My approach to social justice education is grounded in the principles of anti-oppression: understanding how marginalized groups are systematically excluded from decision-making that impacts their lives, dismantling structural barriers marginalized groups face in accessing power, and actively confronting racism, colorism, sexism, classism, heteronormativity, ableism, and other harmful systems that operate both in society at large and within social justice movements.
I provide my social justice educational offerings to the general public as well as tailor them to the Asian American community and to educators. Read my full resume and learn about my past experiences.
Social Justice Education for the General Public
I host workshops and facilitate conversations for the general public on topics relevant to social justice. In June 2020, I hosted a workshop called This is Water: Introduction to Systems of Injustice that used a parable about fish as an analogy to understand systems of injustice as deeply embedded. I used a variety of historical examples to showcase how we have been socialized to think of concepts such as racial and ethnic categories, as natural, normal, and inevitable – yet they are anything but. In understanding the socio-historical construction of these concepts, we can hope to move toward dismantling them and rebuilding a more liberatory world.
In July and August 2020, I taught a 5-week class titled Systems of Injustice: Doing the Work to Understand and Challenge these systems. Using a mix of lectures and discussions, my course served as an introduction to topics including racism, capitalism, colonialism, intersectionality, how systems of injustice sustain and evolve, and how social movements have tried to challenge these systems.
Social Justice Education for the Asian American Community
As a member of the Asian American community, I proudly honor the legacy of Asian American activists and movement ancestors who have come before me, and I am committed to building community power and intersectional solidarity. I uplift the legacy of activists in the 1960’s who coined and politicized the term “Asian American” to create political power, unity, and support for revolutionary visions. At the same time, I also problematize the term “Asian American” for the ways in which it has made vastly different experiences in the community monolithic, perpetuated East Asian hegemony, erased indigenous identities, promoted colorism in the community, and more. It is with the recognition of the complex relationships we have to the Asian American identity that I work as a social justice educator within this community.
In July 2020, I hosted a workshop for Give Good Care, an accelerator program of The Cosmos community that trains Asian womxn wellness practitioners to provide better care and to ultimately close the wellness gap for Asian womxn. In the workshop, I took common challenges faced by these practitioners’ clients and contextualized these individual experiences of Asian womxn within social and political structures embedded in racism, capitalism, settler colonialism, and migration. I created case study experiences for small groups to dive deep into a few historical events that had profoundly shaped Asian America, and facilitated a conversation about our movement towards liberation.
Social Justice Education for Educators
In collaboration with teachers, administrators, and scholars of education, I am working to tailor my social justice education for educators, because schools is where we shape the minds of our future generations and I know the impact of this work will ripple out to many families and communities.
In the summer of 2018 and 2019, I served as the social justice educator on professional development institutes for Chicago-based teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico, facilitating conversations and workshops on topics including human rights, indigeneity, migration, socio-cultural development, and beyond. In the summer of 2020, approximately half of the students enrolled in my 5-week class titled Systems of Injustice: Doing the Work to Understand and Challenge these systems were teachers and administrators.
Interview with Three Gems Tea
In August 2020, I (virtually) visited with Diana Zheng, co-founder of Three Gems Tea for a tea break to talk about my grounding principles and strategies for sustaining social justice work for the long term.
What do you wish more people knew about mindful activism?
I want to invite people to engage in deeper levels of analysis. When we see a social injustice, let’s ask what are the conditions that allowed this injustice to occur? What conditions allow it to sustain? Then let’s ask what are the structural solutions that will truly address the root of the injustice. Read more.
What are your three gems for staying engaged in activism for the long haul & avoiding burnout?
Plants, nature, and interconnectedness: I have always felt a deep sense of wonderment in nature. Under the night time skies and in front of endless ocean waves, I have always known that we are deeply connected to the magical forces in nature that fuel and sustain everything. As I learn and grow in activist communities, I have learned so much more about grandmother earth, and I believe we can learn so much from her just by turning our attention to her. One of her magical powers is in regeneration: life growing out of past life forms. To stay engaged for the long haul, I turn to my indoor plants, the plants in my neighborhood, the mountains, the ocean, and beyond for a sense of regeneration.
Community and movement ancestors: Every time I learn about a piece of history, I feel more deeply connected to the wider community of activists. I know that my efforts and my stories are part of a much larger legacy of movement ancestors (both the living ones and the ones who have transitioned), and I call on their support. In community with them, I not only feel focused and engaged, but I also feel seen and loved and can ground my activism in the love of the community.
Grounding in our collective humanity: The author and scholar Layla Saad talks about negative feelings that come up when we learn about social injustices. She says that feelings of sadness and anger are an appropriate human response in the face of tragedy and oppression, and part of the reason that we weren’t feeling these feelings before is because we had to shut down a part of our humanity in order to sustain white supremacy. I think about this idea often. That we have all had to shut down a part of ourselves to normalize racism, racial capitalism, ableism, and more. When negative feelings come up, I make space to process them with the understanding that these feelings are trying to teach me about my humanity and that ultimately, resurfacing and reconnecting with that part of my humanity is an act of resistance. Read more and treat yourself to some tea.
My life and work is informed and inspired by the work of indigenous activists, grassroots community leaders, and all the intersectional movement ancestors who have come before me. I believe that true, lasting social change will only come from actions that dismantle systems of injustice and work toward collective liberation. Read more.