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API Jam 2018


Asian & Pacific Islander (API)* JAM 2018

December 2 – 7, 2018

San Francisco Bay Area, CA


We have 7 more spaces!


Friends, Family, Community and Collaborators!

We invite you to join us in the first-ever Asian & Pacific Islander Jam, which brings together 25-30 change-makers from the diverse Asian + Pacific Islander community landscape. Together, we will create a supportive space to explore our connection to ancestry, our roles in and relationships to social justice movements, and what it takes to heal our relationships with one another as peoples of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent who have some intersection with North America.


This Jam is for you because…

This Jam is for anyone who has considered their place in North America as a person of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent.  We welcome anyone who has grappled with, proudly embraced, or questioned an Asian and/or Pacific Islander identity.


This Jam will explore questions such as…

  • How do I relate to the paradox, complexity, and liberatory possibility of being Asian and/or Pacific Islander in North America?
  • What is the connection between my ancestry and my present-day community(s), if any?
  • What does “Asian American” and/or “Pacific Islander” community mean to me and how do I feel about it as it relates to my lived experience and identities?
  • What is the difference between appropriation and honoring API ancestral wisdom and practices and how do I participate or distance myself from them?
  • How can our connections form the foundation for powerful, collective movement toward healing and transformative justice?


Have you grappled with these or other questions? If so, you’re not alone! We invite you to be with us. Join us at the API Jam, where we will co-create a space of support, mystery, and revelation.


A Note on the Use of “API”

We are using the broad terms “Asian & Pacific Islander” and “API” as an umbrella category, with the intention to include as many of us as possible who want to be here. However, we recognize that this shorthand can flatten and reduce the very complex and unresolved histories within our communities.


With these terms, we seek to include (and are not limited to) anyone who identifies as East / South / Southeast / West / Central Asian; Polynesian / Micronesian / Melanesian; stateless; and/or part of a diasporic community with multiple migrations. We seek to include adoptees, people with mixed and multiracial ancestries, and individuals with any immigration status in North America.


We know that identities like “Asian & Pacific Islander” and “API” are constructed and imperfect, and we, too, are unsettled on what or if there is a “right” term(s). We hope you will join us and co-create what they can mean for us together.


What is a JAM?

Over the last 18 years, more than 135 YES! Jams have happened all over the world, in six different continents. Modeled in the spirit of a musicians’ jam, they are co-created spaces of visionaries and changemakers, bringing together many voices, stories, energies, purposes, skills and inspirations to become something more than the sum of our parts.


Jams work on three levels of change & transformation:

1)     The Internal. A place for each one of us to explore our own journeys and histories, to heal our individual wounds and to come into our most authentic selves so that we can better fulfill our unique purpose.


2)     The Interpersonal. We are harmed in relationships, so we must heal in relationships. We come together to share our collective journeys, our cultures, our ways of grieving and our ways of healing, our histories of struggle and our stories of resilience.


3)     The Systemic. Our individual identities and our collective stories are molded in a larger context. By becoming clearer about how these systems influence our lives, we can have a larger impact in the broader world around us.


I still don’t get it. What are we gonna be doing?

A Jam is not a conference, it is not a training, and it is not a typical gathering.  We will not have a rigid agenda. Instead, we will draw from all of your applications, put them in a big pot, stir them around and come up with a flow of facilitated activities and see what comes out! We will mix that in with plenty of down time, dance time, hike time, silence time, food time, and rest time.


We will not have typical facilitators, as the facilitation team will also be participating in full – as “facilitants” (facilitator-participants). None of us come with all of the answers. Instead, we will co-create the space together — using circles, conversations, spiritual practice, artistic expression, silence, and play — to explore our questions, bring more of our whole selves, and live into our answers, and new questions (!), using the depth and power of the experiences and knowledge in the room.


Dates, Costs, Travel, Site Accessibility

The Asian & Pacific Islander Jam will take place from the afternoon of Sunday, December 2, 2018, til the morning of Friday, December 7, 2018, at a lovely and simple retreat space near Santa Cruz, CA. Participants will share rooms in doubles and triples, and delight in delicious and nutritious food for the Jam, prepared by Jocelyn Jackson of JUSTUS Kitchen.

Tuition for the Jam is offered on a sliding scale of $450 – $1200. The actual cost of participation is $850, of which $450 covers lodging, food, and local transport, and $400 covers program costs, which includes materials, childcare, and honoraria for organizers and facilitators. We invite you to give what you can and to give generously; any amount above the at-cost $850 goes towards partial scholarships for other participants (and is tax-deductible). Note: this tuition does not include travel to the Bay Area, but we will help arrange rides to and from the local airports.

We never want money to be a barrier in participating: We will do everything we can to make it work for you to attend. Partial scholarships are available on a limited and first-come, first-serve basis. We also invite work trades and monthly payment plans. For those who are able, payment above the at-cost tuition helps us provide scholarships to support the broad spectrum of participation on which this event thrives.

Accessibility of the space: The retreat center’s facilities have paths, drive-able roads, and no-stairs entry access for mobility. They also have sturdy chairs of various kinds. We try to set things up to be as gender-neutral as possible and as fragrance-free as possible. We build in 5-hour open, unscheduled spaces each day, to make space for downtime and rest.  If you are selected for the Jam, there will be space for you to share any other access support you’d like us to keep in mind.

Who Is Putting This Jam On?

Hyoyoung Minna Kim has found herself back in her home-state of Maryland, after teaching in elementary public schools for six years, in New York City. She has also worked with youth and young adults in other capacities, such as facilitating yoga and mindfulness experiences for teenagers and inquiries of social justice in an undergraduate business course. During her last year in a social work graduate program, she has been working to bridge partnerships with immigrant merchants and residents of disinvested, predominantly Black communities of Baltimore City. Recently, she has initiated an exploration of grounding her mindfulness practices in a restorative justice framework. She is big believer of radical honesty, body-wisdom, community-driven initiatives, and children’s literature. Last but not least, Minna started getting her Jam on at the 2017 Education Transformation Jam and has since been a part of the planning team for the Wellness and Healing Justice Jam and this one – she can’t stop, won’t stop.


Kazu Haga is the founder and Coordinator of the East Point Peace Academy, is a trainer in Kingian Nonviolence and teaches various aspects of nonviolence, restorative justice and mindfulness. Born in Tokyo, Japan, he has been engaged in social change work since the age of 17, and has played leading roles in various social movements. He works to empower incarcerated communities, young people and activists around the
country. He currently resides in Oakland, CA.


Hasan Bhatti (they/them) has been a liberation and curiosity-first educator since the age of 13. Raised in between a 4th generation Eastern-European Jewish mother and an immigrant Muslim father within a multi-cultural Montessori school, Hasan grew up learning to balance, move between, and integrate stories, origins, customs, and life-ways along with their math, science, and social studies; the experience turned into a passion for taking deep activist anthropology and applying it to the positive transformation of conflicts (whether internal, interpersonal, intra/intergroup, intra/inter-organizational, intra/inter-systemic, and beyond); Hasan has done this within a myriad of public school systems, social work institutions, informal educational programs, and conflict zones over the last 17 years of ‘professional’ life (incl Israel/Palestine and within the USA). Queerly situated and liable to roll in the grass at a moment’s notice, Hasan now spends time opening, healing, and transforming the channels that need the most clearing (from their workplace, Ashoka, to their side-gig as a conflict transformation consultant, to intra/inter-personal counsel) as a facilitator, healer, artist, educator, and conflict transformer. In their real life, one might find Hasan co-coordinating community events with their artist-activist collective house, scaling a rock climbing route, creating a new art/writing/music project (either by themselves or with others), or conjuring a storm of masalas (in chai, curry, or medicinal/ritual form).


Anwen Cai Baumeister is from the Bay Area, where she stewards a medicinal herb farm and is the owner of The Well, a tea house and herbal cafe in Oakland. She is passionate about food sovereignty and community resilience. She also sees food as a vessel of ancestral healing and storytelling. She recently graduated from American University, studying dance and international studies with a focus on food systems. She is currently studying to be a professional herbalist with the East West School of Planetary Herbology, focusing on Traditional Chinese Medicine.


