AYPAL 4th Annual FOB: Fresh Off the Block Youth Art Show is a month away!



Join us Thursday December 20th from 6 – 8:30pm for AYPAL’s 4th Annual FOB: Fresh Off the Block Youth Art Show at Eastside Arts Alliance (2277 International)! This year’s show features youth art work telling the story of what it’s like to be a young Asian American in Oakland during this increasingly challenging time for our city. Come check out the photos, paintings, videos and drawings + enjoy youth spoken word and cultural performances. Come support by purchasing AYPAL’s famous hoodies for yourself or loved ones (these items will sell out and are only available one to two times a year)! This year will also feature a surprise new “KNOW HXSTORY KNOW SELF” AYPAL clothing item + youth art prints and t-shirts for sale! Free entry and food! Follow us for more details:


IG: @aypalpower

FB: @aypal


twitter: @aypal




Welcome our AYPAL’s new Site Organizers!


We are happy to announce AYPAL’s new Site Organizers Aian and Brandon! We are thrilled to have them join our team and look forward to growing our program together. Thank you to everyone who supported our growth to expand our staff, and thank you to everyone who applied and supported our process, we look forward for folks getting to know Aian and Brandon more in the coming months!



AYPAL is growing + hiring! Apply now to join our organizing team!

Greetings all!


AYPAL: Building API Community Power is currently seeking qualified candidates for two Site Organizer positions with our team. Please forward this announcement and the attached job description to your networks and interested applicants.

Site Organizer – AYPAL

This is a .75 FTE position that serves as the primary organizer for one of AYPAL’s two youth organizing sites. Currently in it’s 20th year, AYPAL is a youth organizing project focused on building power with Oakland Asian & Pacific Islander youth to become leaders for school reform and neighborhood change.

Please refer to the attached job description for more details. Interested applicants should email their resume, cover letter, and at least 2 references (1 being a former or current supervisor) to by Wednesday June 20th, 2018.

20th Annual May Arts Recap! Thank You!


On Saturday May 12th AYPAL youth leaders celebrated the 20th Annual AYPAL May Arts Festival, using culture as a tool to fight against displacement in Oakland! This event took place at Lincoln Square Park, the highest used Parks and Rec facility in the city, yet the park is right in the middle of several market rate housing developments being built over the next two years. These developments have the potential to completely shift the community as we know it. #WeHere to make sure public space continues to be utilized by longtime residents.


Check out full recap photos on our FB:

20th annual May Arts Festival announced

Join us Saturday May 12th, 2018 for the 20th Annual May Arts Festival “From The Soil: Stay Rooted” at Lincoln Park in Oakland Chinatown! Check out below for details and performance lineups!

Free entry and food! All ages welcome!

Links to community resources, giveaways, and services

Youth Performances:

Guerilla Theatre

Khmer Coconut Dance

Robam Konsaeng Snea

Spoken Word


Vietnamese Northern Hat Dance

Visual Arts

Community Performances:

Kiwi Illafonte





Don Don

Ally Performances:

Hip Hop Alumni Cypher

APEN Elder Members


To be a part of this event as a tabler, sponsor, or more please fill out the following form:

Thank you for coming to AYPAL Prom “cranes in the sky” 20th anniversary!



20 Years of Building API Community Power at AYPAL!

Thanks to alumni and allies that rolled through to #AYPALPROM2018 last Saturday to celebrate 20 years of building API community power with us! Special thanks to our volunteers, DJs, sponsors, and venue Red Bay Coffee. We raised over $10K in one night!

Check out more photos at:

Missed out on Prom but want to contribute anyways? Help us keep AYPAL going for another 20 years by donating online:

Stay up to date with the rest of AYPAL’s 20th anniversary events by following us on social media!

FB: @aypal

IG: @aypalpower

Twitter: @aypal


Thank you to our sponsors for this event:

Akonadi Foundation
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC)
APIENC (API Equality – Northern California)
Asians 4 Black Lives
BAY-Peace: Better Alternatives for Youth
The Bikery / Cycles of Change
Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)
HOBAK (Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans)
Intechional Web & Mobile Development
Movement Generation 

Oakland Fund for Children and Youth
People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights (PODER)
Raymond Colmenar (The California Endowment)
The SEAC Village
SOUL: School Of Unity & Liberation
Third World Resistance
Urban Peace Movement
Vietnamese Youth Development Center (VYDC) 

AYPAL Prom is this Week! Celebrating 20 years of AYPAL!

Did you get your tickets for AYPAL Prom “Cranes In The Sky”?! Now is the time!

The AYPAL community is celebrating 20 years of building API youth power in the Town. Join staff, alumni, advisory board members, allies, partners, and friends for a special prom night! Get on the dance floor, laugh over 20 years of memories, and enjoy a night out together – all for the love of AYPAL. Bring your partner, your friends, your fam, or just bring you!

DJs | Raffle Prizes | Food, Drinks and More!


Early Bird tickets: SOLD OUT
General Admission tickets – $30
Door tickets – $40 (price at the door)

*NEW* limited edition AYPAL apparel will be available on a first come first serve basis! Arrive on time, they will go fast!

The Akonadi Foundation
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
API Equality – Northern California (APIENC)
Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC)
Asians 4 Black Lives
Bay Peace (Better Alternatives for Youth)
Chinese Progressive Association
Cycles of Change / The Oakland Bikery
HOBAK (Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans)
Intechional Web & Mobile Development
Movement Generation
The SEAC Village
SOUL school of unity & liberation
Vietnamese Youth Development Center

+ Many individuals connected to allied organizations

Find out more at: tickets and sponsorship opportunities still available on a limited basis as of this message. We look forward to seeing you there!

New Chinatown / Black Arts District Tool Available

As part of AYPAL’s 3rd Annual “FOB: Fresh Off the Block Youth Arts Exhibit” which happened Thursday December 21st, 2017, AYPAL is excited to share a new tool created to better understand the potential impacts of all the new developments coming into our communities. Below is a link to a live map that allows users to click on various projects in and around Chinatown that have the potential to greatly change the community, as well as descriptions of the ways youth and community have been fighting to keep our communities in tact and thriving. This is a live document and information is subject to change, check it out by clicking the image below!

Click the image to get access to the map!


coalition wins big in fight against displacement!

Earlier this year, the Oakland A’s proposed building a new stadium on Peralta Community College School District land at the center of East Lake, Laney College, and Chinatown. AYPAL youth, as part of the Stay The Right Way Coalition, put pressure by showing up to board meetings, creating media, holding rally’s, and advocating against the proposal to the Peralta Board pushing them to say NO DEAL to the A’s on selling or leasing public land to private corporations. This stadium would have added to growing displacement in our neighborhoods, impacted education for our Community College and OUSD students, and disrupted our lives. It’s a HUGE win for the community that we were able to push the Board to tell the A’s organization to stop plans to build on this land, which they did on December 5th 2017! Many shouts out to the APEN, coalition members, Laney Students and Faculty, and the community on our work towards this victory! We won’t stop! #WeHere


Check out profiles of youth involved in this campaign below, many highlights can be found on AYPAL and Stay The Right Way’s Facebook Page’s below:



Stay The Right Way Coalition Page



School Year is back and so is AYPAL!

After a summer of exchanging with organizations, growing our leadership, and having fun together, AYPAL youth leaders have been busy this school year celebrating and fighting for our communities in Chinatown and East Oakland! Check out clips of our events in Chinatown (re)claiming Lincoln Park with Lincoln Summer Nights.


Check out footage from our collaboration with the “Stay The Right Way” Coalition, encouraging the A’s to consider alternatives locations to their newly proposed stadium site right next to Laney College.

AYPAL has raised $20,000 from grassroots fundraising and donors like you over the past two years! #WeHere “Ain’t no power like the power of the youth cuz the power of the youth don’t stop!                  SAY WHAT?!”

19th annual may arts festival “rooted in culture” highlights!

May Arts highlight video shot and edited by Stevie Sanchez of EastSide Arts Alliance now available below! 6.22.17


There is still time to give to our #WeHere campaign to keep our movement to protect our communities going!



Original post with photos 6.18.17

Thank you to everyone who attended, performed, donated, ate, built connections, laughed, cried, and cheered at AYPAL’s 19th Annual May Arts Festival “Rooted In Culture” at Lincoln Square Park in Chinatown! #WeHere and we ain’t goin no where! Support youth protecting Oakland culture!

On Saturday May 13th hundreds of community members enjoyed youth performances protecting our cultures and communities. Check out some images below from our photographer Sunshine V! Check out more on our Facebook page here.

Ieumsae Drummers open the space up with a contingent through the park

AYPAL youth Mien Dancers in full regalia awaiting the stage

DJ Edel repping for the class of 17′ at May Arts

Pat working on live art inspired by the event throughout the day

Members of APEN doing a Tai Chi activity with attendees

Hip Hop dancers breaking it down

The Guerilla Theater performance offered a glimpse into our struggles, and our resiliency and power

A crew of AYPAL youth leaders take the stage for a round of applause!

Check out more pictures on our facebook page here.

Interested in supporting AYPAL? Check out our page on RAZOO:

Thank you to our co-sponsor’s:

Thank you to all of our funders:

The California Endowment

The Oakland Public Education Fund

The Penney Family Fund

The Clorox Foundation

Hella Heart Giving Circle

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

“Raising AAPI Youth Visibility” Report Released!


We are pleased to announce the “Visibility for AAPI Youth” report published by Asian Health Services, AYPAL: Building API Community Power, and Banteay Srei! This report analyzes disaggregated data from over 400 Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) completed youth surveys in Oakland public schools. The fact that a data set of this kind, which highlights the various experiences within the large AAPI umbrella, did not previously exist has been the primary motivation behind collecting and creating this report. We hope this document sheds light on the need for more specific, disaggregated data amongst AAPI communities and other communities whose stories often go untold.


  • This data was driven by community organizations that noticed a dearth in relevant data about the youth they serve and work with.


  • Data collected for this report was utilized to pass a “Disaggregated Data Resolution” for AAPI youth in the Oakland Unified School District; this is the first district in the state for have a resolution of this kind.


  • We see the push for disaggregated data as an effort to highlight differences and similarities to inform efforts that would promote equity in health, socio-economics, and education. In doing so, it will help to further unite our diverse population by empowering us with accurate knowledge.


For more information, please visit our organizations’ websites listed in the front of this report. Thank you to everyone who was a part of this project and its growth.


In community,
Mike Tran

Asian Health Services

Youth Program Coordinator


Joshua Fisher Lee


AYPAL: Building API Community Power


Hamida Yusufzai

Banteay Srei

Program Manager

19th annual may arts “rooted in culture” performances announced!



Join us as we fight for our communities in Oakland
and celebrate
19 years of Building API Community Power!
“Rooted In Culture”
Saturday May 13th
Lincoln Square Park, Chinatown
261 11th St, Oakland, CA 94607

AYPAL Youth Performances:

Guerrilla Theater
Hip Hop Dance
Khmer Moon Dance
Mien Dance
Southeast Asian Lion Dance
Spoken Word

Community Performances:

Ieumsae Korean Drumming
Tai Chi with APEN Members
ACPA Rondalla
Mix’d Ingrdnts
Babii Cris



Free Entry




Check out last year’s recap vid here!




Feel free to contact us for more information on how to get involved.


Check out last year’s recap video!

Highlights from “Fresh Off the Block II”!

Thank you to everyone who attended AYPAL’s 2nd annual Fresh Off the Block Photo Exhibit at Eastside Arts Alliance on December 15th, 2016!

We are excited to share this highlight video created by Stevie Sanchez. Community came together to share stories about Oakland, talk about gentrification, and even dance (of course)! Enjoy!


Missed the event? Want to see more? No worries, click the link below to gain access to the highlight video we played during the exhibit: Youth confronting decision makers during key moments in our 2016 #WeHere campaign!


Join us for the 2nd annual FOB: FRESH OFF THE BLOCK Photo Project!

Next Thursday December 15th at Eastside Cultural Center 2277 International 5-8pm!

Free Entry!



Youth Power!

Come check out youth perspective on the changes happening in Oakland through photography, spoken word, and story telling.




Follow this link for a video re-cap of last year’s FOB event!


Funded by:


Racial Justice Toolkit now available!


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This is an exciting tool we have the honor of sharing with you all. Over the past year and a half, AYPAL, along with 14 organizations nationwide contributed to the creation of an Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit loaded with a TONs of shared curriculum for working with our communities towards transformation.

We are excited to share this document with you, which is FREE for DOWNLOAD in the link below!


Sign up for email updates here!

& check out the webinar launch video below!


This Toolkit project includes contributions from the following organizations:

Asian Pacific Environmental Network – Chinese Progressive Association SF  Korean Resource Center – Filipino Advocates for Justice  – CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities – PrYSM – DRUM  – Khmer Girls in Action – 1Love Movement – AYPAL: Building API Power  VAYLA New Orleans – Freedom Inc – Korean Resource Community Center – Mekong NYC – VietLEAD

aypal wraps up summer program! too many highlights!

Every summer AYPAL completes a 4-5 week training program with new and returning interns! Training includes workshops on our core political (Capitalism, Imperialism, White Supremacy, Patriarchy, Heterosexism etc.) and skills (Facilitation, Outreach, Inclusion, Public Speaking, Healing etc.) curriculum! We put all of this into practice during the program as well, check out some highlights below!


AYPAL interns and staff with organizers from UNITE HERE / Local 2850!




AYPAL representing at a rally supporting Proposition 55 to maintain and increase funding for public education on August 5th!





AYPAL youth speak out against a new development in Chinatown that is going to take up an entire city block with 6 stories of market rate housing across kitty corner from Lincoln park, in favor or more time to reach a comprehensive Community Benefits Agreements with the developers for our constituents and the people who have been in Oakland and Oakland Chinatown for years. August 17th.

For footage of what they said, check out the video below:

We did not win more time to negotiate a Community Benefits Agreement, but will be issuing an appeal of the project along with the Chinatown Coalition to try and make the changes that need to happen for this project to limit the potentially negative impacts on our community. Student and community voice at these decision making meeting is more important than ever, we will continue to have our voices heard, louder and louder each time.







We closed out our summer program with a rally for workers who are being treated unfairly at the Casino San Pablo on August 18th!

AYPAL stands in solidarity with all oppressed and resilient people everywhere, and especially right here in Oakland and Bay Area. Youth voice is not needed just because it is the right thing to hear what youth have to say, that yes, but also because there is a social utility to having youth perspective represented. Youth have a perspective that adults do not have, that is often more clear, less socialized, and more creative that what is generally being brought to the table. AYPAL is excited about continuing to bring this perspective, action, and power towards community transformation this year. Stay tuned!






aypal organizer represents for assembly bill in sacramento: news video clip

With the passage of legislation that will make Asian and Pacific Islander students, particularly those who are underrepresented – such as Southeast Asians, more visible within the Oakland Unified School District, AYPAL has continued to work towards similar legislation at both the city and state levels. Over the summer AYPAL organizers met with State Assembly members to encourage the passage of Assembly Bill 1726, which would disaggregate data for API’s similarly to the OUSD legislation (you can find that story here). Below is a video clip of a news story that documented both the conservative opposition to this bill, as well as AYPAL’s very own Vincent Saephan explaining the need for this type of policy.

Check out the video below!


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May Arts Re-cap videos!

Visit our crowd source fundraising page to donate and be a part of fighting against gentrification and displacement in Oakland! *Update: this fundraising page is currently closed, we met our goal! Thank you to the community for raising over $10,000 for youth!  * #WeHere


Official May Arts 2016 “Reclaiming Our Roots” in San Antonio Park re-cap video by Stevie Sanchez of Eastside Arts Alliance! (above)

An in-depth look at May Arts through the Guerulla Theater by United Roots! (below)


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AYPAL Director Honored by the City

AYPAL Director Joshua Fisher Lee accepted an award from the city, Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan’s office, for API Heritage Month with 7 other honorees on Tuesday June 7th. He dedicated the award to his mom and grandma, and spoke to the brilliance of the youth leaders in AYPAL on why this work is so important. Society needs youth solutions. AYPAL thanks the city for recognition of our community and contributions to Oakland. Joshua plans to use this visibility as leverage to push for community transformation through our organizing.







Oakland high school students form legislation with school board member to transform the way OUSD reports API student data, bringing invisible communities to the forefront; resolution passes unanimously.

A resolution to disaggregate Asian Pacific Islander (API) student data was passed early this week on June 8th, following a presentation and advocacy by youth from three different community organizations (Banteay Srei, Asian Health Services Youth Program, and AYPAL: Building API Community Power) at the May 25th school board meeting. The resolution was put forth by District 2 School Board member Aimee Eng and calls for the publishing of disaggregated data for API students in the Oakland Unified School District; adding “Mien/Lao”, and “Tongan” as categories as part of the resolution. This resolution, which was backed by the support of several community and statewide organizations, as well as Assembly member Rob Bonta’s office, Superintendent Antwan Wilson, and members of the city’s Life Enrichment Committee, passed unanimously with a vote of 7-0. It is the first of it’s kind to be passed in California school districts and will effectively break out several different groups within the category of “Asian” and “Pacific Islander” to provide more visibility to underrepresented API populations such as Cambodian, Mien, Tongan, and other Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander students.

For news coverage on this story, please see the following link to NPR/KQED news story:



On Wednesday May 25th, 2016 twenty high school youth in Oakland attended the Oakland Unified School District Board Meeting with signs that read things like “Count me in: 68% of Cambodians DO NOT have a high school diploma”, to present their stories in an effort to back legislation that would change the way data is reported for underrepresented students. Youth presented their own set of data about Asian American youth in Oakland, and provided personal testimony to encourage the School Board to change the way data is tracked and reported to make the experiences of their communities more visible. Currently, data about Asian American and Pacific Islander students is reported in large clumps, which often masks the data of groups such as Southeast Asians, and other refugee and new immigrant communities. The youth who attended today’s meeting spoke about the importance of having data that represents their stories.

Despite the diversity of Oakland’s large Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) population, OUSD only publishes disaggregated data for a few of the major AAPI groups: Asian, Filipino, Pacific Islander populations. By failing to measure a large portion of the AAPI population, Oakland is unable to track the progress of the most disadvantaged segments of that population.

Without disaggregated data, policymakers and researchers must rely on less detailed data released by state agencies or local data that may be collected inconsistently in different jurisdictions. Without disaggregated data, support services cannot provide adequate data to show the needs of the API community, thus inhibits the ability to request funding for grants and resources to implement programs. Without programs focused on supporting our API communities, our API youth remain invisible and underserved.

During the 2014-­2015 academic calendar, Oakland community based organizations ­Banteay Srei, Asian Health Services Youth Program, and AYPAL: Building API Community Power, felt the urgency to conduct an API youth assessment in order to better understand the needs and landscape of the API population within OUSD. In collaboration with Oakland High School and the Shop 55 Wellness Center, they collected data from API youth and young adults (between ages 12­-24). About 500 surveys were collected from 8 OUSD schools, and several community college students, and data was disaggregated by the organizations by API ethnicity to demonstrate the differences and similarities with the API community experience. A focus group at Oakland High School with 5 Asian and Pacific Islander students was completed to better understand the survey data from youths perspective. The results of this survey have been shared by youth and staff at both city council and Alameda county levels, and has caught the attention of statewide media and legislation efforts.




Contribute to our crowd source fundraiser to keep this work going! #WeHere

AYPAL May Arts 2016 “Reclaiming Our Roots” in San Antonio Park was a success!


A special thanks to everyone who attended, volunteered, performed, grubbed, danced, donated, tabled, and built community with us at our first ever May Arts Festival in a public space – at San Antonio Park! It was beautiful to see “Reclaiming Our Roots” come alive with folks from all over the Bay engaging in cultural resistance against gentrification, racism, and young people’s oppression with AYPAL youth all day long, right in the middle of East Oakland, on Saturday May 14th. We are working on some amazing media from the day to share with you. Stay tuned!

AYPAL launched our crowd source fundraiser the very same day, and quickly raised $2,000! Our goal is $10K by mid June to support AYPAL youth to continue to fight for the people of this city. It’s your opportunity to be a part of this growing movement with these young folks. *Update: Link has been taken down since we reached our goal! Thank you for raising over $10,000 to support youth in Oakland!*

In hella solidarity,

AYPAL Family



Photos by Sunshine V., Esoteric Images, and AYPAL Staff

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Khmer Flute Dance
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Darangen Filipino Fan Dance
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Southeast Asian Lion Dance
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Rocky Rivera
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Mass Bass
 The crowd having fun!

AYPAL youth perform cultural arts action on land of Proposed Hotel to Demand Resources for Asian Pacific Islander Community, Not Low Wage Jobs and Gentrification


AYPAL is continuing the fight against gentrification, this time by escalating our action against the permitting of building a new hotel on an empty lot in Chinatown at 378 11th street, a block away from our programming site. Youth crossed the fence line on April 19th and 21st to perform cultural arts action on the land, bringing into question “how else could this space be used?”. Our communities of Oakland need and deserve resources now, and our city government seems to be more concerned with working with developers with bad track records than paying attention to community. (Note: images purposely do not reveal AYPAL youth faces to prevent criminalization).



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Below is an excerpt of our press release:

Downtown Oakland – At 4:45 PM on Tuesday April 19th and Thursday April 21st, carrying signs that read “Our Oakland, Our Future, Not for Sale!”, twenty-five students from different Oakland high schools crossed the fence into the lot of the proposed Hampton Inn Hotel in Chinatown and performed a cultural arts dance show to protest the building of the new hotel. By reclaiming the space, their youth organization, AYPAL: Building API Community Power, demonstrated an alternative use for the space that provides resources that their community lacks, including after-school programs for “at-risk” youth.

The Oakland Planning Department approved Oak 378 LLC’s application to build a new Hampton Inn on a valuable downtown site – just weeks after the City of Oakland notified Oak 378’s owners of a fine for violating the new minimum wage ordinance at their existing Oakland hotel.

Oak 378 is owned by Sima and Pravin Patel, who also own the Holiday Inn Express on Hegenberger Road. A City report, issued February 3, listed numerous violations of the Oakland minimum wage ordinance at the Holiday Inn Express – including underpaying workers, manipulating time-card records, withholding evidence from City investigators, and reducing workers’ hours in response to passage of the minimum wage law. Penalties included a $5,000 fine and back pay for employees.

Measure FF, passed overwhelmingly by Oakland voters last year, established a $12.25 minimum wage and expressly allowed the City to consider minimum wage law violations when making land use decisions.

The Hampton Inn approval was made with no hearings, public process, or community input – despite protests from Chinatown groups like AYPAL who said the hotel project would worsen inequality and displacement in the neighborhood. The decision to approve the hotel was delegated solely to Planning Director Rachel Flynn, who came under criticism last fall for asserting that there is no affordable housing crisis in Oakland.

“We want more accountability around decision-making. One person, Rachel Flynn, should not be deciding what gets built in our neighborhood. Today’s action is to show that we are still building community, while the City seems to be tearing our community apart with developments like these. The API community is often overlooked, and this space could be used towards resources that underrepresented communities need, rather than building a hotel that was a track record of bad working conditions,” said Joshua Fisher Lee, Director of AYPAL.

For a news update on this project, check the following link: