Listening, Learning, and Laughing Intergenerationally
What does it mean to listen to each other? What does it mean to communicate across generations?
Last month, APIENC, APIQWTC, GAPA, and Trikone attempted to answer these questions through a series of intergenerational events. From August 12 to August 15th, we gathered in living rooms, libraries, conference rooms, and parks to discuss how LGBTQ API people build power through relationship building, storytelling, online communication, and living freely with one another.
The start of our events was on Wednesday, August 12th with Mentorship in the LGBTQ API Community. At the event, participants had the chance to speak on what they need, what they had to give, and what it feels like to be supported. The room was packed with folks of many different ages, and the space was warm with conversations about relationships, identity, community, finance, careers, fears, and even zodiac signs.
On Thursday, our team trekked to the SF Main Library for the largest event of the series, Listening Through Generations. In partnership with StoryCorps, a national organization that promotes story sharing and dialogue, we put on this event to center the narratives from our Dragon Fruit Project. Quotes from storytellers were posted around the room, audio clips were available on listening pods, and a slideshow featured photos from over forty years of LGBTQ API community building. The highlight of the event came when interviewers and interviewees were invited to the stage to speak on the experience of sharing their stories. As we collectively listened to stories of success, struggle, family, and community, it was great to see how folks in the room resonated, or found parts of themselves in the reflections of others. It was an emotional night, and we greatly appreciated all those who were so willing to share parts of themselves.
“The room was packed that night with community members and allies. As we listened to narratives that reflected our queer and asian identities, the room felt like family: we laughed at the same jokes, nodded in agreement to the self-affirming wisdom of Izzy’s words; and loudly celebrated the beautiful stories of our community members.”
-Esther Kang, Team APIENC
Next up was our Friday Social Media Skill Share! This event was brought on by the need to understand the different and diverse ways that people have built community over time. As we learned through a series of fishbowl discussions, many of the self-proclaimed older folks in the room had a bit of an aversion to social media. Many people prefered communicating through phone call, in-person meetings, or emails if necessary. Conversely, there were also plenty of folks who saw great value in how social media has provided a platform for mass-sharing, community engagement, and accessible education. The workshop ended with a question-and-answer based skill share, where participants were able to exchange tips on how to use hashtags, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
“I simply love the new and innovative ways APIENC is shaping the focus of the community to include equality beyond just marriage. I found the whole week of events energizing for all aspects of our community, and I hope this continues and expands. My favorite was the social media interactive session! I still have more to learn and need to reinforce some of the stuff I did learn. Can’t wait to participate in the next activity!”
– Dipti Ghosh, Trikone Bay Area
Lastly, our long series of events ended with a fun day in the park: Rice Bowl! Rice Bowl is a long-standing tradition in the LGBTQ API community. Started in 1995, Rice Bowl was originally a collaborative barbeque and game-day put on by APIQWTC, GAPA, and Trikone. This year, we packed San Pablo Park in Berkeley with games, food, and friends.
We want to show major appreciation to all the community members who helped to plan or who attended these series of events! It was a blast to be able to engage with so many people from different organizations and generations, and we hope that this is only the next step in continuing to have hard, supportive, and fruitful conversations with each other.