2022 Program Topic:
Asian and Pacific Islander
Friday November 18
What is food, and how is it central to timely and urgent conversations around identity, racial justice, community organizing, environmental activism, and decolonization? For so many people, especially BIPOC, food is so much more than what goes in our bellies. It is a lifeline back to other homelands, a conduit for immigrant parents’ love, a medicine that transcends borders, or a map that tells stories of resistance, migration, struggle, survival, and joy. Christopher Tse and Meenakshi Verma-Agrawal will facilitate an interactive space in which we explore and reclaim our relationships with food, community, and identity. Through small group work, circle, and storytelling approaches, this workshop seeks to unpack questions such as: “What’s your favorite cultural practice around food?” “What’s an example of a time you felt embarrassed or ashamed about food?” and “How do you cook your rice?”
In a time of globalization and easy access to other cultures, food has become yet another site of colonialism, power, and white supremacy. Celebrity chefs rave about the utility of turmeric and star anise while gentrification shuts down old kitchen bastions of racialized communities and replaces them with culinary fusion cafes that photograph well for social media. It’s time to reclaim these stories. This workshop is for every kid who’s ever been afraid to open their lunchbox in the cafeteria. We see you, we’ve been there. Let’s talk about shame, and joy, and cut fruit. Let’s talk about spices and identity. Let’s talk about how we cook rice.
Saturday November 19
Race Forward’s Butterfly Lab for Immigrant Narrative Strategy was launched in 2020 to build power for effective narratives that honor the humanity of migrants, refugees, and immigrants, and advance freedom and justice for all. This year, the Butterfly Lab rolled out and trained organizations, institutions, and artists in its groundbreaking approach to narrative design and strategy. Utilizing narrative tools the Lab has tested and taught extensively, this breakout session will participants an opportunity to explore beginning and advanced topics in narrative strategy. It will be specifically grounded in our learnings from the scaled immigrant narrative projects of the Chrysalis Lab, original commissioned research conducted this year, and two years of advanced praxis in narrative design. The session is open to all who are interested, including those who have participated in Butterfly Lab work over the past two years, or to those who are new to narrative design and strategy. It will culminate in a process that allows participants to better advance an aligned narrative strategy for the immigrant movement. (Note: While we will be focusing on our work on immigrant narrative, all who are interested in narrative and cultural strategy are welcome.)
Tensions between the US and China have been on the rise for years, and sharply escalated through the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to escalated anti-Asian and Sinophobic sentiments, impacting Asian American communities domestically. As Professor Russell Jeung, cofounder of Stop AAPI Hate, has said, “When America China-bashes, then Chinese get bashed, and so do those who look Chinese. American foreign policy in Asia is American domestic policy for Asians.”
In 2022, we have found that rhetoric that scapegoats China for problems in the US has been become increasingly important to Republican Party strategy, and has also been incorporated into Democratic Party strategy in efforts to win over white swing voters.
What is the connection between racism and foreign policy? How do we address this question within Democratic Party politics? What role must communities play in opposing scapegoating during elections?
This workshop will seek to explore these questions through the case study of Asian American Midwest Progressives’ response to US Senate Candidate Tim Ryan’s “One Word” advertisement. The ad ran in March and April of 2022, and featured the candidate naming China as the main reason why American workers are suffering, putting AAPI communities in Ohio at risk. AAMP’s Ohio chapter mobilized to oppose this xenophobic rhetoric and demand the ad be taken down. We invite those interested in anti-racist electoral work to join this workshop to strategize possible responses to scapegoating in election campaigns and draw connections between foreign policy and impacts on communities of color.