aypal organizes API mens forum at state building

IMG_4788 2Nkauj Iab Yang, Program Director at Banteay Srei, and Joshua Fisher Lee, AYPAL Project Director, share out findings from a 500 API youth survey conducted by Banteay Srei, AYPAL, and The Spot Youth Center during the API Men’s Forum at the State Building in Oakland on Thursday April 14th.

API Boys and Men Forum Flyer FinalThere has been a lot of movement on work towards improving the lives of Boys and Men of Color (BMoC) since the announcement of the My Brothers Keeper (MBK) initiative by President Obama back in 2014. However, nationally, this work often does not adequately encompass the experiences of Asian and Pacific Islander young men, if at all. At a local level, AYPAL has been representing for the API voice around BMoC issues and the city’s MBK initiative through our participation with the Alliance for BMoC convened by Urban Strategies Council. AYPAL organized a convening along with the Offices of Assembly Members Tony Thurmond, and Rob Bonta, Alameda County Supervisors Keith Carson, and Wilma Chan, and numerous community organizations to inform policy makers, foundation leaders, and community members about the unique issues facing BMoC in our communities. AYPAL alum Sou Saechao, and Spencer Pulu spoke movingly on a panel that took audience members through the migration/immigration, to education, to incarceration, to deportation, to re-entry pipeline moderated by community leader and AYPAL advisory board member Eddy Zheng of the Asian Prisoner Support Committee. Survey data was also presented to emphasize the need for disaggregated data for better understanding the needs of our community, which has become increasingly made visible by Banteay Srei, AYPAL, and The Spot Youth Center staff and youth through presentations of the data to decision makers like these. Special thanks to Mina Sanchez of the Asian Community Collaborative of Alameda County, and to the Oakland Public Education Fund, and The California Endowment, for support of AYPAL’s work with / for API young men.

IMG_4859Sou and Spencer presenting on the panel about their experiences growing up in Oakland and attending Oakland public schools.


IMG_4811Joshua and Nkauj Iab presenting data collected by Banteay Srei, AYPAL, and The Spot Youth Center to inform the need for action towards increasing resources for the API community.



AYPAL 18th Annual May Arts Festival is Happening Saturday May 14th, In San Antonio Park!



AYPAL’s 18th Annual May Arts Festival is happening in San Antonio Park this year! “Reclaiming Our Roots” May Arts Festival serves as an opportunity for youth of color to share their experiences, resilience, and creativity in celebration with community. In collaboration with Eastside Arts Alliance, we are taking this legacy event to the next level by bringing it directly to our communities who are being targeting by racism, classism, and gentrification. Join us May 14th 11am-4pm at San Antonio Park for food, youth and community performances, and access to resources from allied organizations! Free entry! Donations accepted!




Check out more on KPFA (94.1FM) and KALW (91.7FM) in the links below:



AYPAL and their May Arts Festival



KALW Sights and Sounds: May Arts






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!


IMG_4568Youth describing our vision at the office of the Mayor!

IMG_4641AYPAL organizer Vincent Saephan speaking in solidarity at the 11th Street site!

IMG_4691The rally at city hall calling for “No poverty wage hotel in Oakland”!





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.






AYPAL leads action with local union to fight gentrification!


“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 writes to the Mayor for our action against gentrification

Check it out!

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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.

Funded by:

Check back on our website for updates on our anti-gentrification work.

Fresh off the Block Photo Project

Greetings AYPAL Fam!!!

AYPAL presents the “FOB:Fresh Off the Block Photo Project”

Please join us on Friday, December 11th at East Side Art Alliance for free food and a youth photo exhibit sharing their experiences growing up in Oakland and the changes in their communities.

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The exhibit will open at 4:00 pm and run until 7:00 pm at

East Side Art Alliance: 2277 International Blvd. Oakland, CA 94606.

We hope to see everyone there to build with us and celebrate the youth’s work on this photo project.


