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From July 10-13th Laal was honored to attend the 2023 Grassroots Asians Rising (GAR) National Convening, “Lotus and Rice, Growing the Working-Class Pan-Asian Ecosystem.”

Laal's ED & Cofounder, Sanjana Khan with Christine from OPAWL and Mohua Sultana, Laal's Program Coordinator

This year's convening takes inspiration from the iconic slogan "bread for all, and roses too," which once sparked the flame of women's and workers' rights movements in the early 1900s. Lotus and rice, cherished and consumed throughout our diverse pan-Asia community, symbolize prosperity, enlightenment, and sustenance for billions worldwide. The planting of lotus in rice paddies fosters exponential rice growth by enhancing soil quality and promoting sustainable farming methods. This promising approach, with the collaborative efforts of GAR and the National Convening, can yield substantial benefits for organizations and the movement at large.

Mohua and Roksana, Co-director of GAR

As we explored the significance of history, climate, and environmental justice in our journey toward liberation, we made many meaningful connections with like-minded individuals and organizations who are passionate about creating progressive change within our diaspora. The Right-wing has infiltrated many Asian communities throughout the country, and following the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a noticeable surge in the promotion of right-wing ideals within these communities. Through GAR, we have learned that we can work towards making changes to state laws through grassroots organizing and collaboration beyond our immediate membership, not relying on state power. To transition our existing extractive economy into a more sustainable and regenerative one, it is crucial to proactively counter right-wing takeover in Pan-Asian communities on a national scale.

A heartfelt thank you to GAR for extending the invitation to their national convening on the working-class pan-Asian ecosystem, and for bringing us all together for this experience! Together, we hope to forge a path toward a more sustainable and powerful future, where every voice in the working-class pan-Asian community is heard and valued.


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