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Asian American Peer Counseling

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About us

Our mission

Block of text reading 'Our mission is to provide informal sliding scale mental health counsling to our community'

Our purpose is to offer informal mental health care by providing donation-based, sliding scale peer counseling services to our community. We serve Asian people, Black people, Native and Indigenous people, Latinx people of color, and all other people of color.* We center queer and trans/gender non-conforming* people in our practice.

Our pilot will run from Tuesday, June 30 - Sunday, August 8. As we receive feedback throughout and after our pilot period, we may make changes to this model to better support our community.

*We know that this language does not always hold the complexity of people's identities. As our understanding and usage of these terms evolve, our language around who we serve will also evolve. For more of our thinking about the connection between who we serve and our own racial identity as a group of non-Black Asians, please visit our analysis page.

Who we are

We are a collective of Asian and Asian American cis women and trans/gender non-conforming people in New York City (Lenape territory). Some of our ethnic backgrounds include Okinawan, Korean, Japanese, Indian, and Chinese. Many of us identify as queer.

A timeline of our peer counseling collective.

This project has been an organizing effort since 2017, when we first began developing our internal infrastructure to support this service. In early 2019, we began researching and slowly training in a peer counseling model that one of our members practiced as a student peer counselor on a college campus. We started intensive, peer-driven training in this model in March 2020 in preparation for a test run or “pilot” to begin in June 2020.

We as a group are not institutionally affiliated or credentialed. We believe that healing and care practices are held and developed by community rather than by institutions. Our members do not work on this full time and are not, at the moment, paid for their work. To read more about our model and training, please see our “What is peer counseling” page.

Our values

We believe that everyone should have access to the healing practices and resources they want, including mental health care and emotional support. We envision a world where our relationships to each other keep us safe.

Our collective is rooted in values of anti-racism and anti-oppression. Our work aims to dismantle white supremacy and do away with systems that police, incarcerate, and institutionalize people. We are an anti-police, anti-ICE, and anti-prisons collective.

Within our collective, we are committed to challenging anti-Blackness, classism, ableism, and colorism, and know that this is an ongoing journey of learning with each other and in community.

We are attentive to the histories of violence within the categories of “Asian” and “American” and think critically about who is considered Asian and/or Asian-American. We recognize those who have been historically excluded from the category of Asian American in the United States, including but not limited to Black Asians, Indigenous Asians, and South and Southeast Asians. We also know that Pacific Islanders and Indigenous people have been forcefully incorporated into the category of Asian American or “AAPI” as a tool for settler colonialism. We use “Asian American” to convey the experience of Asian diasporic folks growing up and/or living in the US, and not to mean only those who have citizenship status.

We are attentive to histories of colonization, imperialism, war and violence between the US and Asia, and within and between Asian countries, which shape how our communities have arrived here and how we interact with each other. Intersecting identities such as class, caste, religion, and citizenship status impact our access to resources.

Follow us on Instagram. We welcome donations to our Venmo @aznpeers.