April 30, 2020
Nationally-recognized survivor activist Amita Swadhin will co-facilitate a healing circle inspired by their national storytelling and organizing project Mirror Memoirs. They will be joined by Mirror Memoirs members and survivor storytellers Elliott Fukui, Sethu Nair, and Hyunhee Shin.
For this circle, we welcome all people who are Asian American or Pacific Islander (regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation) who want to see a world without child sexual abuse, especially those who are survivors of child sexual abuse and/or folks who love someone who has survived child sexual abuse to participate.
Though this is a virtual event, space is limited. For added security, only those who have RSVPed can access the virtual call. To RSVP, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org & let us know how you heard about the healing circle. Please also note any accessibility needs you might need in order to participate in the circle.
Mirror Memoirs is a national storytelling and organizing project intervening in rape culture by uplifting the narratives, healing and leadership of LGBTQI+ people of color who survived child sexual abuse. Founded by Amita Swadhin in 2016, the project is now fiscally sponsored by Community Partners, a 501(c)(3) headquartered in Los Angeles. The initial audio archive of Mirror Memoirs is due to be released in early 2021, and contains 58 stories across 15 states. 18 of these stories are from LGBTQI+ Asian American or Pacific Islander folks.
The stories from the healing circle will not be recorded but we will hear a short excerpts from API queer, intersex, non-binary and transgender survivors of child sexual abuse sharing their notions of healing and their visions for a world without child sexual abuse and rape culture. We will also be guided through a healing ritual reclaiming inner child wisdom and strength. Finally, we’ll learn more about Mirror Memoirs and how to get involved in our growing work nationwide.
Participants will be guided to create an altar near their computer to help ground them through the circle. Survivors of child sexual abuse are invited to plave a photo of yourself at the age at which you were surviving sexual violence on your altar. If no photo is available, you may also write your name on a piece of paper to place on the altar.
Other items that will be useful for the altar and the circle (if available) include:
- Sage, incense, sandalwood or another item to burn
- A candle (white if possible)
- A bell to ring (ex: a meditation bell or chime)
- A cloth with some emotional significance or with aesthetic appeal (the altar will be placed on top of this cloth)
- A bowl of water
- Fresh flowers and/or seashells to put in the water
- A feather or bundle of feathers
- Art supplies to draw with (ex: paper, markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc)
Survivors will be encouraged to share their survivorship in the following ways: You are welcome to say “I’m a survivor of child sexual abuse/childhood rape/childhood sexual assault,” and to share the role of the person who abused you (ex: it was my parent/sibling/babysitter/etc), but we ask that you not share details of the violence you experienced beyond that.
While this circle is not formal therapy, it is a space for collective healing. We will provide referrals to places you can go to share your story in its entirety so that you can release and be witnessed with support and care in the way you deserve.
Space is limited. Please RSVP to reserve a seat. This event is free of charge, thanks to support from the Asian Women Giving Circle and the Asian American Writer’s Workshop.
If you cannot attend, but would like to learn more about Mirror Memoirs, you can do so here.
Elliott Fukui has been an organizer, facilitator and trainer for almost 20 years. His work explores ways to create spaces, communities and movements that are rooted in mutual aid and community accountability practices that are led by our most impacted folks. He has worked with organizations such as the Transgender Law Center, The Audre Lorde Project and The Icarus Project, and has organized on both local and national levels. He recently launched www.madqueer.org as a space for folks to access resources and trainings about building mutual aid networks around emotional crisis from a multiply marginalized framework.
sethu laxmi nair is a mediator, facilitator, coach, and trainer in the fields of alternative dispute resolution and restorative practices. Through her work, sethu improves interpersonal and social dynamics by enhancing leadership capacity and conflict competence among leaders and groups. Through her private practice, sethu offers a unique blend of Mediation, Conflict and Leadership Coaching and Training and Restorative conflict management. sethu offers a 3-day restorative practices training called “Responding Restoratively” through the Center for Justice at Columbia University and facilitates restorative circles to heal the impact of child sexual abuse in the family system at Hidden Water.
Hyunhee Shin is a class straddling queer Korean survivor of sexual abuse and family violence. She has served as an infrastructure nerd in anti-violence social justice organizations for the last 7 years and is obsessed with how we care for ourselves and each other as survivors. Currently she is the Director of Operations and Development at Common Justice. She’s also a facilitator at API&, a queer API community building group, and facilitates QTPOC Meditation at Third Root. Her martial arts, archery, and meditation practices are core to her healing and she strives to continue learning and deepening her practice in community.
Amita Y. Swadhin is an educator, storyteller, healer and strategist dedicated to fighting interpersonal and institutional violence against young people. Their commitments and approach to this work stem from their experiences as a non-binary, femme, queer person of color, daughter of immigrants from India, years of abuse by their parents, including eight years of rape by their father, and state intervention at the age of thirteen. In January 2017, Amita testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee as a witness for the Democratic Party on behalf of survivors of sexual violence and LGBTQI+ Americans, taking a stand against Senator Jeff Sessions’ nomination as the US Attorney General. Amita is also a published author. Their writing has been featured on The Feminist Wire and The Huffington Post, and in the anthologies Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence (AK Press, 2014), Queering Sexual Violence (Magnus Books, 2016), Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good (AK Press, 2019), and Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement (AK Press, 2020).