June 4, 2020
Monthly Updates and Resources from
Dear Friends,

Like yours, our hearts are heavy in this moment. We are frustrated, we are angry, and we are grieving. We are scared for our allies in the Black community, and for those who have come to harm because they stood up to demand justice. We are still holding hope that the world can change, and know that it is on all of us to make it so.

This month we held space to discuss how our communities have been impacted by racism and how to come together against hate, in a Twitter chat for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Although the focus in that moment was anti-AAPI xenophobia, the messages of wisdom, support, and solidarity hold true universally:

"All oppression is linked. Allowing racism, hate, & anti-immigrant attitudes in the spaces we occupy only emboldens white supremacy." (@NRCDV)

"Racism harms everyone, and being "non-racist" isn't enough. Our work must be actively anti-racist, creating organizations & movements that center communities facing discrimination, including immigrant communities and communities of color." (@NNEDV)

"Racism opens doors for violence targeted towards the specific minority group. Violence obviously affects the minority group, but also encourages society to normalize violence towards that specific group in general. Hate ruins society. Period." (@DayaHouston)

And we echo the promise of Yuh-Line Niou, Manhattan's first Asian-American assembly member: "This place wasn't built for us, but we're going to build it differently now for other people who are going to come after us."
In 2016, Letters for Black Lives released a crowdsourced letter from Asian American children to their parents, addressing anti-Blackness in the Asian community. Since then, the original English open letter has been translated into over 20 languages.
Other resources for addressing anti-Blackness in Asian communities

Understanding Racism and its Connection to Sexual and Domestic Violence (PreventConnect): Resources exploring the connection between racism and anti-violence work, and tools for systems and organizations, including WSCADV's e-learning course, Exploring Intersections: A Primer on Racial Dynamics in the United States
Language Justice Principles for COVID-19 and Beyond answers common questions such as
what is language justice, what are tips for lawyers to practice it, and why is this especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic? Published by the American Bar Association with contribution from API-GBV's Interpretation Technical Assistance and Resource Center staff

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: An Under-Recognized Form of Gender-Based Violence in the U.S. (webinar recording) describes the practice, its impacts on survivors and communities, and the movement to end it. A collaboration between API-GBV, Sahiyo, and U.S. End FGM/C Network.
API-GBV stands in solidarity with the African American community, and the call for justice. Read our statement here.
New from NNEDV Tech Safety project, DocuSAFE is a free app that helps survivors collect, store, and share evidence of abuse, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, online harassment, and dating violence.

Meet Hyejin Shim, API-GBV's new Sexual Assault Program Coordinator! Q&A
How did you come to work at API-GBV?
I first began to explore anti-violence work in my early twenties, starting by organizing workshops on consent and healthy relationships for other LGBTQ youth of color. I entered the non-profit world as a young person working with high school students, but knew that work to support survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence was where I was most interested in growing. I trained to volunteer as a rape crisis counselor in San Francisco, where I went on to take regular hotline shifts and provide medical accompaniments for survivors. I also started volunteering at Asian Women's Shelter , a domestic violence shelter for immigrants and refugees, helping with their weekly children’s groups. Within a few years, I was working at the shelter as a full-time staff advocate, where I spent the last six years. I always loved working with survivors directly, and learned so much from my clients, most of whom were immigrant queer and transgender survivors.

During my time at the shelter, I was also organizing in the local Korean community on the issue of gender violence. This was how I came to partner with API-GBV on the Survivor-Centered Advocacy project, through which we were able to conduct a national research project on queer Korean Americans and our experiences of gender violence. You can read our report here . After six years of direct service in addition to community organizing, I wanted to shift my role in supporting survivors to be more sustainable; to adapt to the ways that I, and my life, had changed. Where could I contribute the lessons learned from my experiences thus far? How could I be of service to everyone doing this work? When I saw that API-GBV was hiring, it felt like a perfect fit—an organization that I had worked closely with already, one that prioritized the needs of immigrant and refugee communities, one where my skills and knowledge could not only contribute but also grow.

What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about understanding and tackling gender violence holistically, and looking for creative ways to increase safety. Many survivors, especially from immigrant communities, do not trust our legal systems to help them, and I have worked with many survivors who experienced harassment, abuse, and assault from police, immigration enforcement, and prison guards—yet these are the entities that are usually entrusted with “protecting” survivors. When a survivor does not fit an idealized image of what a “victim” should be like, whether that’s because they are undocumented, have a criminal record, or are simply racially profiled, they are often disbelieved about their abuse and further punished for it. I’m interested in expanding our ideas of what survivorship can look like, and in turn, exploring more ways to reduce violence (including the gender violence that survivors can face from our legal systems) to increase the dignity, self-determination, and safety of survivors.

What is something you’ve learned from working in this field?
I’ve learned how important it is to be flexible and adaptable; to let go of control, your expectations, and your attachments to how you think things should turn out. Things rarely go the way we expect, and there is so much that is out of our control as advocates. It’s important for me to re-center by reminding myself what I actually do have control over—how present I am for somebody, how comforted I can make someone feel, how I leverage my access to resources and other community connections to widen someone’s pool of options. Reminding myself what I do have the power to change is important to me because I feel that burnout is very connected to feelings of powerlessness and despair; it helps me focus and take responsibility for my own actions, while I let go of what isn’t mine to change.

Your favorite self-care/self-motivation tip
My favorite self-care tip is to take recovery time. Schedule it in if you have to. We aren’t meant to be “on” 24/7, nor is always possible to bounce back to your regular energy levels after a traumatic event or particularly grueling week. Periods of being “unproductive” are important for sustainability, and being able to anticipate your own need for rest is really important—so you’re not overworking yourself, making unrealistic commitments, or being very harsh in your self-judgments. You may not always be able to take a break when you need it, but at the very least, being understanding of yourself when you’re tired helps to grow a sense of generosity and appreciation towards yourself.
News and Updates from the Field:

Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence