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asian arts freedom school starting soon!

February 25th, 2007     by Thea Lim     Comments

[This is a great creative arts/radical history workshop course for Asian Youth, run in Toronto by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Gein Wong (who both have been profiled in Shameless!). I participated in their first session, and it was fantastic!]

The Asian Arts Freedom School is a writing/performance and radical Asian history and activism program for Asian/Pacific Islander youth in the Greater Toronto Area. We had our first session this summer and were met with incredible success, to the point of overflow crowds. After a break, we’re back, and will be starting up our next cycle on Tuesday, March 6, 2007.

Where: Freedom School is taking place at the Kapisanan Philippine Arts Centre 167 Augusta Ave in Kensington Market. Kapisanan is just north of Dundas, in between Spadina and Bathurst.

When: We meet from 6:00-8:00 every Tuesday night starting March 6.

What: Workshops are a mix of writing and spoken word, dance, film, music and theatre exercises, rad guest artists, radical API history and activist skills. we end each 12 week cycle by creating a zine and a performance night.

All workshops are FREE, and well have good food and free tokens!

To us Asian = West Asian (a.k.a. Arab or Middle-Eastern), Southeast Asian, South Asian, East Asian, Central Asian… mixed-race, adoptee, suburban, hood… just got here or been here since the 1800s. Asian stretches from the Philippines to Palestine, North China to Sri Lanka, Trinidad to Tibet, and all of it ends up in Toronto.

If youre interested, have questions, or want to pre-register, please get in touch with the two lead artists: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Gein Wong at We are also up at

Why freedom school?

Because youre sick of being asked Wherere you from? No, where are you really from? Because Asian is not just butter chicken, Lucy Liu, the Mandarin buffet, being obscure one day and trendy the next, quiet and well-behaved or being stopped every time you go to the airport or cross a border. Because youre sick of being profiled and harassed by the cops. Because feeling inauthentic is okay.

Because you want to be able to tell your familys stories. Because you don’t know your family’s stories. Because you want to be able to tell your own story. Because we’re the only ones who can tell our stories. Because we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

The Asian Arts Freedom School is supported by a grant from Artreach Toronto

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