Regardless of your politics, I’m sure we can all agree that the past two months in America have been rather chaotic, as if we’re all actors in a show where the Director changes the storyline every other day. It is hard to keep up with the multitude of narratives and voices, and it can be overwhelming.
As an immigrant – this November marks 10 years of our lives here – nothing unnerves me more than watching the rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment in this country play out in actions and words. The travel ban in January 2017 was deeply unsettling. For the first time in ten years, I saw how my identity as an Asian woman could undermine my safety. That life for the past decade has been one where my gender and ethnicity are (mostly) invisible reflects the privilege that I have taken for granted and throws into sharp relief those groups for whom these privileges were never a reality or have recently been undermined (see: Muslims, African-Americans, etc).
The anger and distrust of the Other is distressing. And it is endless.
A lot of the rhetoric directed against immigrants is borne out of fear – or in the case of some media outlets, designed to breed it – and that fear stems from a lack of understanding about cultures different from one’s own. A lack of relationship. An absence of connection.
So I propose an alternative: Bring people together for a meal. We all have to eat, so we might as well do it in the company of others, away from screens and news feeds. Tapestry Suppers is a supperclub series focused on the food and stories of immigrants in Silicon Valley and beyond. At a time of strong anti-immigrant sentiment in the US, our gatherings are the antidote to this zeitgeist by bringing people around the table to share a meal and learn about the multitude of cultures that make the Bay Area such a vibrant place to live. We believe that a society is made stronger by the diversity of its parts, and that the best way to learn about cultures foreign to us is through their cuisine.
Our first event is a Vietnamese lunch scheduled for Sunday, March 26, cooked and hosted by my friend Thoa van Seventer in Palo Alto (pictured above). Click here to purchase tickets, check out the menu and read about Thoa’s story. Proceeds from this lunch will go to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to support their work in rescuing, resettling and supporting people impacted by conflict and disaster.
We are just getting started, so if you’re interested, here are some ways you can help:
- Sign up for our newsletter to be updated about upcoming events (we’ve got Burmese and Iranian meals planned for the next few months).
- Attend one of our events!
- Send me an email if you’d like to host and/or cook a meal, or if you know of someone who would be a good fit.
- Follow us on Instagram.
- Donate: this is very much a labor of love so any support for operating expenses are always welcome.