AYPAL Youth performances ranging from cultural dances, spoken word, guerrilla theater, hip hop dance, spoken word, and student created films; along with over 400 community members packed the Oakland Asian Cultural Center on May 21st 2015 to show us that our theme, “Unbreakable Roots: Cultivating Love and Resilience” rings true now more than ever.


AYPAL Youth performing Robam Kuos Angrae, the Khmer Bamboo Stick Dance

Truth delivered through spoken word to a packed house at OACC.

Back stage with the Chinese Fan Dance crew!

Students sharing their resiliency through guerrilla theater.

Rocky Rivera and the audience gettin live!

We were blessed by the wisdom given from our keynote speaker, Movement Generation’s very own Ellen Choy who spoke about the importance of ancestry, and resiliency based organizing. In true AYPAL form, our special guest performer, Rocky Rivera  brought the entire house to their feet and helped to close May Arts with swag.

Thank you for supporting Oakland’s next generation of revolutionary young leaders!


Our 17th Annual May Arts is Just Around the Corner! May 21st!


AYPAL’s 17th Annual May Arts Festival “Unbreakable Roots: Cultivating Love and Resilience” is a little more than a week away.

Please join us next Thursday, May 21st at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center for free food, youth swag, and a youth-centered arts showcase for social, economic, and climate justice.

Doors open at 5:30pm, and the show starts at 6:00pm at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center located at 388 9th St. Suite 290, Oakland, CA 94607. 

Special Guest Performances by:

American Center of Philippine Arts Rondalla


Rocky Rivera

This is a free community event where donations are appreciated: $3 suggested for youth, and $5-$20 suggested for adults. No one will be turned away for not donating.

Thank you to our Co-Sponsors:



The Oakland Fund for Children and Youth

The California Endowment

The Penney Family Fund

The Lakeshore Foundation

The Clorox Foundation

AYPAL Youth Mobilize for Worker Rights from Oakland to Baltimore to Cambodia!

This past Friday, May 1, 2015 a contingent of over 40 AYPAL youth headed to the city across the bay to bring fierce leadership, dynamic energy, and swag alongside those who are fighting for jobs with dignity, safe working conditions, and livable wages for (immigrant/refugee) communities (of color).


Bringing the noise with our very own drum line, our youth made sure to let San Francisco know that AYPAL will also organize in solidarity with workers, black resistance, queer family, immigrant/refugee communities, and all people impacted by power and oppression.


Our contingent brought a taste of Oakland to the Mission neighborhood, where we connected the on-going gentrification impacting both of our cities as manifestations of state violence impacted communities of color that we must resist against in order to keep our communities together!


Aligning ourselves with ongoing struggles for a world where women are free to exercise their agency to live without violence, we aligned ourselves with the #StandWithNanHui Campaign in order to demand that domestic violence survivors, and their children, are not deported or torn apart by the law.


We make movement building and social justice look good!

AYPAL’s 17th Annual May Arts- Save the Date: Thursday, May 21

“Unbreakable Roots: Cultivating Love & Resilience”

For the past 17 years, AYPAL has been committed to building a more socially just world by developing transformative youth power through the arts. 

On Thursday, May 21, we invite you to join the AYPAL family as we celebrate 17 years of arts-activism that have rooted our communities in resilience when faced with cycles of poverty, violence, and oppression. We will also be announcing our new, exciting, youth-driven campaign so you will not want to miss out! 

may arts 2015 flier 1

Doors open at 5:30pm, and the show starts at 6:00pm at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center located at 388 9th St. Suite 290, Oakland, CA 94607. 

This is a free community event where donations are appreciated: $3 suggested for youth, and $5-$20 suggested for adults. No one will be turned away for not donating.

Cultural performances will include API cultural dances ranging from Cambodian, and Chinese Fan Dance to Filipino Tinikling, spoken word, Theater of the Oppressed, and hip-hop routines all showcasing AYPAL Youth!

Thank you to our Co-Sponsors:



Thank you to our funders: 

The Oakland Fund for Children and Youth

The California Endowment

The Penney Family Fund

The Lakeshore Foundation

The Clorox Foundation

Family Resource Day is This Saturday!

