We Are Magic Manifested, and We Won’t Be Erased

APIENC’s Statement on the Leaked ‘Trans Memo’

[Image Description: The words “Won’t Be Erased” are in white, on top of a photo of two people at a march.]

Yesterday, The New York Times reported an unreleased memo from the Trump administration, which would aim to define sex as, “a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.” The memo, drafted by the Department of Health and Human Services, would diminish the role of gender identity under the Title IX anti-discrimination law, in favor of this limited definition of “sex.”

This legal change would deny the existence of transgender and gender non-binary people. No matter the work, the community, the surgery, the papers, the conversations—under this memo, people would only be seen as their sex assigned at birth, rather than their gender identity. Without Title IX protections transgender folks would no longer be able to dispute discrimination when it comes to healthcare, housing, employment, education or violent attack. Transgender people would be living under even more scrutiny and judgement, potentially even having samples of DNA tested in order to determine a person’s sex assigned at birth, violating people’s biological and personal rights.

At APIENC, we know what this is. This is an attempt to isolate, invisiblize, and erase the existence of transgender people in the United States. This as an attempt to dictate how our bodies should be, publicly and privately, for the sake of conservative federal comfort. This is an attempt to deny our histories of organizing, the rights of our people, and the humanity of our community.

And yet, fighting for safety and building community is in our bones. If they ever dare to test our DNA, they’ll find long legacies of trans resistance interwoven with histories of fierce organizing. Within our trans bodies are the experiences of the transgender, third-gender, non-binary people who have prepared ceremony, held ritual, and created culture for centuries—for much longer than the federal government has been around.

APIENC is here for our community. We are here for transgender, non-binary, and third-gender Asian and Pacific Islander people, and for all transgender people. We will rally, heal, eat, cry, breathe, and fight with one another from a place of interdependence, rather than from fear. From mobilizing in the streets at Trans March, to building skills for our liberation, to providing connections to healthcare, legal services, and housing—we will continue to do what it takes. And we need you with us.

  • Join our Trans Justice Committee: If you are TGNC API-identified, email sammie@apienc.org to participate in ongoing work;
  • Stay Connected: Sign up for our email list and share this post with your community;
  • Become a volunteer member: Actively take-part in building a new world by learning organizing skills, understanding our histories, and moving through trauma;
  • Donate your resources: Trans-led organizations need resources to survive. Over 50% of our dollars come from individual donors who believe in our work. Now is the time to invest in our collective liberation.

We won’t be erased. We won’t be forgotten. We are magic manifested, dreams become reality, and futures actualized. Stay rooted, get close, and take a breath. This is just the next beginning, and we will move through this, working for a world where our full selves can thrive.

#WontBeErased

Welcome APIENC’s New Community Organizer!

Dear APIENC Community,

We are excited to announce that Jasmin Hoo will be joining us in the role of Community Organizer on September 18th! Jasmin is an amazing social justice educator, activist, and artist, with over ten years experience working with youth and communities through theater and direct action.

4 pictures panels are in the background, all of Jasmin. From left to right, top to down: 1) Jasmin looking to the side; 2) Jasmin at a march, holding up a sign; 3) Jasmin and Sammie smiling; 4) portrait of Jasmin smiling. Text in the center reads, “Welcome Jasmin Hoo! APIENC’s new community organizer”.

Here are a few words from Jasmin herself:

I am very grateful and honored to become the Community Organizer for APIENC; I feel it is exactly where I need to be in my life right now.  Although I have never officially held the title of “community organizer,” in many ways I have been a community organizer my whole life. Growing up as a mixed race kid on the East Coast in the 90’s and coming out as a queer bisexual later in my life, I have spent much of my life creating opportunities for those of us on the margins to feel valued and that we belong.

