We are Yin Q & LOVE Queen Layla, core members & organizers of Red Canary Song (RCS). RCS is a volunteer-run grassroots collective of migrant massage workers, sex workers, and allies from the Asian diaspora, organizing transnationally. Based in Flushing, NY, we center our work on massage and sex worker mutual aid, art activism, and advocacy to decriminalize our labor. We use mutual aid to build capacity for ourselves and others in our extended community. And we do this so that workers like ourselves can organize and thrive beyond survival.
We are delighted to be this month’s guest editors for 18 Million Rising! This month, we’re celebrating International Women’s Day with the premiere of our documentary “Fly in Power.” We rise in solidarity as we March forth with our message for social justice, freedom, equality and respect for all work.
Yin Q: I’m celebrating the Asian women who work in massage spas, strip clubs, dungeons, brothels, bottle clubs, hotel rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, on the street, on set, on cam, or on the phone. During a recent convo I hosted called “F*cking the Fetishist,” Lena Chen offered the idea that racial reparations can happen in sex work spaces.
Layla: I LOVE that + 2nd it to include ALL women & trans women who are “working women.” No matter where you are, you know who you are, remember to celebrate yourself, butterfly! I especially want to shout out all my sisters at Red Canary Song and celebrate our differences. Thank you to each and every one of you for being YOU! Lastly, if you are a woman reading this, pat yourself on the back right now to extol your own ascendancy!
We gathered at our 8 Lives Vigil to remember the loss of our sisters two years after the Atlanta-area shooting. This month is a time for us to remember gratitude and respect for ourselves and those around us in care work. And we’re embracing those precious moments with our loved ones, keeping in mind that love and compassion is the way for coming together for our community. Thanks to KQT Pungmul and Flushing Worker’s Center for holding space together with RCS, and to APICHA Community Health Center for helping our workers stay safe with contraceptives.
As our network of workers is expanding, the need for aid is increasing. Your monthly donation empowers workers to thrive. Join the RCS Giving Circle/Grapevine today!
Right now, Asian women are targeted and arrested simply for making a living through unlicensed massage. But we can fight this. Last month, we launched a campaign to pass A2821, the Massage License Decriminalization Act and decriminalize massage work. We need #MassageDecrim now! The way to change is to TALK ABOUT IT and trust that you are not alone on this road to freedom. SHARE if you agree #WorkIsWork.
And just in case you missed it:
Tempe, Arizona: Arizona Coyotes billionaire owner Alex Meruelo is proposing a new 46-acre, 4 million-square-foot entertainment district in Tempe, next to Arizona State University. This new entertainment district will mean higher rent and cost of living for our families, low-income workers, and ASU students. Join on-the-ground efforts to keep Tempe home.
Stop Cop City: As Asian Americans fighting to end police violence, we want places where our communities can thrive, not more police. Here’s how we can help stop the creation of the largest police training facility in the US.
APSC4: And lastly, we’re still fighting for the pardons of beloved community leaders: Peejay, Maria, Ke, and Bun of APSC4. Let’s keep our community together.
Lastly, we are excited to have premiered “Fly In Power,” the first film to center the narrative of an Asian massage worker in her own words, with agency of storytelling and editing. As the flowers bloom and our butterfly wings flutter, together we will soar. ICYMI: Butterflies are the symbols of the sex worker. We will fly in power to end shame and stigma around sexuality, massage, sex and body work. Spread the word because we are #InThisTogether.
Thank you for joining us this month! Wishing you 兔年大吉 tu(2) nian(2) da(4) ji(2) (Prosperity in the Year of the Rabbit) & remember there is no one out there like you, YOU ARE SPECIAL. Be YOU. Be Free. Be Happy!
Love and Gratitude,
Yin Q and Layla, on behalf of Red Canary Song + Irma, Bianca, Turner, Sharmin, Charlene, Kari, Leyen, and Brenda – the 18MR Team
P.S. If you’ve enjoyed reading our monthly newsletter, would you chip in $5 so we can keep inviting rad guest editors?