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i2i's special gala

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The great hall of the Japanese American Service Committee was transformed Aug. 28 into a lively scene as 150 members, friends and allies of the queer Asian/Pacific Islander ( API ) community gathered to network, celebrate their achievements and honor their own.

The event was a joint effort of Chicago's i2i—Invisible to Invincible—QAPI organization and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Association ( NQAPIA ) . The gathering feted i2i's fifth anniversary, served as the centerpiece social event of NQAPIA's conference in Chicago over the weekend, and helped to raise funds for future programs and social justice work. About 150 individuals attended, representing the many ethnicities and gender identities within the very diverse API community.

According to spokesperson Liz Thomson, about half of the attendees were local Chicago activists and allies and half hailed from cities and towns around the United States. The pioneers of the group were present as well as the upcoming generation of fabulously invincible QAPI movers and shakers.

The program, emceed by transgender slam poet Kit Yan, featured a performance by lesbian comic Sapna Kumar and a documentary retrospective on i2i. NQAPIA Community Catalyst awards were presented to the Lunar New Year for All Coalition, queer undocumented immigrant and founder of Mohammad Abdollahi and Chicago's own Lola Lai Jong.

The buffet dinner featured basil chicken, tofu pad thai, egg rolls and crab rangoon. Photos and text by Micki Leventhal

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