We are so excited to be featuring our Board President, Kit Canlas! She is a strong, Filipinx leader who represents the API community well. For Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we asked her a few questions about heritage, uplifting API voices, and the importance of building the API community her in Middle Tennesse
Why is it important to build the API community in Middle TN?
It is important to mitigate racism and stereotyping of our cultures, to ensure our representation in the larger middle TN community, mobilize resources for those who may not have access to them and provide a safe space for people to decompress about harm that is unique to our various identities.
What are ways that you try to uplift API voices?
Facilitating meditation for people of color, fundraising for API non profits across the country by donating my performance art, building bridges with existing API non profits in other areas to brainstorm initiatives we can bring to TN, purchasing API goods/ services and sharing their business information in media.
What has your journey been like discovering your heritage?
It’s ongoing and intersectional. As a first gen American, there are aspects of my culture that I resonate with deeply. There are also more nuanced facets of it that contradict my values as a womxn. The Philippines has had many countries imperialize our islands, so our principles are largely shaped by cultures which in origin are ‘not Filipinx’ but have become so through integration and assimilation over generations.
Who is one person in API history that you look up to?
Janice Hung- International Wushu Master, 27yrs old and currently alive. Sugarpie DeSanto who was a backup singer for James Brown before beginning her own music career!
We are very lucky to have Kit as our Board President and are inspired by her journey, how she uplifts our people’s voices, and her insights on why it is vital to uplift the API voices here in Middle Tennessee.