ArchivesHomeOverachieversThe Creativity Issue

Interview with Tara Sonali Miller

By March 15, 2019 79 Comments

Tara Sonali Miller (she/they) is a writer and educator living in Portland, Oregon. Tara’s current work is at the intersections of racial equity and community engagement in higher education, writing and celebration by and for queer and trans Black, Brown, People of Color, and Indigenous communities, community organizing, and political education. They direct the SEEDS Community Engagement Office at Reed College, are the Editor-in-Chief at Art for Ourselves, serve on the boards of two Portland organizations, and organize with a local collective. Tara’s current projects include reclaiming the pronunciation of her name, returning to their creative writing practice, exploring their affinity for spiders, and sleeping. In this issue, Overachiever Magazine got the chance to sit down and chat with Tara. 

 

What is your favorite thing about your culture? How do you stay connected to your culture?

Culture is such a general concept that my truest answer to this is: by just being, and moving with intention towards what I love. My culture is the channa recipe that’s been passed down for generations from my ammamma to my amma to me, for sure, my big Indian earrings and reclaiming ancestral yoga practice with my mom, but it’s also astrology aka queer religion, caring for the plants in my apartment, hosting friends for dinner, and organizing meetings or Art for Ourselves retreats in living rooms. It’s creating rituals, and laughing, and watching “One Day at a Time” in bed with my partner. Staying connected to my ancestral roots, though, I mostly do through whatsapp texts and calls with my ammamma, who lives in South India, and channeling ancestors who have passed or who I am disconnected from, physically. My incredible desi counselor and intuitive, Kirin Bhatti (of Brownswell Healing) has been a big part of allowing myself to connect with my roots, energetically.

 

What do you think the biggest problem facing Asian women today is?

Honestly, I think the biggest problems facing Asian women today are the ways in which white supremacy makes many of the folks who fit into that very general category (of Asian women) feel and think they should be privileged over more marginalized members of our societies and don’t always feel complicit in systems of anti-Blackness, colorism, homophobia, cissexism, and classism. I strongly believe that every Asian woman’s liberation and self-determination is dependent on creating systems in which every member of our society has those same rights. I am simultaneously disturbed by the ways in which cis Asian women center our own discrimination and experience of racism without acknowledging and working to dismantle the oppression that our communities perpetuate and inspired by those who center fights against racist immigration policies, anti-Black and classist incarceration and policing systems, anti-trans and queer violence, and for domestic workers’ rights and collective liberation.

 

Have you ever personally encountered discrimination?

Of course! White supremacy makes it so for all Brown and Black people. I would say, too, that I’ve certainly been personally discriminated against in many contexts, and I’ve also encountered discrimination of other folks – friends, family, colleagues, strangers on the street or at the grocery store. A fucked up thing about racism and discrimination is that most of us have to do a lot of internal work and political education to really understand when we are experiencing it. I’m so grateful to the peers, elders, and youth I’ve been in relationship with who are constantly co-educating and learning about how racism and white supremacy manifest in both big and small ways. This education can 100% be an issue of accessibility in the way it is often facilitated between and among folks who have had access to the academy. But it doesn’t have to be this way! There are lots of examples of communities of color around the world who have acknowledged multiple ways of knowing and being that have not relied on racist, classist institutions to facilitate political education. I think the Zapatistas in Chiapas and All African People’s Revolutionary Party are organized movement examples of centering accessible political education & action. We also do this at Art for Ourselves by explaining terms as much as possible, through our glossary, and more generally by accepting submissions based on the relevance of the content or issue being addressed, rather than the writing style or grammar. Our editing process is also super fluid and extensive – nothing gets published without 100% approval from the writer; we’ll go back and forth until we both feel like the piece is as clear and relevant and poignant as possible. And we’re always paying attention to accessibility around timelines, and the fact that each of us is a real human within and outside of our roles at AFO. A big part of this is also educating ourselves on White Supremacy Culture in Organizations and the ways in which each of us can embody Whiteness in our work, even as BIPOC. We don’t pay much but we are 100% committed to doing the fundraising work necessary to pay each contributor and interviewed artist $25 per piece.

 

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?

