A weekly magazine-style radio show featuring the voices and stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders from all corners of our community. The show is produced by a collective of media makers, deejays, and activists.
[Image Description: A black graphic reads in italics “healing is here.” At the center is a screen shot of five people on a zoom call. Clockwise, it’s Trinity, Tracy, Amy, Mia and Robin. The text at the bottom reads: APEX Express, Thurs at 7PM KPFA 94.1FM]
Host Tracy Nguyen joins our Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality (AACRE) colleagues to talk about healing during a pandemic. Guests include: Robin Gurung, a Bhutanese refugee, yoga teacher, and storyteller; Rev. Dr. Trinity Ordona, a lesbian Filipino-American college teacher, activists, community organizer, and ordained minster; Dr. Amy Grace Lam, a healer, writer activist trained in Bioenergy Balancing, Comprehensive Energy Psychology and shamanic journeying; and Mia Mingus, a writer, educator and community organizer for disability justice and transformative justice.
More information about what was discussed on the show:
- Variance (Composed and performed by Amy Grace Lam)
- Asian Refugees United (Robin Gurung’s organization)
- Inner Beauty Healing (Trinity Ordona’s practice)
- Leaving Evidence (Mia Mingus blog)
- Transformative Justice
- Inclusive Therapists
7.23.20 Show – Full Transcript
Tracy: [00:00:30] Good evening everyone you’re tuned into apex express on KPFA bringing you an Asian and Asian American view from the Bay and around the world. This is Tracy Nguyen. Tonight we’re talking with members and friends of the AACRE network, which stands for Asian Americans for civil rights and equality. After four months of a pandemic, a global virus, racism, police brutality, mass unemployment, it’s time for us to talk about the role of healing in our vision for social justice.
[00:01:17] Welcome to Apex Express. Tonight is AACRE fourth Thursday and AACRE is a network of 11 Asian American activist groups fighting for social justice and equality. Today we’re featuring Robin Gurung from Asian refugees United and close partners within our network. Specifically healing practitioners and activists, Reverend Dr. Trinity Ordona, Dr. Amy Grace Lamb, and Mia Mingus. Content warning. The show will include mention of trauma and child sexual abuse.
Tracy: [00:01:48] Thank you all for joining us on Apex Express tonight. Again, joining me is Robin Gurung. He’s a refugee from Bhutan and due to the country’s ethnic cleansing, a lot of people around the globe aren’t aware of this population of refugees. He came to the Bay area at the age of 23. We have Reverend Dr. Trinity Ordona, a lesbian Filipino American college teacher, activist, community organizer, and ordained minister. Dr. Amy Grace Lamb, who is a healer, writer, activist trained in bioenergy balancing, comprehensive energy psychology, and shamonic journeying. And of course, Mia Mingus, a writer, educator, and community organizer for disability justice and transformative justice.
Everyone I’m really excited about our conversation today because I just know our whole country is in major distress – you know, our world as well. And especially for queer and trans immigrants, refugees, disabled folks, people of color – the most marginalized communities. And you four are very respected honorable guests and I’m familiar with each of your work and I brought you on to the show tonight to uplift your personal stories around healing and also to talk about what does healing look like during this time where we’re all trying our best to survive and get through it all. So the question I want to start and hear from everyone first is, what moment in your life sparked your healing journey? Right, or whatever you identify as your healing journey it can mean so many things. It could be a moment, it could be a phase of your life, whatever it may be, can you all give us a window into that moment?
Trinity: [00:03:51] Hello, this is Trinity – Reverend Dr. Trinity, but call me Trinity. To respond to your question Tracy, it immediately brought me back to my mid thirties and at that point I received a phone call in my office from my brother who reported that my niece had reported her father for molesting her. And even though he didn’t, my brother at that point did not even know the details, I did because I also suffered the same abuse in my family growing up as a young child so, very sadly, I realize it had gone to yet another generation. And I tumbled at that point for the next three to five years into very deep depression. So when you ask what started me on the healing path is, I was really broken up. Actually, for the next couple of years I lost my keys, my wallet, I’d come late to work, etc. etc. etc. I went into therapy, stopped everything I was doing, and it was a very long and slow process and I was glad that there were some resources immediately available. But once I also got to a certain point of stability then the real healing work that needed to be done internally for the wounds that I had been carrying for so long which weren’t being addressed by the therapeutic, you know, resources at the time, forced me to look at to look to basically indigenous and non Western healing practices. So, in a nutshell, my own trauma and healing from my own trauma is what placed me on the healing path – my own healing path.
