Summit AftermathAugust 4, 2009
One amazing week.
I try and try and try to explain to people how much this changed my life in 2001. And really, for something about words, there is no words.
We live in a society where asian voices do not exist in our media. We can sell products for other people, tell the news for other people, speak the party line for other people (but only if we’re the most extreme) and drop ancient wisdoms that let white heroes become more awesome at our arts than we ourselves are.
In this climate, where you can’t point to anyone, and say, “Yeah, that’s someone who’s saying what I’m feeling”? That’s the place we’re finding voices.
Making space to be heard. One truth of the immigrant story is that your life and cultural makeup will not be like your parents, and your children’s will not be yours either- you can’t be heard by your own half the time. Tie in all the messages of internalized racism, buying into white supremacy, and that, for many families, survival is material while you’re pursuing the thing that reminds you why the hell you’re alive in the first place.
There’s not a lot of spaces for our voices.
The Summit is about giving love and support. You get love whether no one knows you or you’ve been doing music and spoken word for years. You get love if you have bad poetry, or shitty presentation. You get love if you cry, you get love if you rap, you get love if just lift equipment. You don’t have to fight, explain, justify, tell anyone where you come from, explain what you just said in another language, explain why you can’t speak another language, why you dress like that, why you have a southern twang, why you’re queer, nothing.
That bullshit falls away. You’re you. It doesn’t become magically invisible like the postracially racist “colorblind” folks- it’s just that the differences are accepted, because that’s part of you, too, and it doesn’t matter, because that’s you, and that’s you and that’s you.
We can’t draw lines about you and not reject you.
And the Summit is about coming together.
The differences between us become spaces of exploration- the people who are isolated by geography, by art, by hobbies, by love, by hate, by ethnic backgrounds, by war, by struggle, by everything – this isn’t to divide- this is where I get to know the things I don’t know.
And I do it by accepting you.
And we do it as a group. And we speak and spit fire and poetry falls like snow and covers us with our voices, our stories, our hopes, our truths.
In that, we find our hearts.