Asian American Repro Justice: My 2022 Drive Revamped
Happy Wednesday! I’m diving into Asian American repro justice on my terms. It’s going to get personal, deep, and raw because I have been thinking about this topic for YEARS!
Welcome to my blog! I’m Sadia, a women’s health nurse practitioner, women’s health content writer, and social commentator. I do many things, but mostly, I write and speak my mind. All views my own unless stated otherwise. Grab something to drink and scroll away with me. It’ll be good for both of us, promise.
**I also mention a lot of triggering things like drug use, violence, and more later in this post. Please be mindful of this.**
Sure, it is AAPI Heritage Month, abortion and contraception are on the line in America. Honestly, Asian American repro justice is an issue close to my heart in ways that I could write about for days.
Maybe I’ll write a book about Asian American repro justice.
Maybe I’ll sleep on it.
Or, maybe I’ll delve into more research about it.
That’s something to consider for the next phase in my life. My present phase is making money and enjoying life on my terms.
Even though I am a super bubbly high-energy person, I have had a lot of low points in my life. I have seen some things. And summer 2021 was my time to recover and reflect. I lost a lot of drive for my initial motivations to pursue a second career in nursing, had severe self-doubt about my future and money, and got rejected from many jobs.
So, this post is for me, reclaiming my past and acknowledging my future in the Asian American repro justice movement and for myself and my loved ones. I am diving into all the things that brought me here, how I got into this work, and why I will be in the Asian American repro justice life for the rest of my life.
Let’s Talk Asian American Repro Justice for a Minute
Now, many people have been throwing about the term reproductive justice a ton lately. Especially those who have no idea of the history or the implications of this work….yeah. I get it that clout gets numbers, and numbers sometimes translate into income. But, what about the realities for many people who face reproductive INjustices every single fucking day?
Major companies who do not pay their workers a living (let alone thriving) wage, places that degrade people for breastfeeding, and even more injustices highlight the need for people to truly understand the history and present implications for this work.
And Asian American repro justice, ok now. Whew, this AAPI Month is hitting hard mostly since it is my first AAPI month making money on my own terms (I’m just keeping it real) and also navigating Asian American repro justice as an independent baddie.
I kinda have always been an independent baddie, even while working as a nurse and with reproductive justice organizations, and I have always wondered about Asian American repro justice.
What does TRUE Asian American repro justice look like?
What is this movement’s future?
How the hell do we unite people from over 40 countries and who speak over 1,000 languages into one group and work together?
Why did I just Google Asian American repro justice and the first page is full of articles from a decade ago?
Why can’t mainstream reproductive justice orgs sort of get it together and mobilize long-term in Asian American communities?
And why is it so hard for Asian American repro justice initiatives to get and maintain funding?
The truth is that a lot of repro justice work relies on donations and funding (which I think more repro justice orgs need to focus more on generating revenue outside of donations and actually run their orgs like a business, but then again, I think like a businesswoman, so that makes me a capitalist when I am just trying to discuss wealth redistribution and long-term sustainability for when grassroots funding taps out, and my logic actually makes me a survivor, but y’all are not ready for that conversation).
I told you this was gonna be a real conversation because I am also being real for myself. I did not enter the world of women’s health, nursing, reproductive justice, or Asian American history or identity through formal scholarship or academia.
How I Got Here
Miami was a vibe. First, I grew up on Medicaid and food stamps and was broke as hell most of my life. Second, I saw Indo-Caribbean women get beaten and sexually assaulted for not listening to their husbands. Third, I saw Chinese immigrants come to Miami without speaking any English and struggle just to pay rent. And, of course, I saw Indian immigrants work 100 hours a week just to keep the lights on and maybe have their kids graduate high school.
There’s more. I saw Asian women be sexualized and dehumanized in porn. I saw Asian men be almost invisible in mainstream media. To my dismay, I saw Asian queerness and trans identity be marginalized and excluded everywhere. Most importantly, I saw domestic violence be absolutely, never ever discussed in any Asian household, even though almost every single Asian American person I have talked to has witnessed some form of violence in their family.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Alcoholism, drug use, abuse, violence, immigration woes, and tax evasion are all super common in Asian American families, yet we do not talk about it. We do not talk about miscarriage, abortion, infertility, condom use, boundaries, contraception, and so much more.
I saw all these things as a kid and teenager and was so hurt and confused, and I did not know what to do. And I never had access to mental health services because that costed money, which Medicaid did not cover, because who cares about poor Asians on Medicaid anyways?
When I finally got to college, I took time to educate myself. I read a TON of books, articles, stories, and so much more. I read on Asian American repro justice, Asian American movements, reproductive justice, the works.
This is why I jumped into Asian American repro justice. I saw so many things, yet heard so little. And really, a lot of advocacy work is great, but like, what about at home?
What about real conversations affecting people on the daily?
Are you talking to your family about boundaries?
Are you talking to your co-workers about their incomes?
Truthfully, are you talking to your friends about how they are feeling with all the shit going on in this world?
To me, Asian American repro justice means is the full package. Addressing trauma, paying people what they’re worth, realizing how everything intersects, and wanting everyone to have the life they deserve.
Asian American repro justice is not just a mix up of buzzwords to look good. Asian American repro justice is my life.
Like, educating and empowering people on real shit affecting them personally is my jam. But, like, how am I going to make money off of my passion? Sure, reproductive justice is great, but I said above, a lot of repro justice orgs are struggling out here. They were struggling eight years ago, and some of them are still teetering on that fine line of saying open and closing.