Tracy: [00:05:43] Yeah, wow, that’s so beautiful Trin, I hope we get to hear more of that throughout this show. Thank you for joining us tonight.
Amy: [00:05:50] Hi, this is Amy, and I will go next. What sparked my healing journey, similar to Trinity, was needing to heal myself. And it was about 2005 and I was actually a postdoc at UCSF and I had been working on my dissertation for the past five years and more and all of a sudden I got carpal tunnel. And that meant that I couldn’t do my work, which at the time, was typing a lot. I was sitting in front of the computer, reading a lot of journal articles, doing research, and writing a lot and all of a sudden I couldn’t do that anymore. But not only that, I couldn’t do really bad basic things like brush my teeth, eat with a fork, pick up a cup. I would use my hands to eat, I would use a straw to drink out of the cup, and that was really a sign of my body telling me that something had gone really wrong and my mind had been ignoring it for the past couple years. And I was no longer having the luxury to ignore what what my body was saying and so from there I started on a – what I thought was a physical healing journey, and going to physical therapy for two and a half to three years but that physical therapy just revealed how much emotional trauma that I was holding in my body. And it became a 15 year journey of coming back and healing myself. And the reason why I wanted to go second was because Trinity was actually part of my own healing journey. I was actually someone who had experienced sexual abuse from my maternal grandfather and was needing to deal with that. And Trinity, through city college, had a program to learn how to heal yourself through psychic training and I enrolled in that course and things fast forwarded and now I’m here today doing the work that I do. So, that’s my healing journey and I wanted to thank you Trinity for being part of that.
Tracy: [00:08:03] Wow that’s awesome. I’ve known you two, both, in a world a couple of years ago where we worked together at a nonprofit. So, it’s so sweet to hear that you two were part of each other’s healing journey. I had no idea.
Robin: [00:08:22] This is Robin. I think my healing journey – I started around 2007-08 when I was introduced to the practice of yoga. And I think it was during those moments when I started to realize that I have been deeply wounded. So, kind of going back and identifying my triggers and in defining the wounds was a very important process for me. And it did took me, you know, more than 10 years to really work on myself. And I think, you know, when I realized that my – the history of my grandfather when, during the ethnic cleansing campaign, when during the conflict in Bhutan, when my grandfather was in prison for 18 months and then tortured inhumanly because of which he died. When I heard that story I think I started to feel the anger, the rage towards the system that killed my grandfather. And when I started to see the thousands of around me in the refugee camp suffering, being dependent on essences for the basic needs, I think that started my wounds – I think that started my, the quest towards justice. And the only, you know, the path to justice that I had known during that time was – prevents, and during the time I think the anger within me became so strong that my body started to show in a very negative way – in a negative pattern. And I think I came to that point where I felt like it was too much to hold in my body. It was too much to feel within my body. And I think there was a time when I started to look for alternatives and the practice of yoga meditation and I had to go through that, you know, a different kind of source for alternative way to address the wounds that are – that was inflicted, open me and the communities around me. So, yeah, I think the healing journey really begin during that time of identifying my wounds and needing to work on myself.
Mia: [00:11:18] I can go, this is Mia. I think that for me the moment that really sparked my personal healing journey was also bound up with my political work. I think it was definitely in my mid twenties, when I was 25, I found transformative justice and started to get into that work. This was way before transformative justice was trendy or popular. It was still a pretty, I mean, it still is now but it was definitely a still pretty scrappy. And I realized when I found that work, I was doing a reproductive justice work in the deep South in Atlanta Georgia. And I realized when I found transformative justice work that that was the work – It just felt like a political home. And that I really wanted to do that work, that was the work that I felt really called to do, and also I think was a moment of realizing for myself personally, how much healing I would have to do on myself to be able to do transformative justice work well. That, you know, T.J. is not something that is like a clock-in-clock-out kind of job, or that you just kind of pick up. We always say, you know, you can’t – you can’t think your way out of ending child sexual abuse or ending rape or sexual assault, and as somebody you know – I, prior to that, I had spent most of my life being pretty disassociated because of the trauma that I had experienced. I’m a survivor of child sexual abuse from inside of the medical industrial complex as well as from a community member.
