We are not an organization but we are organized.
We are a diverse group of Asian voices coming from the Philippines, Vietnam, India, China, Pakistan, Korea, Burma, Japan, and other nations, based in the Bay Area. We are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, educators and organizers, students and teachers, artists and techies, dancers and workers, youth and elders. We are immigrant and U.S. born, we are queer and we are straight, we are many genders, we are families. From our many walks of life, we have come together in response to a call from Black Lives Matter Bay Area (including the BlackOut Collective, Black Brunch organizers, Onyx Organizing Committee, and more) and the larger Black Lives Matter movement, to put forward these principles and protocols as a model for why and how we, as diverse Asian communities around the country and the world, can show up in solidarity with Black people in this struggle.
We understand that our liberation depends on the liberation of Black people, and echo the demands that have come out of Ferguson:
“We are striving for a world where we deal with harm in our communities through healing, love, and kinship. This means an end to state sponsored violence, including the excessive use of force by law enforcement. We are committed to an America that comes to terms with the trauma of its painful history and finds true reconciliation for it. Mass incarceration and the over criminalization of Black and Brown people must forever end, leaving in its place a culture that embraces our histories and stories. This means an end to racial bias and White supremacy in all its forms.
Our dreams are directly linked with those resisting militarism, war, and state repression around the world.
We will achieve this new beloved community hand in hand, step by step, in global solidarity with all people committed to lasting peace and full justice.”
PRINCIPLES: Why we believe in doing this work
- We acknowledge that we, as Asians, have often been used as part of a “divide-and-conquer” strategy to uphold white supremacy. We refuse to be used as tools to uphold a racist and violent system.
- Many of our communities have faced state repression and capitalist violence in our homelands and many Asian Americans are particularly vulnerable to state violence (including refugees, those targeted by surveillance and profiling, those who are undocumented, and those who are Sikh or Muslim) including police violence. We recognize that we are targeted differently than Black people and we also recognize the relationship between racist, militarized police forces waging wars on Black people, and imperialist forces waging wars in our homelands. We are determined to resist both.
- We understand that racist police violence is but one manifestation of the ongoing war on Black people. Mass incarceration, gentrification, unequal pay, mass unemployment, and inaccessible housing, education, land, fresh food, water, and healthcare are some of the other manifestations. In standing with Black people in this struggle, we are therefore standing not only against racist police violence but against all war tactics.
- While much of the discourse has centered on violence against Black men and boys, we also mark here, and remember the brutalities against Black women and in particular transwomen. We share the call for and commitment to the liberation of all Black people.
- We know that our own struggles for freedom and liberation have been deeply influenced by Black American struggles that preceded us. Black communities have paid dearly for resisting their own oppression, and in doing so, they have also paved the way for our resistances. The time has come for our resistance to be in solidarity with theirs.
- We remember that we have always had leaders like Yuri Kochiyama, Grace Lee Boggs, Kartar Dhillon, and others in our community who have resisted anti-Black racism and leveraged their relative privilege to stand in struggle with Black communities. We remember the importance of humility as we aspire to follow in their footsteps, committed to advancing their visions in ways relevant to our times.
PROTOCOLS: How we believe in doing this work
- Embrace Frontline Leadership, Center Blackness
We understand that the path to liberation for all communities travels through the liberation of Black communities in America. When Black people have justice and liberation, we all move one big step closer to real freedom. To us, solidarity encompasses understanding that we will never be truly free till Black people are free. We will keep our messages and slogans on the theme of Black Lives Matter, not All Lives Matter.
- We are committed to centering frontline leadership, and in this struggle that means centering Black organizations locally and nationally linked to this movement.
With this commitment, we also understand that Black leaders and movements are not monolithic and we recognize some Black-led groups are also in (trans)formation stages. We respect and appreciate the diversity in their voices, strategies, and tactics, We will stay accountable to these diverse priorities specifically in relation to goals, vision, message, tone and choreographing of actions. We will raise our voices with, not above, those of Black people in this movement.
- Organize Our People
We are committed to taking these messages home to our families and communities. We will continue to create spaces and tools for people who are not already politicized on this issue to be informed and mobilized; we will be resolute but kind in bringing our families along.We will connect the momentum of this movement moment to the long term struggles of our own communities. We will not leave one behind for the other, as we understand their interdependence.
- Strive for a strategic diversity of tactics so all who want can play a role
We will use a creative diversity of tactics, including actions accessible to folks with disabilities, to elders and youth, to those undocumented and to those at risk in other seen and unseen ways, including those who are unable to chance arrest, and those without educational or economic privilege.Even as we strive to create accessibility for all, we will prioritize centering the voices of those who have been historically marginalized – queer & trans* folks, womyn, people with disabilities, youth, etc.
- Build Trust & Practice Transparency
Our ability to organize together in this moment stems from building trust and cultivating nourishing relationships with each other. While the moment calls for agility and action, we are also invested in long-haul relationships for the many movement moments to come. We will practice transparency and accountability.
- Move Boldly and Swiftly: Take Risks, Make Mistakes, Share Lessons
While we are committed to following Black leadership, we will also take the initiative to mobilize our communities and take responsibility for organizing our people to show up in this moment. We will use all the diverse skills, resources, and cultural tools at our disposal.We will take risks, try new experiments in our organizing, and not be afraid of making mistakes – while learning from mistakes that have already been made.
- Embody self care & humility, community accountability, collective healing
We will take care of ourselves individually and collectively as needed – we are here for the distance. We will care for ourselves and each other.We remember that we were not born conscious of inequity, injustice, and intersecting oppressions. We will not be paralyzed by our desire to be perfect or healed from internalized oppression. We will call out actions that perpetuate oppression, while calling back in our folks with love.We are committed to honesty and collective growth, even when it raises conflict. We will seek a mediation process when necessary to address and resolve internal conflict within our group
We are committed to this work and to the Black community for the long haul. While some of us have been engaged in Black liberation and anti-racist struggles for many years, some of us are newly learning about the particular ways in which anti-Black racism plays out in the systems and institutions of this country, and in our own communities. But all of us are here until the political, social, and cultural imagination of the world is radically transformed
to something better than what we’ve inherited.
We submit these principles and protocols with humility and openness. We don’t have it all figured out, but we are committed to taking a stand, and learning as we go. We will not wait to be perfect, because we believe the time is now and we would rather be held accountable for our mistakes than forgiven our inaction.