Happy first day of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month! This month, we celebrate the vibrant historic and ongoing grassroots organizing for working-class, pan-Asian, immigrant and refugee communities. Crucial to the sustainability and success of this organizing work is mutual support between organizations that helps us build our capacity, resources, and movement infrastructure. That’s why GAR is excited for our upcoming National Convening in Los Angeles, CA, this July! This Convening will boost our collective capacity to improve the lives of working-class pan-Asian communities across the United States.
“Lotus and Rice,” the theme of our Convening, is an evolution of the popular slogan "bread for all, and roses too" which rallied the women’s and workers’ rights movements in the early 1900s. Lotus and rice are both plants found, appreciated, and eaten throughout the pan-Asian diaspora. The lotus flower is often a symbol of prosperity and enlightenment, and rice is a staple food that sustains billions of people around the world. Lotus when planted in rice patties promotes and exponentiates the growth of rice by improving soil quality and promoting a more sustainable farming system. This is what we hope GAR and the National Convening can achieve for our member organizations and the movement field. When we unite grassroots groups together to cross pollinate, we are able to accelerate learning and increase the skillsets of our membership to more effectively organize. Neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city, state by state, we are striving towards a shared vision of a sustainable, powerful, and progressive national working-class pan-Asian ecosystem. This convening will be a place for leaders to build personal and political relationships, share landscape assessments, and provide peer-to-peer support to strengthen base-building, leadership development, and campaign strategy towards a shared common vision. Here's what some of our member organizations are excited about for this convening:
OPAWL is a grassroots, member-led community organization that organizes for social justice and elevates the voices, visibility, and progressive leadership of Asian and Asian American women and nonbinary people in Ohio. OPAWL is always doing the crucial work to build up the Asian American movement infrastructure in the Midwest, and we are excited for what new perspectives they’ll share with all of GAR at the Convening.
At GAR, we are focused on building connections between grassroots organizations across the country that will advance our political agenda to empower and uplift the most marginalized and under attack in our communities. Lavender Phoenix is always bringing critical insight and perspectives with their experiences building queer and transgender Asian and Pacific Islander power to increase the visibility of Queer and Trans communities. Through organizing in the Bay Area, Lavender Phoenix trains grassroots leaders, transforms values from scarcity to abundance, and partners with organizations to sustain a vibrant movement ecosystem, and we know their work and leadership will be an inspiration to all of GAR.
Adhikaar is committed to improving the lives of the Nepali-speaking community and getting marginalized voices heard in the social justice movement. Adhikaar has assisted thousands of individuals and families; trained hundreds of new leaders; and successfully changed policies and created new laws at local, state, national, and international levels. Recently, Adhikaar shared with GAR their strategies to effectively build working-class bases, and we are excited for these conversations to continue into our Convening!
Thank you to our funders who have made our National Convening possible, including Activate California, Okumura Family Foundation, East Bay Community Foundation, Democracy Fund, Four Freedoms Fund, Liberty Hill Foundation, Akonadi Foundation, Emergent Fund, Unbound Philanthropy, and Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Foundation.