In Support of Our Friend Luna Yasui, and in Memory of Joannie Chang

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Luna recently left the ACRJ board and the Bay Area to move to NYC for a great new job, and new chapter in life with her wonderful partner Joannie.  As they settled in to life in Brooklyn, they got ready to grow their family.  Late in Joannie’s pregnancy, they found out she had stomach cancer.  They induced their twins at 33 weeks, and 8 weeks later, on July 31, Joannie died.

Luna keeps a blog…she is an amazing photographer and a beautiful writer.  It is impossible to imagine what Luna has gone through over these last few months.  We are amazed at her strength and presence to write and post.   There are so much there.  Photos. Heart. Love. Faith. Humor.  Appreciations.  She is living life out loud, even in grief and life with tiny twins, the amazing and beautiful Apple and Bacon, their nicknames for the girls.  

It is humbling and inspiring to read about Joannie’s life, her honors and her accomplishments.  The SF Chronicle wrote a piece about her life and work, and NAPAWF put a lovely and fun tribute on their page.  Sprinkled on Luna’s blog and the program from the memorial are tributes to Joannie’s power and persistence, her vision and her sense of humor.

What strikes us is how their family has been kept afloat, almost literally, on the loving wind of their friends, community, extended family. Their village.

The truth about strong families is that we are only strong on our own for brief moments in time, the times when we are employed, healthy, housed, loved.  For some, those periods may be exceedingly fleeting, for others longer.  We are reminded by Luna of the power of love and hope, and the requirement for living with big love and community.

In her blog, Luna writes:

During this terrible time, all of that love and care Joannie gave in her life came back to support her. She passed knowing that we all love her so much. She also gave me the gift of bringing together our community to help me care for her and to get me through the hard days ahead. She, of course, also gave us Yuuki and Ayumi, our babies who are already showing us the way forward.

There is a Bay Area memorial service for Joannie this Saturday, August 28th,  3-5pm at the Kaiser Roof top garden. 

If you want to support Bacon, Apple and Luna during this time, attend the Memorial, read Luna’s blog, or donate to a fund set up to help.

This beautiful poem was included in the program at the memorial for Joannie in Brooklyn.

Little Elegy
by Keith Althaus

Even the stars wear out.
Their great engines fail.
The unapproachable roar
and heat subside
as wind blows across
the hole in the sky
with a noise like a boy
playing on an empty bottle.
It is an owl, or a train.
You hear it underground.
Where the worms live
that can be cut in half
and start over
again and again.
Their heart must be
in two places at once, like mine.


  1. I am deeply humbled and honored to be a part of the ACRJ family. I was moved that so many of you attended the memorial and have supported me through this. Thank you so very much.