July 21, 2015

We Carry Oceans: Our Stories for Reproductive Justice

“I think that’s what families like mine would need to survive, is less vilification
and less thinking that there’s something wrong with the choices that we’ve made."

WE CARRY OCEANS is a collection of stories on bodies, sexuality, and reproductive justice within Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

It is rare to find space in which we can share deeply about our experiences with sex, sexuality and bodies. APANO Strong Families—APANO members organizing around gender and reproductive justice—recognizes that talking about gender, sexuality, sex and reproductive health, particularly abortion, is still taboo in many of our families, and that to shift this culture of silence, we need to break that silence ourselves.

We reached out to our communities and invited people to share their stories. These individuals stepped into the space and raised their voices. We now have a platform that allows us to continue having these conversations with each other, and highlight the real barriers our families and communities face, in order to name our desires for change and possibilities for action.

Please visit our WE CARRY OCEANS project and listen to our stories!

Why this title? Our lives are linked to salt water, from the womb to the bodies we inhabit. From the beginning, we are all part water, able to carry oceans inside of us. Additionally, as Asians and Pacific Islanders, our families all came here from somewhere across the water. Many of our families are split by oceans, crossing countries and continents. We are all immigrants or the descendants of immigrants, and we carry those stories and that distance with us.

Want to get further involved? In keeping with the theme of creating space, there are two queer- and trans- specific API events happening this week:

  • Writing with Fire Workshop: On July 22nd, we will be hosting a Writing with Fire workshop at the APANO office (2788 SE 82nd Ave) from 6-8pm. We'll be learning about the power of the pen to explore our experiences and document our narratives, as well as build community and share our visions for reproductive justice. Anyone who identifies as Queer or Trans* is encouraged to share at the following Open Mic! Please contact heidi@apano.org with any questions.
  • Brave Spaces Open Mic: On July 24th, we will be hosting an Open Mic at Karma Cafe (8220 SE Harrison St), from 6-8pm. This Open Mic is a safe space for self-expression as a form of healing and resistance for Queer Trans* API. We aim to empower our community through uplifting the talent of our folks and fostering relationships. Anyone who identifies as Queer or Trans* is welcome to share! We ask our guests to be mindful of the intentions of this gathering, especially when considering who to invite. Please contact heidi@apano.org with any questions.

If you are interested in learning more about Strong Families and getting involved, please contact Strong Families chair Marilou Carrera at emencee13@gmail.com. We also encourage you to sign the petition to support comprehensive reproductive health care coverage in Oregon, affirming that every Oregonian should have access to quality reproductive health care regardless of where they are from or who they are.

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