Brian Liu: From Organizing People to Organizing Money

Brian sits on a blanket on a sunny day. Next to him are a drum and a bag of clothing.We  are excited to announce that Brian Liu is OPAL’s new Grants Coordinator. In his role, Brian will ensure that the community of funders who support OPAL understand our theory of change and the values which ground our work. An experienced and articulate writer and organizer, Brian brings a deep academic understanding to OPAL’s application of theory into practice organizing our communities.

Brian was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. The son of two Taiwanese immigrants, he is a first generation Asian American. He graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in the Liberal Arts. His degree placed an emphasis on the history of education. His undergraduate thesis explored and described ways that new technologies displace traditional forms of living. Brian currently attends the Oregon Institute for Creative Research and is looking to pursue an MA at the European Graduate School.

Brian’s political engagement work in Oregon started with Forward Together during the 2018 election session, where he worked as a canvasser fighting for reproductive and immigration justice. He canvassed doors in North and Northeast Portland to shut down Measure 106, which would have cut reproductive health care to families all across Oregon. Oregonians voted against M106, demonstrating resilience in a time when reproductive healthcare is under attack across the United States. Canvassing invoked his passion for civic engagement and direct action as models for participating in movements for social justice and policy change. In 2019, Brian was one of Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon’s (APANO) Political Vote Fellows. During his time as a Vote Fellow with APANO, Brian helped organize legislative workshops, wrote and delivered testimony in Salem, canvassed for better school board members in Oregon, and helped educate members of his community about key pieces of legislation during the 2019 special election session.  

“I’m passionate to envision and foster spaces in which the orthodoxy of market economics is no longer the steering wheel of human relationships,” Brian says. In his work organizing money, Brian “centralizes the question of whether or not a shared life based on the paragon of abundance can flower from a scarcity-obsessed society.” Brian continues to be inspired by the notion of temporary autonomous zones, the theme of Carnival, and the Zapatista slogan that “another world is possible.” He recognizes that certain kinds of uselessness can be a form of resistance, and that forms of resistance can also be grounds for joy. He quotes Emma Goldman, who once said, “If I can’t dance in your revolution, it is not a revolution I want to be a part of!”

Brian foresees himself continuing to work within and on behalf of his community, learning more about the environmental and economic problems Oregon frontline communities face. He hopes to explore avenues of political, racial, and cultural allyship in Oregon and nationwide. “Participating in political work that is grounded in feminist grassroot and intersectional philosophy is important to me,” he says. In his spare time, Brian enjoys dancing, reading, and eating all kinds of food. 

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Posted in Against Enclosure of Wealth and Power, Against Exploitation, Against White Supremacy, Celebrations, Invest in the Good, Policy Advocacy.