In just under a month, members the Southeast Asian American community from across the country will be coming together in Sacramento for a powerful convening set to inspire, connect, innovate, and activate.
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center’s second biennial Moving Mountains equity summit will be taking place from October 2-4, 2019. Our exciting opening plenary will set the tone, with SEARAC’s current and past executive directors—KaYing Yang, Doua Thor, and Quyen Dinh—and a special appearance from founding director Le Xuan Khoa—exploring the last four decades of the refugee experience through their lens as leaders of SEARAC.
Celebrating self-determination, the conference will provide space for a variety of sessions that will enable rich discussion, reflection, and courageous conversation.
In “Building Muscle Memory for Healing Justice,” clinician Jaq Nguyen Victor will present Dig & Demand, a grassroots program that flips the script on the mainstream Western model of mental health through critical literacy skills and embodied play interventions. During the session, attendees will demystify academic concepts like “hermeneutical injustice,” as well as play, not just to talk about buzzwords for healing, like “vulnerability” or “liberation,” but to build muscle memory for living these concepts.
In “Within the Family: When Sexual Violence Happens,” Pheng Thao, director of ManForward, will facilitate a discussion around sexual violence within families, and the roles of community leaders, service providers, and community organizers in supporting families who are navigating the trauma. The roundtable will explore how families and individuals who have experienced sexual violence, including the person who caused the harm, can find ways to re-connect and reconcile.
In “Triggered: Owning Your Healing Through Radical Storytelling,” playwright, performer, and activist Susan Lieu will role model radical storytelling—a vehicle to disempower past traumas by facing and reclaiming them in a supportive environment—with an excerpt of her solo show 140 LBS: How Beauty Killed my Mother. After the performance, Susan will teach body movement exercises to ground the storytellers, share a feedback framework, and create space for SEARAC participants to reclaim their stories in small groups.
Finally, Diverse Elders Coalition’s own National Director Jenna McDavid will lead a panel discussion called “Family Caregiving in Southeast Asian American Communities” with SEARAC’s community-based partners who supported the coalition’s family caregiving research. Audience members can expect to hear about survey findings and key focus group themes in order to learn about what we can do to better meet the needs of caregivers in our communities.
SEARAC is also excited to debut a special private screening of its mini-documentary Made By Refugees: 40 Years of SEARAC, directed by entrepreneur and filmmaker Sahra V. Nguyen, who used the backdrop of our 20th anniversary Leadership and Advocacy Training in June 2019 to discuss SEARAC’s role in addressing the opportunities and challenges for the SEAA movement toward equity.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.