Family Resource Day AYPAL for website


We invite you to Family Resource Day 11am-4pm on Saturday, March 28, 2015. We will start with an open house and tour of Asian Health Services Youth Program (AHSYP), AYPAL: Building API Community Power, Banteay Srei, and The Spot Youth Center at 299 13th Street, Oakland 94606 from 11am – 12:30pm. Following the tour, parents will be able to learn about community services, including housing, employment, mental and behavior health care, and more at the resource fair located at Family Bridge’s Club House two blocks away from 1-4pm. This event is open to the public! Snacks and refreshments will be provided and all ages are welcome!


Family Resource Day aims to:

+ Create a positive and safe inter-generational space for our youth and families;

+ Connect Oakland parents and families to resources in their community;


+ Engage parents to learn about Asian Health Services Youth Program, AYPAL, Banteay Srei and The Spot Youth Center.

AYPAL Youth Choose New Campaign: Community Owned/Based Aquaponics System

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.

hang program

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!!


AYPAL Youth Kick Off May Arts Season with Swag

This past weekend, over 50 youth came together to break bread, build community, and kick off this years May Arts Season.

Capture the flag was played, water fights were had, and bonds were made in the spirit of building collective power for our liberation rooted in love.

Our Filipino, Khmer, Chinese, Vietnamese, Black, Latino, Mien, and Korean youth showed up hard! Can’t wait to see what cultural and contemporary art forms they perform at our May Arts Showcase in two months!

aypal social 09ylo social spring 15 04 ylo social spring 15 05 ylo social spring 15 07ylo social spring 15 06 ylo social spring 15 08

ylo social spring 15 03 IMG_3119ylo social spring 15 02

ylo social spring 15

Photos Courtesy of Phillip Rama & Sam Jung

AYPAL at Reclaim MLK Weekend


AYPAL joined the thousands who demonstrated across the nation to reclaim Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy this past weekend. We rolled with the Third World Resistance for Black Power contingency for actions taking place from the Federal Building to the streets of East Oakland to highlight MLK’s commitment to justice around the globe through his internationalist politics. Check out the pictures below, which includes a video of AYPAL youth doing a spoken word piece on Third World Resistance for Black Power on Friday January 16h during the shut down of the Ron V. Dellums Federal Building rally!
















With the grand jury non-indictments of the police killings of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, Asian and Pacific Islanders locally and across the country are taking action and showing solidarity. AYPAL operates understanding the ways in which our struggles are connected; all lives won’t matter until Black lives matter.

As Asian Americans assigned to a middle agent role of maintaining the status quo of anti-Black racism, it is that much more important that we stand up for our African heritage brothers and sisters. Growing up in Oakland and the Bay Area, many of the youth in AYPAL experience the racial tensions this society depends on in order to maintain the current power structure. Our plan is to expose this type of set -up for what it is, and take action. In the coming weeks, AYPAL youth with be plugged into and planning their own youth friendly actions to demonstrate AYPAL’s stance on this issue. AYPAL supports and operates in solidarity with all communities impacted by social oppression and will continue to collectively respond to injustice everywhere.

We’ve moved (close by)

From 1218 Harrison down the block to:


1238 Harrison

Oakland, CA 94612


More Update’s to COME!

AYPAL May Arts Festival 2014!

On Thursday, May 15th, please join the AYPAL family as we celebrate 16 years of arts activism that has helped our communities thrive in the face of oppression and violence.

MAY ARTS Flyer 2014

Fighting For Fair School Funding in CA: Take Action THIS WEEK!

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!

cqe pic

Use ANY of the following TWITTER messages AND handles May 20th – May 24th 2013!


@SenRicardoLara: Don’t water down #LCFF. Keep equity, keep weighted formula, keep concentration grants #EquityNow


  1. Don’t water down #LCFF. Keep equity, keep weighted formula, keep concentration grants #EquityNow
  2. All CA students deserve an education that prepares for college & careers, whether poor, EL, or not #WheresOurFuture #LCFF
  3.  #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:

Darrell Steinberg:@proTemSteinberg                   John A. Perez:@SpeakerPerez

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!

