Nkauj 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.
There 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.
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.