September 14, 2016
For the past 2+ years, i’ve been inspired and blessed to be a part of the Chinese Progressive Association. This week, I have the opportunity to bring people into one of my homes through participating in our grassroots fundraising campaign.
i first came into CPA through their leadership pipeline by being a part of National Fellowship Program for Asian American Organizing, seeding change during the summer of 2014. i applied at a time when i felt such urgency and unsettled feelings of wanting to do work within my own community when my previous work up until that point was with black and brown folks. the program trains and cultivates young Asian Americans to learn organizing skills to develop the power of working class Asian immigrant and refugee communities. we were placed at host sites across the country to work with grassroots members and engage in political education to deepen our political analysis. i was placed at the org that coordinates the fellowship program, the Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco Chinatown.
CPA organizes working class chinese immigrant families to build collective power with other oppressed communities in SF towards social justice and liberation, through organizing, leadership development, and multi-racial alliance building, and community education. essentially, empowering and supporting people in being able to live wholly and with dignity.
since that summer, i've never left cpa - i've staffed the fellowship program the next two years after i was fellow and i've organized events that brought together community. i've also had the honor of working and supporting the most amazing young people/leaders. i coordinated a queer youth program for a year and it was such a powerful experience. the youth are so powerful. seeing how two youth in particular, are so unapologetic in living their truths inspired me to stand firmly in mine.
in a lot of ways, my work with these youth informed the work i hope to do and showed me the necessity of it. what i was bearing witness to was this question of how you can do amazing community work, but how much of that matters if you're still navigating feelings of self-worth and trauma from oppression and interpersonal violence? i am currently in my second/last year of my master's in social work program with a concentration in community mental health. i applied because i want to center personal healing in community as a means of social change in my movement work. i'm here to get the tools to be able to support the mental health and wellness of young people of color within an org that seeks to develop their leadership so individual and community healing can be linked.
i've been fortunate to begin doing that at cpa and continuing this fall through the creation of a youth space that intentionally lifts up issues related to emotional health, wellness, and self-love.
cpa has supported me in my healing process, and my journey to finding my power and owning my voice. i wouldn't have grown so much and be who i am now if they hadn't had taken a risk and accepted me as a Fellow. i've finally settled more into my roots, unlearned a lot of internalized shame, being re-grounded in my language, and finding a sense of home.
the intergenerational work that cpa does deeply moves me as:
- the great granddaughter of Lai, a seamstress and single parent Taishanese womxn,
- the granddaughter of Linda, a resilient womxn who grew up in poverty during the Sino-Japanese war in a village in Guangzhou, migrated to Hong Kong, found a government job, was petitioned over to the U.S, experienced downward social mobility due to language barriers, worked in a factory as a line worker with my grandpa, and
- the daughter of Veronica, who came over to the U.S on a student visa alone and raised me by herself in a low-income household
i learned during the summer when i was fellow and participating in my first ever fundraising campaign that your vision and belief for the cause has to be larger than your fear of asking, of rejection, and of being vulnerable. i’m part of a team that is trying to raise $12K in 5 days! we’re asking our communities for support because the revolution will not be funded.
my goal is to raise $400 in 5 days. if you support the vision of cpa and the work we do, please consider donating. with your donation, you'll be 1) supporting me and my growth, and 2) contributing to the movement where people can live in their full power.
here’s some suggested amounts:
$44 – the number of years CPA has been in existence creating change in SF communities
$28 – the number of months I have been part of CPA
$24 – the number of amazing young people I got to work with
$20 – for the number of years I have been at CPA (2)
$7 - the number of community events I have organized
$5 – justice and liberation > expensive boba drink or starbucks coffee
i would be so appreciative of anything you are willing to give. i'm asking for a donation of at least $5 or whatever feels good to you. please donate by Friday, 9/16!
CHINESE PROGRESSIVE ASSOCIATION wrote -
We are in an urgent political moment. Over the last several years, we have seen the increasing cost of living, gentrification and displacement, and continued attacks on public education impact working class and people of color in San Francisco and the Bay Area. CPA has been leading the fight for a city that serves the needs of all its citizens. Through our work, leaders have stood up against worker exploitation, fought for the $15 minimum wage, fought for housing that low-income immigrant families. While we have transformed lives, we are transforming power in the Bay Area. We are trying to raise 12k in 5 days from September 12-16th to support CPA’s work while broadening and deepening our base of supporters and power. We are doing this during Mid-Autumn, a time of celebrating bounty. We know that we can achieve this goal, with the support of a community that is committed to this work