This is it. We made it. Season 4 finale.
As many of you know, Project Voice has been running for a little over 2 years since November 2016. When I first started the podcast, I only expected myself to produce 15 episodes at the most. It was started by me and a bunch of my friends who I invited to share their experiences on the show. Most of us didn’t come from an academic background in ethnic studies or Asian American studies. We were just speaking from our own experience[s].
I was learning as I was going through the conversations taking place on Project Voice, and over time, eventually became very active and involved with the activist community. I learned to be more convicted with my beliefs while at the same time, open-minded and respectful towards those who hold different views from mine. I’ve learned and listened from a variety of perspectives.
As many of you know, I have not been in the U.S. for a few years now and just moved my base to Australia where I’ll be living for at least another year. During this time period, I plan to reach out and connect with the Asian Australian community and potentially other Asian diasporic communities all over the world outside the U.S. As an American, I feel like It’s time to learn and listen again. My busy schedule means I won’t be able to keep up with our monthly release for Project Voice.
However, I do want to say that I spent a long time to decide putting Project Voice on another hiatus. To be honest, I wanted to transition out of Project Voice for more than a year now and have been putting this decision on hold because I see how much value it offers to our community. I can see how much I’ve grown through this project as well as many other people who’ve been following PV since. I feel honored to see how many people have heard about Project Voice and how many inspiring change makers have been interviewed on our platform. At the same time, ironically speaking, I do feel like I’ve lost my voice working on Project Voice, a now large-scale platform for influential voices. For me right now, I want to spend some time to rest and reflect on how Project Voice can continue thriving as an AUTHENTIC media outlet for our Asian community tuning in all over the world. What can we do with our content to keep our audience informed and engaged AUTHENTICALLY?
As a child of immigrant parents, I knew what it’s like to feel like I have to reinvent the wheel and now having an established platform for other Asian diasporic folx to share their stories, my next questions are: how can we improve our reach so that many others won’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel? And also, how can I transform Project Voice into a self-sustaining platform for not only our current generations but our future generations of aspiring creators and storytellers as well?
I’d like to thank our listeners for tuning in, sharing feedback on our podcast, and engaging with our content. I’d like to thank our team members for the time and energy they put into contributing a cause that they care about. I’d like to personally thank Grace Abe, our graphic designer and illustrator for leading last year’s rebranding project. Because of Grace, we were able to provide a powerful visual experience alongside with the release of our episodes. Last but not least, I’d also like to thank our sponsors, Found Coffee and Bharat Babies for believing in our mission. If it weren’t all of you, Project Voice would not be where it is today.
About a year ago, Minnie Ng and I invited Jen Sungshine to share with us not only her history and experience in activism and video production under Love Intersections but her insights about collaborating with other multitalented QTPOC artists as well. From our interview with Jen, we will learn about why collaborations may be the most effective and ethical approach to sharing stories of communities across borders. In this episode, we also will discuss more about the importance of engaging in difficult dialogues and listening with empathy and compassion as creative activists.
As we near the end of season 4, Project Voice will be preparing for its lineup for season 5 (and ANOTHER big surprise coming soon!). If you are interested in being interviewed, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Jen Sungshine speaks for a living, but lives for breathing life into unspoken situations in unusual places. She is a nerdy queer Taiwanese interdisciplinary artist/activist, facilitator, and community mentor based in Vancouver, BC, and the Co-Creative Director and founder of Love Intersections, a media arts collective that cultivate a vision of collaborative filmmaking and relational storytelling. Jen's artistic practice involves learning through unlearning; and instead of calling you out, she wants to call you in, to make artful social change with her. In the audience, she looks for art in your interruption.
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Content warning: sexual assault
Years before the online #MeToo movement that took place in October 2017, Yee Xiong filed a civil suit case against her attacker. Determined to bring justice to her case, she bravely held her ground despite the bribery and threats that occurred during the conviction. It was only a few months later that Yee reached out to me to again to share news of her huge win of her lawsuit case. The legal battle lasted for 6 years. According to a NY Times interview, Yee hopes that her victory will send “a very powerful and positive message to the world that people will be held accountable for their actions, no matter how long it takes.”
In this episode, Yee will share with us how she navigated through the legalities of her case and healed herself after the incident. On a larger scale, we also will discuss about how sexual violence is related to immigration rights.
Yee Xiong is a daughter of Hmong refugee parents and an advocate for sexual assault survivors and immigrant rights. She earned her BA in Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis, and works as a community educator at her local rape crisis center in Yolo County. She is passionate about building solidarity among historically oppressed communities through grassroots organizing, women and youth of color empowerment, Southeast Asian and migrant worker issues, and ethnic studies.
Follow Yee on Instagram @yee.speaks!
Brought to you by our co-host, Afsana Oreen:
Anti-Blackness within the South Asian diasporic community is often not discussed. That’s why I was excited to learn how Nina Bhattacharya – a writer, educator, and cultural organizer – combats anti-blackness. I invite you to modify her strategies, with some additional guidance from the Aerogram’s article “The Revolution Starts with My Thathi,” the next time you need to confront anti-Blackness in your community or in unfamiliar spaces.
Nina Bhattacharya is a writer, educator, podcast producer, and cultural organizer based in Cambridge, MA. Her writing has been published in The Toast, Kajal Magazine, and The Aerogram.