In this role, I am looking forward to meeting the whole APIENC community, learning from everyone, and finding ways to come together, grow, and thrive. I am particularly excited to offer my passion for theater, art, health/healing, and transformative justice to APIENC! I hope to bring my whole self to this work and to create space for folks to be their authentic selves. As I grow into this position, I ask for your continued support, patience, and openness as we all transition together into this next evolution of APIENC.

By the end of September, we’ll also be saying goodbye (or see ya later!) to MLin in their role as Community Organizer. MLin joined us four years ago, first as an intern, and then as staff. In their time with APIENC, they’ve grown tremendously, and we can’t wait for what’s ahead. Moving forward, MLin will continue being involved with our Core, Dragon Fruit Project, and Fundraising committees. MLin would like to share the following:

Through the last four years, I’ve been exponentially transformed by APIENC’s people, spaces, and movement building. Three years ago, I remember starting as a Community Organizer, intimidated and hesitant to start conversations and relationships from a place of trust. Now, I am so grateful to know that I have an abundant support network for life. Thank you to all the people I’ve come to deeply know via APIENC and our shared investment in our community getting liberated, full, and free. Thank you all for stretching with me!

In the coming months APIENC will be slowing down, turning inward, reflecting, and evaluating with our new staff and volunteer teams. Growth is not linear, and to build power within our communities we need to move at a different pace and strengthen the core of what we do. We hope for your support and patience as we transition in healthy and fruitful ways.

Please welcome Jasmin in her new role! Don’t hesitate to reach out and build bridgesstarting September 18th you can reach Jasmin at jasmin@apienc.org.  

With love and in solidarity,
Sammie Ablaza Wills

We’re Hiring a Community Organizer!

[Image Description: white texts reads: “APIENC IS HIRING! / COMMUNITY ORGANIZER” in large font. In the background, two people are standing at a march.]

APIENC (API Equality – Northern California) is hiring a Community Organizer!

Title:  Community Organizer, APIENC (API Equality – Northern California)

Hiring By: September 2018, process below

Compensation: $45,000 – $50,000, excellent benefits including medical, dental, vision, retirement, & paid vacation time

Hours: Full-time, including travel U.S.-based travel 1-2 times per year.

Location: San Francisco, CA

ABOUT APIENC (API Equality – Northern California)

APIENC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build LGBTQ API power by amplifying our voices and increasing visibility of our communities. We inspire and train leaders, establish intergenerational connections, and document and disseminate our histories. We work closely with other API, LGBTQ, and QTPOC groups in the Bay Area to build resources to develop LGBTQ API leaders and to explore and uplift LGBTQ API history.

Working at APIENC is fun, challenging, engaging, and transformative! As a small grassroots organization, we prioritize deepening our relationships to others on our team and in our community. From a place rooted in abundance, interdependence, and care, we envision our work in the LGBTQ API community to be powered by those most impacted by our work.

ROLE DESCRIPTION:

Do you see yourself as someone who can lead, grow, and deepen the reach and impact of APIENC’s overall vision, main programs, and collaborations to serve the needs of LGBTQ API people in the Bay Area? If so, you would be a great fit!

Ideally, we’re looking for whoever joins our family, to have a proven ability to recruit, support, and motivate volunteer leaders and community members for our projects and programs. This includes organizing transgender and gender non-conforming support spaces, facilitating values-based community organizing trainings, disseminating interactive content for our Dragon Fruit Project, and coordinating 2-3 grassroots fundraising campaigns per year.

Are you committed to relationship building and intersectional movement building, long-term collaboration, and collective transformation via experimentation? We know that this work is hard, and so, we need someone who can bring a can-do attitude, a commitment to growth alongside others, and skills in strategy, time management, and communication. If you’re ready for a critical opportunity to engage with LGBTQ and/or API folks, intergenerational community, and folks from diverse backgrounds, this role is for you!

RESPONSIBILITIES:

The Community Organizer’s primary responsibility is to work with APIENC’s Core leadership, community partners, and LGBTQ API membership base to envision, develop, implement, and evaluate APIENC’s work.  

