I want to start off by paying my respect to all the womxn who teach me forms of love towards self and community and remind me to return to love as a form of healing. As a writer and performer, I believe one of the most powerful healing gifts we womxn carry is the art of story-telling. Story-telling allows us to exist as the intersectional and multi-faceted beings we are, as Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw’s work has taught me. It allows us to exist through and within many channels because we remember that stories connect us back to the people we meet, the places we have lived, the conditions we have outlived, and everything that we have survived in our visions to thrive. As a Punjabi and as a Sikh womxn, story-telling through writing, performing or just conversing become the acts of resistance through which I pass down my language. This mother tongue that has gone through linguistic cleansing carries my words as I challenge forms of patriarchy through what my Gurus taught me and question gender roles that oppress not only the womxn but all peoples of my community.
As someone who believes in story-telling as a form of healing, my hope for future South Asian leaders is to actively support spaces in which womxn are telling their stories and disrupting systems of oppression. We often think we need to create those spaces but I would argue that those spaces already exist within South Asian communities, only no one is listening to the womxn who consistently keep those grassroots efforts going. My hope is that we actively engage through an intersectional lens and recognize the ways in which we may have privilege and the ways in which we are oppressed to be able to understand our role of ally ship with one another in order to heal collectively.