In Our Own Voices: Dreaming & Manifesting #QueerAzaadi

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After countless hours of dreaming, scheming and organizing, the #QueerAzaadi Weekend of Action directly engaged nearly 200 people to engage in our actions and healing spaces, centering trans and queer Muslim and South Asian folks, and engaged 100s more as passers-by and participants.

Here are some reflections from the brilliant organizers who made this all happen:

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“The Boston checkpoints were truly powerful. We had 50ish people participate in various roles and many local orgs come together. The process of putting together the action was grounded and centered – there was intentional solidarity work being done and the level of engagement we got on the street from people was amazing! It has beautifully reconfirmed for me that a different way is possible and that we can fight together and win.” – Janhavi, Asian American Resource Workshop
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“Our action took place in Dupont Circle, which had a lot of people who were just spending a Sunday afternoon there, unrelated to our action. Many of them were receptive to what we had to say. We tried to incorporate a part of the action where everyone present was invited to participate by writing messages of commitment or celebration on 8-stripe pride flags. A middle aged woman of color who was not part of our action came up and wrote a message, handed it to me, and gave me a hug, saying, “Thank you for all that you do.” That was one of the most powerful moments of the action for me.” – Shabab, KhushDC
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“We felt the synergy of this multi-city event and felt solidarity with other South Asian and APIA queer folks. The stories that KhushATX folks had to share, which can frustrate, anger, and sadden, demonstrated the enormous challenges we face in these times. Although a difficult subject to talk about, I am glad we were there to listen and to be heard and realize that we are not alone in this and that we are there for one another. One thing that was very encouraging is that despite everything, the attendees expressed that they are not fearful, but, in fact, they are hopeful of the future in that if we can emerge from this successfully, we will be a stronger society.” – Debarun, KhushATX
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“Queer Muslims led a story circle alongside local liberation workers. Participants shared an instance of profiling and witnessed stories of other participants. It was beautiful to hear experiences mirrored, see connections made between individuals who had not worked together before and plans for collaboration between the many different organizations and collectives represented in the room.” – Almas, New Orleans
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“Laying flowers and reading the names of those we’ve lost was a powerful way to ground our resistance in these trying times. We mourned our dead so we can fight like hell for our living. We heard stories from queer Muslims about the lasting impact of 9/11 on their lives, in the U.S. and in their home countries. We marched through the streets chanting “Muslim, Desi, Queer & Trans, We Don’t Want Your Muslim Ban!” and reaffirmed our power. Many of the Muslim, South Asian and participants of color shared that the space was healing and grounding on a day that usually leaves us isolated and afraid.” – Sasha, NQAPIA, Los Angeles
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“This action was important to decentering whiteness in understanding post-9/11 trauma.” – Sonalee, the Philadelphia South Asian Collective
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“The Queerazaadi event offered a space to reflect and be in community with one another which is so crucial for our well being, yet often gets lost in the effort to respond to our rapidly evolving political climate. The event created a beautifully intentional container for us to fully acknowledge the depth and impact of the injustices we face while finding support and strength in each other’s stories. Hearing others’ experiences and being in space with one another was deeply healing and offered a balancing point to the sometimes overwhelming difficulty of navigating with targeted identities.” – Pia, Satrang, LA
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“Building community on a weekend in which I would normally isolate myself taught me a lot about community preservation and about how strong we are together. As we read names and stories of hate crimes in our areas, or as we chanted that we had each others’ back the feeling of being held and cared for took over my body. It truly takes a community to uplift and empower people as much as we did this weekend.” Khudai, NQAPIA Organizing Fellow, DC
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At the Boston checkpoint, it was inspiring and affirming to watch dozens of volunteers and pedestrians choose to confront and critique the ways in which my communities have been subjected to profiling and surveillance. As a queer Muslim I particularly appreciated having allies take on some of the most uncomfortable aspects of the action while also being able to claim space to process some of the compounded trauma queer and trans Muslims have faced due to profiling. I hope the relationships we built during this action help us continue to fight these issues and build a healing community!
– anonymous, queer Muslims of Boston
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