Presenting AYPAL’s 15th Annual May Arts Festival

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For the past 15 years, AYPAL has been committed to building resiliency and transformative youth power through the arts.

On Thursday, May 16th, please join the AYPAL family as we celebrate 15 years of arts activism that has helped our communities thrive in the face of oppression and violence.

Cultural performances will include Mien, Cambodian, and Chinese Fan Dance to Filipino Tinikling, Spoken Word, Guerilla Theatre, and hip-hop routines all showcasing AYPAL Youth!

Doors open at 5:30pm, and the show starts at 6:00pm at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center located at 388 9th St. Suite 209, Oakland, CA 94607.

$3 entry for youth, and $5-$20 entry for Adults but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

Please bring you checkbook to participate in our silent auction!

For more information please e-mail, or visit our “AYPAL Oakland” Facebook page.


Isang Mahal (One Love).


*Co-sponsored by the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.

*Special Thanks to our funders:

Akonadi Foundation

The California Endowment

The Clorox Company Foundation

Grousbeck Family Foundation

Oakland Fund for Children and Youth

Penney Family Fund

Victor and Lorraine Honig Fund

AYPAL’s Powerful Learning

AYPAL's Powerful Learning

The University of California, Los Angeles’ Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access recently conducted a longitudinal report on AYPAL’s leadership development and community organizing program. The report, POWERFUL LEARNING: AYPAL’s Impact on the Educational and Civic Pathways of Youth Members, highlights AYPAL’s role in developing civically engaged young adults. Below is an excerpt of the report, which can be downloaded here.

“AYPAL alumni remain committed to impacting change that benefits their communities, schools, and societies at large, as many continue to be highly engaged civic actors in their neighborhoods, their college campuses, and even in national advocacy efforts. For example, rather than striving only for individual mobility by fleeing their communities, members often express commitment to transforming their communities.”

Get it! AYPAL’s Know History, Know Self Sweatshirts

WHAT? You want to rep AYPAL’s “Know History, Know Self” sweatshirt? 

  • Visit AYPAL’s new office at: 1218 Harrison Street @ 12th Street
  • Open 9-5PM Monday-Friday. Call (510) 788-4532 or email to schedule a time to come by
  • We can accept cash, check or credit card (with a small surcharge of 3% for all check and credit card transactions)
  • Youth Donation: Crewnecks: $20 / Hoodies: $25. Adult Donation: Crewnecks: $25 / Hoodies: $30


AYPAL’s Voter Guide for November 2012!

Need more information on the California Ballot Propositions? Check out our voter guide and ally resources below!

Prop 30 – YES!
Increases funding for public education, health care and more by making sure that the richest 1% of Californians pay their fair share in taxes.

Prop 31 – NO
Would greatly expand the authority of the governor to cut or eliminate existing programs in the budget, while potentially causing deeper cuts to education and important public services.

Prop 32 – NO
A deceptive initiative that would allow corporations to increase their political power while silencing the voices of workers in elections.

Prop 33 – NO
Gives auto insurance companies the green light to raise car insurance prices on students, the elderly, and many other Californians that can’t afford consistent coverage.

Prop 36 – YES
Reduces prison overcrowding by reforming the current Three Strikes law to focus on serious and violent offenses.

Prop 37 – YES
We have the right to know how our food is being grown. Prop 37 would require food that has genetically engineered ingredients to be clearly labeled before being sold in California.

Prop 39 – YES
Would close a tax loophole that allows out-of-state companies to pay less in taxes. Money generated by Prop 39 would go towards energy efficiency projects and clean energy jobs in California.

Prop 40 – YES
Would make sure that the Citizens Redistricting Commission’s plan for the new State Senate boundaries stays in place.

For more information on the CA propositions, check out APEN and Mobilize the Immigrant Vote’s voter guides in  English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Lao!