AAPI Heritage Month #23

May 23, 2023

Do you follow politics in Asia or the Pacific Islands?

In talking with my Amma recently she had shared with me a deep sadness about the “terrible treatment of women that continues in India.” She said she had been reading and watching the news about it and how upsetting it was. I did not know what she was talking about.

My brother graciously sends me article links about current events in India. Every time I see these links I hesitate. I know I should open and read it. I know I should keep up with the political climate of our ancestral land. Where most of my family still resides. I also know that I am so tired under the oppressive American regime that I might break any second. How am I supposed to navigate all of this consistent heartache?

So no, I would say that I do not follow politics in Asia or the Pacific Islands. This is something I carry shame around. It just feels so… overwhelming. For much of my life it felt quite unapproachable. I had heard certain perspectives from uncles and cousins that did not sit right, but I did not feel qualified to push back. As with most “Indian” things I feel just as inadequate at 38 as I did at 12.

Recently I was inspired to find footing in API politics when I attended an international conference for work. There I met brilliant drug policy advocates from the Pacific Islands. I was blown away by the powerful work they were doing to end the death penalty and expand harm reduction. A fire was lit under me to look into such policies in other Pacific Islands and across Asia. In doing this research, I don’t feel as inadequate because I am confident in my political values. Maybe this is the entrance I need to stay plugged into API politics.

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