Black and Asian Solidarity

Amplify Black and Asian Solidarity —  today, and everyday. 

Black communities, Asian communities, and Blasian (Black and Asian) communities have coexisted, intersected, celebrated, resisted, and protected each other throughout history. Solidarity in our communities is historical, present, and futuristic as we continue working individually and collectively in dismantling white supremacy. 

Know that the societal narrative of “tensions between Black and Asian folx” is written by white folx for white folx to intentionally oppress Black, Asian, and Blasian communities. We must hold and create space for our complex, unique experiences as Black, Asian, and Blasian individuals. We must listen to each other’s truths in navigating our livelihoods to radically resist the inequities our systems perpetuate.

Read and learn about Malcolm X and Yuri Kochiyama, Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Boggs and Grace Lee Boggs, among many present day community builders within and across Black, Asian, and Blasian communities. Recognize the importance of intersectional activism and community building for Black, Asian, and Blasian folx.  

Be radically truthful with yourself in your own understanding and/or reckoning of Black and Asian solidarity. 

BLACK AND ASIAN SOLIDARITY
IS A WARM, GLOWING EMBRACE,
A COMMUNAL SPACE,
A RESTING PLACE,
WHERE OUR COLLECTIVE STRENGTH
IS IN UPPER CASE
ALONG A YIN-YANG PENCIL TRACE,
FILLED WITH HARMONY AND GRACE.

As you rest in Golden Power, Michelle Alyssa Go.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CY5HjjlMjpq/

我们是金的。
我们是金的。

We are golden.
We shine bright with our golden light. 
Our community shines bright with your light. 
You shine bright, Michelle Alyssa Go, as you rest in Golden Power.

For my entire life I have taken the subway,
Turning my head this way, then that way
Who will help if I call out hey, 
Who will help if someone wants me gone today?

I stand here now as my heart burns with fury,
I cannot simply say “do not worry”. 
Our community is enraged, we grieve and say again
Another name, another life, gone and then…

Then what? To be an Asian American woman in New York City,
Is to feel major and minor feelings woefully
Is to stay alert hoping we don’t get hurt as we wait for our trains
Is to be filled with sorrow, and our families, with pain

To be Asian American with my eyes above my mask
Is to look all around me, each day that’s a fact
Some may say that this was not racially motivated
But to come together and make a change, for that we are morally obligated

I can feel my body shake as I speak
I am tired of the Asian American woman characterized as “weak”
I urge us all to care for each other
Lend not just one but many helping hands to our sisters and brothers 

Let us change how we care for homeless folks
Let’s take action beyond the words that are deemed woke
Let us cherish the lives and celebrate and thrive
So we all may coexist with joy while we are still alive

Let us look around to each other not out of fear
But for solidarity, hope, and love from and with our peers
Without calling for incarceration
We cannot harm more Black bodies in our 美国 “beautiful country” severed nation

For the Black and Asian communities
We can heal together, and listen to each other’s stories
We can address the mental health crises
And interrupt the racism that kills our souls, minds, and bodies

Broken systems wrangle our humanity with stakes
Two lives have been failed in a system meant to win and to break
Us, We the oppressed, stressed and under duress
Through the daily atrocities – but are still expected to perform at our best

Feel all the feelings this moment may bring
You can cry, you have permission to do more than just languishing 
Care for yourself and remember we can care for our community 
Our liberation is intertwined together, our love and truths will set us free

Our voices matter, Hear our voices
In life, we are always faced with so many choices
Let us join, not only in moments of racial reckoning
Not only when someone is lost or when hate is beckoning

Solidarity is not a rarity, it is a daily commitment we make
In the actions we take to create change, with our youth, and to innovate our fate
For I know, we matter more than just in Black History Month and Lunar New Year
For I know, we are stronger together even as we shed our tears

For we shall not “divide and conquer” our communities in society
Instead we will rise from unjust hypocrisy
Despite injustice that continues to wear a cape of what’s “fair”
Let us abolish what does not work, dismantle the inequitable air

Stronger together, our communities unite 
May our inner strength carry us through this night
We, the people, will rise tall as the skyscraper heights
And together, We shine bright with our golden light. 