Parag Rajendra Khandhar is a founding principal of Gilmore Khandhar, LLC, a law firm based in DC/ and Baltimore focused on using legal, policy and advocacy tools to advance economic justice, racial equity and social transformation grounded in a solidarity economies framework. Parag is a co-founder of the Asian American Solidarity Economies Project (AASE), which documents and supports cooperation, mutual aid, and solidarity economies practices of Asian migrant communities in North America. He is a facilitator-participant in the Law and Social Change Jam. Parag’s love affair with Asian America started at SUNY Albany more than 25 years ago. After University, he worked for 10 years in NYC with Asian and immigrant communities in direct and emergency relief services after September 11th, data advocacy, technical assistance, and managing the community arts programs and bookstore at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. After law school, he was the Housing & Community Justice Staff Attorney at the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center in the DC Metro Area, where he represented and organized with tenants and on language access issues in DC Chinatown, with Asian seniors in Maryland, and many other groups. He proudly co-parents a precocious elementary school artist, dragon expert, and Pokémon trainer-in-training who keeps asking why daddy doesn’t bring jam back from the Jams.


LiZhen Wang (they/them and she/her) is an astrological counselor who watches the stars at night and guides folx by planetary light. LiZhen is also Network Director of Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF), combining the wisdom of spirituality with the power of social movements. They are a co-founder and facilitator of Block // Build // Be, a retreat and living practice in embodying three essential energies that create transformative change: Blocking harm, Building the world we dream of, and Being free. LiZhen reveres and protects the sacred: ceremony, rivers, dirt, ants, wind, great mystery, you and me. She is thankful to her mother and grandfather for being inspirations and root teachers.


Michelle “MiMi” Tarshus (a.k.a. Signature MiMi) is a Poetic Being, Creative Expressionista, Artistic Activist and Entrepreneur. She brings soothing rhythm and resonance to her poems and spoken word offerings. She has been sharing her stories and passions for over 10 years and speaks intuitively about her creative evolutions. Currently cultivating creative juices and justice in the Northeast-US, MiMi has dedicated her voice and gifts to empowering others, especially youth, to feel more confident in the ways they express themselves. She has worked with people of all ages and abilities across multiple spheres including specialized in-school & after-school programs, collaborations with community centers, arts organizations, educational and community based non-profits, and Seeds of Peace Camp. MiMi is a member of the eclectic duo Signature Soul–two creatives seeking to raise the collective consciousness and inspire self-transformation, one soul at a time, through creative expression and energy exploration. When she’s not writing in her journal or on a stage speaking her truth to a captivated audience, you can find MiMi cooking a vegetarian meal, summoning sounds through woodwinds or strings, creating earth art in a park, and reconnecting with kindred souls.


Shilpa Jain is currently rooting herself in Oakland/Berkeley, CA, where she serves as the Executive Director of YES!. YES! works with social changemakers at the meeting point of internal, interpersonal and systemic change, and aims to co-create thriving, just and balanced ways of life for all. Prior to taking on this role, Shilpa spent two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator of Other Worlds and ten years as a learning activist with Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, based in Udaipur, India. Shilpa has researched and written numerous books and articles, and facilitated hundreds of workshops, jams and other gatherings in over a dozen countries and on topics including creative expressions, ecology, new economies, and innovative learning and unlearning. She is also co-author of “Connect. Inspire. Collaborate”, a highly sought-after facilitation manual. Shilpa has been using tools like self-awareness, listening, appreciative inquiry, speaking from the heart, eye contact, breathing, and more, to support individuals and communities in reclaiming their own healing powers. She draws a lot of inspiration from her Rajasthani Indian and Jain faith heritage, as well as numerous other sources.

I’m in! What’s next?


7 spaces left! 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to write to us at <APIcommunityJam[at]gmail.com>.

We can’t wait to Jam with you!

Anwen, Hasan, Kazu, LIzhen, Mimi, Minna, Parag, Shilpa