In 2017, my best friend and I started an online collective called LOUD Lotus. One of the driving factors was that we didn't feel like there were enough platforms for Asian American womxn/womxn identifying/gender neutral individuals out there. As of 2018, a couple of new platforms have risen, I'm so happy I can now count on Slant'd Mag, Banana Mag, and HuffPost Asian Voices to learn more about my community.
Part of the problem is when all Asians are grouped under one umbrella, most folks assume that all Asians are East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, to name a few). East Asians have just a little more privilege than SE Asians and South Asian communities because of skin color, and media representation. The representation isn't always correct, but if it's Asian representation, the majority of the time, it's targeted/about East Asians. The assumptions that Asians/Asian Americans are all the same, along with the the stereotype that Asians are treated better than other minority groups in the US, equals in a lack of urgency for the support of the Asian American community.
Part of making a change in your community is doing what you feel you are ABLE to do. That doesn't always mean protesting, or even challenging strangers in conversation, because, of course, your safety matters first and the sad truth is that there have been ugly outcomes when conversations like race come up in the USA. I know I can design, and I can make my way around a Squarespace website, so why not utilize my skillsets. For that reason, I wanted to move forward with starting an online collective/space where we could tell stories about real Asian/Asian American folks creating change and doing amazing work and just being amazing. It's really easy to forget everyone who isn't doing what is widely known as "cool" work, like being creative, or having a big following. The more reach you have, of course, the bigger a difference you could possibly make, so high profile folks with a platform in the Asian American community are important. For me, it's still important to also acknowledge folks who have changed their community however they can, like school counselors, bus drivers, local performers, your mother, your sister, your aunt, your friends. And we're throwing out that b.s. about all Asians being smart so they grow up to be lawyers and doctors, because in the process of hearing these assumptions, we forget to value strong APIA individuals who are making a career in those fields. I say all the time that I don't believe the passive Asian American womxn myth exists anymore because I feel that a new expectation has taken it's place. And that is invisibility. How did we get to a point where APIA individuals can't be highly intelligent without having their hard work demeaned, and can't be an average individual without feeling like there is something they must live up to, all at the same time receiving little to no support. We can't fuck up, do well, or be just BE. That is where I felt like I could help my community. Provide a platform, listen, and advocate for the voices of other Asian American womxn/womxn identifying/gender neutral individuals. I believe that the easiest way to support an individual is to acknowledge they exist and acknowledge their suffering. The easiest thing to do is to listen. We're here and we're not invisible. That's LOUD Lotus.