Specifically, the Community Organizer will:

Job responsibilities may shift accordingly with organizational priorities and directions, which are developed alongside APIENC’s volunteer leadership and membership base

  • Coordinate APIENC programs: Leadership Development, Dragon Fruit Project, Trans Justice Initiative, with support from the Director and volunteer leaders
  • Recruit, train, motivate, and manage volunteers to organize events, trainings, and orientations
  • Work with the Director and volunteer leadership to execute 2-3 grassroots fundraising campaigns and major donor efforts per year
  • Work with the Communications Committee to create and implement communications strategy
  • Build and manage relationships with API and/or LGBTQ partner organizations
  • Develop trainings, curricula, and other teaching tools
  • Supervise interns, fellows, and organizers
  • Represent APIENC at community events and in coalitions

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Has at least 1-2 years relevant work experience (paid and/or in a volunteer capacity)
  • Committed to relationship building and thrives in a small team environment
  • Highly organized, resourceful, and self-motivated
  • Demonstrated track record of developing and maintaining strong working relationships with volunteers, community members, and community partners
  • Strong record of planning, managing, and evaluating multiple projects and teams at the same time
  • Experience in addressing interpersonal and group conflict, delegating responsibility, and initiating group accountability practices
  • Clear written communication skills, strong oral presentation skills, and track record in communicating to audiences of different ages, educational backgrounds, and countries of origin
  • Able to work flexible hours
  • Preferably, has a valid driver’s license and reliable access to a car
  • Preferably, can speak one or more Asian and/or Pacific Islander language

APPLICATION PROCESS

If you are interested in the above position, please contact MLin (mlin@apienc.org) and Sammie (sammie@apienc.org) to set up a informational conversation in the next 3 weeks (before July 20). This is not an interview. The purpose of this informational conversation is to candidly talk more about the role beyond the written description, assess appropriate next steps, and elaborate on the hiring process.

People of color, queer, transgender, gender nonconforming people and people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to inquire and apply.

At APIENC, we prioritize our long-term relationships with the community members who have actively participated and led our work. We also strongly encourage members at APIENC to continue and deepen their involvement with our work, to inquire and apply for this position.

We are aiming to begin the onboarding process by September 2018.

APIENC is fiscally sponsored by Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) that advocates on behalf of Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) and other underrepresented communities in San Francisco and statewide. (www.caasf.org)

 

2017 Reflections, 2018 Directions

When our communities are under attack, what do we do? Rise up, fight back! 

This chant comes up at rallies and marches throughout the year. As movements, organizations, and people involved in work towards justice, we are well equipped to fight back in moments of crisis. We organize rallies, hold events, raise funds, and respond as needed to ongoing attacks on immigrants, increased hate-violence against transgender people, and a racist political climate for people of color. At APIENC, we also know that through all of this crisis, we must reflect. For APIENC, reflection has been an important tool in understanding the ongoing crisis, historical context, and present-day possible solutions.

Reflection shows us how far we have come, how non-linear the path has been, and how far we still need to go. Each year, volunteers and staff compile APIENC highlights (you can see 2015‘s and 2016‘s!), as a tool of reflecting and celebrating all the work done in the past year. Just as we look back to packed airports during the Muslim Bans and immigrant rights rallies in defense of DACA, we also look at APIENC’s own work to mobilize an API contingent at Trans March, learn about food sovereignty at a community garden, and provide space for high school youth to learn organizing skills. You can see an even more full set of highlights in our 2017 Review Graphic, made by Cynthia Fong.

[Image Description: Small preview of the 2017 APIENC graphic, filled with photos and updates from our programs. Graphic made by Cynthia Fong.]

These reflections help us understand the depth of our community needs, the opportunities we have to create change, the growth necessary to make those changes. In this next year, APIENC will be concentrating on growing our skills, volunteer base, leadership, and resources. We want to build our communities’ abilities to organize in the day-to-day, center in strong values of abundance and interdependence, strategize for the long term, and build a new world. The next year will be a time of sustained reflection, assessment, and change. If you would like to learn more, see our first draft of our new Priorities and Directions, a document informing APIENC’s work in 2018 and beyond.

