Colective Liberation Manifesto
We hope to hold a space for Southeast Asian youth to understand our role in our world’s revolution. A revolution that requires the complete dismantling of systems that perpetuate violence against Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. We understand collective liberation to be a multiracial, transnational movement that aims to overthrow colonization, imperialism, and capitalism -- the same systems that our ancestors faced and were subjected to. Systems that deprived them of their own freedom as well.

Our experience as young Southeast Asian people is often heavy with stories of displacement and isolation. A growing generation, disentangling our pre-established vision of freedom and home, imposed onto us as new refugees in our vulnerable state. We hear the voices of those who came before us, ancestors and the visionaries of a world where we are liberated from the pains of capitalism. This experience inspires and informs our artwork, whether it be from the words of our ancestors, manifesting in the gentle lines of a portrait or in the swaying movement of our hips as we dance. We are informed by our collective struggle, and inspired to free ourselves as well as those beside us. Guided by our experience, although we are recent arrivals, we are offered the opportunity to look back upon ourselves and those before us.

Through these works of art, we become intimate with our histories, stories, and bodies to remember that we did not come to this earth to suffer or to participate in the suffering of others. It is through our art that we imagine the freedom we dream of having for our world. Our art comes from a place of love and acts as a remembrance that we are love and are loved by the ancestors who stand with us as well as the generations to come. It is through our art that we deepen our role toward the liberation of all.

As we hold and share our stories, may we fall in love with them and fall in love with ourselves along the way.

“Our desire to be free has to manifest in everything we are and do.” — Assata Shakur

— Ahnali Tran, Phillipe Thao, Cathy Truong, Chynna Moua, Kaitlyn Hall & Saw Moo
SEA Change Lab 2020 Collective Liberation Projects