Mixed Race Seattle Conference: March 28, 2020

I am honored to be a core organizer and presenter for the Mixed Race Seattle Conference, coming up this March, and we want you to join us!

Saturday, March 28, 2020
Blaine Memorial Methodist Church, Seattle WA
9:00AM–5:00PM
Free and open for all to attend
Space limited, RSVP required: https://forms.gle/56TuhnXbFVWKfDt38
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/554952665324522/

Mixed race is the fastest growing youth ID in the United States. Yet despite being a major presence in the US, multiracial people continue to experience oppression, racism, and marginalization in different ways. The Mixed Race Seattle Conference is a transformative day of storytelling, art, and creative expression meant to grow community among multiracial teens, young adults, and their families. It is a non-religious, anti-racist event that centers Black, Brown, and Indigenous multiracial peoples and is being held as an act of liberation and decolonization.

Morning activities include an opening welcome address, a workshop for parents of Mixed kids, and a youth-led workshop for teens and college-age students. The afternoon will feature a panel discussion of Mixed Race young adults. The day will conclude with a panel discussion of multiracial and multicultural artists, and performances will be offered throughout the day (presenter and performer bios below).

You can attend the entire day, or drop in for specific events. Light breakfast, snacks and water will be provided. Parking is available in the lot in front of the building. The site is ADA-accessible, and the event is barrier-free: if you require special accommodations, including translation and ASL services, please contact us at least two weeks in advance on the RSVP form. *IMPORTANT* Don’t forget to RSVP as space is limited (link above). For questions, comments, or to volunteer: gabbarina@gmail.com.

The Mixed Race Seattle Conference is being co-hosted by Seattle JACL, the flagship chapter of the nations’ second oldest Asian American civil rights organization, and sponsored by Families of Color Seattle (FOCS), a local family support nonprofit led by mothers of color, and is made possible through a 2020 Legacy Grant from JACL National and a smART Ventures Grant from The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Check out this incredible program… (We hope to see you there!)

8:30-9:00a REGISTRATION

9:00-10:00a OPENING

Brief Welcome
Sarah Baker, former President
Seattle Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)

Land Acknowledgment
Audrey Remle and her father Matt Remle
(Hunkpapa Lakota and Paiute)

Performance
Nikkita Oliver
“Unsolicited Advice for a Black Girl too Light to be Heavy, but too Heavy to be White.”

Keynote
Alissa Paris
Executive Director, Midwest Mixed

Performance
Dakota Camacho
Matao music and dance

10:15a-12:00p Morning Workshops

Rising Majority: A Multiracial Youth Workshop (teens-early 20s)
Audrey Remle

Raising Mixed Kids: Multiracial Identity & Development
Sharon H. Chang

Non-White Mixed PoC: Sovereignty, Nationality, Ethnicity, Race, Colorism (SNERC)
Gabriel de los Angeles

Mixed BIPOC & White: Privilege, Passing, and Being Passed for White
DeAnne Alcantra

12:00-12:30p Lunch

12:30-2:00p Afternoon Panel I

Performance
Leanna Keith

PANEL: YOUNG MULTIRACIAL WOMXN SPEAK OUT

Nikki Torres
UW Mixed Student Union

Namaka Auwae
Y-WE (Young Women Empowered) alum

Beatriz Ortiz
Cleveland High School freshman
Lake WA Girls Middle School Mixed Race Affinity group alum

2:00-2:15p Break

2:20-4:00p Afternoon Panel II

Performance
Majinn Mike ONeal

PANEL: MULTIRACIAL ARTISTS & STORYTELLERS

Tracy Rector

Dakota Camacho

“Majinn” Mike O’Neal


Nikkita Oliver is a Seattle-based creative, community organizer, abolitionist, educator, and attorney. Working at the intersections of arts, law, education, and community organizing she strives to create experiences which draw us closer to our humanity and invites us to imagine what we hope to see in the future. 

She has opened for Cornel West and Chuck D of Public Enemy, featured on the Breakfast Club, KUOW’s The Week in Review, Cut Stories, and performed on The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert. Her writing has been published in the South Seattle EmeraldCrosscut,the EstablishmentLast Real IndiansThe Seattle Weekly, and The Stranger. She organizes with No New Youth Jail and the Seattle Peoples Party. 

Nikkita is the co-executive director of Creative Justice, an arts-based alternative to incarceration and a healing engaged youth-led community-based program. She was the first political candidate of the Seattle Peoples Party running for Mayor of Seattle in 2017 narrowly missing the general election by approximately 1,100 votes; coming in third of 21 candidates.


