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!
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!
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 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).
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: http://patch.com/california/rockridge/oakland-planning-commission-affirms-new-downtown-hotel-decision-0
AYPAL continues fight against gentrification, sends delegation to Mayor’s office and rallies at City Hall
On Wednesday April 13th, AYPAL led a delegation to the Mayors Office unannounced to deliver our community’s vision for an empty lot in Chinatown on 11th street, a block away from our programming space. The vision was created during our rally in front of the site with hotel workers in February. (Click here for details from that rally)
Four youth leaders entered the Mayors Office to provide testimony against the recently approved permitting of a Hampton Inn at the 11th street site by City Planner Rachel Flynn, the developers of which, are currently under investigation for wage theft. AYPAL youth wanted to share a vision that empowered community, rather than fund a developer with a track record of poverty wage hotels throughout the city. We spoke with Senior Advisor to the Mayor Peggy Moore, and were able to speak with Mayor Schaaf herself briefly following the meeting.
The following day, AYPAL staff marched with UNITE HERE / Local 2850 during a rally for minimum wage for fast food workers, which started at the same 11th street site to connect wage theft, poverty wage developers, and gentrification. AYPAL organizer Vincent Saephan spoke at the rally in support of all communities of color being targeted by unfair working conditions, displacement, and lack of resources.
When we fight, we win! But the fight is not over, please keep following us as this story progresses and we continue to push city decision makers to prioritize people over profits. Check out pictures from the delegation and rally below!
Watch it on TV! Follow the link and click on the first agenda item to stream! KTOP coverage of our presentation HERE
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders face particular challenges when it comes to having our experiences made visible. Together, in partnership with The Spot Youth Center and Banteay Srei, we conducted a culture and climate survey of 500 API identified youth in Oakland in an effort to tell our stories more accurately, and from our own community’s perspective. On March 22nd, youth presented our survey findings and made recommendations to Oakland’s Life Enrichment Committee as invited by District 2 Council Member Abel Guillen. Our goal with this project is to shed light on the issues facing APIs, particularly Southeast Asian youth, who are often systematically left out of the conversation by city-wide data tracking that is not disaggregated by API sub-ethnicity. This is a core institutional issue that prevents all underrepresented communities from being seen and heard! We will continue to push for a response from the City and the Oakland Unified School District, backing statewide action towards improved data collection and reporting, while simultaneously creating space for youth to share their stories and make policy recommendations to decision makers.
“This hotel, it represents imperialism. They’re coming to a place that they don’t really know and they’re taking up the resources that this community desperately needs.”
– Jason Le, AYPAL Youth Leader.
While private developers try and tear our communities apart, AYPAL and Unite HERE / Local 2850 are building ours up! That’s exactly what we did last Thursday February 11th at the site of an empty lot in Chinatown proposed to become a Hampton Inn hotel by a poverty wage developer.
Check out photos of speeches from AYPAL youth leaders and Unite HERE members, us playing games with each other, and visioning what OUR community wants to see here instead of a hotel! All photos shot by Melanie Cervantes.
Peep links to other photos, and write-ups on this story in the NEWS below:
Stay tuned for more on how you can join us in the fight for Oakland!
AYPAL COMPLETES FOB: FRESH OFF THE BLOCK PHOTO PROJECT
AYPAL youth respond to changes happening in Oakland in this powerful photo project. Check out the video below. Special thanks to Stevie Sanchez and Eastside Arts Alliance on this collaboration.
Check back on our website for updates on our anti-gentrification work.
For the past year, AYPAL youth, staff, and alumni have been engaged in coalition building, intense political education, and decision making processes to land on a campaign that will guide our work for the near future.
Our youth have intentionally built with community partners at the Spot, the HANG Program, Movement Generation, Planting Justice, and Veggi Farmers Co-operative (New Orleans) to inform our process and to educate our youth about food systems, permaculture design, ecological justice, and resiliency based organizing.
Our AYPAL staff and youth alumni were crucial in engaging with this process through setting possible campaign trajectories (including an AYPAL Food Truck!), and informing it with more than 20 decades of collective organizing experience.
