I’m really bad at writing about myself. Scratch that, I’m just really bad at writing and I’m going to do my best to convey my thoughts into this blog post.
I never considered myself a Woman of Color until 2015, when a mentor who was also my boss took me under her wing to help me transition into the professional world. I always saw myself as a minority, a daughter or Chinese immigrants, and I fully understood what it meant to be Asian in the United States. The unfortunate reality was that I would have to work twice as hard to receive half the rewards of my white counterparts. This has proven time and time again, for example by Mona Chalabi with statistics of minority women making less than the average White man. It wasn’t until I started working with this mentor that I began to truly understand the struggle and what it meant for folks of marginalized identities to look out for one another. I don’t hold many privileges, but the ones that I do hold are made from the backs of Black and Brown Women who stood to change a system of oppression so that I can be where I am today. Smarter and more articulate folks have written extensively on this topics such as Iris Kuo (Other resources on Asian American solidarity with Black and Brown folks can be found here.)This education and perspective have changed what it means for me to stand in solidarity with and for other Women of Color.
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” – Audre Lorde
Systems of oppression exist through every aspect of our lives and that is not limited to the performing arts. I joined PAISOC because I really believe in the mission to create and lift barriers from opportunities for folks of color in the performing arts. Performance arts is a passion for many and for people of color it oftentimes is not pursued because of all the financial barriers that are in place. I have made life long friends and have gain so much experience and perspective about myself through performing arts, especially with being part of a drum corps. Being part of PAISOC means that I can give back to a community that has given me so much and to also help break down the barriers the disproportionately affects people of color.