Tuesday, July 3, 2007

How to move forward…

This week at the USSF, I have been inspired, rejuvenated, and challenged. Amidst all of the energy and excitement, I have also been really reflective. There is amazing work being done all over the country and this has really got me thinking about how to move forward with my own work. But at this moment, I feel very exhausted. I feel a mixture of: 1) I want to sleep for a week straight and 2) when I get back to my office I am gonna be working around the clock to kick some ass!

But before I can move forward full force, I really feel that I need to have a deeper understanding the history of activism in the Asian women's community. In order to know where we will go, we have to know where we've come from, right? I helped facilitate a workshop on building a movement of justice and power among Asian & Pacific Islander women and girls. In this workshop, we talked about our history of activism and created a timeline that listed how much women in our community have done in the social justice movement - but it has not been recorded or recognized. There is a stereotype that API women are quiet and don't cause a stir. But we are fierce sisters! This has really encouraged me and my fierce sisters to create a timeline that honors the work our API sisters have done and to incorporate it in NAPAWF's training curriculum.

The Power of Gender & Sexuality

I found the plenary on gender & sexuality to be the most powerful, most passionate, and most radical plenary of all those I attended. Leaving the Civic Center, I felt challenged and inspired. Andrea Smith was incredible – her closing remark absolutely rocked the entire Civic Center: "If another world is possible, why is the US necessary?" Her words on colonialism & militarism, and their impacts on women, is so critical in this movement against neoliberalism. I appreciated Loretta Ross's critique on how we hurt ourselves by creating schisms between us, fighting for "ownership" of an issue, and re-creating systems of patriarchy and oppression in the movement. I found it to be real and she spoke truth to power. I think it's easy for us to say that we want and need to work together on whatever issue we work on, but it's not always that easy. And Mia Mingus was absolutely amazing! Her experience as a queer woman of color with a disability really underscored the fact that all of our struggles are interconnected – we cannot address one without touching on the other.

In thinking about the political landscape and the state of this capitalist world, I can't even imagine how much work it will require to counter this pervasive neoliberalist regime. But what inspires me the most is thinking about all of the great connections I have made this past week and hearing such powerful stories. In getting to know people on a personal level, I was also able to connect with their spirit for truth, peace, and justice. That was really powerful for me.

It will be a challenge to push ourselves outside of our little world and remember to stay connected to others and to the broader social justice movement – but we have to in order to create another world.

--Liezl Rebugio

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