A week after the March shooting that took the lives of six Asian women in Atlanta, a handful of Portland Asian American and Pacific Islander restaurant owners met up to offer one another support.
“We learned that first meeting that we’re all busting our asses—grinding, all going through the same thing, just in different parts of town,” says Aron Moxley, who was a member of the all Asian American band the Slants prior to slinging smoked banh mi from his Stabs pop-up.
By the end of that inspiring, spontaneous meetup, the group committed to continuing to gather to share projects and challenges and process their unique experiences as Asian American business owners in Portland. They christened the newly formed group the Rice Bowl Posse.
“It can be small things like posting or sharing stories about each other [or] supporting each other’s businesses by word of mouth,” says Jacky Ren of Bing Mi. “The five of us did a gift card raffle and raised $2,700 for some local and nationwide AAPI organizations. Then we did a second meeting, and a lot more small businesses joined—not only from the food industry.”
Nearly 30 other AAPI business owners have reached out to join the Posse since its inception. Moving forward, the group aims to be a collaborative force that uplifts the local AAPI community and supports Portland’s BIPOC community in general. They’re currently working on a free meal plan delivery program to AAPI seniors in need and planning future in-person events.
“These new friends I consider family and it’s amazing to have the thing we’ve needed all along: support,” Moxley says. “In our cultures, it’s tough to ask for help. Now it’s all around us.”