And, you know, I think that finding transformative justice, one, it was one of the first times I had ever really had people talk about child sexual abuse in a politicized way. That wasn’t just individual kind of experiences or individual, you know, pathologizing individual survivors. That was the first time I had heard people talk about child sexual abuse as, you know, a really strategic site for doing prison abolition work and transformative justice comes out of prison abolition and is a prison abolition framework. And it was the first time I had heard people start to connect the dots between, you know, how we treat our children is – impacts us for generations and that child sexual abuse in particular, that it’s not a coincidence that it’s so widespread and rampant. I mean, even out of the callers that we have on this panel today, in this conversation, so many of us are survivors of child sexual abuse. And I think within communities of color at large, but I think within API communities in particular, we don’t talk about child sexual abuse enough. But child sexual abuse is happening everywhere. So, for me that was really the first time probably around, yeah, when I was 25, that I started to embark upon that journey – coming into my own and, you know, my own identity as a CSA survivor and a survivor obviously of other forms of violence, too. But also I think, you know, I was very disassociated as well because I’m also an adoptee, a translational and transnational adoptee from Korea. And I think that the kind of trauma that adoption inflicts on adoptees is a very particular one. And the kinds of things that adoptees have to do to survive often include, you know, things that are very detrimental to us, the coping mechanisms that we have to create. And so this association was really one of the main things that that I was doing. And it and I feel like when I found transformative justice and when I found a community of fellow CSA survivors in particular, but survivors at large, of color that that was really a turning point for me to start to to unravel and to start to thaw and that felt – it felt amazing but, I mean, I also don’t want to romanticize healing on this podcast either – or this episode either, that it’s it’s incredibly difficult to.
Tracy: [00:15:50] Yeah it’s incredibly difficult. Thank you so much Mia for tying all the introductions together. You’re right it’s not a surprise or accident that everyone’s journey on this call started with a very deep form of trauma and a lot that has to do with our bodies. Mia, I want to hear more about that throughout this call, I know you work at the intersection of disability justice too. So there’s ableism around how we experienced trauma, and heal from trauma, and in general, healing is such a buzzword nowadays. You know, healing – I really believe in making it consumable for everyone. And I think like we talked a lot about healing, it’s not being time bound, you know, like the expectations of healing, all the structures of healing – a lot of healers feel weird about identifying as healers. I think there’s just such a spectrum of how people access, and understand, and practice healing. And the bottom line of it all for me is, how do you individually honor your own healing. And so what I want to ask you all is, like, what does your practice look like? I think “practice” can be a buzzword, too. Like, before when people mentioned “practice”, I didn’t understand. Like, what is a practice, does it mean you have to meditate? Does a practice mean you have to pray? Like, what is a practice? And I think for me what I understand is, a practice is what you define for yourself as something you commit to doing to heal. So asking you all, what is your practice currently?
Trinity: [00:17:24] This is a Trinity again, and I wanted to answer that by, first recalling the fact that when I started my own healing path 30 years ago, you could not say the word “healing”. Nobody believed it was possible. You could only talk about health and managing your trauma afterwards and things like that. And I say this because now, going forward to where we are, I see the transformation in recognizing the limitations of that previous way of looking at healing. And seeing that, in fact, healing is another word for changing. And changing recognizes that something needs to – cannot continue the same way. And maybe that’s also why when you asked the first question about what started you, there was an impasse, whatever took place that required observation and a decision to not continue. And so I think that, I bring this up because I also did a postdoc following my PhD, in health policy, at UC San Francisco. I was the associate director of the lesbian health research center and was trained in research methodology. And when I looked into Western medicine, I saw that there was not a belief that – of actual concept of healing. And so I had to turn away from basically Western medicine in order to look at other ways of looking at the mind, body, and spirit because, also, spirit was not part of the conversation. So, I provide this art for us to recognize that, what looks like maybe a fad, is actually a breakthrough. A breakthrough that we can actually recognize that there’s several dimensions of reality – there’s the material and spiritual, not only the material. And that I found that in answering the question of practice, it was recognizing to me that those dimensions of spirit and matter, or what now people now call mind, body, and spirit operate simultaneously and healing requires recognizing that at the same time, and accessing the dimension in an interdependent way that allows the changing that you’re calling forth to take place. And that’s why going back to indigenous and basically Eastern philosophy to find out how we healed in the past was important because, clearly, trauma was not just discovered in modernity. And yet, how did ancient civilizations sustain themselves through all of this trauma that goes on and on and on and on. So it was not just out of curiosity but, some serious recognition of some basic knowledge that has – that I could access because of being Asian and being schooled in both realms. And so practice came to me then, finding something that works. And then telling people how it worked for me, breaking it down so that if it worked for you try it this way. And adjusted so that it works for you and even encouraging other forms of human. And when Amy talked earlier about City College the group I was part of, Healing for Change, we would offer basically a buffet of non-healing – I mean non-discursive healing practices like sound healing, meditation, shamanism, drumming, etc. And people were encouraged to try something to see if that matches you. And because of that, it could then send that person off to explore that medium. And I was glad that city college provided, and I’m sure I could not have gotten away with it in any other place. But at City College, which was very open, you could do those kinds of radical things and invite community and campus. So that’s what practice came to me, was what works for me and encouraging other people to find out what works for them.
Tracy: [00:21:56] Yeah, thanks so much Trinity. And I appreciate your first sentiment where you said healing, you know, it was not recognized back then. And I remember another time you said gay marriage, you know, people didn’t think that would be possible either and I know you’ve had a big role in the LGBT movement. So, I think it’s inspiring that you’ve lived to see so many notions, and ideas, and ideologies transform in your lifetime. So I’m, yeah, inspired by that. Thank you, Robin.
Robin: [00:22:26] So, for me, the practice of healing is really about connecting to myself. And by that, what I mean is connecting to my body – connecting to my being aware of my emotions and being aware of the thoughts that’s going on in my mind. Any activities that allows me to connect to a law that allows me to be at peace with my body, to be at peace with my mind. That really helps me to heal. And I also consider myself as a storyteller and engage myself in telling stories, telling my stories because I think it’s very important for us to own our stories, own our life, so that the stories that has, you know, that the outer entities has created. You know, life don’t define our life. So for that reason, you know, I engaged myself in telling my stories, bringing visibilities to the stories of immigrants and refugees; the sufferings that they have to go through. And really, you know, engaging in dialogue with people, we have different stories. Engaging, listening to people who have a completely different experience than my own experience. That really helps me to, you know, to be complete; to feel whole. I guess the, you know, the meaning of healing. Healing is also around to make whole and I feel like any activities that helps me to be more than who I am, is my practice. And, you know, throughout my healing journey I learned different kinds of meditation. But right now, what really helps me is to be able to sit quietly. Whereas, wherever I am, and then really, really connect with my breath, really connect with where I am right now – feel grounded and then just be the observer of the thought patterns. Be the observer of my surroundings and not try to change anything, or not try to be anybody, really helps me so that kind of like, you know, helps me to be creative. To be in that creative zone. And, you know, any activities like for example going to hiking, you know, that helps me to connect with myself.
Tracy: [00:25:31] Beautiful, thank you Robin. And you also mentioned in the beginning, yoga has been such a big part of your journey. And actually, Robin does 8 A.M. meditations daily with his community and friends. And so, If anybody wants to check it out, ask Robin. He’s a great yoga teacher.
We’re going to take a music break and listen to “Variance”, written and composed and performed by our own Amy Grace Lam.
Tracy: [00:28:51] Welcome back! You’re tuned into Apex Express on 94.1 KPFA, and 89.3 KPFB in Berkeley, 88.1 KFCF in Fresno, and K24ABR in Santa Cruz, and always online at kpfa.org. That was “Variance”, an homage to the book of stories of our ancestors past, present, and future. Their unnurtured dreams, the waterways they have traveled, the bodies they have passed onto us, the opportunities, discards, and variances of their lives. And their visions and secret dreams. Amy, do you want to share more about what other significance this piece has to you?
Amy: [00:29:39] Sure, I’ll tell a little bit of a story of how this song came to be actually my friend, Cynthia Tom, who’s a visual artist and also with Asian American Women Artists Association and a place of her own had an exhibit on human trafficking from the Chinese American perspective. And the story she was trying to tell through her images and, she actually made these pillows – pillows of women behind bars and they were actually pictures of her grandmother – was to talk about women who came from China over here to be wives but actually in being the role of a wife at that time, it was really to be this servant and slave to the family that you were bought into, the children, you know, that the person had and whatever else people needed. So it was a really powerful and haunting story of her grandma coming across from China, on a boat in the stowage, in the luggage, so that they didn’t have to pay for her. And that once she got here she was stuck on Angel Island for a few months. And listening to this story and seeing the images, it was very harrowing. And as I was there in the exhibit, all of a sudden, I could start hearing her grandmother and these other women imagine their lives and reimagine. And so I wrote this song because I heard them talk about what would life be like if they came here on the boat and things were completely different. Kind of like, you know, what Trinity and everyone else has been talking about, that healing is possible or change is possible. And so in the song I wanted to write, what if they landed on this fantasy Island instead of San Francisco and that they could get to be exactly who they were. And I saw them in all these like elaborate dresses, and umbrellas, and walking on the ocean, and walking on the sand, and dancing, and being free in ways that at that time Chinese women weren’t allowed to be. And so that’s why I wrote the story and it has really touch me in terms of fantasy, and creation, and imagination, and how part of healing really requires us to change our narratives of what we think is possible. You know, and sometimes that is through storytelling and through wild imagination, that we can hear from our ancestors. These new possibilities that, you know, we didn’t think were possible and that may be now in our present moment in time we actually have the opportunity, the skills, and the resources to enact all of these wild possibilities. So, yeah, that’s a little bit about that song and why I wrote it.
Tracy: [00:32:41] Wow, thank you so much, Amy. It’s really a beautiful magical piece. Thank you for writing it and gifting us that story through your music talent. And speaking of the present moment, you kind of brought us back to the present context. I wonder, you all understand trauma and healing in different forms and ways. Can any of you describe what’s happening to us as a society, as humanity, just the whole world is facing a global pandemic and America, in particularly, we’re facing layers and layers of crisis. What is happening To ourselves, what is happening as we’re facing all that in a very intense ongoing way, a saturated way?
Mia: [00:33:28] Hi this is Mia. So, before I kick us off though, I just want to say that –I just want to interject something in healing and just the beautiful things that people are saying. I think also, like for me, I had always, as a disabled person who’s been disabled since I was six months old, I have always been wary of healing and I always had kind of like a hesitation around it. Because, you know, myself like so many other disabled children in particular, but this happens to disabled adults as well for sure, I was exposed to forced healing in my – it was such a huge part of my childhood. Forced healing in all different types of ways, via medical Western kind of science ways and surgeries, for example, that were forced upon me that no one ever asked me for my consent for and like this such a deep ableist, and racist, and patriarchal idea I need to change my disabled body and to try to make me less disabled and more abled. But, also forced healing, by way of more quote unquote like “Eastern healing practices” is or traditional healing practices. I just want to lift up so many of our healing practices are very ableist and have and it’s not just or you know not just Western medicine in healing practices it’s in so many things across the world.
And so I just I feel the need to interject that somewhere because I think that for so long you know people have used healing as a weapon and cure, you know, cure has been used as such a deep weapon against disabled people in particular. But also queer and trans people, too. Also, you know, communities of color across the board. Also, you know, indigenous people etc. etc.. And so I just want to name that, and I think it also ties into what’s going on in this moment, you know, I think that that’s such a huge question, Tracy. And I think in terms of this conversation, one thing that I’ll uplift in this moment, well, one is I think like we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and to me it’s impossible to talk about the pandemic without talking about ableism, without talking about, you know, disability and bodies and we’re in a moment where people are really heightened around their health and their wellbeing and their literal survival. And where we’re also seeing so many places across the globe, you know, whose hospitals are getting overrun and this is happening in the U S as well.
We’re seeing eugenic practices playing out before our very eyes in terms of who gets treatment who doesn’t. Who gets access to testing, who doesn’t. You know, as well as, of course, the layers upon layers of systemic oppression that this virus – that are nothing new, but this virus is also helping to lay bare in terms of the capitalist system that we operate and white supremacy etc. I think that one thing that feels really important to me when I talk about healing is how, in the work that I do around transformative justice. And I think also in healing justice work; healing is so bound up with accountability and that those two things can’t be separated and oftentimes there is a need for accountability in order to heal. I don’t think that I always say this to people, you know, you should never – your healing should never be dependent on somebody else’s accountability because they may never be accountable. And both/and so often what I see when I work with folks who are harmers who have done great harm like rape, sexual assault child, sexual abuse, etc.
