The Asian American Womyn Project: We are here. We are strong. We are together. / by Iris Cutler

by Sabrina Ghaus

When I was little, I read voraciously. I was one of those skinny, pint-sized humans always peering out from behind a good book – Harry Potter, Circle of Magic, Little Women, Redwall…stories gave angsty little me a sense that I wasn’t as alone as I felt. Not too much has changed since then – I still read Harry Potter religiously, and sometimes, like everyone else, I feel a bit alone.

A few months ago, I began this blog: The Asian American Womyn Project. I’ve been interviewing rad, politicized womyn from the Asian diaspora in the Boston area about their life, their work, and their visions for liberation. Silly me thought it would just be “a good experience”, something fun to do – but what I didn’t realize was that I would come away with something bigger than nine beautiful stories. I would have a community. In a city that I moved to for school only about four years ago, I would find myself a network of strong, loving, powerful womyn who understood what it meant for them to be womyn of color – and Asian and Asian American womyn, in particular. “Network” doesn’t even feel like the right word. This community of people feels to me like a trampoline (bear with me here) – they’re there to catch me when I fall, and they give me the power to jump ever higher.

What struck me as I began the interviewing process was how honest each of these womyn were willing to be. I remember sitting in Karen Young’s (founder of the Genki Spark) kitchen, holding in tears as she talked about her feminism and her ideas about liberation. I remember trading poems with Tara Venkatraman (youth organizer at The City School), and sharing parts of my own story with each person I interviewed. So often, I found myself on the verge of tears during the interviews, and it wasn’t because the stories people shared were tragic. It was because of the immense strength that I could feel myself gathering from hearing their words, and because of the incredible gratitude I felt for their honesty and vulnerability with me. This project has made me realize that I am not alone and I never will be. I can read about Grace Lee Boggs and Yuri Kochiyama and Arundhati Roy – all radically loving, radically liberating Asian and Asian American womyn – but there was something about sharing a space and trading questions with the womyn featured on my blog that made the idea that I was actually a part of a huge community of political Asian womyn so much more real.

I graduated almost a month ago, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so lost in my life. But every time I start feeling lonely and missing my friend-family from school, I remind myself that the conversations about life and liberation and love and revolution will never end if I don’t want them to. That’s a big part of the reason why I created the blog in the first place – so that when it feels like there’s no one around to talk to about these things, I and all you wonderful people can listen to these stories and be comforted by the fact that we’re never alone on our long walks to freedom. We’re on this path because of, and for, each other.