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Transcript of Solidarity Event for Asian-American Lives

People's Collective for Justice and Liberation brought together an extraordinary group last Saturday, a virtual platform addressing, healing, summoning us in the struggle and practice of solidarity with Asian-American Lives. 

Lydia XZ Brown

I think responding to all of the harms of white supremacy of heteropatriarchal gender based violence. I will be speaking of sexual violence in the next minute. Ableism enables the invisibilization of white supremacist violence, those who commit acts of violence against marginalized communities, saying "These people weren't misogynistic..they were crazy, only someone crazy could carry out this act" That ableism harms Black, Brown, Asian, Native people the most. The rhetoric coming out from the police--an institution that never makes us safe--that "someone was having a bad day, has a sex addiction" renders invisible the violence against sex workers, many of whom are disable exploited and fetishized by white people upholds ableism and white supremacy. You can't have one without the other, ableism undergirds white supremacy, ableism depends upon settler colonialism and racism in order to exist. they define negatively racialized people as "inferior" to white people When you ask, how does DJ inform my approach to this..the rhetoric surrounding the violence and the ways in which our communities have to respond to it my work in disability justice is rooted in abolition, in transformative justice praxis. What does it mean for our communities to center our own healing and liberation? If we don't attend to the centrality of ableism in our lives, we'll never be able to dismantle white supremacy, end sexual violence or rape culture, or end settler colonialism 

Whiteness is the public health emergency--Rosa Clemente --Until we admit--the electoral political project is dead--to sign a law to limit voting accessibility--these white people, these dragons are fighting to live, their time is up. The more they realize the more the fight --those who are not AAPI people--the reason this happened in GA, GA set the ground of what can do--how are we going to build self-determination, mutual aid, self-defense look like? Reading so many stories, the AAPI has been doing this for over a year. Not only is-- 

the duoply is so corrupt it's so poisoned those elected officials that want to do the right thing won't be allowed will be chased out and have to deal with death threats, etc, when the law got signed yesterday, it was reminiscent of 1865 and reconstruction era where there were Afro American ppl being elected to office. there was backlash men being able to vote creating purposeful communities because those African descendants of slaves knew they could only depend on themselves and for that they were bombed. We have to look at each other, not as allies, or accomplices, but ppl fighting for humanity. We're fighting for human rights at this point. Unless we have that harder conversation..what does activism look like outside of social media? Why do we keep relying on white men as presidents to do the right thing? Frantz Fanon talks about colonized lands and minds. Our work is awakening people's political and racial consciousness. The internal revolution has to be done before gettin into this work. Otherwise you won't understand your political ideology. White supremacy likes to divide and conquer. We've seen examples, ie Black and Korean comms not getting along. I've seen mainstream media narrative as opposed to WHITENESS being the problem. around Black ppl being anti-Asian and Asian people being anti-Black..Dismantling the systems we've been socialized in as well. 

JM Wong, author of piece on Medium "White Saviors "Rescuing" Asian Women & Who They Truly Serve" : Even though massage parlors are associated w sex work and we are coming from a pro-sex work place not all massage parlors are places of sex work We believe in the autonomy of Asian women . When we reframe it as a issue of workplace safety . We offer support like vaccine access, community safety, condoms and sexual health, we center the conditions, rather than patriarchal assumptions Massage parlors include care work Workplace safety not detached from our physical and emotional well-being This reframe leads to relational organizing . Rather than bureaucratic, top downIt's also not savior politics Which is the narrative that white men will "rescue" these "poor Asian women." 

Jamila Aisha describes herself for ASL interpreter: I'm a light brown skinned Afro American with kinky bangs and a pony and white rimmed glasses. We're giving folks a space to air their grievances talk about their anger about what happened going to those spaces and honoring those individuals. I did not want to give any energy to the person who committed the crime .I wanted to honor the people whose lives were lost. I am currently working on ongoing programs to help individuals in the sex trade industry here feel safe including the bad date report and alert that goes out if something happens, we can let people know to look out for types of individuals. I have the "I've Survived" group support mtg for those who've specifically been sexually assaulted while working giving a safe space to talk about what happened to them and an opportunity to network with folks who understand what they're going thru. For me, solidarity looks exactly like this organizing together with people who have aligned intersections and visions we ourselves are not the enemy we have to look at who's causing the division and derision and demand our human rights and civic rights. 

