Recently, KRC and NAKASEC presented Allen Tu the Dream in Action Award in recognition of his leadership with youths on immigration reform at the “United in Action: Generations Making Change” fundraiser and banquet. Doo Yong Shim, NOP3 blogger, grabbed a quick moment with Allen Tu to learn more about his work and what motivates him as a community organizer.
By Doo Yong Shim | New Organizing Project blogger
1. What is your name?
My name is Allen Tu, but most people call me Tusic. Some call me TuTu.
2. How are you active in the community?
I am a youth leader for KRCC’s youth leadership council, FYSH (Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity). I’ve gone to and participated in many fundraising efforts through KRCC to support the DREAM. I’ve also gone to many rallies in support of higher education for all and rallies backing the Chicago Teachers Union strike recently. One thing I do that I believe separates me from many is I incorporate social issues into my song content and perform them at events throughout the year.
3. Could you explain what FYSH is about?
FYSH is a social justice-oriented youth leadership council. We organize around something we believe in that needs change. We are also a group of performers. Many of us either do Korean Drumming, Spoken Word, Rap, or a combination of the three.
4. What is your role in FYSH?
Everyone in FYSH is a youth leader, or at the very least, getting to that point. We all have an equal role and an equal say. Simply put, my role in FYSH is like everyone else: To be a catalyst for change.
5. How did you first get involved with KRCC?
I first started coming to KRCC to bum on the couches. But, I got involved when my friend Christopher Nguyen brought me to a FYSH meeting, where they talked about the DREAM Act. There isn’t much else to it. The DREAM played a big part in why I love community organizing so much. Thinking back on that meeting, there were only 4 people in that conference room. Now, there’s at least 15 people at every meeting, most of the time.
6. What is your hope for immigrant youth and young people of color?
I hope to see access to higher education for all immigrant youth, regardless of their status; and I hope to see immigrant youth get more involved in their community and work toward the change they want to see.
7. Is there any advice you’d like to give to young people who wish to make a difference in this world?
Just do it. It’s one thing to want to do it and another to go through with it. The most difficult part about making a difference in the world is getting over the notion that one person can’t possibly make a difference. As daunting as it sounds, making a difference in the world isn’t difficult as long as your heart is in the right place and your push to be a catalyst for change is strong and unfaltering.
8. Fill in the blank: When I’m not engaged in the community, you can find me ______________ .
When I’m not engaged in the community, you can find me playing basketball, rapping on stage, or break-dancing anywhere and everywhere. Or you can find me playing ping pong in KRCC’s conference room.
9. Who is the most inspirational person to you (dead or alive, real or fictional, etc.)?
John Vietnam is the most inspirational person to me. The content of his songs are meaningful and relevant. I’ve seen him grow from someone somewhat cocky into an extremely humble being. He died saving someone’s life; and I want to carry on his legacy through my own music.
10. If you could trade places with someone, with whom would it be and why?
I would either trade places with MC Geologic of Blue Scholars or Denizen Kane of Typical Cats; they’re both in the list of my all-time favorite artists. I love rapping. And I love rapping about something meaningful, even if it means my fan base won’t be as big as one who raps about the thug life. Both Geologic and Denizen Kane rap about the meaningful and they tour the U.S. spreading their music and gracing many stages. I want to do that one day.