Dear APIENC community,
When news of COVID-19 started to reach the U.S., APIENC staff and member leaders took time to figure out how we could prioritize connection, safety, and community all at once. We’ve heard concerns and fear from our people—worries about the xenophobia and extreme isolation of this moment, worries about losing reliable work, and worries from those who don’t feel safe in the homes they must stay in during quarantine.
With the virus at pandemic levels, and with the Bay Area under shelter-in-place, we know that this is a defining moment in history.
So, we’re doing what we do at APIENC—we’re looking back at our histories to understand how to move forward. During the HIV/AIDS crisis, so many of our LGBTQ elders turned towards each other: creating networks of community care, demanding more from an abysmal governmental response, and researching their own solutions to complex problems. Many of the people who responded and survived the HIV/AIDS crisis locally helped APIENC start the Dragon Fruit Network, a community care-building project for trans and queer API people of all generations, with the understanding that we must be ready to support one another, especially when the government or state fails us.
As trans and queer Asians and Pacific Islanders, our people have survived pandemics, war, climate crisis, and catastrophe. Our histories tell us that this time requires deeper connections and care for one another.
From the government’s slow response, to the lack of support for workers whose livelihoods are impacted, to the layers of isolation many of us face (which was felt even before a pandemic), so much can make us feel helpless.
However, if there is anything we know as a community, and an organization, it is that we are not helpless. There is an abundance of love, skill, and resources in our community. While our specific work, programming, and day-to-day tasks may change, the core purpose of APIENC’s work remains the same; building connection and power. Now is the time to apply the skills we’ve practiced.
Whether it’s around asking for help, offering support, caring for ourselves, or connecting meaningfully with others—we need you. When we’re unable to gather in person, we need to lean into our creativity and resilience as a community. Here are some ways to practice care:
- Reach out to others, especially elders or those who are immunocompromised. If you have the capacity to support with resource runs (with plenty of distance!) or can offer time to catch up, we can ensure that folks are equipped and less alone
- Read and share resources, including the rad list of Bay Area resources from our AACRE Network partners, and this list of API multi-lingual resources from AAPI Force.
- Sign-On to the demands from SF United in Crisis. The list of demands calls on SF Elected Officials to address the needs of San Franciscans, specifically focused on basic needs, workers, students, healthcare, and housing.
- Advocate to protect the health of incarcerated folks and undocumented people. You can check out Critical Resistance’s call to action for more on those affected by the prison industrial complex. If you’re undocumented, head to CIYJA’s resource list.
- Donate to support other queer and trans Black, Indigenous, people of color (QTBIPOC). This relief fund will direct resources directly to QTBIPOC that need support.
APIENC won’t host any in-person meetings or gatherings in the immediate future, but we’re committed to being in proactive community with you through our ~online~ potluck, our GiveOUT Day fundraising campaign, and our video-project. These events are both offerings and calls to action and connection. Even if you have what you need, your presence can support other community members to feel less isolated. So, help us practice interdependence and sustain our networks through…
- An ONLINE Spring Potluck on Thursday, April 2nd! We are moving our potluck online! We hope to have space to process, learn, and cultivate joy. Get ready for our break-out rooms with crafts, an ecological justice workshop, music, and more. RSVP here so we can send you the call-in info!
- Join our GiveOUT Day Team! We need folks committed to fundraising more than ever! By joining our team, you are helping us ensure that this work–of practicing connection and building new worlds–can continue. Trainings will be held online!
- Sign-up for our community phone-tree! Given the postponement of some events, our Dragon Fruit Community is organizing a phone-call system for people to stay connected. Sign-up to get matched with another community member!
- Send us a brief 20-second video! In the spirit of the Dragon Fruit Project, we want to remind ourselves and our broader community that we see each other, and we can do this. Staff recorded these videos as a message to our community, and we want your messages too! Will you send a short video to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, 3/22 of yourself answering the question: What do you want to tell our people right now to remind us that we’re connected, we’re resilient, and we’re gonna get through this together?
With love and in solidarity,
Sammie, Jasmin, Yuan, and all of Team APIENC