Alissa Paris (She/Her/Hers) is a queer, Black, multiracial, cisgender woman who calls Minneapolis home. In 2014 Paris co-founded MidWest Mixed, an all-volunteer Minnesota-based organization dedicated to shining light on the diverse experiences of multiracial and mixed race people and families through monthly courageous conversations, a biennial conference, and arts-based community activation spaces. She currently serves as MidWest Mixed’s Executive Director. Paris also currently works as Program Coordinator for the African American Leadership Forum, where she’s part of a dynamic team producing leadership development experiences and more for Black Minnesotans. She has worked as a Teaching Artist leading and co-directing dance workshops for over a decade, and she develops and facilitates interactive workshops on mixedness for racial justice days at local high schools.


Audrey Remle is a mixed Native American (Hunkpapa Lakota), Japanese American, and African American woman local to the South Seattle area. She has served on the Seattle JACL board since 2016 and currently works as a Professional Mentor for Friends of the Children Seattle, a non-profit organization providing long term mentors to children who need extra support in their lives.


Sharon H. Chang is an award-winning writer, photographer, activist, and educator. She is the author of two books, Raising Mixed Race and Hapa Tales and Other Lies. Her writing has also appeared in BuzzFeed, ThinkProgress, Racism Review, Hyphen Magazine, ParentMap Magazine, South Seattle Emerald, The Seattle Globalist, AAPI Voices and the International Examiner. Sharon won first place in small format editorial & commentary at the 2015 Society of Professional Journalists: Excellence in Journalism awards. She was named 2015 Social Justice Commentator of the Year by The Seattle Globalist and 2016 Favorite Local API Author / Writer by International Examiner readers.

As a photographer, Sharon is a social justice and visual storyteller whose work centers BIPOC, especially womxn and femmes, gender diverse peoples, youth, and family. She has shot many rallies, marches, protests, grassroots orgs, and nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest. Her current long-term project is a series portraying Womxn and Nonbinary Farmers of Color in Washington State, launched by the 2019 Northwest Journalists of Color Visual Storytelling Grant, for which Sharon was the inaugural winner.


Gabriel de los Angeles will lead a workshop called Non-White Mixed PoC: Sovereignty, Nationality, Ethnicity, Race, Colorism (SNERC). The son of Chief Andy de los Angeles of the Snoqualmie nation and a Filipina immigrant, Gabriel will utilize his Indigenous educational and equity frameworks, community leadership experience, and personal stories to help establish a common language and direction for reflection that we can use to dive deeper into our lives, families, and communities.


DeAnn Alcantara-Thompson is a mixed race parent, partner, friend and community member. She is Filipina, Chamorro and has  European heritage. She has spent most of her paid her career as an advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, a community orgranizer and an educator at the intersection of building the relationships/the world that we want with the skills and tools that we are learning, creating and revitalizing. She is excited to be in conversation together in envisioning a truly just future! She believes that liberation will win and that justice is worth fighting for.


Leanna Keith is a freelance flutist, improviser and composer. She is co-founder of the 501(c)(3) arts organization Kin of the Moon and co-artistic director and flutist of the ensemble. Kin of the Moon is an improvisation-centric, technology-friendly chamber music ensemble. Leanna is dedicated to playing music by composers who are still living, and advocates for the usage of music as social activism. Her recent work “Finding the InBetween” focuses on the challenges faced by mixed-race people in America. Her incubating projects focus on themes such as gun violence and queer identity. Leanna is the professor of flute at Cornish College of the Arts.


Co-founder of University of Washington’s Mixed Student Union, Nikki Torres is a senior at UW studying Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Global Health. Her interests lie in health equity and diversity. She plans on applying her education and passions to a career in medicine and advocacy in the future. Ms.Torres and four other UW students started the Mixed Student Union this last fall, their mission being to provide a community for multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural students and their allies in addition to supporting students in their exploration of personal identity. Ms.Torres and her peers felt that there not only needed to be a space for students to find a community but a space to discuss mixed race/culture issues and advocacy.


Namaka Auwae is a mixed Hawaiian person living in Seattle. She has participated and worked with numerous local social justice-oriented non-profits. She is apart of National organization, Advocates For Youth, as a member of the Young Women of Color For Reproductive Justice Collective. The YWOC Collective is comprised of activists across the country organizing to decrease health disparities in communities of color. Namaka also has a penchant for writing and in her spare time, you can find her knitting or recklessly spending money on books. She is currently pursuing a degree in early education and teaching.


Beatriz Santos is a 14-year-old student, artist, and rising activist from Seattle, Washington. She attended Lake Washington Girls Middle School, where her interests in racial justice, activism, and racial identity were sparked. She is now a freshman at Cleveland High School where she continues to work towards racial justice and hopes to start a mixed race affinity group where more engaging discussions on being mixed race and finding your racial identity can happen.


“Majinn” Mike O’Neal is a queer mixed race African American dance artist and educator who utilizes his training in multiple dance styles to find and express his whole self. As a teacher, Majinn aims to help others become more confident in their bodies, express themselves and be confident speaking their voice on and off of the dance floor rather than just making people better dancers. One of Majinn’s biggest goals in dance is to spread the histories of street/club styles dance in and out of academia so that the culture are learned and more respected. As well as to give back to the communities that these art forms were created from.


Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole) is a mixed-race filmmaker, curator, community organizer, and programmer. Currently, she is serving as the Managing Director of Storytelling at Nia Tero, a non-profit committed to supporting Indigenous governance and guardianship. She has directed and produced over 400 shorts and other films including the award-winning Teachings of the Tree People, March Point, Maiden of Deception Pass, and Ch’aak’ S’aagi. She is in production on her sixth feature documentary Outta the Muck with support from ITVS. As an impact producer, Tracy served on the team for the Emmy Award winning feature documentary Dawnland, which premiered on Independent Lens’ 2018/19 season to 2.1 million viewers in its opening week. Her work has also been featured in National Geographic, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian.
 
Tracy is the co-founder of Longhouse Media, a non-profit focused on galvanizing Indigenous and local communities through film production. Since 2005, she has worked with over 50 tribal nations and helped train 3,000 young people. Tracy has received the National Association for Media Literacy Education Award, 2016 Stranger Genius Award, and the Horace Mann Award for her work in utilizing media for social justice. She is a Firelight Media Fellow, WGBH Producer Fellow, Sundance Institute Lab Fellow, and Tribeca All Access Grantee. Tracy’s first major museum installation opened in June 2018 at the
Seattle Art Museum. Tracy serves as a Mize Foundation board member, senior programmer at the Seattle International Film Festival, and is in her second term as a Seattle Arts Commissioner. She is a mother of
two young men.

Photo: Zorn B. Taylor


Ancestral Lineages: European, Ilokano, Matao/CHamoru

Dakota Camacho is a multi-disciplinary artist / researcher working in spaces of indigenous life ways, performance, musical composition, community engagement, and education.

Camacho holds a Masters of Arts in Performance Studies from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Arts in Gender & Women’s Studies as a First Wave Urban Arts and Hip Hop Scholar. 

Camacho is a chanter, adjunct instructor, and core researcher for I Fanlalai’an Oral History Project based at the University of Guåhan. 

Camacho co-founded I Moving Lab, an inter-national, inter-cultural, inter-tribal, and inter-disciplinary arts collective that creates community and self-funded arts initiatives to engage and bring together rural & urban communities, Universities, Museums, & performing arts institutions. 

Camacho has worked at festivals, universities, and community organizations as a public speaker, facilitator, composer and performer across Turtle Island (USA), Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Sweden, and South Africa.

New Project! Womxn and Nonbinary Farmers of Color

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This summer I was awarded the inaugural 2019 Northwest Journalists of Color Visual Storytelling Grant. It’s my first grant ever and incredibly exciting. The funding has helped me launch a series I’ve been thinking of for a long time on Womxn and Nonbinary Farmers of Color. In this post, I’d like to share a little more with you about the project.

Food inequity, environmental injustice, and climate change are among the most urgent social issues of our time. The world’s most disenfranchised communities (e.g. communities of color, the poor, and the global south) are already experiencing the worst impacts of global warming, which include lack of access to nutritious food and clean water. The pursuit of social justice today is inextricably intertwined with the fight for food and climate justice.

In that fight, Womxn and Nonbinary Farmers of Color are extraordinarily important. Project Drawdown, a research group of over 200 scholars, students, scientists, researchers and activists, recently released a plan to reverse global warming over the next three decades. Among Project Drawdown’s 100 solutions to climate change were: educating girls and empowering women; supporting women smallholders/farmers; and protecting Native lands…

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Observations of a WoC Social Justice Photographer

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Media photographers at Garfield High School [photo: Sharon H. Chang]
“I don’t think I’ve ever met a social justice photographer before.”

The white male teacher, an award-winning photographer with a career spanning four decades, was curious. I get a lot of weird and uncomfortable reactions when I tell other photographers that my focus is social justice photography. There is stuttering, confusion, complete silence. Sometimes there are warnings about the danger; that I need to be careful. Sometimes I get congratulations for doing good work, though the congratulator has no idea what I’m talking about. I hadn’t expected this teacher to know or understand much about what I do with photography either, so no big feelings. At first.

But then, during the workshop, things started to happen. The teacher continually referred to women in the room as “ladies” and made huge assumptions about us: that we did our makeup to accentuate contours (I don’t wear makeup); or that we find Matthew McConaughey dreamy in his recent contact commercial (??). When the teacher talked about posing subjects, he showed “masculine” versus “feminine” poses. He noted with today’s “political correctness” he wasn’t sure how to talk about these things, but then talked about them, anyway. The so-called masculine pose was confident, reflective, bold. The so-called feminine pose was coquettish, demure, folded in. He picked the two youngest, prettiest women in class to be his models. No men.

I began to feel things. Exhaustion, frustration, disassociation. When I came home the anger came with me. I felt like pounding something, then screaming.

Continue reading “Observations of a WoC Social Justice Photographer”

My Taiwanese American Reading Challenge

I’ve been considering for a while whether to share a personal reading challenge with you. I hesitate to set personal goals on the interweb because if I don’t see them through (which happens) my goals look kind of silly. Yet even as I’ve been considering, I have been reading and reading. Until I’m already 10 percent of the way through my challenge. At which point I have finally realized, I am the one being silly and that you all might actually want to hear what I’m doing. 

So, here goes. This is a post to tell you all about #MyTaiwaneseAmericanReadingChallenge. 

I have challenged myself to read/watch 100 books and films about Taiwan and Taiwanese  America by the end of 2020, if not sooner. I would prefer most of these books and films to be by Taiwanese and Taiwanese Americans themselves, but I know that won’t always be the case. I am aiming for a majority of works set in Taiwan but am also interested in books that explore Taiwanese diasporic experiences. 

Let me tell you where this all began.

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Midwest Mixed: Taking the lead on antiracist conversations about multiraciality

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Me and Alissa Paris

“There is colorism in this work. There is shadeism in this work.
There is anti-blackness in this work.
And we are here to critique that.”

Alissa Paris 
Executive Director and Co-founder, Midwest Mixed

Heat bounces off the parking lot pavement, blazes bright off light beige walls of the church where the conference is being held. It’s a typically warm, humid morning in Minneapolis. Summer glimmers across a yellow Black Lives Matter banner, bold against the south wall. Inside, the air is comfortable and cooled. Organizers and volunteers in deep purple T-shirts, “Midwest Mixed” written in turquoise, mill about, preparing. More attendees drift through doors, queue up, write their pronouns, hang lanyards from their necks. 

Volunteers hand us beautiful 29-page, full color programs. Workshops include reflective writing, creative movement, dialogue and panels. I appreciate right away that there is an emphasis in the workshops on healing, parenting, mental wellness, and healthy families. There is note taking space in the back of the program and a worksheet entitled “A Deep Dive On My Identity” to help attendees think on the different intersections of our whole selves (e.g. geography, nationality, ethnicity, language, race, religion, socioeconomic status, ability, sexual orientation, gender ID, etc.).

In the marketplace, vendors sell social justice buttons, cards and shirts, jewelry from Africa, Corage Dolls to build self-love and confidence in girls of color. Posters display Maria P. P. Root’s Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People, a history of the multiracial movement, definitions of terms like intersectionality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender pronouns. Multi-medium works by local artists fill social rooms and hallways, including Within, Between, and Beyond: a multi-layered interactive installation on mixed race and transracial adoptee stories.

Continue reading “Midwest Mixed: Taking the lead on antiracist conversations about multiraciality”

Census 2020 Moblizing: The Multiracial Population

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When my sister, Cherry Cayabyab (KAYA Strategik), first asked me to join her NCORE workshop on Census 2020 organizing and to add presentation slides on the Multiracial population–I was hesitant. Multiracial people, it seemed to me, weren’t “hard to count” as much as complicated to count. With pressing Census 2020 issues like the citizenship question, language barriers, technology access, etc., I didn’t want to take up space. But Cherry pointed out Multiracial people are historically under-counted in the US and, subsequently, there isn’t great data on mixed-race (identifying) populations. That got my attention. Couldn’t disagree there.

So, I signed on to be a co-presenter and headed to NCORE in Portland last month. NCORE, the National Conference On Race and Ethnicity, is a conference largely for higher education administrators and consultants. Held at the Portland Convention Center, Oregon, this year, NCORE saw a record-breaking 5,000 attendees. The conference is in its third decade.

The workshop Cherry and I gave was Census 2020 Campus Mobilizing and Action, Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 3:30p. In particular, we discussed how campuses can organize to better represent their historically under-counted populations by encouraging communities to accurately fillout the next decennial Census. The next Census will take place April-May 2020. It will be the first in US history that residents can complete online.

I helped present on various topics. But for this post, I want to go over three slides on the Multiracial population that I added to our slide deck…

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Womxn’s Creative Industries Meetup: Art in the Digital Landscape

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I had the very distinct pleasure of serving on the advisory committee for the 7th annual Womxn’s Creative Industries Meet Up this year. Womxn’s Creative Industries Meet Up is an intergenerational, interactive event for resource-sharing between womxn-identified media makers, specifically centering young womxn of color. The 2019 Meet Up, “Art in the Digital Landscape,” was held at Seattle Central Library downtown on Saturday, April 27. Compared to previous years, the format was changed to allow more connection, engagement, and dialogue. We began the afternoon with an introduction and group activity lead by host Angela Brown. Angela then facilitated a panel of three brilliant womxn of color: ChrisTiana ObeySumner, Natasha Marin, and Jenny Ku aka “The Shanghai Pearl.”  The final portion was a community dialogue. We sat in a circle together and discussed what mattered to us as womxn navigating artistry in the digital landscape, especially self-and-soul care. It was an empowering, much-needed, and rejuvenating space. Some of my photos from this lovely day:

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Talking With Our Kids About Race, Part I

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Blackout Friday, November 2016, Seattle WA [Photo by Sharon H. Chang]
“How do I talk to my kids about race? Where do I start?”

“How do I talk to them about something that isn’t real, yet is a reality?”

“How do I teach my young child about something so abstract?”

I define myself first as a mother, feminist, artist and activist. I am a writer, photographer, multimedia maker and creator. These pursuits are my passion. They give me life and fill my soul every day. But since writing my first book Raising Mixed Race, I have also found myself in the work of equity consulting (particularly in school communities), parent/adult antiracist education, and youth diversity support. With a Master’s Degree in Human Development and a decade working as an early educator before I became an artivist, it feels right to have come full circle.

Starting with the first field interviews I conducted for Raising Mixed Race, I have at this point listened to, advised, and spoken with hundreds of parents about their experiences with parenting and race. These parents are people of all different racial and ethnic backgrounds. I’m a researcher and read many studies, books, articles on systemic racism. I go to race conferences, equity trainings, attend events to watch some of the most renowned race speakers. But I’ve learned just as much, if not more, from being in community with so many parents over the years.

To where I realized, I better write some things down. In particular, the answer to that question I get asked more than any other. I call it The Big Question. How do we talk with our kids about race?

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18 Photos from 18 Days In Taiwan and Japan

I just got back from two and half weeks in Taiwan and Japan with my family. The trip was my son’s first visit to the homelands. It was a whirlwind that left me with a lot to process and unpack. I had some pretty lofty ideas about how things were going to go. I envisioned our 18 days abroad as a heritage journey during which stories would be richly transferred across generations. In some ways it turned out the way I hoped (romanticized). But in more ways it turned out totally different than expected. I’m home with something I already knew. Defining our Asian Mixed American (and transnational) family identity has never been, and never will be, straightforward or uncomplicated.

More to come in that department over the months ahead. In the mean time, wanted to share some of my photography from our travels. I’ve been to Taiwan and Japan many times but this was the first time I’ve been as a semi-pro photographer. Of course I took lots of personal, family photos (mostly not sharing those here). But a professional goal of mine was to also practice shooting as many non-family photos as possible. It was an incredible opportunity to be outside my usual Seattle and US shooting context. And, I wondered, what does photography look like when it’s both heritage and travel photography; when the artist is part-insider and part-outsider? I’ll let you chew on that one. Here are 18 of my favorite images from 18 days abroad:

Continue reading “18 Photos from 18 Days In Taiwan and Japan”

My First School Talk On Raising Mixed Kids

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I gave the first, dedicated talk I’ve ever given on raising Mixed Race children in Seattle, Tuesday, March 5: “Raising Mixed Kids: Multiracial Identity & Development.” The Montlake Elementary PTA organized the event which took place at Madrona Elementary with cosponsorship by all central Seattle public elementary PTSAs. Attendance was free, but we asked for RSVPs through Eventbrite. Montlake PTA had to raise the ticket capacity at least two times. We “sold out” at 200. Wow!

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