Our Collective Liberation & Wars
How our freedom is intertwined with one another, relationship advice, house music, and affordable Asian groceries
Last week was quite rough.
From the anti-trans legislation passed in Texas to the war in Ukraine, our communities around the world are struggling to stay free and survive.
It’s a daily struggle to hold space for these new wounds, given the issues from the last few years have still yet to be resolved: Myanmar continues to be set ablaze, freedom within Hong Kong continues to dissipate, Afghanistan is heading towards an all-out humanitarian disaster, and the US continues to lose lives to COVID.
As our publications transitions headlines from one conflict to another, it’s easy to forget how intertwined all of these problems are. It’s even easier to forget how intertwined we are in all of this.
Collectively, we are suffering — in silence and aloud; heard and unheard; internally and externally; recently and endlessly; inextricably and inexplicably; consciously and physically...
In an effort to move away from this pain, we devise a simple, yet poor solution of polarity. Our assumption that there must be a “good” and “bad” actor to blame in all of this creates a chasm within our communities, ideals, and solutions. The truth is, there are too many complex circumstances that blur the boundaries between these two points.
And we often exaggerate what is “bad” based on our own personal life circumstances to (1) validate our behaviors and (2) avoid taking responsibility for our collective suffering.
We don’t see consumerism as an issue, as long as we don’t buy goods directly racist or hurting communities. However, consumerism leads to capitalism that continues to exploit labor and natural resources around the world through slavery and wars.
We don’t see the military as an issue, as long as it’s protecting us. However, military power and police states require the need for conflict or punishment to validate its existence and economy. The major irony of military peacekeeping is through the use of jails, torture, arms sales, wars, and top-down organizational leadership to achieve it.
We don’t see the issue of working for corporations that build harmful technologies, as long as we’re in a different department, saving for our individual retirement, or trying to give our immediate child a better future. However, there cannot be an existence of these harmful technologies without the company, leader, and individual contributor coming together. It’s impossible to look away from the roles these companies have played in our global conflicts.
There is so much that we can do, beyond donating directly to causes, to dismantle ideologies and ways of being that have driven us to this point. When we realize these conflicts are precipitations of our collective consciousness and actions, it becomes a responsibility for us all to bear.
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, we are linked together for life. Our collective liberation from suffering and pain is deeply intertwined with one another. We cannot be individually freed without the freedom of others around the world.
Lastly, the solution forward is not only outward momentum but also deep internal work. When we can liberate ourselves from our own constraints, limitations, and judgments, we become open to the liberation of others around us — especially those that come from a background unlike our own.
We are the keys to the collective liberation of others, as they are for us.
What I’m up to
For queer BIPOC designers: Tue, Mar 8 - QTBIPOC Design UX Nights
For queer Asians: Thu, Mar 10 - Yellow Glitter Sparkles Support Group
For Asians: Wed, Mar 16 - Asian American Healing Space
Mar 4: NJIT on queer BIPOC perspectives in design and user experience
Something to watch
Esther Perel explains in this short video “Why Your Partner Criticizes You” that behind every criticism is a wish, and that our fear of expressing our innermost desire drives us toward attacks and passive-aggressive remarks. I’ve been asking myself more lately - “what am I truly asking for / wanting?”, whenever I notice these feelings arise. (And also, “why am I afraid to express this?”)
Something to listen
One of my favorite DJ groups is Above & Beyond, have been dropping some really amazing mixes during the pandemic. Check out some of their sets deep in house, atop a mountain in Colombia, and from beautiful Greece. Amazing melodies, fascinating transitions, and an ever-evolving musical journey.
Something to shop
Through the pandemic, I’ve been fortunate to use grocery delivery services and have loved one in particular: Weee. Asian-founded, focuses on Asian grocery delivery at great prices, and has since expanded out to include Hispanic groceries. Love getting groceries I can’t find in a typical western market such as Asian vegetables and black sesame desserts. Protip: They regularly send out coupons when you go idle or have stuff sitting in your cart. If you sign up via my referral link, you can receive $10 off $35 on your first order!
As always, thanks for reading!
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Have a beautiful day!