From The Women's March To Now: AAPI Resilience In The First 100 Days

NAPAWF members gather with signs before the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.
NAPAWF members gather with signs before the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

Saturday marks the first 100 days since Donald Trump became President, and the anti-immigrant, sexist, and racist rhetoric of his campaign began to manifest into policy under the conservative platform of the incoming administration.

It is easy to focus on how the first 100 days have been shaped by this administration—particularly for women of color and gender non-conforming people. The attacks against our communities have been overwhelming. In just a little more than three months, we have seen an increase in hate crimes, specifically targeting South Asian communities and LGBTQ communities. The anti-immigrant rhetoric that shaped Trump’s campaign now shapes his political priorities—from a discriminatory Muslim ban to increased criminalization, detention, and deportation of vulnerable immigrants. Undocumented immigrants seeking medical care or safety from violence must now grapple between their need for health and safety and their fear of deportation.

For Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women, transgender, and gender non-conforming people—the first 100 days have been shaped by more than just Trump. They have been shaped by our own resistance and resiliency.

Additionally, the current administration has been consistently hostile towards reproductive rights—from President Trump signing the Global Gag Rule just days after inauguration to continued attacks on low-income people’s access to abortion and reproductive care. The administration has emboldened anti-abortion state and federal legislators, with an increase in bills aimed at rolling back reproductive rights and introduction of sex-selective abortion bans. Repeated attempts to haphazardly push forward an ACA repeal bill, despite lack of support by even conservative members of Congress, demonstrates a clear disregard for the overall health and lives of women of color and transgender and gender non-conforming people.

For Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women, transgender, and gender non-conforming people—the first 100 days have been shaped by more than just Trump. They have been shaped by our own resistance and resiliency. During Trump’s first day as President, NAPAWF gathered AAPI people from across the country to march in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. We joined with over 100 other AAPI organizations to demonstrate our commitment to resistance against an administration that routinely threatens the rights and freedom of our communities.

The first 100 days of the Trump administration have been considered a failure by many. And while the first 100 days have been devastating for so many people, we have also seen success. We have blocked cabinet nominations, the ACA repeal plan, unconstitutional travel bans, and immigration executive orders. The majority of the Asian American community did not vote for President Trump. We have marked the first 100 days with our own resistance and reclamation, insisting that the values and direction of this country be shaped and defined by our communities.

The devastating impact of the 2016 elections also obscured an important win for the AAPI community—the election of fierce, progressive Asian American women in Congress. These women have championed for the issues that impact AAPI women and transgender people—from Senator Tammy Duckworth speaking out against Trump’s North Korea briefing to Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal speaking against hate violence targeting South Asian communities. Asian American Congresswomen have moved forward proactive policies, like the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2017 introduced by Congresswoman Grace Meng. And Asian American Representatives have been instrumental in resisting the ACA repeal bill, with Congresswoman Judy Chu a vocal opponent of the legislation.

I am inspired every day by the fierce activism of AAPI people across the country who are dedicated to creating loving, caring, and sustainable communities.

I was not proud of this country on November 8, but I am proud of what we have been able to build and move forward together since then. I am inspired every day by the fierce activism of AAPI people across the country who are dedicated to creating loving, caring, and sustainable communities. I am inspired by my colleagues who wake up every day to a barrage of attacks to their health, safety, and loved ones, and who see no choice other than resistance. I am inspired by the energy that continues to drive marches, phone banks, hill visits, and town halls. The Asian American women representing us in a government from which we have too long been excluded inspire me. This is what political power looks like.

Asian American and Pacific Islander women and gender non-conforming people will continue to fight against policies that compromise our communities—and we are resisting from the grassroots all the way to Congress. As a reproductive justice organization, NAPAWF fights for a vision where all AAPI people can define and make decisions about their bodies, families, and communities—free from gender and racial oppression. We are not just resisting the Trump administration—we are transforming the very social and political systems that elected Trump in the first place. We have defined the first 100 days of this administration—and we will define the future of this country, as well.

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