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    reunited at Sina’s graduation celebration / sandy: my kappa, iap, capricorn sister. (at San Diego CA. USA)

    reunited at Sina’s graduation celebration / sandy: my kappa, iap, capricorn sister. (at San Diego CA. USA)

  2. 2
    one of my favorite younger fellows from the #seedingchange summer fellowship at #CPA. role reversal! (at Chinese Progressive Association)

    one of my favorite younger fellows from the #seedingchange summer fellowship at #CPA. role reversal! (at Chinese Progressive Association)

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    safeer mc palestine - “free palestine”

    “what happen in 9/11 happens in Palestine 24/7”
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    The cherry blossom falls after its short beautiful bloom.

    It floats gently down to earth. Its life is over, but the limitedness of its existence is one of the biggest reasons the blossom is so gorgeous. If we knew that the blossom would last forever, it wouldn’t have the same poignant beauty, and we’d take it for granted.

    The blossom’s impermanence, its fleetingness, its transience — this is why we appreciate it.

    Our lives are similarly short. We have but a moment on this rock, but we forget that impermanence and take our days for granted. We fritter away those days with the wasted activities of TV, social media, computer games.

    If we remember the impermanence of life, perhaps we could appreciate its gentle passing with as much appreciation as a cherry blossom.

    Impermanence and Suffering

    Our struggle with impermanence causes much, if not all, of our suffering. We don’t want things to change, we want things to be the way we want them. And when they aren’t, we are stressed out, frustrated, disappointed, grieving, mourning, wishing things were different.

    But what if we could accept this impermanence, accept the reality of this moment, embrace it as we do the cherry blossom?

    We might be a bit more at peace with reality:

    • My wife’s father has dementia, and this means the painful decline of his life. This is understandably hard for those of us who love him, but what if we could appreciate the beauty of his life, and who he is at this moment, instead of struggling against the loss of what he was?
    • My father has diabetes and is suffering declining health, and that’s hard for me and my siblings to watch. But what if we found the beauty in the moments we still have with him, and appreciate what he’s given us already?
    • There is some fat on my stomach, and when I look at it I sometimes wish for the leanness of my youth. What if, instead, I could see the aging as a reminder of life’s impermanence, and realize that I have less time now than I did at 19, and set out to make the most of the moments I have left?
    • We have a son moving on to adulthood, which is difficult for us because it’s like we’re losing a child, and he’ll be going out into the world without our protection, exposed to the world’s many daggers and insults. What if instead we appreciate the moments we have with him in our home, and embrace the new son we have, grown and ready to experience a new life?
    • I have some work I’ve been resisting for various reasons, probably because I’m afraid I don’t know what I’m doing and think it will disappoint people. But I can’t know what life will bring, and can’t control what will come. All I can do is appreciate this moment, and endeavor to do my best with this work, and not squander the precious time I’ve been given to do this work.
    • There are times I get frustrated with not sticking to a plan, because yes, I fail at sticking to things like everyone else. But this is life — unexpected, uncontrollable, not according to plan. We want to control things by planning and sticking to a plan, but life changes and fails to conform. We can embrace this uncontrollable reality by accepting what happens, adjusting, figuring out a new plan in the moment and accepting that this might not turn out as we expect either.
    • Often unexpected changes come up to our day that cause frustration. A crisis, an unexpected visitor, an unplanned event. We can resist these changes and be angry, or accept that life is unpredictable, full of changes, and appreciate this ever-changing nature of life as part of its wonder.

    In each of these situations, the impermanent, ever-changing nature of life can cause stress, frustration, sadness and anger. But when we embrace the impermanence and work with it, life can be a joy, and we can appreciate the painful beauty of this temporary existence.

    As we watch the blossom falling, we see ourselves in it, and we feel the gravity of the moment.

  5. 1

    "the places of possibility within ourselves are dark because they are ancient and hidden; they have survived and grown strong through that darkness. within these deep places, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling."

    - audre lorde
  6. 1

    seeding change fellowship reflection: June 30 - July 3, 2014

    This week at the Chinese Progressive Association - San Francisco, I experienced various emotions from the work I was doing and the conversations I engaged with. I met with the supervisors and fellows for our respective projects for the summer to look at the goals, outcomes, and create a timeline for process. I also did street outreach in the Excelsior district to gather pledge card signatures in support of CPA’s org-wide summer campaigns – increasing the minimum wage to $15/hr in four years and the anti-speculation tax. Lastly, we also participated in an information exchange with a couple of organizations involved in the Bad Apple protest that we went to afterwards, where I learned about the ways that Apple has been violating the rights of workers and students in China, Philippines, and the U.S
    At the Apple exchange, an organizer from Hong Kong said something that made me re-see the importance and intention of outreaching. She said that it would be great if as a result of this protest, Apple changed their practices like allowing security guards to unionize as well or dropping the security firm that is currently subcontracted by the stores. However, the main goal is to change the public’s view so that they will speak out and the stores/management will listen to what the public has to say. It was really interesting because it wasn’t something that I necessarily thought about – I saw them as mutually exclusive.