Often, part of their journey to take accountability means that they have to do healing as well. And I think that for those of us who have survived violence, that there is accountability as well in that healing that’s necessary. There’s a really beautiful essay by Shannon Prez Darby that talks about the joy, I think it’s called the “Joy of Self-Accountability”, and she talks about, as a survivor, the ways that accountability plays into that. But I say that plays into our healing, but I say that to say that I think in this moment, part of what we’re seeing is that we – there is a great revealing. And that there is a reckoning, and that there is accountability necessary for us to heal. Not just from the virus and from the pandemic that we’re in, and that Incredible mismanagement, and selfishness, and cruelty that we’re witnessing – and arrogance, from our current administration that is not only putting our lives at risk, but the entire world at risk. But also I think in the in the wake of the, and in the moment of the political uprising that we’re in, both like the acute kind of uprising that we have witnessed and but it’s still going, it hasn’t ended at all. And I think that both of these things to me have also signified and shown me like the connection between the need for us to have accountability and for us to really reckon with some of the terrible, terrible harm that has been caused in order for healing to happen. So, that was a lot, sorry about that.
Tracy: [00:39:09] No, don’t be sorry. See, that’s why I asked you, I knew you could handle the question. And you know, I asked selfishly because there’s so much unknown right now and part of, you know, my own personal anxiety is like looking for some kind of clarity, looking for some kind of definition of what’s happening right now. You touched upon on so many complex layers that were really profound. Thank you, Mia, for tying all that we’re facing with accountability, ableism, and just our current will to survive right now. Does anyone else have thoughts around what is happening to us? Trinity, is that you?
Trinity: [00:39:45] Yes, yes. I wanted to address that in a broader perspective because in the course of my research as a ethic studies professor, I, for example, went back to find out what’s the origin of it of homophobia? Why is it that, you know, gay people have to be killed, mutilated, and tortured? And the reason I say that is that it took me back. It allowed me to kind of start looking at time in a broader perspective, like in hundreds and thousands of years, instead of decades. And the reason I say that is that at the same time in the course of that was the Mayan calendar prediction of 2012. And I had the opportunity to attend a five day conference about this subject and what I learned from that as well as the fact that, you know, looking at something so entrenched, thousands of years later, what the Mayans basically were saying was that the globe – planet earth, was moving in a, into a stream of transformation. And it didn’t ever it never said that it was going to be easy but it basically began. And that, you know, the healing practice I’m part of – inner beauty healing. My sister, Francesca, she specializes in the divination arts utilizing astrology and numerology and the Y Ching and those kinds of things and going back and using those kinds of tools and looking at not only material reality but, Cosmologically, material reality and the effects of the cosmic forces out there. Basically, what I learned is that we are in the planet Earth and everybody in it including plants, and animals, and humans are in a period of global transformative change. Meaning, much more similar to the transition that humans had to make from being four-legged to two-legged. Or to or to grow a brain to the one that we have now. And it’s like watching a tree that goes from a seed to a sapling and then it starts getting bigger and bigger and bigger until it becomes a tree. But then it’s really meant to be a giant tree. And I say that because that understanding, looking at at the multiple dimensions of physical and metaphysical reality is what has helped me understand the opportunities that we have that are being brought forth by cosmic forces of which we are part of.
So what’s been said is that this period we’re in we’ll bring up all the muck. Which is what all of these things that have been said, we’ve seen them before but they’re all being brought together now in front of us so that we can choose. We can choose which path to follow. The continued degradation or standing against it. And I think that’s the opportunity to look at. In order for us to become the humane human beings we are, when I look back at my own healing journey, what guided me was, for lack of a better word, spirit source/soul, whatever you want to call it, inside of me guided me to figure out what worked and what didn’t work. And that’s true, I believe universally that there is that essence. You can say divinity resides within and without. That is the spirit within me, it’s the same as spirit without God and I are not separate. And so my healing journey has taken me to not only explore spiritual traditions but to kind of grasp the commonality in heightened . So, yes it’s really troubling. But also the trouble is providing an opportunity to really clear the deck of the crap that’s been there. When you look at the police brutality struggle, people are saying well I’ve been doing this for decades, it’s not going to work. Let’s defund the police. We transform everything and that idea was not popular 10 years ago, five years ago. And so many ideas now are becoming – people whose minds are becoming open to what is possible to make a world that’s sustainable. Or a society that compassionate instead of only momentarily. And so that’s – I’m looking at the light behind the darkness that we’re in and working towards the light.