我们是金的。
我们是金的。

We are golden.
We shine bright with our golden light. 
Our community shines bright with your light. 
You shine bright, Michelle Alyssa Go, as you rest in Golden Power.

Reframing the common question “Where are you from?”

Language matters. What we ask matters.

For too long, we have been socialized to ask and answer the common question “Where are you from?”

For many Black people and Indigenous communities, this question is triggering because of unknown and/or traumatic, severed pasts due to colonialism. We must remember that personal stories, lineages, cultures, and authentic histories have suffered from systemic erasure globally. 

Asking “Where are you from?” continues to otherize folx who identify as BBIA, adopted, multicultural, and more. 

For the AAPI community, this question reinforces that we do not belong, and is too often followed up with “But where are you really from?” — indicating a displeasure with and refusal of whatever answer originally given, as if to comment that a person could not possibly be from anywhere other than what is close to or matches the mental stereotype within one’s colonized mind.

Decolonize the idea that the question “Where are you from?” must be answered with a geographical location. 

We are from what we say we are from, who we say we are from, where we say we are from, and anything we say we are from that is authentic to who we are.

We each have a multiplicity of identities, and we define for our individual selves if and how we want to respond to this question when we inevitably continue to be asked this throughout our lives.

Our intent matters, and our impact matters.

Reflect on the intent in asking and being asked “Where are you from?”

Regardless of whether the intent in asking meets a surface-level desire to know masked under the false pretense of curiosity that only satisfies the person who asks the question or aims to build one’s understanding, having internalized this question as a truth-bearer of identity, the impact of asking can be harmful, toxic, and traumatic, especially with repetition.

We must reframe the common question “Where are you from?” so that we do not further perpetuate stereotypes, nor do we reduce people to only be representatives of their assumed and/or authentic social groups.

Create and continuously recreate new questions with the intent of building deep understanding across communities and cultures. Involve your communities in this process of reimagination. 

“What do you choose to share about your identity/identities?”

“Where do you call home?”

“Who is your community?”

Freedom dream new ways to define and share who you are — for yourself.

Listen intently and fully to the questions, ideas, stories, emotions, and arts shared with reimagined questions to understand your own self, your community/communities, and fellow communities.

Full Instagram Carousel: https://www.instagram.com/p/CRkoH8lsNsI/

We belong together.

How to describe myself as an Asian American woman right now?
I used to walk on the street, go on the subway and turn the music up real loud
I’m a musician, a teacher, and I want to feel the sound in my bones
Instead I’m scared of having my teeth or head knocked off my orange-seated throne

Every day I gotta choose on my commute, dependent on my mood
Do I go through my lesson in my head, keep my eyes down on my shoes
No, I can’t, instead I stay alert all around me
On a good day I’m listening to a podcast, out of 10 on a volume of 3

How do I begin to explain the daily negotiations 
When news, media, and law don’t acknowledge the racial motivations 
360 West 43rd, I used to live next door
Will it be me or my mom you’ll shut out on the concrete floor

What if I spoke up, how you like that?
I’m dynamite, and a firecracker and I won’t be typecast
I won’t stand for society’s erasure of my i-dentity
I’m here for good measure, for no one’s pleasure, for us and our entities

Strong like chrome I can’t be sanded down
And unlike a cassette tape, I won’t be rewound
Even with my small feet I won’t let me be bound
I can step in and out of Chinatown for my words to be heard and found

My dad emigrated from Hong Kong so my last name TSUI is Cantonese
But (in Cantonese) I do not speak Cantonese, (in English) I’m actually Shanghainese
But (in Shanghainese) if I speak Shanghainese, (in English) y’all go weak at your knees,
And as MC Jin says, y’all better learn Chinese