    The week started off challenging because I learned that I felt challenged by the constraints I have created for myself. This showed up in my outreaching that I did my first week, participating in protests, and speaking Cantonese. I remembered what Linda said at the grassroots fundraising training – that my belief in the cause has to be greater than my fear. I re-learned that my fear was larger than my vision. In attending my second protest, I felt the same feelings of being uncomfortable in the beginning and feeling like I was a fish in a fishbowl from people looking and taking photos of us. As time went on in both, I felt better because I kept the vision and intention of the protest at the forefront and felt the solidarity with the other people. I learned that I needed to shift my ingrained internalizations of being seen as a quiet Asian American womxn.   

    At the same time, I experienced feelings of frustration, embarrassment, and shame at being able to understand Cantonese, but could only speak a little. I am missing a lot of vocabulary and connecting words and practicing Cantonese this week brought up the uncomfortable feelings that made me feel stressed and defeated. I see language as an integral part of doing work within the Asian immigrant community and not being able to communicate, makes me feel separate. In those moments, I learned that my fear of messing up and not being able to curl my tongue and replicate what I could hear and understand prevented me from wanting to try.

    Something that organizer, Ken, said during our reflection session resonated with me. He told us, “the point of organizing is for people to take risks. You may not win the campaign and workers may not get a single cent from their back wages. Even though there are tangible costs of speaking out, we still want to push them so that they reach their full potential as leaders.” I took what he said about the importance of risk taking with me on Thursday when we did street outreach for the second time. This week I felt less afraid – instead of ending my rap with asking, “do you support this and can you sign this pledge card?” I asked if they relate to the campaign issues and if they have any questions. I pushed myself to take a risk in asking open-ended questions even though it meant opening the window to be challenged or be asked a question I don’t know the answer to, all of which usually promotes nervousness. However, I reminded myself that outreach is about building relationships, which is important in building the movement.

    For the coming week and I imagine for many weeks after this fellowship, the advice I want to give to myself is to be patient with my process and ground myself in the quote by Mary Anne Radmacher: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”

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    past and current fellows!


    This summer, I have been given the opportunity to be a part of the National Fellowship Program for Asian American Organizing, launched this year through the Seeding Change program: A Center for Asian American Movement Building. Coordinated by the Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco Chinatown, the program trains and cultivates young Asian American activists to be organizers and do movement building work to develop the power of working class Asian immigrant communities. Along with 16 other fellows, we are placed at host sites around the country learning about the issues faced within the communities through on the ground grassroots community organizing, participating in weekly political education trainings, and engaging in reflection sessions.  

    Applying to the fellowship came at a time when I couldn’t shake the strong pull yet anxiousness at the thought of doing work in this community. Over the past couple of years, I have been doing mostly capacity building and direct service in predominately black/brown communities, which was important, but it didn’t change systems or build collective power. I saw this as an opportunity to get back to the roots of how I got politicized and reconnect to what really grounds me in this work - my great grandma/grandma/mama’s struggles and resilience, growing up in a low-income single mama household and immigrant family, understanding my hxstory as an Asian American (specifically Chinese American) womxn of color, and my intersecting identities. 

    As a Fellow, I’m able to learn the necessary and tangible skills to do systems change work and sharpen the lens that I view the world. I’m also furthering my personal development – continuing to learn about myself, step out of my comfort zone, and to gain the confidence in myself to do this work in this community as an Asian American womxn with particular family experiences. The skills I am gaining has allowed me to build upon my current foundation so that I can better serve the communities I am a part of and work towards collective community healing. Lastly, I’m finding new ways of integrating movement-building skills with the personal empowerment/transformation of individuals.

    It is said, “the revolution will not be funded.” This is why we’re asking our communities for support because launching a new national fellowship program that is prioritizing what is needed for the movement rather than what is fundable is expensive. My goal is to raise $400. If you support the intentions of this fellowship program and believe in the power of young people and the importance of movement building, then please consider donating. With your donation, you’ll be: 1) supporting me and investing in my growth, and 2) furthering a movement where people can live wholly and with dignity. I would be really appreciative of any you are able to give. 


  8. 2

    I’m trying to remember that old ways of protecting aren’t necessary

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  10. 40

    "This is for those of us
    who grew up without fathers
    who have only known
    a mother’s touch

    Darling, you are not a wayside thought
    Just because your father
    could not love you
    the way you wanted
    does not mean
    you are undeserving

    Take those words
    dad and daddy and baba
    The only person those names belong to
    will never hear them
    Roll these words around on your tongue
    Remember how this feels
    the strength you have built from absence

    He will not walk you down the aisle
    but you are not anyone’s to give away
    So as you walk toward your future
    look at your mother
    Remember how she has tried
    to give you the universe
    She would reel in
    the Milky Way if she could
    to light your path

    This is for those of us
    who know earth is a woman
    She has never needed another
    to hold her gravity"

    - Carmen Ye l letter to my mother #9 (via wordsileftbehind)
"it’s time for us to move like water; infinite like the ocean, with the strength and direction of a thousand rivers carving routes to freedom; unafraid" -climbing poetree

25. dragon capricorn. isf(/t)j. asian american womyn. reflector.
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