Tracy: [00:44:49] That’s so, so beautiful, Trinity. There really isn’t enough time on this show to dive deeper. I wish we can hear more. I know you all are just barely scratching the surface, and thank you for introducing the light to us as we wrap up, Trinity. I want to hear from everyone. Yeah, what is – what does healing look like around you in your life? You know, what are you noticing, seeing, and experiencing that really feels healing as we’re trudging through this muck, right, that we’re all that has been placed under us. How’s it look like for you all?
Amy: [00:45:25] this is Amy. I actually wanted to just go back to what Trinity was saying as we close. It’s so profound and when you hear all of our healing paths and how we’ve got to where we are, it all started with a crisis for each one of us. A crisis and so many of us talked about a crisis in our body that we had to reckon with or, you know, you can even say our soul. And I feel like globally or planetarily that’s exactly what’s happening; this kind of soul or psyche crisis that the entire world and the planet is sitting with and even though it’s so painful, like so many of our healing journeys, it was actually necessary to bring us to that place of reckoning with ourselves and healing. And so I think what’s beautiful is seeing the opportunity that healing is here. You know, I think that in all the different aspects we’ve been talking about whether it’s police brutality, whether it’s Black Lives Matter, looking at our healthcare system, all of these things that we’ve been talking about or in our personal lives on healing – they’ve been unpopular. Or, you know, they haven’t been taken by the masses very seriously. And all of a sudden in these last three, four months so much shift has been possible because it’s like everyone’s attention is drawn to the thing that’s most important. And so I think that’s really what’s beautiful to see, you know, that healing is here and healing can happen and change is happening. I remember when I first started my healing journey in the same way that Trinity said, I did not think I could ever get better. I just thought that I would cry less or feel less pain. But to to know that one day I could come to a place where I had peace inside myself was really amazing. And so what I look forward to for our planet and ourselves in our society is that we are on the cusp of big, big change. And the possibilities are just beginning about what we can do or, you know, what humans are possible – have in their minds and possibilities. So, I just am so thankful for everyone who is dealing with this reckoning, whether it’s, you know, at the institutional level calling out change, whether it’s sitting at home with your family and having to be with the mess, you know, and these multigenerational households, or whether it’s needing to sit in front of yourself and deal with a lot of the pain and grief that frankly, we’ve been avoiding because we work so much or we do so much. And with this time where we can go out we actually have to sit and look at the pain that we have, that we may have caused others, and we’ve caused ourselves. And so I think that’s what I just wanted to share, is that I’m really excited that healing is here for us to take on.
Tracy: [00:48:27] Yeah, totally. Healing is here whether you realize it ,want it, or, you know, want to dive into it. Thank you so much, Amy. That’s so beautiful. Robin?
Robin: [00:48:40] Yes, so for me it so inspiring to see the solidarity that I saw when during the Black Lives movement, the support from different communities that was needed. And to see the dialogue happening in so many different level around this deeply rooted – this generational trauma around racism and in my community, you know, it exists as casteism. You know, when this voices around antiracism going around in the country, in my own community, you know, we started to talk about caste system; in my own community we started talking about child of sex abuse. So we started talking about this, you know, relationship between power structure and, you know, how people in different level had been raised or manipulated. So to see this dialogue, you know, happening in different level, I feel like this is healing for me. You know, and also during the pandemic when, you know, when people in the community started losing jobs, when there was this uncertainties/ insecurities – now we had people willing to support, people willing to step up and be there for each other. I think that unity, that solidarity, that togetherness is healing for me because that gave me hope and that gave our community that sense of belonging. So, healing is here, yeah. Like Amy saying and for me it’s happening in many different levels.
