AAPIP Voices

Creating a Piece of History


By: Alex W. Wong, Community Philanthropy Manager

It was an auspicious and historic weekend.  A precedent-setting Presidential inauguration was on the horizon in Washington D.C. and the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was near.

That same weekend, at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco, a different kind of precedent was being set: the first AAPI LGBTQ Giving Circle in California, the Red Envelope Giving Circle (REGC), celebrated its first year of giving.

Surrounded by The Dragon Fruit Project exhibit, which showcases and preserves the history of AAPI queer women and transgender activists from the 1960s to the 1980s, a dynamic group of activists, donors and community allies gathered to honor the power of shared giving and uplift the stories of LGBTQ AAPI’s.  Amy Sueyoshi, Director of The Dragon Fruit Project and one of REGC’s funding recipients, was on hand to acknowledge the support that helped propel her project, which strives to “remind activists approaching their 70s that their lives are worth recording and empowers community members to preserve stories that others have deemed insignificant or unspeakable.” The compelling statement that emerges from collecting these oral histories, Amy adds, is “how these activists consistently defer to one another on their tremendous work and commitment. It’s inspiring to witness this form of everyday activism where people just roll out of bed and think about what task however small or large they can do to create an inclusive and empowering space where people can embrace being queer and AAPI all at once. There is no waiting for community to come to you. If they experienced alienation in the white lesbian community or the straight AAPI community they just took action to make their lives and communities better.”

And so it was, with pathos from the stories presented at this exhibit, the REGC event highlighted the significance and spirit of individuals taking action for collective good.  That spirit was in the civil rights movement.  It was in the women’s movement.  It is in the continuing struggle for equality.  On that evening, it was on display at the GLBT Historical Society.

Congratulations to Red Envelope Giving Circle in their first year of giving together, and for funding a collective $10,000 to Asian and Pacific Islander Family Pride, One Love Oceania, Queer Rebel Productions and The Dragon Fruit Project.  To learn more about Red Envelope Giving Circle visit: www.red-envelope-giving-circle.org