Three years ago, Chinese Progressive Association brought me into grassroots community organizing through their experimental program called Seeding Change. That summer, I learned communications strategy from one of their staff that I was able to take back to my college and help win divestment from fossil fuels. Summer 2016 was also the first time I participated in a mass protest and freeway takeover in Oakland in reponse to the murder of Philando Castile.
Two years later, I joined the CPA staff as their finance coordiantor and am continuing to learn what it takes to run a sustainable organization. I also got to go back to co-lead a workshop on settler colonialism for the 2019 Seeding Change cohort. It felt like a full circle, and CPA continues to be a home for many to support working class immigrant and refugee struggle.
In this moment, we know that many people are feeling heartbroken from the losses and destruction that are happening each day, from the violent separation of children from their families, the fatal shootings motivated by white supremacy and toxic masculinity, the threat of public charge taking away basic needs for immigrant communities, and the burning of the Amazon rainforest -- the very lungs and heart of our Mother Earth. In order to survive, we’ve seen people turn towards isolation and disconnection.
At CPA we know that we survive and thrive in connection and solidarity. This year, we’ve built even deeper relationships so that we can continue to contest for power.
This year, Shaw San Liu stepped in to her role as the new Executive Director. We deepened meaningful connection with the Heart to Heart Campaign, where we deeply listened to 100+ members of our beloved community to understand what issues matter most to them. Youth MOJO courageously claimed their agency and authority in their fight to transform the way SFUSD and our broader communities think about mental health, and won the support of the Board of Education to approve the $1.5 million estimate to implement the demands of the youth-led mental health campaign, Our Healing in Our Hands. We saw immigrant workers courageously speaking out for respect and dignity in the workplace through the Dignity for Kome Workers campaign.
This Fall, we’ve been organizing around ballot measures up for election this November to build affordable housing, generate money for public infrastructure by taxing Uber and Lyft, and campaign finance reform, with an eye towards contesting for power with the 2020 census, primary and general elections, and winning Schools and Communities First statewide to restore $11 billion annually to California.