What are some of the partnerships being forged in the Asian community in GA which reflect the radical possibility of collective freedom?

Suraiya Sharker of napawf.org: I think GA has a huge long history of collective liberation work. Even just in recent years with fight against the abortion ban which was led largely by WOC in GA also the election cycle in 2018, 2020, 2021 as well as the work around the ICE detention center led by Latinx community but had API and Black community support. I think GA and particularly the South has a history of working together. I see this in the Reproductive justice mov't the right to have children or not have children to raise children in a safe environment and the right to bodily autonomy we can't have it if people are afraid of policing or immigration status if folks don't have access to healthcare or are in constant fear of deportation. We see the need for collective liberation and within our own organizing in the API community. Those centered are usually 2nd gen English speaking young professionals we need to think about aunties, grandmas, working class folks, people that aren't English speakers are we making our spaces accessible? with that , we could truly have collective liberation

How does the narrative of so-called 'hate crimes" take away from the structures of white supremacy that effects BIPOC?

Lydia: This is I try not to use the word crime. I don't like that language. When we talk about hate crimes, we legitimate the state's role in gatekeeping rather than challenging and undermining the carceral state incarcerating and disappearing our people Hate Crime individualizes oppression. I don't like to talk about bias that much, in general, because they individualize oppression and individual people having prejudice and hating a group in reality. It's the whole system, structures, and practices of injustice imperialism, settler colonialism, incarceration, institutionalization, we're erasing and harming disabled and multiply marginalized people Disabled people are more likely to be sex workers, undocumented...white supremacy exacerbates disability thinking in the language we use.

Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, co-Executive Director of Highlander Institute

I want to remind you that solidarity is our inheritance. Winning is our inheritance. This relationship between communities of color is not new. We are not the first, last, or only to build these lasting relationships. I'll name names. Malcolm and Yri, James and Grace. The Black Panthers and Yellow Peril. The Beyond Vietnam breaking the silence speech that MLK gave Let's talk about the now APIs for Black Lives, Grassroot Orgs throughout the South, Appalachia, across the is country, coming across our differences Capitalism, white supremacy, and cis heteropatriarchy have been used by a handful of folks to consolidate their power at the expense of our communities it's been impactful in the places we consider motherland It's our work, as people of good will, bending the arc of the universe towards justice liberation, freedom, it's our job to Re-Member literally bring together all of those things that the systems of oppression steal from us it's our birthright to thrive to have everything we need so harm needs to exist Greg already reminded us earlier of a great Adrienne Maree Brown quote things aren't getting worse, they're getting uncovered but I want to argue Eric Ward is right regardless of it getting worse or not, what's being uncovered or not..thing things happening to our ppl whether it's Atlanta, or Charlottesville, the bombing of Black churches, attacks on mosques the xenophobia and hate we've seen might be because we're winning they're having to respond to us, not just that our winning mov'ts are responding to the conditions we're in oh my goodness what would actually happen if we moved in our mov'ts and communities like we were born to win. to do work that gets at the root of state sanctioned violence what would happen if we know we were greater to happen together all of us practicing solidarity something we do everyday our strengths, gifts, beyond the writing of statements or social media posts but actually practicing relationship and doing it before the next crisis building a big WE that imagines we can be safe and thrive and have all we need. What would it be like if we practiced what we preached, demanding excellence and rigor deserving of excellence, and that our ppl deserve our excellence self care, communal care and healing one of my best friends reminds me of a great Fanon quote Each generation must discover it's mission: fulfill it or betray it Quite frankly , it's our turn, it's out turn to decide that saving the world is our life's work--

--even if we don't see all the benefits or the spoils of our labor we demand.


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