On Monday, March 2, 2015 sixteen youth interns from VOYCE and SEAYCA came together to pick the next campaign that AYPAL will take on. They landed on creating a community owned, Oakland based, aquaponics farm that would not only act as a locus point for intergenerational organizing work but also provide nutritious food, health education, and jobs for youth that come through our program.
Stay tuned for more exciting developments! We are excited for what the future holds for us!!
For the past year, AYPAL and the Campaign for Quality Education (CQE) coalition have been pushing for the timely passage of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) by the state budget deadline of June 30th, 2013. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT to make this goal a reality!
For more information on LCFF and to sign our petition, go HERE!
Use ANY of the following TWITTER messages AND handles May 20th – May 24th 2013!
OUR TWITTER MESSAGES:
- Don’t water down #LCFF. Keep equity, keep weighted formula, keep concentration grants #EquityNow
- All CA students deserve an education that prepares for college & careers, whether poor, EL, or not #WheresOurFuture #LCFF
- #LCFF in this budget! #WheresOurFuture Equitable funding for low-income, EL and foster youth is best for CA #EquityNow
ON TUESDAY, 5/21: Support our CQE Day of Action at the Capitol by tweeting BOTH our CA Senators and Assembly Members! Who to target:
ON THURSDAY, 5/23: Tweet our CA Senators:
Darrell Steinberg:@proTemSteinberg Mark Leno: @MarkLeno Hannah Beth-Jackson: @SenHannahBeth Ricardo Lara: @SenRicardoLara Lou Correa: @SenLouCorrea Bob Huff: @bobhuff99 Kevin De Leon: @kdleon Alex Padilla: @Alex_Padilla
ON FRIDAY, 5/24: Tweet our CA Assembly Members:
John A. Perez:@SpeakerPerez Susan Bonilla: @ASMSusanBonilla Rocky Chavez:@AsmRocky Rob Bonta: @RobBonta Phil Ting: @PhilTing Isadore Hall:@isadorehall Steven Bradford:@GardenaSteve Curren Price: @currenpricejr
During the CQE’s Week of Social Media Action, we must let our state’s legislators know that it’s time for California schools to become a great equalizer. Low-income and EL students have been suffering for too long in our state. We must fund equity now – our futures cannot wait!
It takes just TWO minutes of your time (on Wednesday, June 13th OR Thursday, June 14th) to help AYPAL and the Campaign for a Quality Education (CQE) fight for a better school funding system for California!
Passing a “Weighted Student Formula” will bring California out of an outdated, complicated and inequitable school funding system by giving more money to school districts that serve more low-income and immigrant students.
Check out the facts:
* Oakland Unified could gain an additional $105 million if passed
* San Francisco Unified could gain $170 million more
* Los Angeles Unified could gain $1.9 BILLION more
|Member||Capitol Phone #||District Phone #||Leadership Role|
|1. Senate Pro Tem
|(916) 651-4006||(916) 651-1529||Senate Leader (“pro tempore”)|
|2. Assembly Speaker John Pérez||(916) 319-2046||(213) 620-4646||Assembly Leader (“Speaker”)|
|3. Governor Jerry Brown||(916) 445-2841||Governor|
Sample script for making the calls:
1. Hi, my name is ____ and I’m from ____(city, organization).
2. I’m calling today because I strongly believe that [Speaker Perez /or Senate Pro Tem Steinberg] needs to push the Legislature to work with Governor Brown to pass a fair school funding formula this year – by including the Governor’s proposal for a “weighted student formula” in the final 2012-2013 Budget.
3. The “weighted student formula” is a good idea for California because it is a fair and equitable way to give money to our state’s schools.
4. However, we must have a strong accountability system in place that will guarantee that the additional “weights” or funding will be spent on English Language Learners and low-income students that need it the most.
5. We must also make sure that parent site and advisory councils still have a voice and have rights when it comes to local-control and decision-making in this process.
6. If the “weighted student formula” doesn’t make it in the Budget, we urge leadership to keep it on the front burner and get into policy this session!
7. As the [Speaker of the Assembly/Senate], I hope that [Speaker Perez /or Senate Pro Tem Steinberg] will push to make a weighted student formula” happen this year.
8. Thank you for getting this message to [Speaker Perez /or Senate Pro Tem Steinberg].
Follow our work by “liking” our page on Facebook!
Thank you in advance for your support!
