Author: Leyen Trang
Community members from around the Twin Cities metro area gathered at East Side Enterprise on Saturday, July 29th to begin a conversation that doesn’t happen often. As each person filed in, community members were asked to provide their names, gender pronouns, and Asian ethnicity for a later workshop. A community meal, catered by Eastside Thai, was provided as the evening progressed.
(Above: AAOP Organizing Fellow Cindy Chiev answering how Vietnamese community members are treated and targeted.)
The workshop began by gathering similarly identified ethnicities in groups to start a conversation about why communities gather and organize.
Discussion topics were separated into three sections: who are the community, its members, and contributions were; how each community has been treated and targeted; and how would each community like to be treated.
“We often hear and read about Asian narratives as isolated events and not connected to one another,” said AAOP Executive Director Linda Her. “But through this community conversation, we all got to hear how our struggles, and achievements were connected and tied to each other in the US.”
For example, the Viet and Hmong community members’ conversation reflected that they came to the US not by choice, but that the United States’ war in Laos and Vietnam forced their families to participate in war, and flee their homes.
Through these conversations, community members recognized connections as Asian and Asian Americans and how their experiences reflected the remnants of war and colonialism. Not only were community members also able to see the connections, they also learned about the different waves of Asian immigration that had set milestones for the Asian and Asian American community and the social/political movements.
These narratives challenged views about each other’s communities, reverting the dominant narratives told by the very few and the larger mainstream media controlled by white people’s assumptions.
This was a fruitful conversation with everyone in the room and will not be the last Asian to Talking to Asian community event. We’re hoping that more Asian and Asian American community members will join us next time to expand our Asian to Asian solidarity work and organizing effort.
(Above: Filipinx community members presenting their the results of their conversations.)