APALA is launching a new series called “What’s Your Normal?” that will feature personal essays, accompanied by resource lists, highlighting the different kinds and forms of identities within APA populations.
The idea for this series is an essay, entitled “Six Yards of Normal,” written by Gurpreet Kaur Rana, who is Sikh Canadian and Global Health Coordinator at the Taubman Health Sciences Library at the University of Michigan. I had asked Preet to write an essay in response to the mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on August 5, 2012, and what she came up with was an extremely personal and poignant essay, in which we learn a little bit about what is “normal” for her. I was especially struck by her last sentences:
We need to have a discourse on “normal”. You need to learn about my “normal”. I need to learn about your “normal”. We need to be aware and educated about the communities and people that make up the fabric of this country. Our differences do not make us different.
Preet is absolutely correct about the need to have such a discourse. Hence, the idea for the series was born.
“Six Yards of Normal” is the inaugural essay in the “What’s Your Normal?” series. The hope is that APALA members (and other interested parties) will heed Preet’s call to “learn about your ‘normal’” and offer a slice or two of what is ordinary or typical in their our individual lives but may be uncommon for or unknown to others. By sharing our stories, I believe that not only will we learn about each other, but we would also showcase the diversity of identities within APA populations.
Each essay will be accompanied by a list of resources, to which others are free to contribute. The links will eventually be compiled, expanded on, and put in the resources section of the APALA website. With the personal glimpses in the essays and the vetted resources in the lists, this series, thus, offers us the opportunity to provide both subjective and objective information.
If you are interested in contributing to the series, please send your essays, along with a list of resources, to Melissa Cardenas-Dow (melissa.cardenasdow[at]gmail[dot]com). These will be published at regular intervals and will go in the features section of the APALA website.
APALA President, 2012-2013