Introduction: Welcome to Wellness Weekly coming to you every Wednesday. This will be a weekly series, sort of like a Letter from the Editors that will rotate between Morgan, Lara and Luigi with the occasional guest. This week is one of those wonderful guest weeks featuring Julie Quinn. We’ll hold space on The Dirt to check-in on our Sixth Sense: the term we use to refer to our spirit, our intuition, our inner power. And because while we exist in the world alongside our other Five Senses, we’ll do a check-in of those, too.
A few Wellness Weeklys ago, I casually mentioned receiving my 23andme results and finding out I was part Chinese. I had been told all my life that I “look Chinese'', that I must be more mixed because of how tall I was. That my face, bone structure, musculature, fill in other microaggressions here, weren’t that of someone who is “just Filipino”. So yes, it almost felt like a big relieving exhale to finally learn that I am of Chinese descent (8.1% from the Guangdong region to be exact) and a proud 91.4% Filipino.
Not long after that revelation, 6 Asian women were murdered in a hate crime in Atlanta.
Their names were:
Hyun Jung Grant
Soon Chung Park
Yong Ae Yue
It was a rough day, to say the least. I didn’t need my sixth sense. I was deeply feeling the centuries upon centuries of anger, sadness, confusion, disappointment, and fear, coursing through me. I could identify those same feelings in my Asian friends, an energy that's hot and radiating, like when you get too close to a bonfire. Who knew that hopelessness could burn like that?
In the same 24 hours, during one of my rare trips downtown, I stumbled upon what looked like a big gathering of elderly Asians at the corner of Market and Hyde here in San Francisco. Right there in front of my eyes, another scene of wretched hate in the form of 75 year old Xiao Zhen Xie punched in the face by a man who I’m sure perceived her as “weak”. I couldn’t believe it. It felt very much like I was filming a very violent, hard-to-watch documentary. Little did I know that Xiao Zhen Xie didn’t stand down. That she, after being so senselessly attacked, fought back. Just as she’s surely always fought for her family. She is clearly a kind and generous person as I’m gathering from the more than $1 million dollars raised by her Go Fund Me, none of which she kept for herself. Yep, every single dollar went to various AAPI orgs doing the work. Meanwhile, I hid in a Whole Foods for an hour buying random shit I didn’t need just to pinch myself awake. Does anyone need vegan miso mayo?
As you may know, Wellness Weekly is all about the senses. Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting and of course our 6th sense. Ironic, of course, because isn’t that what all of us in the AAPI community want? Ok, maybe smelling and tasting doesn’t make sense -- wait, or does it? We want to be fully acknowledged, in all ways, from all directions, by all people. And I’m making the statement now, we might need even more than just being acknowledged. That we actually need you to be by our sides in this fight. That, although we would never ask outright because we were taught to never ask for help, we need your money, your resources, your privilege, your protection, and your time in order to have a chance. And so, I’d love to use my Wellness Weekly to share some ways you can do just that -- with your entire being.
Sight: If you see something, do something. It seems really simple, right? You’d be surprised at how many people remain in apathy when they see injustice around them. Not us. NOT CRYSTAL PEOPLE?!?! One way I’m prepping myself to intervene should I need to is by participating in a de-escalation training through ihollaback.org.
Also looking at creating an SF chapter of Compassion in Oakland and being an active member of Asians With Attitudes.
Sound: We did a lot of shouting this last week -- rallies and protests are the best for that. But one experience that stood out was a unique experience at a Thursday night vigil in Oakland. A traditional Korean drumming troop made up of queer/trans/non-binary people did a big drumming ritual to honor the 6 women slain. We moved our bodies to the loud booms and felt the ground underneath us shake. It was powerful.
Smell: The jasmine flowers in the Bay Area are in full bloom. It always reminds me of my grandma who would use jasmine smelling perfume, drink jasmine tea, bring small clippings of jasmine home from walks. It’s so interesting how smell can transport you back to the most vivid memories.
Taste: Asian-American restaurants have been closing at a greater rate than Non-Asian American restaurants. Even among Asian restaurants, Chinese restaurants were significantly impacted with a 61% rate of closure according to USC Annenberg Media. I’m making it a point to support Asian-owned restaurants in this incredibly difficult time.
Touch: I’ve been raising funds for Red Canary Song and NAPAWF through my online spin class LUIGICYCLE. We’ve raised over $15,000 last week and I plan on continuing to raise money throughout the year for various causes. Sign up for my newsletter to access the classes here.