Our growing work is only possible because of our community and our allies. To be able to build powerful work, we need the power of the people. Email info@apienc.org if you would like to get involved, and stay on the lookout for our programs and events. We hope to see you soon!

 

2018 Summer Organizing Program – Now Accepting Applications!

Do you want to work with queer, transgender, and gender nonconforming API people and communities? Do you have a commitment to social justice? Are you ready to  transform, learn concrete community organizing skills, and work to build movements for change?

The application for APIENC’s (API Equality – Northern California) Summer Organizer Program is now open!

Image Description: A person shouts into a megaphone, with one fist in the air. Text reads: APIENC Summer Organizing Program, Apply at bit.ly/APIENC2018.

Applications are due March 2nd, 2018!

ABOUT OUR SUMMER ORGANIZER PROGRAM Every year, APIENC (API Equality – Northern California) embarks on an intensive summer program to develop the next generation of LGBTQ API social justice and cultural change leaders. The Summer Organizer Program, previously called our Summer Internship, is a transformative opportunity to build organizing skills and strengthening values in service of social change. At APIENC, we know that LGBTQ API people are targets of interpersonal abuse, state violence, and systemic oppression both historically, and in this current political climate. Leadership development for our own queer, trans, and gender nonconforming API people is critical in addressing our material conditions and in supporting larger movements for change.

APIENC Summer Organizers receive in-depth trainings on a variety of topics, and employ dynamic approaches for intersectional and multi-issue based organizing. Summer 2018 marks our 9th cohort of summer participants, and each Summer Organizer contributes to the LGBTQ API community by impacting the organization’s history,current projects, and partnerships.

Throughout the summer, Summer Organizers will build meaningful relationships with partner organizations focused on a wide array of issues and committed to queer & trans API justice. Summer Organizers will be expected to participate in our API Queer Justice Leadership Exchange, two weekend-long venues for API leaders to learn organizing skills, exchange ideas, and build community. During the course of the program, Summer Organizers will also also have the opportunity to take leadership in our different projects, including a trans-led contingent the SF Trans March, an intergenerational community care network within the Dragon Fruit Project, and at a national conference for LGBTQ API people. Overall, Summer Organizers get to bring their full selves each day, work hard, laugh a lot, and have a blast.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Work with APIENC staff to develop and implement strategies for empowering and mobilizing the LGBTQ API community
  • Spend a minimum of 15-20 hours in the APIENC office each week (located in SF Chinatown)
  • Meet once a week with APIENC staff and the rest of the intern cohort to reflect, debrief, and give and receive feedback
  • Recruit, support, and train volunteers
  • Develop and implement a fundraising campaign
  • Plan and execute trainings and events
  • Represent APIENC at external meetings and events
  • Attend a 300+ person national gathering for LGBTQ API communities in July 26-29
  • Participate in a two-weekend Leadership Exchange with other API leaders committed to queer justice
  • Reflect on personal narrative and emotional growing edges with other cohort members
  • Build relationships with other LGBTQ people of color, API, and intersectional organizations working towards progressive social change

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Displays a strong, long-term commitment to the diverse communities APIENC works with
  • Shows a fundamental understanding of the power of community organizing and LGBTQ API leadership
  • Exhibits desire to build intentional relationships, reflect on personal experience, and grow
  • Can build a team and work collaboratively
  • Demonstrates curiosity, proactive leadership, can work independently, and takes initiative
  • Possesses strong interpersonal and relationship-building skills
  • Employs a critical lens and solution-based thinking when addressing issues

APPLICATION PROCESS

  • Applications are due by March 2nd, 2018
  • Interviews will be conducted by March 5-16th
  • Selected participants will be notified in late March
  • Summer Organizer Program runs for about 8 weeks from June – August (exact dates TBD)
  • A small stipend is available, but participants are responsible for their own housing and commute costs.