But being Asian is more than just being from China
I’m a member, a representative of the collective from major to minor
AAPI, a political term for Asian American Pacific Islander
Is not just about East Asians or me that you hear rhyming here

For the South Asians, Brown Asians, Black Asians in our society
Undocumented Asians, adopted Asians, more than obeyers of filial piety
Shouts to Tony Delarosa, Dr. Kevin Nadal
We must be more inclusive than the diversity and equity institutional walls

GoFundMe, Go Fund us in our neighborhoods, our needs and wants
Don’t need the blue eyes white supremacy dragon slanted, tilted, a-Flaunt 
Remember, the system is built on the backs of Black people and labor
When we divide ourselves up we ain’t doing anyone no favors 

Maxine Hong Kingston reminds me of my fellow warrior women
And I want you to listen to the LGBTQ+ and Trans fams, the non-binary people and visions
We must have more than just my mom’s good luck superstitions
Trust y’all, we need to do more learning and listening on our mission

We’re NO model minority, we’re the global majority 
Our voices together are stronger than any authority
So my call to action is for us is to truly unite
We cannot do this alone, we need each other in this fight

Justice is not just is it’s for just us
We cannot take the master’s tools to rectify or make just
We can call to those in power to help our communities
But we must step off each other’s subway stops for true cross-coalition unity 

Let’s stand together and if you need some perspective
Remember that this is lifelong work as one intersectional collective
We are striving for the liberation of our marginalized peoples 
Each one of us is a hero, rest in power 13-year-old Adam Toledo

Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, BBIA
BIPOC solidarity, We’re here united and we will rise today
Black Lives Matter as we stand on Munsee Lenape Indigenous Lands
Deep within us, we’re together, our hearts, souls, and hands

It’s 4.4, the anniversary of Dr. King’s final breath countdown
AAPI history, lives, and arts in schools, Ethnic studies is the starting ground
We must eradicate anti-Blackness, It’s not simply just stop Asian hate
Ask “how can I use my voice to activate and stop ALL hate”?

And beyond that I’m asking that we spread so much love
As powerful as the firebird’s flames and the peace of a soaring dove
And to tell every kid we know in our lives and see,
“You matter, and know your voice can set you free”

For my grandfathers and my grandmother, who I’ve never met
I am your wildest dream each day from sunrise to sunset
Today is 清明节 (Qing Ming Jie), a day that means literally clear and bright
In many Asian cultures, it’s a day of rituals for our ancestors’ spirit and might

And for them, our ancestors, our presence, our future, for all to hear
it’s not just we belong here
It’s we belong – together. 

For our ancestors, each other, this moment, our children, say this with me:

I shine bright with my golden light.
I shine bright with my golden light.

Dear grandfathers, grandmothers, I will protect your daughter and son
My mom and my dad, I will protect all our loved ones
As my students say, our joy is revolutionary,
Because we are golden, we are worthy.

Today, I want to end with Isang Bagsak. Isang Bagsak is a solidarity clap that originated in the cross-cultural fight unifying Filipinx and Latinx communities through Larry Itliong and Cezar Chavez. Isang Bagsak literally translates to “one down” and is a unity clap – to signal unity in movements together and that this moment is one down, of many more to go. I learned this from Tony Delarosa, and I am not the culture bearer of “Isang Bagsak”, I am a culture sharer. I, along with all of you, will start clapping together – slowly. As we gain momentum and the clap gets faster and louder, pulsating here in New York City, I will say “Isang Bagsak”, and right after you hear that, we will clap ONE TIME together – as a collective. Let’s do it. 

Isang Bagsak
加油 (Jia You)
My name is Alice Tsui.
Thank you.

Times Square Takeover to Stop Asian Hate 4.4.21 | Photo Credit: Sang Cheng