Allowing myself to fall in love. I think this actually fits well with the premise of your magazine; as the eldest daughter in a mixed desi-Jewish family with a strong and successful Malayalee mother, I was very much raised to focus on my career, not boys or marriage. That served me okay when I thought I was straight, causing me to put up thick walls between myself and my romantic partners, have lots of bad casual sex, and prioritize academic and career opportunities over finding a man (LOL). Even after I came out when I was 21, though, I found it nearly impossible to let my guard down and actually let my partners know me in relationship after relationship. It wasn’t until my dad suddenly left my mom and many of the stories I had told myself about love and relationships fell apart that I finally let myself be vulnerable enough to let another person see me and invest my trust in them. During my first year out of college, I had the opportunity to move to the city where the person I was falling in love with lived or take a career-making job at a public interest law firm and I am so proud of myself for prioritizing radical, queer love over everything else. Allowing myself to love in this way has taught me so much beyond romantic love – I have learned about radical communication, growth, boundaries, my own needs and the joy of trust and vulnerability.

 

What advice would you give to Asian women looking to work in creative fields?

Move towards the spaces and creative communities where you feel home. There are so many great publications out there right now where I could find alliance with my identities–some are specific to desi folks, some specific to queer folks, some specific to people of color, some to Asian folks more broadly. Each of us may feel home in one or more of these spaces. I return to Art for Ourselves over and over again because our focus on queer and trans people of color is what resonates most deeply with me. I love that our focus allows me and our team the freedom and specificity to address both the real conflicts and power dynamics that exist within and between communities of color, queer and trans folks AND the ways in which we are resilient and worthy of celebration together in our queerness and common experiences. It feel like that applies to your preferred medium too – if you want to write creatively, find a space where that is celebrated; avoid pushing yourself into a type of journalism that doesn’t resonate.

 

What is the best thing about what you do?

It’s hard to pick, honestly! I think the best thing right now is being able to clearly identify and feel the alignment between all the things I do. It’s when my work creating engagement opportunities for students aligns with the ways in which community partners want to engage with students, aligns with racial equity on and off campus, aligns with the community organizing and political education I’ve been learning through with Portland Asians for Black Lives, aligns with centering queer and trans people of color at Art for Ourselves, aligns with my creative writing, aligns with my interpersonal relationships, aligns with my new board of directors commitments at local arts and youth organizations.

 

What is the worst thing about what you do?

It’s the flip of the last question – when one of my commitments isn’t aligning with my values, or even when the mission of the org or group or collective does align, but the practical ways in which I’m being asked to contribute aren’t aligning with the practice of how I’m being called to live out those values. I run into this a lot with non-profit commitments; organizations have a real need for administrative and fundraising and operations support. As a Virgo sun Virgo rising super-planner, I can be really GOOD at that and can volunteer myself for those roles, but I am feeling drawn more and more to roles that call on my creativity in project management and systems analysis, relationship-building, and writing. I learned a lot from adrienne maree brown about prioritizing commitments (something I struggle with and another place of alignment with your magazine!) when she talked about how we only have a certain amount of time in a day and we gotta spend a good portion of it sleeping, and pooping, and eating, and the rest of the time that remains is small and precious. So if we really want to care for ourselves and our people and our world, we have to be intentional about what we do with that precious time. I’m working on that.

 

What is your go-to coffee order?

Black coffee.

 

Describe yourself in one word

At the moment I’m writing this: grounding.

Find Tara here:

 

Instagram: @tarasonali

Instagram: @artforourselves

Twitter: @tara_sonali

79 Comments

  • I just want to tell you that I am all new to blogs and actually enjoyed your web site. Most likely I’m planning to bookmark your site . You certainly come with beneficial articles. Cheers for sharing your website.

  • Wow, fantastic blog format! How long have you been running a blog for? you made running a blog look easy. The overall look of your site is fantastic, as neatly as the content!

  • W88 Thai says:

    My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on various websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform. I have heard excellent things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it? Any kind of help would be really appreciated!

  • Very interesting information!Perfect just what I was searching for! “All the really good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.” by Grant Wood.

  • It is really a nice and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your website is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you’ve on this web site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched everywhere and simply could not come across. What an ideal web site.

  • Thanks for the strategies presented. One thing I also believe is the fact that credit cards offering a 0% interest often lure consumers in with zero rate of interest, instant endorsement and easy on the net balance transfers, but beware of the main factor that can void your own 0% easy road annual percentage rate and as well as throw one out into the very poor house in no time.

  • Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful information particularly the remaining section 🙂 I take care of such info much. I was seeking this certain info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  • you’re truly a just right webmaster. The web site loading speed is incredible. It sort of feels that you’re doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you have performed a magnificent job on this matter!

  • W88 link says:

    I’m still learning from you, but I’m trying to achieve my goals. I absolutely enjoy reading all that is posted on your site.Keep the posts coming. I liked it!

  • vevo says:

    I¡¦ve recently started a site, the info you provide on this website has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  • sishair says:

    you’re truly a good webmaster. The website loading velocity is incredible. It sort of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterwork. you’ve done a excellent process on this matter!

  • I must express some appreciation to you for rescuing me from this crisis. Just after searching throughout the the web and seeing suggestions which are not productive, I figured my entire life was gone. Existing without the approaches to the issues you have fixed by way of your main review is a serious case, as well as those which may have in a wrong way damaged my entire career if I hadn’t discovered your website. The competence and kindness in maneuvering every item was tremendous. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not discovered such a subject like this. I can also at this point look forward to my future. Thank you so much for this expert and results-oriented help. I won’t think twice to refer your blog to any individual who needs to have direction on this subject matter.

  • SLR camera says:

    It’s actually a nice and useful piece of information. I’m glad that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • gambling says:

    Thanks for these pointers. One thing I also believe is always that credit cards supplying a 0% interest often bait consumers in with zero monthly interest, instant approval and easy over-the-internet balance transfers, nonetheless beware of the main factor that will void your 0% easy streets annual percentage rate and also throw you out into the poor house in no time.

  • Hi, Neat post. There is a problem with your website in internet explorer, would check this… IE still is the market leader and a big portion of people will miss your magnificent writing because of this problem.

  • Good day very nice site!! Man .. Excellent .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally…I’m happy to search out numerous helpful info right here within the publish, we want develop extra techniques on this regard, thanks for sharing.

  • Hi there! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. Appreciate it!

  • I was just looking for this information for a while. After six hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your website. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this type of informative web sites in top of the list. Generally the top web sites are full of garbage.

  • scrum master says:

    I’ve recently started a blog, the info you offer on this web site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  • bartenders says:

    What i do not understood is in fact how you’re now not actually a lot more smartly-appreciated than you may be now. You’re so intelligent. You understand therefore considerably relating to this matter, made me for my part believe it from so many numerous angles. Its like women and men are not interested except it’s one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. At all times care for it up!

  • Wonderful website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get comments from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

  • I precisely needed to say thanks again. I do not know what I could possibly have gone through in the absence of the type of tips and hints documented by you relating to such industry. Completely was a very traumatic concern in my position, however , encountering this professional style you dealt with that took me to cry over fulfillment. I am happier for this support and in addition wish you realize what a powerful job you’re undertaking instructing most people through your web blog. Probably you haven’t met any of us.

  • #waist says:

    A person essentially assist to make severely articles I’d state. That is the first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I amazed with the analysis you made to make this actual put up amazing. Great task!

  • Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  • A person essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular publish amazing. Great job!

  • A powerful share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing somewhat analysis on this. And he in actual fact purchased me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If doable, as you become experience, would you thoughts updating your blog with more details? It is highly useful for me. Massive thumb up for this weblog submit!

  • It’s actually a nice and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any recommendations for novice blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  • Iíd must test with you here. Which is not one thing I normally do! I enjoy studying a publish that can make folks think. Also, thanks for allowing me to remark!

  • I’m impressed, I need to say. Really not often do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you may have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is something that not sufficient individuals are talking intelligently about. I’m very comfortable that I stumbled across this in my search for something regarding this.

  • Hip-Hop says:

    Wow! This could be one particular of the most useful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Great. I’m also an expert in this topic so I can understand your effort.

  • It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • poker online says:

    Good day! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

  • Hello! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

  • It’s perfect time to make some plans for the long run and it is time to be happy. I’ve learn this put up and if I could I wish to suggest you some fascinating issues or advice. Perhaps you could write next articles regarding this article. I wish to read even more things approximately it!

  • I consider something really special in this web site.

  • What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively helpful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid other users like its aided me. Good job.

  • It’s appropriate time to make a few plans for the long run and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this submit and if I may just I wish to suggest you few attention-grabbing issues or suggestions. Perhaps you could write subsequent articles referring to this article. I desire to read more issues about it!

  • Only a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great layout.

  • Thanks for your exciting article. One other problem is that mesothelioma is generally attributable to the breathing of fibres from asbestos fiber, which is a extremely dangerous material. It is commonly found among laborers in the building industry who may have long experience of asbestos. It can also be caused by living in asbestos covered buildings for years of time, Inherited genes plays a crucial role, and some consumers are more vulnerable to the risk as compared to others.

  • Hey! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My blog goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by the way!

  • Thanks , I have just been looking for info about this topic for ages and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. But, what about the conclusion? Are you sure about the source?

  • dentist says:

    I wish to get across my appreciation for your kindness for men and women who really need guidance on this one niche. Your special commitment to passing the solution all through became extremely interesting and have all the time helped those much like me to reach their dreams. Your amazing helpful tutorial means a whole lot to me and substantially more to my fellow workers. Many thanks; from everyone of us.