“This budget proposal is important because due to budget cuts, my school has resorted to constructing portables that have created an unhealthy and jail-like environment…and has a supply of unsteady counselors which leaves my graduating class of 2012 to less than 10. Half of them are not prepared to continue higher education…because they are unprepared to bounce back…and can barely manage their current settings.”
– Sweet-Jody Diala, AYPAL Youth
Picture this scene: Ten to fifteen young leaders step up one at a time to speak out about poor school conditions and the need for a new school funding formula in front of a panel of California lawmakers. Now imagine that these young leaders are some of the only voices in the room that represent students from large, urban school districts that are predominantly low-income youth of color.
This was the scene that AYPAL and the Campaign for Quality Education (CQE) coalition faced when we testified at the Senate and Assembly Budget subcommittees on education finance in February and March of this year. Despite much push-back from smaller, more rural, and more affluent school districts, we advocated strongly for a “weighted student formula” that would increase funding for low-income and English Language Learner (ELL) students. Without a new method to increase equity, accountability, and adequacy in our school finance system, many immigrant and low-income youth of color will continue to be under-prepared to graduate high school and/or attend college.
This spring, AYPAL will be working with the rest of the CQE coalition to demand that the California legislature and our Governor work together to create a new school funding formula that addresses the needs of our state’s neediest students. Stay tuned for future announcements on those upcoming actions in May!
LIKE CQE’s Facebook campaign to get up to date information: http://www.facebook.com/pages/
Senate hearing: http://www.calchannel.com/
Assembly hearing: http://www.calchannel.com/
6 AYPAL Youth Leaders along with organizational members of the CQE were in Sacramento weighing in on statewide educational policy.
On March 19, AYPAL was back in Sacramento to advocate for the weighted student formula in the Governor’s Budget. Students shared their personal stories and pushed for a more equitable school funding system at the Assembly Budget Sub-Committee on Education. Here are some excerpts from the testimonies our leaders gave:
“[The weighted student formula] would make Oakland public schools work more for students and that would change a lot of people’s lives. Take my little brother for example, I really want better for him. We both come from a low income family. If they target low-income youth, my brother can break the cycle of poverty in my family. He could have everything that I couldn’t get. He could have all the resources, all the classes, all the activities! I want him to feel he can make it. I want him to know that he can make it. I think we should prioritize low income and ELL students. ”
– Tommy Phan (AYPAL Youth Intern, Sophomore at Oakland High School)
“I believe if no more money is given to education, at schools like mine courses are going to be cut, cut and cut. There won’t be any more electives or AP classes given to us, and basically we will have the core classes and this doesn’t prepare students for college. The school district is setting us up for failure in college.”
– Ryan Tern (AYPAL Youth Intern, Junior at Fremont High School)
To see the entire hearing click here.
“California has been facing many
budget cuts since 2007 and each of the
cuts have been leaving wounds on the
most neediest students.”
– Christopher Saechao, AYPAL youth
While improving our state’s public education system might seem like a daunting task, AYPAL is honing in on specific issue areas to make meaningful improvements to our schools — both locally and statewide!
In February, AYPAL Youth Leaders Nhi Nguyen and Christopher Saechao testified at a Senate Budget Hearing with other members of the Campaign for Quality Education (CQE) Coalition in support of Governor Brown’s proposal for a “weighted student formula”. This funding formula would help make our education system more equitable by taking student needs into account when giving money to school districts.
It’s a step in the right direction toward improving California’s public education system, especially for the low-income Asian and Pacific Islander immigrant and refugee families that AYPAL serves.
However, a fair funding formula isn’t enough – we also need to make sure that all schools have the kind of funding that once made California a top state in the nation for public education. Look out for progressive tax-the-rich initiatives on the November ballot that will increase public education funding!
PS. You can watch Nhi and Christopher’s full testimonies here: http://www.calchannel.com/channel/viewVideo/3331
AYPAL is working in coalition with Kids First 2 to re-authorize and increase the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth.
The challenges kids in Oakland face everyday are growing, but the resources to help them are not. The number of children in poverty is on the rise; the dropout rate is one of the highest in the state; and more and more children have no adult supervision after-school. Our children need and deserve to be a top priority and passing this measure will prevent the city from ignoring the needs of Oakland youth.