What is Healing for Asian Americans? A Pilot Series

“What is Healing for Asian Americans?” is a new 18MR pilot series exploring the healing possibilities for Asian America, in the face of American exceptionalism and the model minority myth.

Asian American healing will play no small role in shaping the future. From fat liberation to somatics, to transformative justice organizing, Asian Americans healers are on the frontlines of the fight for our right to feel whole.

In this series, we interview four politicized healers about their work and ask for their insight on the nuanced and specific healing needs of Asian America. We’ll discuss what sexual healing has to do with caste, how to speak to our ancestors and the unseen, and why even money can be real medicine! You’ll learn practices from each healer which invite us to feel pleasure and aliveness in our bodies right now. We’ll also share mantra cards – inspired by their interviews – which you can meditate with, or even print out and stick on your bathroom mirror to wake up to every day.

When we started working on this series, pre-pandemic times, we knew it would highlight the abundance of politicized healing being led by Asian Americans in our movements. But at the heart of the project, what we wanted to learn was this: What are we healing from collectively? Across the deep diversity that is Asian America, what are the patterns of how we have been shaped by both privilege and oppression?

Enter: pandemic. We’re in a historical moment where our actions – the way we live out our values – will radically redefine us. We will talk about ourselves as who we were before the Rona and after it. We’re learning that healing and carework – from both COVID-19 and systemic injustice – is not an add-on to our organizing. It’s the work of our lives and it’s connected to every part of how we build a new world.

The interviews in this series are not one-size-fits-all healing advice. They are not about finding a cure, but rather feeling our wholeness, even in an unjust world. While you may not share the identity of the healers we interview, we hope their words resonate with you.

Oppression disconnects us from our stories, our emotions, and even our imaginations. It hands us a precarious sense of privilege and safety, in exchange for our dignity. When we embody oppression, we build our self-worth on the backs of others.

Becoming traitors to oppression does involve a risk. We must risk feeling how long we’ve been told that our worth is connected to what we produce. We must risk feeling how striving for the American Dream meant embodying anti-Blackness, classism, misogyny, and the ongoing colonization of Native people and land– all real harms that we can do our part to repair. And yet, this risk is also the threshold to a new world. Not a perfect one, but one where every cell in us knows we are connected to each other and that we belong.

This is a wide vision of liberation and it’s big enough for all of us. Our inspiring, yet slut-shaming aunties. Our domestic worker, small business owner or doctor parents. Our imperfect ancestors. And most importantly, ourselves. Join us on this series where we learn what healing means to us.

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