For many of us who have experienced displacement and marginalization, we tell our stories not only to survive — we do it so we can also fully thrive.
Over six weekly sessions, 10 local BIPOC, queer/trans, immigrant/refugee storytellers gathered to connect and share stories that explore “home” and “home-making” for oneself in this often-times inhospitable world we live in.
Through first-person narration, along with family photos and archival footage, they create intimately personal video stories that will be shared at this special celebration screening on June 11th. A celebration of Oakland and Bay Area’s diverse voices, this event will culminate with a panel that discusses the storytellers’ process in creating and sharing their works, and the vital role that creativity and storytelling play in community-building.
Led by facilitator Edward Gunawan, this gathering is made possible by the generous support from the City of Oakland Cultural Funding Program, and in partnership with Oakland Asian Cultural Center and ARTogether.
About the Storytellers and Facilitator (in alphabetical order of last name):
Lujain Al-Saleh is a labor organizer and public health advocate living in Oakland, California. She graduated with a Master of Public Health in Global Health & Environment from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health in 2020 and completed her undergraduate degree at UC Davis with a major in Environmental Science & Management and minors in Middle East & South Asia Studies and Professional Writing.
Jyoti Bachani is a human, storyteller, poetry lover, professor, who likes to walk, dance, cook, and sleep, not in that order. Over-educated with multiple degrees from some fine institutions in three different continents that taught her to pass what she knows on, by taking on the challenge to put knowledge into practice, for serving the greater good.
Jenny Fang is a writer and product manager. Born and raised in the East Bay, she can’t stand same old same old. Known by her friends to seek new meaningful experiences, you will always find her doing something that fills her with joy.
Edward Gunawan is a writer and filmmaker who creates socially-impactful projects and special events to facilitate meaningful connections and community-building. A queer Indonesian-born Chinese immigrant, he now resides on Ohlone land in Oakland, CA. Visit addword.com for more.
J Jha is a GNC South Asian asylee, who is re-imagining the world from trans centers of gravity. In 2019, they presented the world premiere of Mahâbhârata, a solo-telling of the great Indian epic, where the re-tellng presents the non-cis gendered male perspective that has dominated this conversation for all time.
Jasmine Liang is a multidisciplinary artist and student organizer. She currently uses mapmaking as a form of memoir and documentation of the city. As a co-founding member of the Art Student Union at San Francisco State University, Jasmine is committed to connecting the community to local artists and organizations.
Carmen Lopez was born and raised in the East Bay. She studied environmental systems/policy at UC San Diego and currently does equity-focused environmental policy work. She loves trying new recipes, finding new ways to express her creativity, running, and yoga.
Austin Tang is a designer by vocation, hunter-gatherer of stories by inclination. A happily transplanted east coaster by way of long meandering stints in Asia. Now enjoying being a dad, finding greater rootedness and searching for the balance point between peace of mind and reflexive googling.
Man-Tso Wei was born in Taiwan and moved to the U.S. in 2017. He currently works in the East Bay as a social worker. As part of his work, he finds meaning in working with people, especially those in marginalized communities, to find their voice, transform suffering, and resist oppression.
Chey Yen is a queer and trans Chinese-American from San Francisco, with ancestral ties to Hong Kong and Vietnam. Having created a few short films in the past, they hope to return to the practice of creating personal video stories with other artists through this workshop.
Vera Yin dreams of rivers, listens with ancestors, forages beneath weeds, meanders through language, dances between moments, sculpts from wind, swims among stars, reaches across unknowing, drifts along leisurely, lost since the beginning.