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Amid Recent Racist Attacks, A Group Of Asian Women Create A Safe Haven In Dallas

A group of about 10 Asian women stand and kneel in from of a blue sign that reads, Hello Dumpling. They wear masks, yoga pants and work out attire.
Alejandra Martinez
/
KERA
The group Dallas Women of Asian Descent started because of the swelling of anti-Asian violence in the U.S. Recently the group of about 10 gathered for yoga and dumplings at Hello Dumpling in East Dallas to discuss the recent shooting in Atlanta and find ways to heal.

On a windy Saturday morning in April, a group of about 10 Asian women mingled over some dumplings and noodles at the Chinese restaurant Hello Dumpling in East Dallas.

The rise in anti-Asian violence across the country has brought together the group Dallas Women of Asian Descent. They’re working to create a refuge amid recent racist attacks.

“We are a group of women who are looking to find community to focus on healing and focus on uplifting and amplifying each other's voices and experiences,” Amy Tran-Calhoun, the group’s lead organizer, said.

Earlier that morning they gathered for a restorative yoga healing session where they discussed how to change the narrative around Asian women in the U.S.

“We are collectively powerful. We are collectively strong and also soft. And I think these are things that don't really get talked about in the broader societal and racist narratives about AAPI women,” Aileen Fullchange said.

A psychologist and member of the group, Fullchange calls it a "healing collective." They started organically. One person met another, and then another and so on. They were all looking for belonging and community.

They meet virtually or in person to process recent events like the recent shooting in Atlanta, where six out of the eight victims were women of Asian descent.

Eight women of Asian descent sit criss-cross on top of their yoga mat. They've gathered for a restorative yoga healing session with the group Dallas Women of Asian Descent.
Courtesy of Stephanie Drenka
Eight women of Asian descent sit criss-cross on top of their colorful yoga mats. They've gathered for a restorative yoga healing session with the group Dallas Women of Asian Descent.

“Ever since the sort of the pandemic, I have felt like, I've been holding my breath, really worried,” Cynthia Yung said.

Yung, who offered her house for the yoga session, said many of the women in the group were also hurting and suffering. They shared their stories and experiences over sun salutations.

“We cry together and we are there for one another because this is such an odd time with pandemic. We're also isolated, because of COVID. But then we also have this other fear that it's hard to share,” she said.

The pandemic has personally given Yung a new appreciation for what it means to have a community to share your fears and anxieties with.

If you don't talk about those feelings and emotions, then you hold that trauma in your body and and, and other places that are ultimately unhealthy for your well-being.
Amy Tran-Calhoun, lead organizer of the group Dallas Women of Asian Descent

“I was really scared to go out of the house. And you know, my family was really scared for me. I’ve kind of been holding that for a long time. And it just got worse and worse and worse," she said. "I shared with the group [at the yoga session]. How much I still feel like I've been holding my breath.”

The group centers their conversations around healing from trauma, building solidarity and “Asian visibility.”

“If you don't talk about those feelings and emotions, then you hold that trauma in your body and and, and other places that are ultimately unhealthy for your well-being,” Tran-Calhoun said. “And so we really just started as a space to connect and just see where we go.”

Tran-Calhoun said that the group is fairly new but strong and wants other women to join too.

To join, you can email womenofasiandescent@gmail.com.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member and writes about the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities for KERA News. Email Alejandra at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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