They rarely have long-term, continuous funding streams and often do not have long-term business strategies. Many places do not care to fund women of color led-work, let alone reproductive justice work, because they just do not care about women. And mainstream foundations and funders are not really into the notion or desire to fund repro justice work, let alone Asian American repro justice initiatives.
So, I did some research because when in doubt, off to the Internet. I wanted to learn how to make money doing Asian American repro justice work long-term in an ethical and sustainable way. So, how was I going to do this?
I did health education and advocacy for some Asian American orgs on the side when I lived up in Boston. While I loved it, I knew it was not going to pay me what I wanted. So, back to the drawing board.
After spending A LOT of time on the Internet and talking to many people, I chose to go back to school to become a women’s health nurse practitioner and independent businesswoman. I chose to become a women’s health nurse practitioner to provide care for those on the margins. Those who are undocumented, those who are systemically excluded, those who are exploited at the hands of the medical industrial complex.
I also knew that I wanted to earn money on the side, and nursing was perfect for that. I could do so much with a nursing degree, such as patient education, direct care, public speaking, health writing, and so much more. Sure, I did some of that already, but working as a nurse also gives me the opportunity to take care of people directly.
I already before nursing school that America’s health care system was going to crash sometime in my life. Then, COVID hit.
But, I was ready for the life of a WHNP. Women’s health nursing always vibed with me. Anything repro and sexual health was always something on my mind. Really, I am super into HPV vaccine education, prenatal care, adolescent health, ALL THE THINGS.
I also wanted to educate, include, and empower since so often, a lot of health care providers are white, and they often do not take into account someone’s lived experiences.
And also, I am among a handful of Asian WHNPs, so that is cool, I get to disrupt white spaces in a professional, yet frontal way, which is what I am here for, since women’s health is SOOOO stigmatized in Asian America. Maybe I will be able to swing some funding for some Asian American repro justice initiatives. Or at least raise awareness and get that money later.
So, I decided to go for the WHNP life and do nursing school. Oh boy.
Like what you see? Sign up for my newsletter! Nurse Sadia and her affiliates do not share your email address or personal information with anyone. You may unsubscribe at any time.
How I Lost My Drive and Getting Back at It
I gotta be real, I fucking love being a WHNP. No, really, I love it so much. As I am on the job hunt looking for WHNP work, I am just like YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY WHNP work. I am here for that life, and I just love WHNPs so much, ok?! But, I did not love nursing school, oh my God, no.
I paid for almost all of my nursing studies with loans in my name. I did not have the luxury of a co-signer as most of my classmates did. Also, I struggled financially since I did not have the fancy connections or leverages many of my other peers did. People often asked me if doing Asian American repro justice work was isolating since there are not too many Asians in repro justice. I never felt isolated in RJ spaces, but nursing, ok now.
Let alone in the world of reproductive health and women’s health, now, I am among a handful, if not the only, person of color in several spaces.
As I took the plunge from reproductive justice work to nursing, I even felt more isolated knowing that most of the other Asians in the room were well-off, had access to lifestyles that I could never imagine, had family financial support, and were from a whole different world than me.
And, in nursing school, I found myself surrounded by bureaucracy, red tape, and administrative trash. I knew that going in, oh, I braced myself for the hierarchies of education well-before setting foot into nursing school. But, it was just a lot y’all.
So many things to consider, so many things to look into, so many things I have thought about since I entered this work and wonder what my next steps are. While I love all things women’s health nursing, trauma-informed care, and everything in between, surviving an accelerated nursing program was intense, especially in the midst of a pandemic.
Yeah, I took summer 2021 off. I rolled in bed all day and chilled, and I did not give one fuck. I was not going to burn out myself in the least. And now, I am SO READY.
I am ready to be in the Asian American repro justice movement on my terms. Providing care as a WHNP. Writing and speaking on the side. Ideally, bankrolling initiatives when I have more cash flow and am more stable financially. I am just here for helping out and doing all things repro justice.
This Asian American repro justice post kinda did not end up exactly how I wanted it, but honestly, nothing in my life ever does, and I am 100% ok with that.
Being on the job hunt can be scary. Getting over 20 rejections is also scary. But, making money on my own and doing things Asian American repro justice-y – now that’s the life I want.
And I am so glad to be living it 🙂
Whether I get hired as a WHNP next week or stay on the job hunt and continue to do my own thing, it is on my own terms, and I’m here for it.
P.S. Are you still reading? If you are able to afford to do so, consider compensating me for my time and labor with a one-time amount via PayPal (https://paypal.me/nursesadia) or Ko-fi (https://ko-fi.com/nursesadia). Thank you!
DISCLAIMER: Nurse Sadia is a licensed and board-certified women’s health nurse practitioner and registered nurse. All information on this page and on www.digitalhealthcommunicator.com is for educational and informative purposes only. It is not meant to be used for self-diagnosing or self-treatment of any health-related conditions. While the information presented has used evidence-based research and guidelines for accuracy, Nurse Sadia cannot guarantee any inaccuracies as healthcare is rapidly evolving.
This information should not be used to substitute professional medical advice. Nurse Sadia is not responsible or liable for any damages, loss, injury, or any negative outcomes suffered as a result of personal reliance on the information contained on this website. Nurse Sadia also makes no guaranteed positive outcomes. Information is also subject to change as needed without notice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions and ask about guidance for specific health conditions. Please do not disregard the advice of your healthcare provider or delay seeking care for health care conditions.