A huge thank you to all who marched with GAPIMNY and Q-WAVE in this year’s Heritage of Pride Parade. We had our hugest contingent yet (almost 100 strong!) It was beautiful to see everybody coming together.
Many of you know that we feature poongmul (Korean drums) during the parade. The drumming group includes GAPIMNY and Q-WAVE members alongside drummers from NYURI (Korean drumming troupe from NYU) and drummers from BINARI (Korean drumming group from the MinKwon Center), many of whom are straight-identified. What you saw at Pride is a result of two months of practice in a mixed setting.
Below is an email from Chris Chung (photographed below), who led the group during the Parade, to the rest of the drummers. We think it perfectly captures the spirit of Pride and why we still march. It is reprinted here with his permission.
After the march, the party, the waking up 2 hours later than i wanted to, the getting to my orientation at the new job on time, actually participating and only dozing off once and totally crashing when i got home…
I have a chance to just sit and appreciate the after glow from the coming together of amazing spirits this weekend!
Hopefully we’ll meet soon for our pot luck, but I just want to say that I am very proud of all of you!
Looking out into the crowd of people I remembered the years that I’ve pretended to not watch the parade from a safe distance. I remember feeling envious of the glowing smiling faces passing by, wanting to jump over the barrier to join the parade almost as much as I was afraid of being identified as queer by friends, family, strangers… I remember the one year that I felt safe/anonymous enough to stand up front and the moment that a smiling Asian face in the parade made eye contact with me (gulp) and walked over to me to hand me something. I don’t remember who it was, or what they handed me (though, it was probably a safer sex kit, lol) but I do remember the first seeds of hope being planted in my mind. I do remember the excitement of this short interaction passing through me and leaving a tranquility in its wake. And I do remember a decision/vision forming and fleshing out in my mind that someday I too would march in PRIDE.
I think about all your smiling faces marching down the avenue and wonder how many seeds of hope have we planted? How many of our closeted brothers and sisters saw smiling Queer Asian faces, surrounded by our allies (woohoo!) and decided that they too would march in PRIDE someday? How many friends/family/parents of Queer Asians were watching and wished our happiness for the person in their lives? (my mom was actually in the crowd, but missed us! we agreed that rain or shine, we would both march together next year!). I see the trickle/ripple of one short interaction, one smile and wonder where it will go and who it will touch. I can’t wait to see what amazing life will sprout from the seeds that we have planted!
Looking back, I think about our Queer Ancestors and the giants that have gone before us and trust that they share and rejoice in our PRIDE! Looking back, I think of the instruments of poongmul and how they were used to rally the people towards justice on the Korean peninsula and think how appropriate it is that poongmul has been going strong at PRIDE ever since its debut the first time I marched years back.
At this point, this email is turning into a free verse journal entry, so I think i better just end it by saying that I am filled with gratitude for our allies that marched/taught/added their energy to our cause this year and previous years. This ain’t your fight, but you are here and it doesn’t go unnoticed. You identifying yourself as an proud ally gives strength to community members, but perhaps more importantly, it plants that seed again in the minds of other potential allies (parents, siblings, friends, co-workers etc.). There are few things in this universe sexier than an ally, I always say ^^