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Grassroots Asians Rising
Grassroots Asians Rising
Grassroots Asians Rising
GAR is the only national network of grassroots organizations in working-class, pan-Asian communities. GAR’s leadership body consists of seven organizations that are highly trusted and respected in social change movements and within broader communities of color. These organizations have 15 to 50 years of organizing experience and have been successful in sustaining themselves throughout many politically, socially and economically difficult times. This includes organizations who protected Muslim and Asian communities during the post-9/11 attacks against civil liberties and immigrant communities. Our 20 member grassroots organizations, in every region of the U.S., are experimenting with community-led responses to anti-Asian violence, gender-based violence, transphobia, and anti-homelessness by engaging local small business owners, homeless-led organizations, women, youth and LGBTQ community members to prevent escalation of violence. Using various tactics, they work in local coalitions and national alliances to push for policies that ensure safety and belonging to everyone in their communities without criminalization. There are critical lessons to be drawn from these groups that can be applied to today’s fight against anti-Asian violence. GAR member organizations have also been pivotal to the creation of the Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit, which provides accessible political education workshops. Our toolkit has had over 5,000 downloads since launching in 2016 and has been widely used all around the country by organizers, activists, educators, workers, youth, and filmmakers. Lastly, the Co-Directors are two women who grew up working-class. Cathy’s family are Vietnamese refugees and she grew up helping to run the family nail salon in Downtown Brooklyn. Roksana also grew up working-class in Jackson Heights, Queens and was in high school when the 9/11 attacks occurred and joined a local South Asian grassroots organization as a youth member and credits it with helping her make sense of and fight back against repression on Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asians. Their working-class upbringing often makes them rarities at leadership tables, even among progressive non-profits and funders. Together, they have decades of experience building the leadership of working-class pan-Asian communities, in partnership with Black and Latinx communities, winning change that includes and benefits everyone.
About the Organization:
$500,000 - $1 MILLION
Nationally, 76% of Blacks, 76% of Asian Americans, and 58% of Latinx have experienced discrimination based on ethnicity or race while only 33% of Whites have experienced discrimination. Communities of color must work together to build community power to address the root causes of racial discrimination. However, there has been neglect by the political system of AAPI communities creating polar opposite forces where our undecided community members are being drawn to causes that hurt various communities, including their own Asian and PI communities. In addition, while the pandemic has already created many financial, physical and mental health strains for the most vulnerable parts of our communities, anti-Asian violence has further exacerbated this hardship. The current moment has given rise to right-wing groups to pit pan-Asian communities against Black and other communities of color to roll back progressive wins for all of us, including criminal justice reforms, police accountability, affordable housing, workers rights, LGBTQ rights and affirmative action. Grassroots organizations are left to figure out how to protect our communities and build new models of safety outside the system.
GAR’s will expand both its membership and its capacity and movement-building programs through national exchanges, convenings, and building a peer network. Through peer learning exchanges, GAR members are learning about community-led models to address hate violence, anti-Black racism, transphobia, and anti-homelessness. These virtual and in-person exchanges break the isolation among organizers to feel more connected towards more genuine collaborative solutions to combat violence and foster transformational solidarity. By sharing strategic challenges, lessons, co-developing curriculum and training techniques, GAR deepens relationships of trust and mutuality. In turn, local groups at the eye of a storm – whether it be a high-profile case of anti-Asian violence or a police shooting – share back with GAR how they have navigated difficult situations so that sister groups can avoid making costly mistakes. In this way, GAR accelerates learning towards winning changes at the local and national levels. On the broader level, GAR is creating a stronger cohort of progressive local organizations capable of exerting leadership and influence within the wider pan-Asian movement in partnership with allies in Black, Latinx, Indigenous communities and other movements fighting for climate, economic, gender, and racial justice.