As we come to a close for 2020--a year that has demanded all of us to show up for each other. We are thankful for the work that has been entrusted to us. The COVID-19 global pandemic alongside what seemed like an endless hurricane season has altered life as we know it. 2020 has also brought to the forefront the disproportionate burdens on communities of color, who represent the majority of essential workers in New Orleans while accounting for nearly 90% of COVID-19 deaths in Orleans Parish. Asian American Pacific Islander’s also face another layer of invisibility in Louisiana alongside the longstanding challenges and language barriers exacerbated during 2020 in New Orleans.
Yet, WE REMAIN and will continue to remain with your continued support.
We remain committed to conversations on the importance of honoring our Vietnamese American roots here in New Orleans East as we strive to be inclusive of all Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in our region.
Our voices, our stories, our experiences matter.
We remain steadfast, we remain committed, we remain here to reclaim our bodies and truths.
We must remain vigilant and we must practice hope in our ever-evolving community.
In a year that has called for us to rise to many occasions, VAYLA has:
Supported our elders’ and their connection to the land, while also ensuring our community members receive ethnically and culturally relevant produce and groceries along with vital information surrounding Covid-19, Census, and Civic Engagement;
Led a year-long Census campaign of our decade to ensure all AAPI’s and communities of color are counted;
Led a year-long campaign against xenophobia and sinophobia while continuing to survey our communities;
Led a GOTV campaign to ensure safe participation in one of the most important election seasons for our future;
We fought alongside coalition members to keep funding in our library systems to ensure children and families have access to vital resources;
Launched our community Earth Rising educational program to build a deeper understanding of the climate threats and realities our communities are facing;
Collaborating with young people across New Orleans campuses to host cultural empowerment, educational and advocacy events;
Held and continue to hold conversations around Anti-Black Racism, Intersectionality, and Solidarity in our AAPI Rising Series; and
Held and continue to hold a safe and sacred space for our community to discuss reproductive justice, gender, identity, sexuality, and self-care through an Asian American lens.
Whether in the foreground or the background, in solidarity, in partnership, and in community, across enclaves, languages, cultures, and stories--AAPI are essential to the fabric of New Orleans and our country. We have learned deeply in these challenges and shared successes that we remain stronger together. We thank you for being a part of our journey, unlearning, relearning, growth, and the sacred space we continue to build for AAPI leaders in New Orleans. With your continued support, we look ahead to 2021 as an opportunity to advocate for unparalleled investment in the AAPI community for generations to come here in New Orleans. There is still time to support our work in 2021 and beyond.