Will we concede to fear, or will we choose interdependence?
Dear APIENC Community,
Throughout the past year, I have often come back to the question, “Will we concede to fear and individualism, or will we choose interdependence?”
This past week, as we celebrated historic Senate wins in Georgia and watched in horror as armed white supremacists stormed the Capitol Building, this question was again present in my heart and mind.
Will we concede to fear and individualism, or will we choose interdependence?
At APIENC, 2020 challenged us to hone our skills in making urgent decisions about the present without forgoing a long-term vision of the future (even when the future seemed impossible). Even in the face of a global pandemic, climate crisis, deep isolation and mental distress, an upsurge in anti-Asian rhetoric, and mounting of white supremacist violence, our members, trans and queer API people spanning generations, actively chose to be with one another time after time. Whether that meant forming an urgent Phone Tree to contact people after the Bay Area Shelter-In-Place was announced, hosting workshops on Asking for Help to unlearn shame, or launching a mutual aid effort to ensure our people had food and PPE—I’m not just proud that we accomplished these things, I’m proud that APIENC members were adaptive and nimble when the community needed it most. 2020, despite the world literally and figuratively being on fire, was a year of transformation.
Click below images to read more about our highlights! Graphics by Troi Tim Tran.
Now, in 2021, we must boldly continue down this same path. At every level of the organization, we’ve spent the last year digging deep and sharpening our understanding of how to respond to crisis through community care. We’ve grown our vision, re-established our place within a broader movement ecosystem, and called on our ancestors to help us dream about a world beyond the confines of our present-day political reality.
The work we do in the next year cannot be rooted in self-limiting beliefs about what we assume is politically realistic. The right has constantly utilized their power to make outlandish ideas, like storming the Capitol Building armed with guns, tasers, and zip-ties, not even realistic, but real. It is necessary for us to grow our skills of connection and curiosity so that we can create solutions and realities that pull us into a deeper and more powerful humanity with one another. We will practice rigorous imagination so that we do not allow ourselves to fall short of what futures are possible.
As we reflect on 2020 and prepare to share our plans for 2021, I’m grateful for the work of organizers throughout generations. I’m grateful for Black leadership in Georgia and throughout the South; I’m grateful for our queer elders that share learnings from the HIV/AIDS crisis; and I’m grateful for our ancestors that constantly resisted colonialism and domination. We do our work within this legacy, and there is so much more work to be done.
With love and in solidarity,
Sammie Ablaza Wills