBTQ API organizing efforts at the camp and beyond!

Goals

  • Create a sense of community for LGBTQ API youth from around the nation
  • Explore our personal stories, our community histories, and the current experiences of LGBTQ API people
  • Ground ourselves in queer liberation and values of social justice
  • Deepen community organizing skills, including building 1-1 relationships and practicing direct action
  • Build relationships with LGBTQ API activists and organizers of many ages, to create an intergenerational movement

Logistics

  • Location: San Francisco/Bay Area, California
  • Dates: Thursday, July 20 to Sunday, July 23, 2017
  • Travel for participants outside of the Bay Area will be covered
  • Meals included
  • Open to ages 14-20

Applying to the Camp

APIENC and NQAPIA are hoping to ensure that there is diverse representation from around the country. If you are interested in applying for POP, please fill out this RSVP form by May 26th, 11:59PM PST. Participants will be notified in two weeks.

Any other questions? Please email Sammie at sammie@apiequalitync.org.

2017 Summer Internship Application Now Open!

Do you want to work with LGBTQ API communities? Do you have a commitment to social justice? Do you want to learn concrete community organizing skills and work to build movements for change?

The application for API Equality – Northern California’s Summer Internship 2017 is now open!

[Image Description: A graphic large yellow circle with white text that reads "Summer Internship." In the background is a group photo of APIENC members at a training."

[Image Description: A graphic large yellow circle with white text that reads “Summer Internship.” In the background is a group photo of APIENC members at a training.”

Applications are due March 3rd, 2017!

ABOUT OUR SUMMER INTERNSHIP Every year, APIENC (API Equality – Northern California) embarks on an intensive summer internship program to develop the next generation of LGBTQ API social justice and cultural change leaders. At APIENC, we know that LGBTQ API people have the target of interpersonal abuse, state violence, and systemic oppression both historically, and in this current political climate. Leadership development for our own queer, trans, and gender nonconforming API people is critical in building the skills and community needed to address our material conditions and in supporting larger movements for change.

APIENC Interns receive in-depth trainings on a variety of topics, and employ dynamic approaches for intersectional and multi-issue based organizing. Summer 2017 marks our 8th cohort of summer interns, and each intern contributes to the LGBTQ API community by impacting the organization’s history and current projects.

Throughout the summer, interns will build meaningful relationships with partner organizations focused on a wide array of issues and committed to queer & trans API justice. Interns will be expected to participate in our API Queer Justice Leadership Exchange, a venue for API leaders to learn organizing skills, exchange ideas, and build community. During the course of the internship, interns will also also have the opportunity to take leadership in our different projects, including the Trans Justice Initiative and the Dragon Fruit Project. Overall, interns get to bring their full selves each day, work hard, laugh a lot, and have a blast.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Work with APIENC staff to develop and implement strategies for empowering and mobilizing the LGBTQ API community
  • Spend a minimum of 15 hours in the APIENC office each week (located in SF Chinatown)
  • Meet once a week with APIENC staff and the rest of the intern cohort to reflect, debrief, and give and receive feedback
  • Recruit, support, and train volunteers
  • Develop and implement a fundraising campaign
  • Plan and execute trainings and events
  • Represent APIENC at external meetings and events
  • Attend a national gathering for LGBTQ API communities in July or August
  • Participate in a Leadership Exchange with other API leaders committed to queer justice
  • Build relationships with other LGBTQ people of color, API, and intersectional organizations working towards progressive social change

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Displays a strong commitment to the diverse communities APIENC works with
  • Shows a fundamental understanding of the power of community organizing and LGBTQ API leadership
  • Exhibits desire to build intentional relationships, reflect on personal experience, and grow
  • Can build a team and work collaboratively
  • Demonstrates proactive leadership, can work independently, and takes initiative
  • Possesses strong interpersonal and relationship-building skills
  • Employs a critical lens and solution-based thinking when addressing issues

APPLICATION PROCESS

  • Applications are due by March 3rd, 2017
  • Interviews will be conducted by March 6-17th
  • Selected interns will be notified in late March
  • Internship run for about 8 weeks from June – August (exact dates TBD)
  • A small stipend is available, but interns are responsible for their own housing and commute costs.

