Passing on the Torch

By Isaac Yi


Isaac presenting during gender workshop

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to help organize and participate in the National AAPI Youth Civic Camp. I have been fortunate to participate in some of the Korean Resource Center’s (KRC) many youth programs in the past, so it felt natural for me to participate in this national youth program as well. Fourteen Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and African American youth gathered in Los Angeles for a four-day training on civic engagement and social justice. Though I was familiar with some of the topics we learned, participating in this youth camp allowed me to strengthen and deepen my understanding of those topics, particularly civic engagement and campaign designing.

Looking back, what I particularly valued from this camp was the opportunity to experience this with so many young leaders from across the country. Most of the participants were still in high school and came from all parts of the country: Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Annandale, Virginia; and Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina. For some of the students, it was their first time learning about AAPI history and social justice. They reminded me of myself when I began volunteering for KRC in high school and learned about social justice for the first time.

Participating in this program, I saw a new generation of young people who really wanted to help their communities. One student wanted to raise awareness about LGBT issues in the Korean American community, while another wanted to create a community center for Montagnards, a Vietnamese ethnic minority group, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Some of the youth were incredibly young—fifteen or sixteen years old—and for some of them it was their first time away from home. Yet it was inspiring for me to see them take a leap of faith, come to L.A., and learn about these issues with an open mind. I am absolutely grateful that I made great bonds with the participants, and I’m really excited to see the great changes they will make in their communities.

About the Blogger
Isaac Yi is a second-generation Korean American, born and raised in Los Angeles. Currently an intern at NAKASEC, Isaac has been a volunteer and intern for the Korean Resource Center since his first year in high school. His hobbies are basketball, tennis, dancing, and scheming on how to be the best at any board game.