In October 2015, representatives of AAPIP Giving Circles gathered in Los Angeles for their annual national convening. Together, they shared stories, discussed strategies, and looked forward to the future of giving within their circles. Three of our attendees shared their thoughts and reflections on the convening, which you can read here on our blog.
Roger Hua, Philanthropists in Asian American Communities (PAAC)
We cannot persuade people to support us using fear, guilt, and shame. That is not sustainable for the human heart. We have to connect with people and compel people, using stories of hope, beauty and courage. I heard that from Eugene Cho, pastor and founder of One Day’s Wages, and thought of it because I saw it exemplified throughout the convening. I met amazing people during the weekend and listened to their stories of triumph, struggle, and resourcefulness. I left inspired and feeling like part of a much bigger movement.
With a backdrop of bar charts and graphs, I learned how we could better use data as a tool to identify need and combat misconceptions. During the panel, I listened to issues plaguing our NHPI community, learned how dangerous the model minority myth is, and was motivated by a passionate call to action. The convening is definitely a great place to learn and obtain tools to be more effective in philanthropy, but it is much more than that. The convening creates connections, connections among people, connections between people and their community, and connections between the community and those we support.
On a personal level, the convening had a meditative effect. I left with more focus and clarity. To be honest, I am deeply passionate about supporting LINK, but I get distracted. My mind, focus, and heart stray with thoughts of deadlines, relationships, what to eat, and hundreds of other things. Being surrounded by dozens of people genuinely trying to make a difference in their communities allowed me to take a step back and refocus. I was able to use the convening as a venue to raise awareness for my cause, but also learn about dozens of other causes impacting the AAPI community.
AAPIP is the glue that holds the giving circle network together. That comment came at the tail end of the convening weekend. Behind the comment was a plea, a plea to continue the Giving Circle campaign, which has come to its fifth and final year. AAPIP has given many of us an avenue to make a greater impact than we otherwise could. To me, AAPIP and the campaign have given me a voice and the motivation to effect change in my community. As we stand by for the next iteration of the campaign, I echo that plea.