Two weekends ago, 13 members of hotpot! went for a retreat at the Mohican Outdoor Center in the Poconos (Delaware Water Gap). Our group arrived on Friday night along with the facilitators, Sine and Monna, who gave us a full schedule for the weekend. We brainstormed ideas on values, mission and vision. We did exercises such as the privilege walk and privilege circle (you can ask us for details).
Some of the results of the retreat were the hotpods (these are smaller action-based groups within hotpot! that coordinate different things like, design, media, social and outreach needs/events). We also formed committees to finish the full text for our values, mission and vision.
It wasn’t all business however, as some members were able to squeeze in some late night dipping time in the lake, learning the wobble dance and the canoeing at the last day before we all went home.
The food was good–we ate chili, massive amounts of fruit, and the chocolate spread was gone by Sunday brunch.
– written by Laurent and Megumu-
Lesbioke was a blast. A great idea for a gathering involving karaoke and dinner. Genius!!
I will remember October 22, 2011 mesmerizing night. It was a great and a fantastic experience for me where twenty-three people gathered in New Harmony Vegetarian Restaurant from 6 to 9 pm. At first, I was nervous as well as excited to be there. Nervous because everything was new to me and excited because it was karaoke!! Come on, who does not like to sing?
The atmosphere of the place and the people were hospitable and mirthful. Everyone was in such a good spirit. We were singing, talking, cheering and eating. Later on, I was simply enjoying and having fun. I met new people and reconnected with people I had met before. This event made my long and tired week come to a relaxing end. Additional to that, it brings so much joy to meet queer people who are one of a kind. Oh! high five to the people who went to SISTERS after Lesbioke. We danced and did tequila shots together !
Before I stop writing, I have a confession to make. Honestly, I was kind of skeptical about the “vegetarian” food only menu because I am a meat lover. To my surprise, the food wowed me. My taste buds were thanking the chef for the delicious dishes secretly!
Hotpot!, thank you for the great time. Keep up the great work and hope to see and be in lots and lots of your events!
Growing up I searched for representations of people like me in my life and found none. During my senior year in high-school I just kept thinking about how exciting it would be to go to college and find a community of queer people of color. Finally, I would find people who would understand the intersections of my ethnicity and sexuality. People who might understand the pressures I underwent as I came of age…the expectations of me from my immigrant Filipino parents, my Filipino community, combined with the expectations of mainstream American society.
It was my freshmen year of college and I eagerly attended a few of the LGBT club’s meetings. Though the members of the LGBT club were friendly I couldn’t help but feel completely out of place. All of the members were white. I couldn’t believe it, my college had promoted itself as full of diversity! If they were so diverse then why was I the only non-white person in attendance?? Disappointed, I couldn’t bring myself to go to any more meetings. I felt that in order to belong to this club, I would have to relinquish my Filipino identity, and I had no intentions of doing that.
I then found that there was a Filipino association and attended a few of their meetings. They were also welcoming and friendly, but I got the feeling that my sexuality was not going to be openly accepted. It reminded me a lot of my Filipino community back home. This time, in order to belong I’d have to go back in the closet. Yeah, right! I stopped attending the Filipino association meetings too.
At that point, I had decided that the community I had hoped to find simply didn’t exist. At least, not anywhere near me. So, when I heard about hotpot! this past spring I was completely surprised. Being part of hotpot! means so much to me I’m not sure I can put it all into words. It’s an incredible joy to find a community where I feel like I belong. I’ve found a space where my different experiences and identities are cherished as part of me as a whole, rather than made invisible or undesirable. It’s been amazing, fulfilling ..and so much more. I ❤ hotpot!
Date: Saturday, September 17th
Location: Playdrome in Cherry Hill, NJ
Attended By: 7 members, 4 friends & allies
Organized By: Em Sov & Alison Lin
How much was raised: ~$200
Trippin’ stumblin’ flyin’ down the lane with a shiny fuchsia 8-pounder leading the way to victory! No amount of gutters can shake this spirit. Bay on the line so hold the phone and let me tell you about this FUNdraiser we had.
Attended by seven members and four friends & allies, eleven was a fruitful number for a sweaty session of bowling at the Playdrome in Cherry Hill, NJ. This event, organized by Em and Alison, raised nearly 200 buckaroos to help sponsor our recent retreat! I call that success. And next time, you oughta not miss out.
There was also a bonus after session of 8 Ball billiards and super intense air hockey (the intensity was mostly on my behalf…)
On Tuesday, September 20th, six hotpot! members attended a ceremony in which we received a $3,550 grant award from the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) – Racial Equity Initiative (REI). In June 2011 the steering committee collaborated on and applied to this grant; and in early August we received word that we had been accepted. Hotpot! is a young volunteer-run organization and thus we are especially grateful and excited to receive this grant. Previously we put some of the funds towards our facilitators and space rental for our mission and vision retreat this September. The retreat is critical to Hotpot! members to carve out time and space to dream big about what Hotpot! means to us, visibility as Queer APIs, social change, how we will build, shape, and grow Hotpot! from infancy. This year’s DVLF REI grant provides means for members to attend and present workshops at The Queer Womyn of Color Conference and Creating Change conferences,to outreach to newcomers, to cross-collaborate with allied organizations, and more. What a wonderful gift as we celebrate Hotpot!’s 2 year old birthday!