APPLY TODAY!

Calvin Ho

Image Description: Calvin, wearing a grey beanie and grey jacket, smiles while sitting on a blue exercise ball.

Image Description: Calvin, wearing a grey beanie and grey jacket, smiles while sitting on a blue exercise ball.

CALVIN HO, one of the most energetic and active volunteers at APIENC, identifies as a gay Asian-American of Cambodian, Thai, and Chinese ancestry, though his ethnic identity is complex. Calvin currently studies psychology at San Francisco State University. With APIENC, he has been an intern and a trainer, and has spent much of his time as a volunteer on the Dragon Fruit Project.

Belonging in and serving the queer API community has been important to Calvin since early in his childhood. Being raised in a traditional family environment and attending a very religious school with an atmosphere of homophobia, he struggled with depression and self-harm until deciding to find a new community and insisting upon transferring to a more accepting school. At the new high school, Calvin delved into leadership within the API student community, and helped to start an LGBT student spacetwo experiences which pushed the edges of his comfort zone and helped him to explore and contextualize his identities. Involved in fundraising and community spirit events through these clubs, he also faced the challenge of dealing with the Catholic school’s administration, which was uncomfortable with the presence of an LGBT space in the school. Calvin says that his experience being in unsafe environments and fighting for inclusion has been fundamental to his goal to become a psychologist and to work in mental health. Further, his family’s recollection of the Cambodian genocide has shown Calvin how difficult it is for many Southeast Asians to openly express their emotions. I want to help the person who is an outsider or who feels that they don’t belong,” he says.

Unsatisfied with the lack of a space that was both queer and API, Calvin sought and joined APIENC as a volunteer, where he says the inclusiveness and the vibe makes him “feel comfortable enough to just be myself.” One of his most memorable experiences at APIENC was during the Summer Leadership Exchange, in which his small group had to summarize a case study of Helen Zia experiences as a queer Asian organizer. Calvin recalls how the story was emotionally powerful and dramatic – qualities which his cohort captured as they turned the story into a dramatic skit, depicting a stark scene where Zia burns her diaries. Group members acted out a fire while Calvin pushed another person into the fire to represent the burning of the diary.  Calvin recalls, “That was pretty representative of the energy I get and the inclusiveness and the vibe I get at APIENC – I feel comfortable enough to just be myself.”

Outside of APIENC, Calvin has volunteered at Kaiser Permanente in a project aiming to increase accessibility to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a preventative treatment for HIV, for gay males in the Bay Area. The project has become personal for him, as some of his friends have contracted HIV during his time working to publicize more accessible PrEP options. His volunteering at the Dragon Fruit Project has also connected with HIV prevention advocacy; his first interview, with three Asians involved in HIV prevention during the 1980s, helped to destigmatize HIV/AIDS for him after being raised with the stigma in his childhood.

“That was such an enlightening experience – growing up, my mom really trained me to stigmatize and fear HIV because when she immigrated here that was the first image of gay people that she saw. Her number one fear for me was that I was going to get AIDS one day. I got to talk to people who have had it and helped other people who had it live rewarding lives. Hearing that really broke down all the barriers that my mom created in me.”

Calvin hopes that the queer API community can overcome cultural and national barriers that have historically divided people across the API diaspora. Particularly, he sees the way that historical differences have divided the Southeast Asian community and how this has made it difficult for the queer SEA community to express themselves and unite. He also sees the poor representation of queer SEAs in queer API spaces as an important issue, and the work of queer APIs living in Asia “who are tired of being silenced” as being a crucial part of queer API activism in the future.

