By Joyce Yin | NAKASEC Staff
NAKASEC staff has been pretty busy these last few weeks! I was in New York City, speaking on NAAEA’s panel about our affiliates’ youth organizing efforts around the DREAM Act and back in DC, Jane, our deputy director, was busy prepping for the immigration roundtable at the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) summit.
Below is a glimpse into both events from my perspective as a speaker at the NAAEA Summit, and as an attendee at the AANHPI Summit!
On April 28th, I hopped onto a bus to take the four-hour bus ride to New York City to take part in the National Asian American Education Advocates (NAAEA) Summit that was being hosted by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). NAAEA brought together over 50 Asian American youth and adult allies from around the country who come from a variety of fields ranging from social services to policy to organizing to discuss the many different issues impacting Asian American youth and share strategies on how to address them. Issues ranged from mental health to gang violence to anti-Asian bullying to the DREAM Act.
I was invited to speak during the ‘Education & Immigration’ breakout session, specifically talking about DREAM Act and NAKASEC’s youth organizing efforts. I gave overviews of our youth organizing groups, AKASIA and FYSH, at KRC and KRCC respectively and discussed how both youth groups use the DREAM Act as an organizing tool to provide direct services to other Korean American and Asian American undocumented youth and allies as well as a starting point for youth to become engaged in other social justice issues. I was joined by a youth leader from Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) based in New York City and Tony Choi, an undocumented Korean American youth who interned for KRC last summer and now organizes in the NYC/NJ-area. The 15 breakout session participants engaged in dialogue around what we thought it would take to finally pass the federal DREAM Act as well as other strategies undocumented youth have pursued in this current political climate in attaining higher education.
At the end of the weekend, I was excited to have met fellow Asian American youth workers and learn about the new and different approaches they take in doing youth work. However I think the most fulfilling part was learning from the youth themselves and seeing the passion and drive they have in empowering their communities. It is through these youth that I continue to feel inspired and energized to do this work!
On May 8th, 2012, the National Council on Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) hosted the 2012 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) summit in Washington, DC. Over 300 people from across the country descended on the nation’s capital to engage in discussion with policymakers, network with national and local community leaders and bring attention to our community’s issues.
NCAPA’s subcommittees each planned and facilitated roundtables on the following topics: immigration, education, civil rights, health and housing and economic justice.
As co-chairs of the immigration subcommittee, NAKASEC and AAJC coordinated the immigration roundtable, which was facilitated by Morna Ha, executive director of NAKASEC and featured panelists who spoke on the DREAM Act and enforcement and deportation policies. Speakers included:
- Caroline Fan, Associate Director of APALA
- Yuki Suren, a Mongolian undocumented youth from Seattle
- Angela Arboleda, Senior Policy Advisor on Hispanic and Asian Affairs, Office of Senator Harry Reid
- Allison Rose, Legislative Director, Office of Rep. Judy Chu
- Mia-Lia Kiernan, community organizer from One Love Movement
- Pang Houa Moua-Toy, Director of Communications at SEARAC, shared the work that SEARAC has done on a policy and advocacy perspective to keep families together.
About 25 people participated in the roundtable. Congressman Mike Honda, CAPAC’s Immigration Taskforce Chair also provided welcoming remarks.
We look forward to sharing out our stories more in the coming months!