Winter is when most of us draw close to home to hide out the bitter cold. Spring holds so much potential for awakening and rebirth. Personally, I knew change was brewing but did not know from where. By the end of spring, I had found my way home to APANO as Interim Executive Director. There was not a clearer message to affirm that the universe conspired for me to be here right now than during my 7th day on the job: outside of Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. 121 immigrants had been detained for seeking asylum, and the majority of them identified as South Asian.
At 8 years old, I came to the United States from Vietnam as a political refugee seeking asylum. In another time, I could have been on the other side of that fence. In another place, it could have been my children torn from my embrace. More and more our communities are coming under attack. I find myself here for this very reason. I know our collective AAPI voice is growing by numbers, concentration, and volume. Over a quarter of a million of Oregonians identify as AAPI, making AAPIs the third largest ethnic group in the state. Our organization is one that centers on organizing. And that’s exactly what we need to do. Let’s organize for action. Let’s come together and show that love trumps hate. Let’s get all hands on deck because more hands make lighter work.
At APANO, we strive to be a member-driven organization. Whatever the reason you were first drawn to APANO, we are so thankful you are here. We have so many amazing people working on some spectacular programs, that I bet you will find something that will enchant and delight you. We want to hear from you. We need you. We cannot do this work without the help of your time, talent, and treasures.
And in between the battles, I hope that we can give ourselves the opportunity to deeply breathe in the new summer air. Let’s take a moment to let the warmth envelope and hold us, because it’s the smallest moments like these of being ever-so-present where we can regain our strength to soldier on.
I would love to have the opportunity to rekindle old friendships and formally introduce myself to those whom fate hasn’t allowed our paths to cross, until now. I look forward to ushering in the new season with APANO and thank you for the opportunity to serve you and our community in my new role.
This programming message is brought to you by APANO Communities United Fund, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.