Fun fact: Calvin says that he doesn’t have a fun fact, but we know from his stellar baking that this just isn’t true! He would like to add how appreciative he has been of the people he has worked with in the past and present, and particularly would like to thank MLin for their welcoming efforts in serving as a mentor to Calvin and other volunteers, as they realize their full potentials.

From China to America: My Queer Movement Journey

by Cindy Zhong, 2016 Chan Fellow

Right before I came to America, my friends in our rainbow group (an independent queer student group that I joined in) back in China joked with me, “We’re so glad that our group is going to be supported by foreign power! Go ahead and bring new experiences back to serve the Motherland.” Although they were just joking, their comments reflected our expectations and subtle feelings about an overseas non-profit organization.

Image Description: Students in Guangzhou wave a large rainbow flag as part of an organized a flash mob.

Image Description: Students in Guangzhou wave a large rainbow flag as part of an organized a flash mob.

I am glad that I come from a open city in China, where LGBTQ communities have higher visibility and the queer movement has thrived in recent years. However, in China as a whole, LGBT rights remain a sensitive topic at many levels of society, and lots of LGBT-related organizations are still struggling to survive. As a grassroots queer student group, we are troubled with many problems such as limited resources and funds, government censorship, social pressure, and worst still, we can not even register as a legal entity. For us, the United States represents an ideal place where same-sex marriage has been legalized and gender studies are booming. Because of these reasons, I had this imagination of my internship experience set in my mind even before I came to America. It was vague, but still ideal.

With endless thoughts buzzing in my mind, I finally arrived to be a fellow at APIENC. The more I get involved, the more my picture of a API queer community became less vague and more vivid. To my surprise, I felt a sense of familiarity with the community, even though it is a totally new place for me.

When interacting with other community members, I gradually grasped how racial identity and gender/sexual identity intersect with each other in concrete scenarios, and how the community is experiencing oppression under the current social structure. As an outsider from China, I do find it hard to relate to the experience of being an immigrant. But my cultural background doesn’t stop me from feeling connected with the API queer folks here in the States, as we are all under the umbrella of API queer community regardless of borders. Having read and listened to the deep and heavy stories in the community through the Dragon Fruit Project, I can relate to the personal experiences of love, suffering, and struggle. and have found common ground between us.

Image Description: 6 Chan Fellows and 2 APIENC staff members take a group photo, while each person holds up yellow pieces of paper.

Image Description: 6 Chan Fellows and 2 APIENC staff members take a group photo, while each person holds up yellow pieces of paper.

Nearly two years since my start in the movement in China, I have been greatly empowered and received incredible energy while being an active member of the queer community and serving it at the same time. My queer community remains the warm harbor where I can go back and seek support whenever I feel tired and frustrated. Thus, I sincerely appreciate and strongly resonate with the work that APIENC is doing. Being a small grassroots organization, APIENC strives to provide a homecoming space and to create opportunities for API queer people. Being surrounded by these awesome folks reminds me how important and meaningful our work is. Though feeling sad when I am confronted with countless oppressions, I’ve also been inspired by the potential and great power that lies deeply in our community. Unjust social systems are hard to break up, but individuals can definitely make a difference through community empowerment.

One evening when I was walking back home after work, a random thought struck my mind. I suddenly realized that I’ve thrown almost all of my time and effort into gender and sexuality-related social justice work in the past three months, without even being conscious about it. I am a fellow at APIENC, staying connected with my community back in China, learning queer theories, attending various community events, and meeting a lot of new people in the community. Nearly all perspectives of my life are somehow connected to queer community, which I never would have imagined two years ago. Thanks to the fellowship experience at APIENC, I have gradually come to realize what my queer identity means to me and deepen my commitment to the community.

I always remember a quote from my friend: “being engaged in the LGBT movement gets you closer to who you are.”  I fully agree. Whatever country and whatever culture, we are working towards being our authentic selves, and our shared values and commitment to a world free of oppression will always remain the ties that bind us together.