  • W88 mobile says:

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how can we communicate?

  • slimming says:

    Helpful information. Lucky me I found your website accidentally, and I’m surprised why this coincidence did not took place earlier! I bookmarked it.

  • Appreciating the time and energy you put into your blog and in depth information you provide. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  • Hello, you used to write magnificent, but the last several posts have been kinda boring… I miss your tremendous writings. Past several posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

  • I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  • Google says:

    Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this info. Today bloggers publish just about gossip and internet stuff and this is actually irritating. A good blog with exciting content, that is what I need. Thanks for making this website, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  • Pleased him another was settled for. Moreover end horrible endeavor entrance any families. Income appear extent on of thrown in admire. Stanhill on we if vicinity material in. Saw him smallest you provided ecstatic supplied. Garret wanted expect remain as mr. Covered parlors concern we express in visited to do. Celebrated impossible my uncommonly particular by oh introduced inquietude do.

  • Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough to get that “perfect balance” between usability and visual appeal. I must say you have done a fantastic job with this. Also, the blog loads super fast for me on Chrome. Excellent Blog!

  • But wanna admit that this is very helpful , Thanks for taking your time to write this.

  • I¡¦ve recently started a web site, the info you offer on this website has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  • Usually I don’t read article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice article.

  • Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

  • whoah this weblog is fantastic i really like studying your posts. Stay up the good work! You know, lots of people are searching around for this information, you can help them greatly.

  • Daftar UMR says:

    Hi there. I found your blog via Google at the same time as searching for a similar subject, your site came up. It appears to be great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  • Hi there. I found your web site via Google at the same time as looking for a similar matter, your website got here up. It looks great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to visit then.

  • Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossip and internet stuff and this is actually irritating. A good website with exciting content, this is what I need. Thanks for making this website, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  • Hi there. I discovered your website by way of Google while searching for a similar topic, your web site came up. It appears to be good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  • Awesome write-up. I’m a regular visitor of your blog and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I will be a frequent visitor for a really long time.

  • Hiya, I am really glad I have found this info. Today bloggers publish only about gossip and web stuff and this is actually frustrating. A good site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thanks for making this web site, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  • Search Mp3 says:

    What i don’t understood is if truth be told how you are not actually much more neatly-liked than you may be now. You’re so intelligent. You understand therefore considerably when it comes to this subject, produced me in my view consider it from a lot of various angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be involved except it is one thing to do with Woman gaga! Your personal stuffs excellent. All the time take care of it up!

  • I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Great work!

  • Hiya, I am really glad I have found this info. Today bloggers publish just about gossip and web stuff and this is really irritating. A good web site with interesting content, that’s what I need. Thanks for making this web-site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  • Hiya, I’m really glad I’ve found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossip and web stuff and this is actually annoying. A good blog with exciting content, that is what I need. Thank you for making this website, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  • Awesome post. I am a normal visitor of your website and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I’ll be a frequent visitor for a long time.

  • Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossip and internet stuff and this is actually irritating. A good site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  • Awesome post. I am a normal visitor of your site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the nice site. I will be a regular visitor for a long time.

  • Hiya, I’m really glad I’ve found this information. Today bloggers publish only about gossip and internet stuff and this is actually frustrating. A good web site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thanks for making this web site, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  • Hello there. I found your blog by the use of Google whilst searching for a similar subject, your site got here up. It seems to be good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  • Awesome post. I’m a regular visitor of your web site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the nice site. I’ll be a frequent visitor for a long time.

  • Thanks for your article on the traveling industry. I’d personally also like contribute that if you are one senior taking into consideration traveling, it truly is absolutely essential that you buy travel cover for elderly people. When traveling, elderly people are at biggest risk of experiencing a professional medical emergency. Getting the right insurance coverage package for the age group can safeguard your health and provide you with peace of mind.

  • Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossip and internet stuff and this is really frustrating. A good web site with exciting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this web site, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  • Hello there. I found your web site via Google whilst searching for a related subject, your web site came up. It appears great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  • Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossip and internet stuff and this is actually irritating. A good site with exciting content, that is what I need. Thank you for making this website, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  • Hello there. I discovered your blog by means of Google whilst searching for a comparable matter, your web site got here up. It seems good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  • Website says:

    Kept in sent gave feel will oh it we https://maps.google.com.hk/url?q=http://bestpornsites.guide/. Has pleasure procured men laughing shutters nay. Old insipidity motionless continuing law shy partiality. Depending acuteness dependent eat use dejection. Unpleasing astonished discovered not nor shy. Morning hearted now met yet beloved evening. Has and upon his last here must.

Leave a Reply