APPLY TODAY!

What’s Coming Up in 2018?

image description: rows of smiling faces with their hands up. text on the image reads: “2018: growing, healing, and learning”

As 2017 comes to an end, APIENC is strategizing and planning for 2018 and beyond. In 2018, APIENC will be providing even more leadership development opportunities for our membership, growing our financial and organizational capacity, and strengthening our community’s abilities to respond to crisis, heal from trauma, and keep each other safe. Our programs, as shown in the graphic below, will continue to be led and guided by our 80+ regular member leaders.

image description: a graphic detailing the three APIENC programs: Dragon Fruit Project, Leadership Development, and Trans Justice

Concretely, some of the things we have planned include:

  • Healthy Communication in Relationships: This collaboration with Asian Womens’ Shelter (AWS) will be a 5 week workshop series called “Chai Chats” on positive communication practices and how we can build healthier relationships.
  • Trans Rights and Empowerment Day: As part of our work to create more spaces for trans and gender nonconforming people, we will host the first ever Trans Rights and Empowerment Day for TGNC people to share resources, create safety plans, and strategize around trans justice in our own Asian communities.
  • APIENC Leadership Trainings: From our annual Core Committee retreat to our Leadership Exchange to our grassroots fundraising trainings, APIENC will be providing even more workshops on community organizing, outreach, strategy building, and facilitation so that our work can be leader-ful and shared across our community.
  • Dragon Fruit Network: Starting with small, intergenerational gatherings, the Dragon Fruit Network will provide a space for younger activists, elders, and people of all ages to dialogue about our material needs. As our community members age, try to find community, struggle with health, and deal with housing in a gentrified Bay Area, we will work to create community-based solutions that are grounded in our personal relationships.

…and even more beyond this, including our 9th Summer Internship cohort, organizing with other grassroots Asian American groups to act on trans justice, and the NQAPIA National LGBTQ API conference! As hateful rhetoric, state-sponsored violence, and environmental catastrophe continue to harm our communities, we will continue to fight back and build a new world. Stay tuned for an amazing year.

Want to power this work for the following year? Send your end-of-year donations through this online form, and get involved with us through this link.

Defend DACA Now, Protect all Immigrants Forever

We are devastated, horrified and angry that the Trump administration has decided to continue attacking immigrants, people of color, and queer and trans people by terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA has allowed more than 800,000 undocumented young people to access healthcare, work, travel, and live in this country. In this unending torrent of attacks on our people, the decision to end DACA escalates the crisis our communities have been experiencing.

Our communities, led by undocumented young people, fought for and won DACA five years ago. We fought for and won protection for thousands of undocumented people; fought for and won a sense of relief for so many of our family members. To “rescind” this program is to put at risk the dreams and livelihoods of our people.

At APIENC, we are committed to defending DACA. With this, we also know that DACA was not and cannot be the end of our fight. ALL undocumented people, regardless of age or educational attainment, should be protected from the risk of detention and deportation. It is not enough to put forth the narrative of a “good immigrant” while people have already been violently torn from their families, homes, and communities.

If you are in the Bay Area, we hope to see you at 5pm at the SF Federal Building to rally in support of DACA. If you cannot attend, but are looking for ways to support, please give resources to our family at ASPIRE. If you are TGNC and undocumented, the TIDE program by Transgender Law Center has pro-bono lawyers available for support.

[image description: white text reads "PROTECT DACA PROTECT IMMIGRANTS BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY" over red, orange, and pink flowers and an orange background] art by The Unapologetically Brown Series

[image description: white text reads “PROTECT DACA PROTECT IMMIGRANTS BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY” over red, orange, and pink flowers and an orange background]art by The Unapologetically Brown Series

#HeretoStay #DefendDACA #ProtectionforAll