Asian American
Racial Solidarity Curriculum

Project Background

 

The Asian American Cross-Racial Solidarity Project began with conversations with Asian American community activists Chris Kwok, Esq., Soyun Park, and Steve Yip. Drawing from these conversations, our oral history consultant Rochelle Kwan trained interns Jamie Noh and Sabrina Hyunh to interview 10 researchers and community practitioners. Through this work, Collected developed a 3-part workshop curriculum on Asian American cross-racial solidarity. The workshop series, in addition to providing historical contexts of structural racism, is grounded in the oral histories and lived experiences of Asian American activists who have challenged racist policies and engaged in cross-racial social justice work. 

 

For those who are interested, see our interviews and workshop plans below.

Interviews

Oral History Consultant

Rochelle Hoi-Yiu Kwan (she/her) is a cultural organizer, oral history educator, and DJ whose work aims to equip communities with the tools to build multigenerational oral history projects. Based on Lenape land in New York City's Manhattan Chinatown, she builds her practice around engaging communities as our classroom and amplifying the essential role of relationship building and the arts in storytelling and organizing. 

Intern

Sabrina Huynh (she/her)

was a senior studying East Asian Studies and English at Mount Holyoke College at the time of the project.

Intern

Jamie Noh (she/her)

was a senior studying Political Science and Asian American and Asian Diaspora studies at UC Berkeley during the project.

Workshop Plans 

In the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian hate incidents, and the continued struggle for racial justice have laid bare the systemic racism in the US. For many Asian American students, this has been a moment of reckoning. Seen as perpetual foreigners, their experiences of racism and xenophobia does not fall within a racial hierarchy that is based on a Black and White binary. While their success has been used to deny the structural inequities and racism faced by Asian Americans and other communities of color, their identity as Americans is so clearly conditional.

 

They are seen as the Model Minority, even though their families and communities experience soaring unemployment rates, increased housing and food insecurity, and unmet mental health needs since the pandemic. Many Asian American students struggle with finding ways to advocate for their own communities while supporting other marginalized groups, because they see these two things as either/or. 

 

As educators and practitioners, we believe Asian Americans college students would feel more empowered in their activism by learning about Asian American history and racial experiences, and developing communication strategies for difficult conversations with their families and communities. 

 

As such, we invited Asian American college students to apply for this full-day workshop series. *Note: for the purposes of the workshop discussions, ‘Asian American’ may include people from East Asia, Middle East, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, and the Indo-Caribbean. We leave it to the applicant to decide how they want to be identified.

Workshop 1: Troubling Solidarity

(1hr 30 mins)

Drawing from Asian American Studies, facilitators guided participants through an exploration of the concept of solidarity. What is the basis of solidarity? What kind of work does it involve, and what can we learn from past histories and the present moments of uneasy solidarity?

Workshop 2: Listening Rhetoric

(1 hr - 1hr 15 mins)

Workshop on active listening skills as a way to practice empathy and build connections. Facilitators incorporated Collected’s archive of interviews with Asian American scholars and community organizers in the workshop.  

Workshop 3: Talking/Writing Circles

(1 hr - 1hr 15 mins)

Drawing from restorative justice principles, facilitators provided frameworks for students to reflect on their racial experiences and the anti-Asian attacks in the last two years