Over the last year 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 must be connected.
Throughout the history of our organization, we have highlighted the intersectionality of LGBTQ oppression as it touches every other social justice movement. For about a decade we’ve enjoyed a partnership with Pacific Arts Movement having worked with strong vocal LGBTQ allies, former and current executive directors, Lee Ann Kim and Kent Lee. Pride has funded and promoted screenings at the annual San Diego Asian Film Festival that tell the stories and lived experiences of LGBTQ APIMEDA (Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and Desi Americans) people.
Following the legacy of the San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition, and Latinx Coalition, LGBTQ APIMEDA, community members formed the San Diego Queer APIMEDA Coalition in 2019 to help build intentional culturally empowering spaces within our tent pole events and year-round programming. Their work alongside the two other coalitions helped to create a strong, visible LGBTQ BIPOC contingent in our annual parade and a POC Passport at our Festival highlighting QTBIPOC businesses and organizations. The group also created the Asian Night Market within our Pride festival to showcase LGBTQ APIMEDA food, businesses, music, and community groups.
Last year, as the pandemic took hold, our QAPIMEDA 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 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 are working to amplify and cultivate leadership within the API community, and we are proud to have San Diego Pride’s Marketing & Communications Manager and QAPIMEDA founder Alex C. Villafuerte serve as their co-chair. Pride’s QAPIMEDA Coalition has also joined NQAPIA’s federation, which opens up our program to a broader national network of collaboration and capacity building.
I write every week to remind us of our interconnectedness. To understand our history, and how we are connected to this legacy of work in our present. Our movements are connected. The road ahead is hard. Even some of the rooms and work we are invited into don’t yet fully acknowledge the LGBTQ community’s part to play in the broader struggle for social justice, or our need for equality. We know. We are working. Together, we will weave more tightly the movement for liberation because we are Resilient.
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride