Archive for category AAPI nonprofits
By Barbara Phillips
“There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things.”
And so, courageous social justice warriors convened as the Organizational Fellowship Program September 16 – 17, 2011 in the Bay Area to reflect upon their collective journey to initiate a new order of things within themselves, their organizations, their communities, the broader social justice movement – across the U.S. and beyond. The weekend was about sharing the stories of that journey and, more importantly, learning from those experiences – lifting up struggles with terminology, theory and practice and appreciating that context matters. As one participant said so eloquently, the weekend marked not the end and not the beginning, but “The end of the beginning.”
It was so appropriate that the convening of September 16th was at the site in Oakland where the first convening took place almost three years ago. My hope for those who were returning is that they were flooded with raw, unfiltered memories of that first experience – not just their thoughts, but their feelings about jumping into the unknown. One participant spoke with particular openness and honesty about the panic that swept through him as he pondered, “What do we do now???” – after being a part of the OFP.
My hope is that these social justice warriors embrace the reality of the unending repetitiveness of that query, “What do we do now?”
The answer will come to them as they continue their collective struggle. And if they are lucky, the answer will never be definitive. They will never know for sure that a particular course of action is “right.” They do not need the false certainty of being “right”; all they need to move forward is the intention to struggle honestly and with compassion and to continue reflecting, thinking critically, learning as they go, and sharing all of that with the community.
There will be many times when the way is not certain. That is the nature of initiating a new order of things. The civil rights movement embraced the reality of those recurring moments with a song, “Do What the Spirit Say Do.” The community sang that song over-and-over until there was a collective decision. These courageous social justice warriors will create their own unique response to these moments because they are initiating a new order of things. And for that we should all stand in grateful solidarity.
Congratulations to our friends at the South Asian Network on your 20th Anniversary!
The Journey to Justice Continues…
Come celebrate with South Asian Network on October 23rd and continue the journey with us to justice! Join us with invited speaker Kiran Ahuja, a performance by Shyamala Moorty, and special presentations journeying through SAN’s past years and the years to come.
Event info > http://san20thanniversary.eventbrite.com/?ref=ecount
Earlier this year, NGEC’s 12 OFP cohort organizations convened in New Orleans and met community leaders from VAYLA-NO, Father Vien from Mary Queen of Vietnam Church, and S. Leo Chiang (the director of A Village Called Versailles).
Check out the great post below via 8Asians.com about Monday’s AAPI Heritage Month celebration at the White House which featured Father Vien.
This past Monday, President Obama hosted a reception at the White House celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Amongst the honored guests was Father Vien of the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church in New Orleans, who was profiled in an excellent documentary which I saw earlier this year at a film festival called A Village Called Versailles. The film, which is part of PBS’s Independent Lens series, will be airing this Tuesday, May 25th on PBS and follows the Vietnamese American community awakening politically in the aftermaths of Hurricane Katrina. Now, Father Vien and others are fighting another crisis in New Orleans. The BP oil spill has hugely impacted the Southeast Asian/Vietnamese American fishermen who make up 35-45% of the fishing industry along the Gulf Coast.
Read more about our OFP Convening in New Orleans.