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MINKA Brooklyn is a space for ALL people, and to support the effort to raise vibration of ALL, they place importance in holding safe & empowering space for marginalized communities. In light of recent happenings around American, founder Aki wrote to her community and we felt compelled to share the message with ours...
As you know, things are heating up/ crumbling down (depending on how you look at things, both are relevant in my opinion) in this country. It is disheartening to see it, makes you crazy, and we all want to do something about it - at least I think our community does.
I just read a newsletter from one of the Healing Center I used to frequent, and it was about racism. The founder was asking what she could do as a white woman, a healer and a Leader of her community. I replied to her email asking her to work with her population, which is mainly white, to acknowledge their privilege and power, work though and empower them with that privilege and power - so they can be a true anti-racist person.
For me, this is especially real - I really struggled to embrace my privilege and power, as an activist Asian woman from a middle class family. It was weird for me to talk about anti-oppression, while feeling guilty deep down below the surface, that I too benefit from being a fair-skinned, small Asian woman within this power structure. It is a fact that I do not alarm most people when I walk into a store - I do not pose a threat. It is a fact that I do not have the burden of financially taking care of the elderly members of my family, since the generational family wealth secured that for them already - and I can live MY life as I want to, and take a vacation every now and again.
I am not stripped of my heritage and I see my race dabbed as a ‘model immigrant’, and moving up on the social ladder fairly quickly. So yes, I did feel uncomfortable, until I decided to use what I have, no matter how little, to shift the narrative and create a change.
This work around confronting the ’norm’ and understanding our own implicit biases is not a choice any longer - if anyone ever thought this was a choice before, that is. This work starts from within, reflecting on things we take for granted - and see what the world is actually like for the person alongside of us. It takes a lot of effort to understand the perspective of others (actually impossible to do it - but we must try to do better than we have been;), by acknowledging our own biases, power and privilege, and talk about it.
One thing I am very cognizant while being a care taker of MINKA Brooklyn is how these powers are represented in the space. For this specific reason, I had chosen to take all practitioners of color to represent MINKA at Afro Punk, and Submerge Fest (which is a festival for Queer and Trans Artists of Color). It is not that I do not believe White people can hold space for Black or Brown people - they can. But what we need to see more of is that the image of wellness and health is represented to them as something that’s inherent to them, not something foreign, especially at events that celebrate their own beauty and contribution to the society. These events are created to challenge the current narrative of the society, so we are doing exactly that!
In order for us to raise the vibration of ALL humans, first we need to level the playing field. For Black and Brown people, this means they remember their power in the deepest sense. It is time now for them to see themselves as not just as a receivers of our healing, but seeing themselves as ones who are capable of holding space. For Lighter skin-tone people, this means understanding that sometimes we cannot be the facilitators for Black and Brown people because that, too, is perpetuating the system that Lighter people are the one with skills, and darker people are the ones to receive this ‘blessing’. This notion of Charity and giving had perpetrated this for a long time - and it is time now to empower them to remember their inherent power.
If any of you feel refused, rejected and frustrated because of this particular incident and conversation - I want you to meditate on this feeling, and understand this is exactly what being a person of color feels like. I do not mean to perpetuate all of these feelings because my intention, again, is not to refuse anyone - I simply chose to feature the ones other places might not have - but I do understand how this can feel. So without meaning to rubbing this into your wound, I humbly ask you to meditate on it.
Thank you all for being invested in creating a community that is stronger, healthier and higher vibing - I really appreciated everyone’s honest and courage. So much love to all of you.
I do understand that healers wants to heal all who needs to be healed - and yet, sometimes it is important to take a back seat, so we can empower them to hold that space for their own community. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me ;)
If you never read materials for being a better ally to Black and Brown people, I have a few for you below. It will probably be uncomfortable (trust me, I read many of these), but it is really good to understand how misguided we can be, so we can start being better, and help others to do the same.
For Black and Brown practitioner, I do not mean to make this a blanket statement, but it is coming from my experience. I know there are many levels of privilege and power within folks of color, too, but I could not get into that - otherwise it will be an epic email of the century - and no one will read it. Thank you for your understanding.