Asian Families & Workers 4 Black Lives

Written by Kim Lee

June 10, 2020

Like so many of us in the US and around the globe, I’ve spent many recent days and nights on the streets demanding an end to white supremacy and police brutality, the forces that so violently took George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many Black lives from us.. 

Over the last two weeks I’ve taken my daughters (age 8 and 12) to join with thousands of others to caravan, chalk, and chant in family direct actions standing up to Oakland, CA’s oppressive curfew and raising our voices to #DefundPolice and get police out of Oakland public schools. In each of these actions we feel in our hearts and bodies the powerful multiracial and multigenerational organizing of families that so many of us have so deeply nurtured year in and year out. I was so proud to be with my family in community with Rice and Beans Childcare Cooperative; Sama Sama Cooperative; Asians4BlackLives; and Black Organizing Project and so many more.

We are living in a movement moment that we’ve long prepared for. I feel incredibly proud and grateful to serve as the director of Bay Rising, a regional coalition of grassroots organizations that brings communities together for social justice and building long term power that positions Black, Indigenous, & people of color as the decision-makers for themselves and their own families.

I am also deeply proud to see our work with “Masks for the Movement” featured in MSC’s Vision Through COVID: Portals to the Future video series. Our video was filmed on zoom while my family and I were sheltering in place. It tells the story of Masks for the Movement, an urgent response effort that I created with immigrant workers in response to COVID and the widespread unemployment our communities face. The workers of Masks for the Movement made over 10,000 masks that generated nearly $40,000 in direct earnings to workers and $15,000 in revenues to the local businesses that provided supplies. Masks for the Movement also donated thousands of masks to front line workers doing deliveries and stocking groceries.

I believe that Masks for the Movement offers a glimpse of the future now, of a world liberated from white supremacy where the work we do today to make Black Lives Matter will ensure that our grandchildren’s children live in communities centered on making instead of consumption and on cooperation that grows abundance.

I hope you will take a moment to watch our video and all the powerful stories in the Vision Through COVID series.

See you in the streets and everywhere we need to be!

Kim Lee

Kimi Lee brings over two decades of experience organizing and working with social justice organizations to her role as the Executive Director of Bay Rising. Kimi has organized students with the University of California Student Association and served as field director for the ACLU of Southern California, executive director of the Garment Worker Center, lead organizer of the United Workers Congress, among many other leadership roles. Her first-generation family immigrated to the U.S. from Burma in 1971.

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