July 2019 | Ralph Leaño Atanacio

Image description: Ralph is indoors grinning at the camera and displaying a peace sign with his right hand.
Image description: Ralph is indoors grinning at the camera and displaying a peace sign with his right hand.

Ralph (he/they) is an active participant in our Core Committee, and got his start with APIENC in 2017 as a Summer Organizer. He’s an integral part of our Dragon Fruit Committee, helping to make LGBTQ API stories accessible. Ralph identifies as 1.5 gen filipinx immigrant, queer, and arospec. He is currently in his last year at UC Berkeley studying Sociology and Education.

Ralph was first able to find community through a Queer and Asian organization during his first semester of college. Ralph was introduced to the student activism on campus responding to a variety of issues from Trump’s election to the lack of space and resources for QT/POC students on campus. Ralph’s involvement with Cal Queer and Asian has meant being able to make space for other community members to feel held, supported, and empowered as he did when he first came into the space. He challenged himself to feel enough to be able to give back even when his insecurities said otherwise.

“People in this space held me when I didn’t know I needed to be held and inspired me to work for and with my communities. This led me to APIENC and their summer organizer program that serves as a deep anchor to how I navigate my present as a student and person working in community spaces.”

Ralph is a member of APIENC because he sees meaningful work happen without sacrificing space for meaningful connections. He is always greeted by deep radical gratitude from friends at APIENC whether it be at a potluck or at a meeting.

“I volunteer with APIENC because the people, community, and work constantly show me that our ideal futures can be modeled in our day to day practices of abundance, tenderness, and reciprocity. To be led by our values and create alternative systems to the ones that have failed us and show others that it’s possible, is very grounding, meaningful, and empowering.”

Ralph hopes the LGBTQ API community stays resilient and continues to create tastes, moments, and pockets of liberation where people feel abundant, secure, and authentic.

One of Ralph’s most memorable moments at APIENC was being part of last year’s Dragon Fruit Project Walking Tours. Working with an amazing group of people with different skill sets and knowledge of QTAPI history in the SF Bay Area was really fun and transformative for Ralph.

Fun fact about Ralph: if he ever falls asleep while on public transit, he will always naturally wake up before his stop!