Our Theory of Change

APIENC is a bridge between personal transformation and political work to meet our needs. Grounded in the histories and experiences of trans and queer API people, our role is to build movement leaders across oppressed communities. 

We believe that if we…

  • provide space for healing, community care, and building mental health skills to more APIENC members and trans & queer API people;
  • convene, train, & coach member-leaders across organizations around history & values-centered organizing;
  • mobilize trans & queer API people for community safety campaigns with partner organizations

We will grow the number of people who participate in and lead movements rooted in values, history, emotional intelligence, and compassion. Ultimately, this work will allow us to support movements to be more effective, and sustainable, AND build a movement culture that is skillful at healing and creates long-term solutions.

Image description: A graphical illustration of APIENC's Theory of Change. It starts at the root of a large tree, continues upward to 4 apples in the tree resulting in new growth below, and ultimately leads to a large tree in the background. There are star people holding up a trans flag in the background. White arrows and text describe the progression of the Theory of Change. (art by Trời-Tim Trần)
Image description: A graphical illustration of APIENC’s Theory of Change. It starts at the root of a large tree, continues upward to 4 apples in the tree resulting in new growth below, and ultimately leads to a large tree in the background. There are star people holding up a trans flag in the background. White arrows and text describe the progression of the Theory of Change. (art by Trời-Tim Trần)

OUR PROCESS

Image description: Zoom selfie with smiling and posing APIENC Core members and Michael, facilitator with the Wildfire Project.
Image description: Zoom selfie with smiling and posing APIENC Core members and Michael, facilitator with the Wildfire Project.

APIENC partnered with our friend Michael from the Wildfire Project in order to design a 6-month process for Core Committee members—staff and volunteer leaders from across the organization—to set APIENC’s new 5-year strategy. It was a big proposal: conversations spanning months, 4-hour Zoom calls on the weekends, and plenty of deep learning and reflection. This was the largest strategy process we’ve held as an organization, and as intimidating as this seemed, it was also an incredible opportunity to build a plan rooted in the visions and experiences of members from across the organization. Together, we named our conversations “Strat Chats.”

The Core Committee knew how crucial these conversations were. All throughout our sessions, we witnessed crisis after crisis hit our communities. From the white supremacist violence against Asian women, to continued deportations of Southeast Asian migrants and refugees, to the continued isolation of trans API communities—we were constantly reminded that our work must be rooted in a vision of true safety and liberation.

Over the course of our Strat Chats, Core members gathered online to assess our conditions, name our strengths, and determine the most pressing needs. We started by articulating our strengths and transformative potential. We assessed the needs of our community by reflecting on our lived experiences, the Up to Us Report findings, and all the recent data on COVID-19 disparities. We spent time learning about other organizations in our movement ecosystem and deconstructed the role of different forces in a movement. We moved through fears about making big decisions and planning for the future during such an uncertain present. At every step in the process, we grounded in our lineages, resourced ourselves in daily acts of wisdom, and embodied our collective power. After rounds of feedback from our Core and broader membership, we grounded in our Theory of Change as a pathway forward and began implementation in 2021.

To learn more about our journey to this Theory, read reflections from APIENC Core leader Huanvy!