We held a creative writing workshop to make space for APENistas to process what’s happening amid the pandemic. With 18 Million Rising’s Love Letters to Movement Leaders as our guide, we wrote love letters to the people who inspire us in this time. What emerged were deep appreciations for people working on the frontlines, including APEN members.
Here’s Richmond Youth Organizer Katherine Lee’s letter to Asia Stevenson, a 2nd generation APEN member and youth leader. We’re posting it here with permission from both Kat and Asia.
I’m writing this letter as a thank you to you, and all the young movement leaders who have dedicated their time to community involvement.
In middle school, you began exercising your voice as a young APEN member, taking part in canvassing programs and youth meetings. Now you have grown into a youth leader who is about to graduate high school, facilitating meetings as an APEN intern and serving on a planning committee for our local Schools and Communities First action. I am so proud!
You serve as a great role model to other young organizers through your consistent efforts to improve Richmond and fight for our Asian immigrant and refugee community. I am greatly appreciative of all the work you’ve done with APEN as a youth leader, and the work you’re doing now as an essential retail worker during the time of this pandemic.
COVID-19 has not gotten in the way of your leadership and commitment to the community. During the pandemic, you’ve been on APEN planning calls and meetings, bringing insightful perspectives on the topics we discuss, all while finishing up your credits to graduate high school, and working weekends to support yourself and your family.
You are an inspiration to everyone in the movement, whether they’re youth or adult, local organizers or national organizers.
I am excited to see you continue to grow.
Katherine Lee is from Richmond, CA, born from a family of first generation Mien refugees. Since elementary school, she’s been attending APEN meetings, rallies, and protests against the Chevron Refinery. Katherine is now the Richmond Youth Organizer at Asian Pacific Environmental Network.