Move the Chi Recap

On Sept 26, 2021, at Visitacion Valley Playground in San Francisco, 150 people of all ages attended an interactive event which offered cultural practices, collective healing and solidarity. The event called, Move the Chi for Racial Solidarity, was in English, Cantonese and Spanish. “Visitacion Valley is a very diverse neighborhood in San Francisco, and all its residents deserve to feel safe, especially API’s who make up over 50% of the population,” said Sasanna Yee, one of the event organizers and a Visitacion Valley resident, who lost her grandmother, Yik Oi Huang, to a violent assault at this playground in 2019. “We are taking steps to becoming a trauma-informed neighborhood, making intentional choices toward wellness, connection and resilience.”

The event was designed to model community responses to violence and public safety by building community, sharing cultural practices of resilience and reclaiming public space. The program included engaging the large group in a practice of Chinese qigong, slow movements and breath for the cultivation of vitality led by qigong teachers James Damiani and Rev. Deborah Lee. Singing and sound healing was led by cultural artist Nyree Young. Kele Nitoto taught African drums and Neo Veavea led all ages in gentle movement and Polynesian dance, called Hot Siva. The event also increased access to wellness with community practitioners offering acupressure ear seeds, Reiki, massage, plant limpia (cleansing), herbal teas, tinctures, and personal safety kits.

“This event supports people to strengthen and appreciate their C.H.I.: Culture, History, and Identity,” said community activist and leader Eddy Zheng. “When people are whole and healed, they are less likely to commit harm. If we know ourselves and other people’s cultures, we create belonging and a united humanity.”

The event was sponsored by the following organizations: Chinese Progressive Association Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity National Organization of Asians and Pacific Islanders Ending Sexual Violence San Francisco African American Arts & Cultural District, Bay Area Women Theatre Festival Xtreme Giveaway Communities As One Chinese Medicine and Magic Community Care Herbal Response Project Third Culture Bakery Vibes & Smiles 

Photos by photographer @JoyceXi photography can be found here: