Advancing Justice | AAJC Awards Stipends to Six Student-Led Projects

Youth Leadership Summit Alumni Receive Funding for Projects on Campuses and Communities in California, Georgia, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice | AAJC) announces today it has awarded six stipends to student leaders to support campus-based and community-based projects that elevate our communities’ stories and experiences and advance dialogue, advocacy, and civic engagement within our communities. In September, Advancing Justice | AAJC hosted its 2019 Youth Leadership Summit, an annual three-day convening for college students with advocacy trainings and leadership development workshops focused on civic engagement. The Summit provides a unique opportunity for young advocates from across the country to interact with their peers as well as learn from and network with national leaders. Advancing Justice | AAJC awarded stipends to support six Youth Leadership Summit alumni in their continued work on campus around issues impacting our communities and creative approaches to elevating our stories, experiences, and leadership.

Jamelah Jacob, William and Mary

Jamelah is the Asian & Pacific Islander American (APIA) Studies Chair for the Asian American Student Initiative (AASI) at William & Mary. AASI is hosting a one-day summit inviting representatives from Asian American political organizations and multicultural organizations across Virginia. Through panel presentations and workshops, attendees will discuss issues that their schools similarly face and how to address them back on their respective campuses. The summit will focus on two topics: first, addressing the demands for Asian American studies at the participating schools, and second, bringing political conversations to Asian American multicultural spaces. Many schools in Virginia have thriving Asian American communities and multicultural organizations, however there has not been a strong push to build connections or to learn from each other. This summit hopes to jumpstart an initiative to build strong and sustainable networks between Virginia schools.

Jason Suh, The New School

Jason is a student at The New School collaborating with a group of students, advocates/organizers, scholars, and artists in New York City to declare that #HomeIsHere. Amidst the pending SCOTUS decision around the future of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and on the heels of the national march from New York to Washington, D.C., how can immigration law, prison abolition, cultural organizations, academia, and artists imagine sanctuary and justice for all migrants? This conversation and community event will be situated within decolonization work, both local to New York and in broader contexts. What do "no illegal human beings on stolen land" and #HomeIsHere mean to and for Indigenous communities?

Kent Chen, Swarthmore College

Kent is a founding member of the Tri-College Asian Student Conference (Tri-CASC), a conference organized by students from the liberal arts colleges that constitute the Tri-College Consortium in Pennsylvania. Serving as a place of solidarity for API/A identifying students residing within the Greater Philadelphia area, Tri-CASC aims to be a forum for intersectional conversation through workshops, panels, and guest-speaker lectures that allow for a multifaceted and fluid deconstruction of identity. Rooting its conversations in history, each year the conference interrogates how our community has been the victim of oppression, both throughout history and in today’s political and social climate, and also acknowledges how API/As have also been complicit toward systemic injustices. Tri-CASC 2020 aims to direct its focus on the ways in which we can begin examining, interrogating, and ultimately healing from the violence of racialization exerted by systems of power on API/A bodies.

Ngoc Nguyen, University of California, Los Angeles

Ngoc is the Founder and Executive Director of the 1st Southeast Asian Students for Organizing (SEASON) Conference at UCLA. Sponsored by the Vietnamese Student Union, Asian Pacific Coalition, United Khmer Students, Association of Hmong Students, and the Thai Students Association, SEASON is a 3-day and 2-night conference with various advocacy training workshops and coalition-building activities with the goal of providing a safe space for Southeast Asian students and allies to strategize campus-based actions to effectively advocate for their community. The volatile political climate in the U.S. has produced a dangerous racial rhetoric toward Southeast Asians over the past years. As such, SEASON plays a crucial role in drawing attention to struggles faced by the Southeast Asian community, which often go unacknowledged by popular discourse, and mobilizing Southeast Asian students across the U.S. to advocate for the advancement of the Southeast Asian community.  

Sarah Lee, Emory University

Sarah is the director of the Georgia Coalition of Asian American Pacific Islander Students. The Emory Asian American Studies Collective wing of the coalition is organizing a conference on Asian American Studies in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference will bring together speakers, panelists, and workshop facilitators to discuss Asian American scholarship, share strategies for organizing, and understand what and how Asian American Studies can contribute to both academia and politics. The conference has a special focus on underrepresented voices in the Asian American community and will involve sessions that work to challenge and expand the boundaries of the discipline of Asian American Studies. The Asian American Studies Collective intends to bring together members of the Georgia community together to learn about the importance of Asian American Studies, particularly in the South, as well as to build community and power for collective action in the future on the interests of Asian American students, especially for an Asian American Studies program.

Anjali Kapoor, Ohio State University

Anjali Kapoor is the lead organizer of a local Columbus version of the School of Unity and Liberation's Political Education Training for Trainers. In this training for trainers, political educators across Central Ohio will come together to learn about the tenets of popular education and the best practices for facilitating political education. Popular education centers understanding people's lived experiences as the way to building the world we want to see. Through exploring popular education and political education facilitation, Asian Americans in Central Ohio will have the opportunity to understand a different framework for political education and level up their facilitation skills.

Advancing Justice | AAJC is proud to host the Youth Leadership Summit in partnership with State Farm. We are excited to support the creativity and leadership of our young leaders on campuses across the country.

Thank you to State Farm for your support