Cut Fruit Collective

Cut Fruit Collective

Cut Fruit Collective is a SF Bay Area grassroots group creating art for AAPI community care. We see a colorful future where all AAPI communities thrive and feel seen, heard, and celebrated. We work to support AAPI artists, amplify AAPI activists, invest in vulnerable AAPI communities, and build coalitions across

Cut Fruit Collective

In 2016, eight Cambodian Americans from Minnesota—collectively known as the MN8—were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without warning or chance to say goodbye to their families. They were going to be deported to Cambodia, a country where their families fled from genocide and war. Their families—primarily women, elders, & children—rallied around them and fought back. They mobilized community members and advocated to attorneys and Congress-members. At these rallies were babies, Khmer elders who have since passed away, community advocates, and more. The enormous efforts of the MN8, their loved ones, and community supporters sparked national attention and led to the eventual release of 3 of the 8 men. This started the #ReleaseMN8 grassroots campaign, a uniquely intergenerational movement led by family members who had never organized before. Our story begins with these eight remarkable individuals, their families, and the deep love that carried them through. However, we knew our fight was far from over. We vowed to never let another family be separated again and that we must reunite families. Since then, our campaign has bloomed into an abolitionist nonprofit organization that fights for the liberation of Southeast Asian communities. From the beginning, MN8’s origin was a love story about communities protecting their loved ones and fighting for freedom. MN8’s roots have always been grounded in community care, people power, and shared liberation. Since 2016, we have continued to dream of and build a world where our communities can live without fear and thrive for generations to come.

About the Organization:

In 2016, eight Cambodian Americans from Minnesota—collectively known as the MN8—were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without warning or chance to say goodbye to their families. They were going to be deported to Cambodia, a country where their families fled from genocide and war. Their families—primarily women, elders, & children—rallied around them and fought back. They mobilized community members and advocated to attorneys and Congress-members. At these rallies were babies, Khmer elders who have since passed away, community advocates, and more. The enormous efforts of the MN8, their loved ones, and community supporters sparked national attention and led to the eventual release of 3 of the 8 men. This started the #ReleaseMN8 grassroots campaign, a uniquely intergenerational movement led by family members who had never organized before. Our story begins with these eight remarkable individuals, their families, and the deep love that carried them through. However, we knew our fight was far from over. We vowed to never let another family be separated again and that we must reunite families. Since then, our campaign has bloomed into an abolitionist nonprofit organization that fights for the liberation of Southeast Asian communities. From the beginning, MN8’s origin was a love story about communities protecting their loved ones and fighting for freedom. MN8’s roots have always been grounded in community care, people power, and shared liberation. Since 2016, we have continued to dream of and build a world where our communities can live without fear and thrive for generations to come.

organizational budget

$0 - $50,000

existence for

0-5 Years

The Issue:

In the San Francisco Bay Area and across much of America, the origins of many working-class AAPI heritage neighborhoods grew from exclusion and racist development policies. This history and the intersecting issues of gentrification, racial violence, and political neglect affect the most vulnerable in our community making them susceptible to crime, hate incidents, and mental health crises. Recent national news coverage has brought light to the violence that these communities have faced. However this negative media coverage creates more distress and sows divisions within the community. Asian elders are particularly affected – they make up a large percentage of the residents in these neighborhoods.
It’s clear that these neighborhoods need economic and social support so that small businesses, residents, and visitors can all thrive together for generations to come. Without community support and creative solutions, these neighborhoods, and their cultural legacy will disappear, along with the crucial resources that they provide to working class AAPI people.

The Solution:

Cut Fruit Collective believes the solution is rooted in creativity and unity, rather than fear. We emphasize creative expression and celebration because in collective liberation movements, joy is an act of resistance. By empowering residents and community members with creative tools, we uncover novel yet sustainable approaches to community care.
While we recognize that there are already many on-the-ground activists and orgs in these heritage neighborhoods doing important work, it is often difficult for the general public to see or get involved in the work due to generational and cultural divides. To bridge the gap, we bring new creative energy that continues to honor and uplift vulnerable AAPI neighborhoods. We do this through placekeeping, capacity building, and community building.
Creative placekeeping is a collaborative process that engages and inspires residents and visitors alike to reimagine and strengthen their connection to an existing place and neighborhood. As many of the working class AAPI neighborhoods in the Bay Area remain vulnerable to gentrification, we are mindful of standard “placemaking” approaches that disregard the existing ecosystems in neighborhoods. As an example, in these AAPI neighborhoods we’ve commissioned AAPI artists to create murals for small businesses and organized events benefiting the local community. Instead of operating out of a model of saviorism, we’re able to co-create a future where all AAPI people thrive.
Our second focus is capacity building. Our creative services program connects AAPI artists and designers to help serve the needs of AAPI heritage small businesses and community organizations. We also organize community fundraisers for issues that are less publicized within the AAPI community.
Our third focus is community building, through both online platforms and in-person activities. We provide a platform for AAPI artists and creatives to share their stories and experiences. Through social media we also mobilize our audience to support neighborhood initiatives and get more involved in community activism.
Ultimately we believe that for AAPI communities to thrive, we must move past the current climate of fear and hate and into empowerment and love. For us, that means using creative ways to build coalitions and strengthen AAPI neighborhoods.

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