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Week of Action to highlight Asian American and Pacific Islander resilience, resistance, affirmation and power

Aug. 27 programming will explore both historical and contemporary AAPI realities

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Jason Leung in Unsplash

LOUISVILLE — Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will be in the spotlight next Friday as a full day of the Presbyterian Week of Action is devoted to issues and concerns related to those communities.

Co-organizer Myles Markham, a Presbyterian Disaster Assistance staffer, explained why it’s important to have a day focusing on “AAPI Resilience, Resistance, Affirmation and Power.”

“Despite AAPI migration to North America beginning as early as the 1500s, our histories and contributions have often been ignored, mocked, or rendered invisible,” said Markham, a mission specialist for National Disaster Response.

Yet, AAPI people have been the targets of hate and discrimination, most recently reflected in an increase in hate crimes and attacks during the pandemic.

Organizers of Friday’s events will use storytelling, historical inquiry and multiple forms of media to engage themes and issues including the state of AAPI communities, AAPI intersectional identities, what it means to form cross-identity solidarity with each other as well as other communities, and more, according to the organizers and the Week of Action website.

Myles Markham

“For our fellow AAPI friends and colleagues, our hope is that our programming serves as a site of recovery, validation, and empowerment,” Markham said. “For our non-AAPI friends and colleagues, we hope it is an opportunity to grow in their understanding of AAPI issues and catalyzes their next steps in advancing AAPI dignity in the church and beyond.”

The Week of Action, which runs from Monday, Aug. 23, through Sunday, Aug. 29, is designed to bring attention and action to people and communities living under different forms of oppression. It’s a response to the PC(USA)’s Matthew 25 invitation and Hands & Feet initiative.

Viewers who come to the Week of Action page Aug. 27 will have a lot to choose from.

“Through prayer, poetry, story, presentation, and guided discussion, we intend to illuminate just some of the extensive diversity that exists within AAPI communities, the issues we face, and the hopes that we have for our futures,” Markham said. “We will do this by exploring both historical and contemporary AAPI realities, the movement work that has advanced our causes, and by highlighting some of organizations, ideas, and leaders that are guiding the way on what it means for all AAPI communities to be able to flourish.”

Organizers hope that viewers will see this day as just the beginning of ongoing engagement with issues faced by AAPI people and communities.

valerie izumi

valerie izumi, Assistant Stated Clerk, GA Nominations, Office of the General Assembly, has said, “We call on siblings who participate in the offerings during the Day of AAPI Resilience, Resistance, Power and Affirmation to be so moved that they continue to learn about, advocate for, and act on the complex and critical issues faced by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”

izumi also noted, “We have provided, via social media, several calls to action and resources for those who don’t know where to start or want to learn how to deepen their understanding and become more faithfully engaged.”

Here the day’s schedule (All times Eastern):

9-10:30 a.m. International Coalition of Resistance to Anti-Asian Racism in the U.S. Foreign Policy: How Asian Americans, Asians, and their Allies are Coming Together Against Anti-Asian Orientalism in U.S. Policy Toward Korea to end the Korean War and Build Relationships of Peace.

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Courageous Embodiment: Speaking Our Stories, Racism/Anti-racism 301: AAPI Solidarity & Invisibility and Rest in Peace|Rest in Power Meditation.  

1-2:30 p.m. Beyond the Monolith: Inter-AAPI Conversations.  

3-4:15 p.m. AAPI Love, Beauty, Joy, & Affirmation: An Antidote to AAPI Hate.  

All events will stream on the Week of Action webpage. Go there for a full description of events.

This is the sixth of seven stories detailing each day of the Week of Action.

Other Week of Action previews

Aug. 23: Middle East Monday will set the tone for Week of Action

Aug. 24: Week of Action to highlight Hispanic-Latina community

Aug. 25: Week of Action LGBTQIA+ day includes homage to Mister Rogers

Aug. 26: Responding to a crisis in Indigenous communities is the focus of Week of Action Thursday

Aug. 28: ‘The struggle does not define us’

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