VIDA KUANG identities as a an Asian American/ Chinese American/ Women of color/ Cisgender/ SF Chinatown Native. We met Vida Kuang over the summer through our Dragon Fruit Project and fell in love with her creative energy!
Currently, Vida is the Youth Coordinator at Community Youth Center. She works specifically with high school age female identified youth through YAWAV (Young Asian Women Against Violence). YAWAV examines and analyzes violence through the lens of gender, race, and class. The young women go through trainings and workshops in the Fall and present to their peers in the Spring.
“For me, it’s very powerful seeing youth make all these connections between their identities. Learning the language to identify themselves and seeing that click is very powerful and emotional for me.”
Vida graduated last year from the University of Chicago. It was through the Clothesline Project, a community art project to spoke out about sexual assault, where survivors expressed their narratives onto the canvas of T-shirts on a clothesline, that inspired her arts activism. Because survivors felt the campus’ sexual assault policy was not supportive of survivors, the stories amplified the issue, garnered allies, and empowered survivors to speak about their experiences.
“That’s where I saw the intersection between art, storytelling, and community. That’s what the Dragon Fruit Project is. Cultural organizing really allows people to connect with one another so they won’t feel alone. When people build solidarity with each other that’s really powerful. After I came back home, I met the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA). That was were I learned about how other forms of violence impact our communities, such as economic and environmental violence. I saw the political and economic sides to activism and we need to both cultural and political activism.”
Vida’s hopes for the LGBTQ API community is to connect ideas about gender and sexuality across languages. When Vida outreached with us at the API Heritage Festival in May, she only found one word in Chinese to describe gender and sexuality – realizing that the lack of language rendered all the layers of queerness indivisible. Through language, Vida believes we can practice transparency and reimagine how our families fit into our future. She feels it’s most important for youth to still have their families after they share their authentic identities.
One of Vida’s memorable community moments includes the time CPA stood together in the face of the Lee family’s eviction. After having lived in Chinatown for 30+years, they were being pushed out of their home for their unit to be renovated. It was the first time Vida witnessed so many APIs taking a stand and being visually present.
Vida speaks German and never misses a visit to the beach (rain or cold). She loves going near the water and having conversations.