May 5, 2020

API Womxn in Leadership Series - Hannah Kim

Hannah Kim is a beloved member of the APANO community. She identifies as a Korean-American woman, and has been busy creating since well before quarantine started.

How has COVID-19 impacted you?

“I feel like a lot of us are grappling with a lot of things. An example being capitalism crumbling. It has illustrated my privilege a lot - and I already knew I was privileged but, I think COVID-19 is really forcing people to see that upfront.

We are all interconnected, and I feel like this is something I feel like we all know, but we touch the same things, we breathe the same air, and occupy the same spaces - we are so connected that we can’t even be in the same spaces together.

In our day to day life we can maintain the illusion of separation - but a virus doesn’t discriminate. We can kill each other just by being in the same proximity. This is a huge wakeup call and we have to take responsibility for that and stop pretending we live in silos.”

What is the importance of resilience?

“We can be so disconnected from our ancestors’ lives, and we like, don’t think it matters, you know. But our existence is a reflection of our ancestors’ resilience, if we are alive right now, it’s because our ancestors survived. Resilience isn’t just about us, it’s also about our ancestors, and us continuing their lineage of resiliency. Resiliency is a quiet strength that endures over a long period of time. And I feel like when we see that resilience, it’s a continuation of our ancestors’ resiliency. That makes me feel a lot more hopeful.

My grandmother was nine when the Japanese occupation of Korea ended. It’s easy to say that was a long time ago, but I can talk to her about it now - like her being in school and not answering the teacher when the teacher called her by her Japanese name - it’s things like that. And I compare that to my life and I see how easy I have it... we’re all resilient people and we can continue that.”

What does leadership mean to you?

“I feel like leadership is a lot of things. I feel like it’s having no ego. And, I feel like that’s the problem with our political leadership. Everything is all about people’s ego, saying “I was right or I was wrong.

I think our society just has twisted ideas on power in general. We think of leadership as authoritarian or charismatic. I think the most important thing about leadership is just the humility to be like, “It’s not about me, it’s what’s best for whatever vision, team or people you are the leader of. It’s about what’s going to be the best thing for us, what’s going to serve us, even if it’s not my idea, even if I’m not going to get credit for it.

I think it’s about really seeing people and not as pawns which I think happens all the time in companies. We’ve all had managers who have acted like that, but it’s about really seeing people and being like, “What is your strength, what is your dream, and how can I help you get there?”

What needs to change right now?

“Scarcity mindset needs to change. Capitalism has fed us this illusion of scarcity,. We have enough food, and we have enough houses for everybody, and we have enough money, they are just not distributed correctly.

I think we all individually need to do work around our own scarcity issues and the scarcity lessons that we’ve been taught by our society. We need to do that work so we can start living that way and creating that change… I think we need to work on our scarcity issues because if we don’t, we can’t help other people, we’re always going to be looking out for ourselves.”

Hannah's Call to Action!

Restructure your relationship around capitalism and productivity. For starters - stop shopping at Amazon! Instead, try shopping from small / local businesses and local artists!

Follow Hannah at @ur_best_american_girl to learn more about her offerings, including virtual tarot offerings, with proceeds going to The National Bail Fund Network COVID-19 Emergency response fund.

This programming message brought to you by APANO Communities United Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.