The First 100 Days are over. But the work of social and personal transformation never truly ends.
It struck me, this week, that Trump’s first 100 days ended just before the start of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. A friend recently pointed out that one of the tasks at hand for people working to move Asian American communities is to connect our work today with a heritage of radical action. For me, spending time during these First 100 Days with both a spiritual and cultural practice of reflection has helped me ground myself in this chaotic time.
Lately I’ve been reading adrienne maree brown’s excellent new book, _Emergent Strategy. In it, she describes a poster that was framed and hung on the wall in Grace Lee Boggs’ home in Detroit. It said: BUILDING COMMUNITY IS TO THE COLLECTIVE AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE IS TO THE INDIVIDUAL. What both community and spiritual practice do is ground us–in ourselves, in our ancestors, and in each other. Connecting to our heritage of radical action is part of building that community.
Often, such history is intentionally obscured. Whether it’s worker’s movements here in the United States as well as in our countries of origin; internationalist struggles against imperialism and authoritarianism like the Ghadar Party or the movement to get the U.S. out of Okinawa; or independent publishing speaking truth to power, these stories deserve to be revisited. But we need to seek them out.
The idea that Asian Americans don’t organize, or that we are quiet model minorities, has had its day. Unearthing our radical history is one small, yet crucial, part of dismantling it. And dismantle it we must. This story others tell about us is an instrument of racial, gender, and class oppression.
In the first 100 days, many of you made pledges, plans, and practices to resist – in every way we could. From showing up to marches to deepening the bonds between our friends and neighbors, from talking to our families about what’s at stake to caring for ourselves so that we can be stronger, together, you took on the challenge.
This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we’re also grounding ourselves in our legacy of radical action. Follow along on Facebook as we share 31 heroes for 31 days. I hope you find some strength, inspiration, and maybe some new ideas along the way.
– Cayden, 18MR Executive Director