It’s been a week since I first started at CAAAV!
I feel like I’m slowing getting the hang of things as days go by. On Friday I went to Vladeck public housing nearby Chinatown to gauge the amount of Asian American tenants there and John and I sure learned a lot. Social conditions there go beyond just housing, but also how the Asian tenants are organized. Apparently there are social workers that work with Asian tenants there, and they can be a great influence or a nuisance. For the most part, I have been working on AYA (Asian Youth in Action) stuff, including helping with planning the summer schedule, developing curriculum for the various political education workshops, and more pressingly, working with youth leaders on the group interview structure for this summer’s AYA youth. The interviews are tomorrow and Sunday, and I am super excited. I enjoyed working with the three girls who came in for long hours to work out how they want the group interview to go. I think it is incredible that they get to create their own interview and administer it. I am excited to sit in as support and backup with Ruben and Jeff. I read the interviewees’ applications yesterday and some youth are greatly insightful and enlightened beyond their years. I wish I was half as aware of oppression and as eloquent when I was 18. I think the caliber of youth this summer will be incredible and I am excited to be a part of it.
Everyone at work has been super supportive! Jeff gave me really encouraging and useful feedback, and I feel like I have control over my work and environment because everyone trusts me and give me the freedom to do my work.
Another thing the other interns and I started to work on is planning for the summer screening fundraiser. We watched the documentary that will be featured in the fundraiser and it is called Delano Manongs, and it is about Larry Itliong’s involvement with organizing Filipino farm workers in Delano, California to strike in 1965. I don’t know much about Asian American history, and it is interesting to learn about something crucial to labor history that is very multiracial and progressive in its time. Learning about a side of history, the Filipino involvement and initiation of the strike, that is very unheard of, as opposed to the Mexican majority in the united farm workers movement, reminds me of a piece called Minority Histories, Subaltern Pasts that I read in one of my study abroad courses with Dr. Rodriguez ;) How history is written and perceived and continued is really important and history in its traditional sense fails to capture a lot of important details. I started doing outreach by contacting Filipinos I know and unsurprisingly, their close-knit network made my work way easier and for now the people who have replied to me seem enthusiastic to help spread the word! I think there will be a great turnout for the screening fundraiser, and I hope I get to serve drinks during the event. No one is liked more than the person who hands you happiness in a cup, am I right?
One thing I want to work on more intentionally is using the correct preferred gender pronouns for one of my bosses/supervisors. The person’s preferred gender pronouns are they/them/ and their name, and I’ve slipped up a few times already the past week, because I did not even think about it when I said it and I did not notice I did it until others pointed it out to me. As much as I study gender and sexuality, I have met very few people who go by alternative gender pronouns, so I have very little practice with training that part of my life and it makes me feel awful that I internalize gender binary and speech so thoroughly that it is completely automatic and unconscious to assign gender pronouns to people. I think it makes them less than comfortable and I want to work harder at challenging myself to be sensitive to interactions like that and to create a comfortable environment for them.