Over the past two years, we have seen a disturbing rise in anti-API hate-fueled violence and xenophobic attitudes stoked by the former administration’s disgusting rhetoric. In 2013, our Spirit of Stonewall Rally had openly gay artist, author, and activist, George Takei, as our keynote speaker. Takei is a survivor of the US internment camps that wrongly imprisoned approximately 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry. He reminded us all from our stage how deeply connected our struggles were and are, that our fight for LGBTQ equality and racial justice is and must always be connected.
In 2020, as the pandemic took hold, members of our Queer APIMEDA Coalition committee began to tell us about the racist, xenophobic harassment and discrimination they were enduring. We knew we had to respond. Together with the Pacific Arts Movement, Pride worked to rally over 70 API organizations to publicly denounce hate, stand in solidarity with other anti-racist movements, and declare that Black Lives Matter.
Since that statement was issued, the group formalized into the San Diego API Coalition. Together they have been working to amplify and cultivate leadership within the API community and have raised funds to build capacity with local API-serving organizations. Throughout the redistricting process for the city of San Diego and National City, it was clear that API leadership and solidarity work brought together one of the most intersectional coalitions of LGBTQ BIPOC organizations and organizers this region has ever seen.
Two years into the pandemic, and one year after the Atlanta shooting, it’s important for us to know that this targeted hate and violence directed at our API siblings is far from over and is taking a physical and psychological toll. Just two weeks ago, one of our QAPIMEDA co-chairs was pushed down an escalator at a mall while the person spewed racist comments. These continued attacks should only strengthen our resolve toward solidarity work.
For nearly a decade we have enjoyed our partnership with PacArts as they have included LGBTQ film tracks and tentpole films highlighting stories at the intersection of these lived experiences. Our QAPIMEDA program will again be partnering with NQAPIA this year for a State of the National API Movement event and from May 29 – June 4, 2022, will be hosting Queer Transgender Asian Pacific Islander (QTAPI) Week, 7 days of intentional intersectional programming. Our Pride Festival will also include an expanded Asian Night Market with music, performances, food, art, and resources created by and for our LGBTQ API community.
I write these newsletters every week to remind us of our interconnectedness. To help us remember and understand our history. Our movements are connected, and they are stronger when we are intentional about intersectional solidarity work. Together, we will weave more tightly the movement for liberation and pursue Justice with Joy.
Fernando Zweifach López Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs Executive Director San Diego Pride
Fernando Lopez is the Executive Director of San Diego Pride. Lopez’s years of LGBT advocacy, nonprofit management, public education, diversity consulting, media relations, guest lectures, and organizing have made them a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.