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and/now with connienichiu
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A collection of five imperfectly scribbled parts

This writing comes collected over four months of scribbled thoughts from bearing witness to the world’s intimate and collective raging and grieving, or in some corners, a dense immovability. I scribbled through the relentless intensity of anti-Asian violence gutted with the mass shooting in Atlanta; through the heart wrenching state-sanctioned murders of youth from Iremamber Sykap to Daunte Wright to Adam Toledo to Ma’Khia Bryant; through Derek Chauvin’s trial, re-traumatizing us into looping scenes of endless police impunity on Black lives. …

Inspired by the Radical Notions of Grasping at Our Roots

(Photo by Erico Mantegazza)

I remember distinctly a time in my professional career when cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) were too radical for my workplace, that the extent of multiculturalism was food fairs and performances, and that diversity meant geography — look at all the different ZIP codes we come from! — without ever looking at how the ZIP codes signified redlining, housing discrimination, police occupation, food apartheid, and the unforgettable legacies of structural racism and violence designed into cityscape maps.

Looking back now on the five years I spent at a predominantly white institution (PWI) as the founding Director of…

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This is part five in a collection of five imperfectly scribbled parts. For contextual grounding, please visit the landing page.

In asking how #StopAsianHate can be a site of struggle that situates Asian/Americans inside of movements, I’m also asking how #StopAsianHate can be a site of love and abolition too. How are we situating ourselves in the radical love of Asian/Americanness that has less to do with food and culture, and more to do with our memories and becoming?

If we seek it out, there is beauty and generosity in the limitations of language: #StopAsianHate compelled me (alongside others and perhaps even you) to pause and struggle with this discomfort, to ask:

What are we trying to embody, mobilize, organize…

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This is part four in a collection of five imperfectly scribbled parts. For contextual grounding, please visit the landing page.

FAQs these days are littered with: “How can people be allies to fill-in-the-blank-BIPOC community?” This question comes in every formulation, a barometer for the endless permutations of how white supremacist violence gets enacted on BIPOC communities here and by proxy. Because I am Asian American, these blanks are often filled with AAPI. My (often inner) response: Geez again? I don’t know. Ask someone else!

Talking about allyship is another tired American ritual that I, at this point in my life, no longer subscribe to. Let me explain.

My general (and blasphemous) belief is that allyship, by design, functions in performance…

Photo taken in Chinatown, LA

This is part three in a collection of five imperfectly scribbled parts. For contextual grounding, please visit the landing page.

Parts one and two manifested my frustrations with #StopAsianHate, and I am not withholding that I’ve used this hashtag in desperation and grief, which speaks to my always present and ever-evolving tensions with the limitations of language. Do we use what’s available to us with its mainstream reach, knowing that large-scale impact costs us nuance and depths? Or do we create something different that may never trend?

Language, in many ways, is reductive in describing the vast and varied human experiences of identities bound by interlocking and intersecting forms of oppression, often conflating what feels so singular yet universal at…

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This is part two in a collection of five imperfectly scribbled parts. For contextual grounding, please visit the landing page.

Let’s start here: the recognition that our bodies, relationships, and stories are not — can never be — apolitical, decontextualized spaces.

We are sites of struggle: the meanings and identities of our lives are endlessly constructed, contested, negotiated, and reinvented in historical, sociopolitical, and cultural collisions. When we come together we are constellations of power dynamics rattling against each other. The question is whether our power indulges white supremacy or moves us towards liberation.

There’s a danger to seeing ourselves as neutral in a country where white supremacy has masqueraded itself as an innocent meritocracy for the American Dream. …

This is part one in a collection of five imperfectly scribbled parts. For contextual grounding, please visit the landing page.

Unsplash Image by Toa Heftiba

After the mass shooting in Atlanta targeting Asian women, rage consumed me. It was the kind of rage that fed off my grief, buried in the marrow of a numbing sense of normality that life just is and would keep being just is. I raged that nothing stopped for this grief of mine and grieving of others. Tinged in sorrow, I burrowed inside a bone-deep fury of exhaustion, screaming into a void where no one could hear me, not even myself.

It took some time for me to see that this rage, this fury, was directed at my own Asian/American…

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“I’m sorry and sorrier that sorry is rarely enough.” — Kiese Laymon

Borrowing from the words of writer and author Kiese Laymon, we’re sorry and sorrier that sorry is rarely enough. This letter comes to you on the heels of the Atlanta shooting, followed rapidly by the Boulder shooting; we’re still wading through Derek Chauvin’s re-traumatizing trial, and now living through the horrific state-sanctioned murder of Daunte Wright by Minnesota police, Adam Toledo by Chicago police, and Mah’Kia Bryant by Columbus police. We’re not the ones to be apologizing for this relentless violence of white supremacist systems and actors but we are still sorry. Sorry for your trauma, pain, sorrows, and fears…

Inspired by Mia Birdsong, adrienne maree brown, and other BIPOC Healers

(Photo by Dan Hodgkins)

Building on Part One, I want to begin by briefly writing directly to white folks:

Racialized trauma also lives in white people — you.

As Lama Rod Owen details (and I’m paraphrasing below), the trauma of whiteness looks and feels like:

  • The ongoing proximate harm of white supremacy on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) you care about and love.
  • The loss of life-giving contributions from BIPOC because white supremacy creates barriers.
  • The soul-deadening impact of having an identity that is predicated on the oppression of others.
  • The loss of ethnicity, heritage, and community to becoming white.

That is…

We had nourishing conversation with Nicole Raines, LMFT, on her Be Love, Be Well, Be Whole podcast (that Dena is also a podcast co-host of). We talk music, defining and tapping into hope amidst grief and injustice, and the stellar move, One Night in Miami.

Listen on all the places where podcasts live. Transcript of the conversation has been slightly shortened, though we did keep the transcript as close a mirror to our original conversation, which means a lot of run on sentences. Enjoy!

Nicole: Here we are Dena with Episode Two and we have another guest. So just might take a moment for us to introduce ourselves. I’m Nicole Raines, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Dena: And I am Dena Scott, licensed clinical psychologist.

Connie: Hi everyone. My name is Connie Chiu. And I am a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion practitioner.

Nicole: Welcome Connie…

and/now with connienichiu

a radical space for revolutionary wellness and collective rising through the prism of racial justice and social healing (

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