This week, As[I]Am (my emerging Asian American social justice online magazine) released its first themed issue, on "Resistant Bodies"! Other than being wildly ecstatic that we have finished up the editorial process, it has made me reflect on the growth of As[I]Am since I founded it last year:
Even in this short year, there were many points when I wasn't sure it would even get this far. I started the project through a fellowship, where I was fully supported through the development phase. At the end of my fellowship, I applied for a grant that I didn't get and thought: "There's no way I can keep doing this on my own." Without funding and unsure of how to proceed as a one-person show, I took a summer hiatus and reached out to my lovely current co-editor, Amanda. She renewed the energy of the project -- we started building a new mission statement and read up on how to create a successful funding campaign.
It feels like we have been planning for this issue for just about as long -- at the end of the summer, we decided on the theme. We drew up our lofty goals and made executive decisions. The work multiplied on its own. We brought on Kyla, our incisive new editor, and all of us got really excited about the journey ahead.
There were highs, when we felt real cohesion. And there were lows -- when the rest of our lives became overwhelming or this "side gig" seemed like it was eating up our entire headspace. Being "on-call" meant that I would stop in the middle of the street to email someone back or stay up till 5am for an editor retreat. As with any project that I deeply care about, it became a part of me.
In some ways, As[I]Am was started for me to have an excuse to talk to Asian Americans beyond my own community doing meaningful work. And while that is still my favorite part of the experience, I am seeing more and more how media can serve our communities in more than just chronicling our struggles. I am seeing how it can, slowly, create community in the physical world as well as online.
This issue release makes me energized for the future -- more and more, our lofty goals don't seem so unreachable, and we are setting up a solid foundation. So, please click through and see the work of our amazing contributors and please get in contact if you would like to submit your own voice to the mix in the upcoming months. We'd all be so excited to hear from you!