This month we wanted to highlight our springterns, Gibson, Quinton, and Katie!

Image description: The smiling faces of the APIENC 2017 Springterns from left to right: Gibson, Quinton, and Katie

Gibson, who identifies as a cisgender male, is currently a freshman at UC Berkeley where he studies Political Science and Economics and also works as a Crime and Courts News Reporter at the Daily Californian. Gibson became passionate about creating social change in high school when he joined the Asian American Community Involvement group to work on #WHYIVOTE, a voting campaign back in 2014. During the campaign, he met many individuals passionate about voting, specifically recently naturalized immigrants who took the opportunity to create change in society. Gibson has also spent a lot of time volunteering at Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments, an organization that promotes healthy relationships. He spent time working on awareness around teen dating violence (TDV) by producing PSA videos which aired in local movie theatres during National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Gibson volunteers with APIENC because “API LGBTQ individuals are rarely talked about or even noticed. APIENC is only one of a few organizations that focuses on the intersection of both API and LGBTQ identities.” As an intern with APIENC, he is learning how a non-profit runs on a daily basis, how to fundraise, and how communication works between volunteers and staff. One of his favorite memories of APIENC was last year during the Berkeley Run. When Gibson had just finished running the Berkeley 10K, he remembers coming to the brunch feeling a sense of community and a determination to achieve the fundraising goal. A fun fact about Gibson: he is a second degree black belt in Taekwondo!

Quinton identifies as a gay Chinese-Canadian man and is, unapologetically, a gigantic bookworm! He is currently a student at Brown University, studying History with a Northeast Asia focus but also really interested in Southeast Asia, comparative decolonizations and Asian diasporas in North America. He is involved in many Asian organizations on campus, including one organization which brings together Taiwanese, American and Mainland Chinese young professionals to dialogue with one another about Taiwan-Mainland China-US relations. Quinton is also a founding member of a club at Brown which advocates for more Southeast Asian (American) studies and helps to establish a community of people who want to support others in pursuing Southeast Asian (American) studies on campus.

Quinton’s interest in learning more about the queer and trans API community stems in large part from the lack of information during high school and his desire to explore his own identity through learning more about the community. Quinton first volunteered with APIENC through a two-week winter internship program in January. He was initially drawn to APIENC because he wanted to combine his love of history with the Dragon Fruit Project. Now, Quinton is continuing on as a springtern because he loves the people at APIENC and how they’re supportive of all the volunteers. His hope is that the queer and trans API community can work toward building their histories, integrating them with broader API histories, and being more inclusive of historically marginalized communities within the API community, e.g. Southeast Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans. A fun fact about Quinton: he sings Renaissance-era music in a group at Brown.

Katie identifies as queer, uses she/her pronouns, and is currently a senior at Stanford University. Throughout most of her early childhood, Katie grew up in neighborhoods that were predominantly non-Asian, where she saw constant microaggressions and racism. Because of this, she grew to dislike her Asian identity and would try to run away from her cultural identity. Later on, she moved to a neighborhood with a lot more Asians and gradually realized that being Asian isn’t something to be ashamed of. Today, Katie is motivated to celebrate her queer Asian identity, especially since the queer identity is stigmatized within Asian communities. Katie used to volunteer with a center in Orange County that connected high school students with younger students living in low-income, Hispanic neighborhoods. The organization was formed by Koreans, so most of the volunteers were Korean. She loved that space because they crossed cultural lines, often viewed as segregated.

Katie decided to get involved with APIENC because of APIENC’s mission, but her main motivator is how much she is learning from APIENC. With the training events, meetings, fundraisers, etc. she is constantly being challenged to step out of her comfort zone, meeting inspiring people, and being exposed to new things that challenge her past views and opinions. Katie thinks the APIENC community is such a unique space and is excited about learning more.

APIENC is so excited to bear witness to our springterns’ growth as they build more deeply with our community and movement work.