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ASIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY FELLOWSHIP REFLECTION: HAHRIM CHOI

hahrim-choi-community-fellowship-pic.jpgASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES COMMUNITY FELLOWSHIP REFLECTION

By Hahrim Choi

Summer 2021

This past summer, as a rising junior, I worked with Axis Lab’s mutual aid project called “Boost the Block” while also doing my own research. For Axis Lab’s mutual aid project, I was able to help coordinate weekly volunteers, and design graphics to advertise the event and gather volunteers. It was meaningful to be part of such a positive event. While in the midst of COVID-19 and hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans, seeing and being part of a
mutual aid project to help people in the Argyle community and give them joy gave me a sense of pride and connection. It was inspiring to see the Argyle community get together every week for eight consecutive weeks to help each other in the midst of the pandemic.

While helping Axis Lab organize their mutual aid project, I also did my own research. My project was called “Healing from Racial Violence: Asian Americans, Mental Health, and Social Justice.” In conducting an oral history interview with Peregrine Bermas, a healer-in-residence at Axis Lab, I was able to listen to her perspective on how racial violence affects individuals and communities, and also learn about different healing methods that can help both individuals and communities. Peregrine Bermas seeks to address the wounds of racial violence. I read and analyzed news letters as well as primary and secondary sources on AAPI
hate and racism against Asians and Asian Americans.

With the oral interview, news articles, and primary and secondary sources, I created a zine for the final product. The zine included 14 pages with information about racial violence taking a toll on Asian Americans, anti-Asian hate crimes, anti-Asian violence, racial violence in Asian American history, why anti-Asian violence is in the spotlight now, introducing Peregrine Bermas and their works, how racial and social justice is linked with mental health, what a community is, what serves justice fair, what good mental health is, mental health consequences of racial violence and different type of healing practices recommended by Peregrine Bermas.

Doing this project was interesting to me because I was finally able to connect my two majors, Asian American studies and psychology. I never had the opportunity to relate my coursework together until this past summer. My Asian American Studies coursework has provided me with knowledge about racism and racial violence, Asian American communities, social movements, and resistance to injustice. My psychology coursework has given me an understanding of the connections between body and mind, including neurological influences on psychological states and emotions. Putting them together to think and learn more deeply about racial trauma and healing was meaningful and leads into research for my senior thesis and potentially my career.

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