Tracy: [00:50:37] Thank you so much, Robin. I know your community, as a refugee community, has been displaced for so many generations. And to hear that you are witnessing this, and experiencing this in your community is very beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
Mia: [00:50:53] Thank you, this is Mia. I mean, I feel like that question is so, so beautiful in so many ways. I think that what I see happening around in my life in terms of healing right now, I just think we’re in such a magnificent moment and in such a moment of such opportunity. I mean, yeah, there’s a lot of hard things and really terrifying things happening for sure, and both – and I think that it’s so inspiring to me to see the mutual aid. And to be – that’s happening to see people supporting each other, to see people realizing many, you know, I think a lot of communities already know that the state is not going to protect them and the government has never protected them and they’ve always had to rely on themselves. And both and I think so many more people in communities are waking up to that reality in the wake of this pandemic. And seeing firsthand, and experiencing firsthand that, you know, there’s nobody coming to save us. That the – that our government is not providing for us in the ways that we – in the ways that it says, that it wants to protect us or that it will protect us. It’s not doing that, and I think more and more people are coming to the realization that we have to step up to take care of each other. And that to me has been so energizing to see.
And I feel like that is a part – it’s such a huge part of healing. You know, the thing about healing is that, I think when we talk about true healing, like holistic healing, like at its very core the crux of it, it’s not enough just to do individual healing. It has to be collective as well. And when we talk about the kind of healings that – kind of healing that our community needs to engage in, you know, just being able to witness what’s going on in this moment. Never met before, reaching out to help each other, to grocery shop for each other, to share supplies, whatever it may be. You know, the place that I’m sitting here, speaking to you all from, looks out my window and I’m looking at my neighbor across the street who has had a free table outside of their house for, I don’t even know how many years – maybe seven or eight years before the pandemic. It was such a life saving thing but it has become even more so. And I’ve been watching the latest, you know, group of folks bringing boxes and boxes of fresh food to put on that table. And we’ve – people come every day to come and get the supplies and get food. And it has been life saving for sure during the pandemic. But like that, that kind of community infrastructure, even though it’s form, it’s informal has those types of things have also, I think risen to the top. It’s been amazing to see how they’ve seamlessly been able to adapt and helped us to be ready for moments like this. And then, of course, all of the new mutual aid that I was talking about that started.
So, I think that’s amazing and one thing I want to just close by saying is that to me a huge part of my healing has been doing transformative justice work because it has been the work to build the kind of world that we want. Because transformative justice is about saying, look, if we’re not going to rely on the police, if we’re not going to rely on prisons, on the court system, the I.C.E., the foster care system, then we have to rely on us and we have to figure these things out. How will we respond to harm and violence in our communities, in our own communities. And I think that for me, such a huge part of my healing has been building – actively building the world that I actually want. Actively building something, rather than just continually just resisting against the world that I don’t want. And that type of resilience, I think has been incredibly healing and has helped me to also awaken more possibilities because one of the things that trauma does to us is it dims what’s possible. It makes it, it closes our revolutionary imaginations and it makes us think that less is possible, that we have to settle for the crumbs, that we have to settle for terrible situations, or settle for harmful toxic relationships. And when we can vision, and when we can build, and experience love or care in these new ways, it helps us to heal by expanding our revolutionary imaginations by expanding what’s possible. And to me that’s such a huge part of healing.
Tracy: [00:55:26] Wow. Thank you Mia for that note. Healing is here, healing is within us. Which means the new world is within us. It’s within our imagination. You’re absolutely right. Thank you all so much. I want to make also a quick plug that Mia Mingus will be offering the AACRE network a transformative introductory series, it’s six sessions. So our network of 11 organizations is very excited to continue learning from you, Mia, and transformative justice. So our time was up together and I hope listeners are inspired by this healing episode. The conversation and the music was so incredibly moving for me, and there’s lots more to talk about. And we love to have everyone back for future shows.
Tracy: [00:56:17] Followers and listeners can learn more about acre Asian Americans for civil rights and equality and the organizations and individuals we talked about through our Apex Express Facebook, Instagram, and on kpfa.org. We’ll return every fourth Thursdays. Have a good night.
We thank Robin Gurung, Dr .Rev Trinity Ordona, Amy Grace Lam, and Mia Mingus for being on the show with us tonight on APEX Express. And for all you listeners out there. Keep resisting. Keep organizing. Keep creating and sharing your visions with the world. Your voices are important.
APEX Express is produced by Tracy Nguyen, Preeti Mangala Shekar, Tara Dorabji, Jessica Antonio, Miko Lee and Jalena Keane-Lee. Tonight’s show was produced by your host Tracy Nguyen. Thanks to the crew at KPFA for their support during this shelter in place time.