Looking back, 2011 was full of interesting things. Let’s review in pictures (aka me posting the cutest pictures of mine)!
Jan, 2011: Vietnamese Culture Night
I’ve been a part of VCN as a performer (actor, designer, dancer) since my second year — it was truly where I developed my confidence. This year was particularly special as I was here in the role of a modern dance coordinator. It was really a a rags to riches feeling for me: having been on stage only the year before as a beginning dancer to now helping the team as a leader was an experience I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.
March 2011: Asian Pacific Coalition Internship
This year, I had the opportunity to be the Leadership Development Coordinator for APC — meaning I would craft the curriculum of and facilitate the APC Internship. This photo is a Team Builder I had all my interns do the first day that they met — one of the challenges was to take a photo with every body in the picture and post it on my Facebook wall. It was fantastic watching my peers develop their critical lenses and become the confident API leaders that they are now on campus. Plus, it let me pretend to be an Asian American Studies professor ;)
April 2011: Southeast Asian Admit Weekend
Access and education are really the two things which define me as an organizer. Yes, there is always advocacy and community development, but at heart I am truly an educator and SEA Admit Weekend attempts to confront the issue head-on in Southeast Asian communities. I’ve always been involved with SEA Admit weekend but this year I took a step back to return to my passions and become a workshop coordinator, allowing me direct access to the students rather than directing the program as I’ve done in the past.
May 2011: Community Programs Office Banquet
This is a photo of myself with Asian Pacific Coalition Staff of 2010-2011. We were small but powerful. We helped revitalize a community that few had faith in and my experience with APC will define my career for a long time. Seriously, this was the definition of a bomb-ass team if I ever knew it. We tackled fucked up immigration policy, deportations, voting registration, and fucking Alexandra Wallace at the battle zone. If anything, we became family. I had some of my favorite drunken nights, intense intellectual conversations, challenging moments, emotionally wrecking and uplifting experiences of my life thus far.
June 2011: Santa Monica Pier
This here is a homo-erotic picture of myself with my roommate Derick. Fucking Derick. Hahaha. This is the year we became roommates. We’ve done some ratchet ass shit, seen some nasty stuff, and done some crazyass things. You frustrate me sometimes but I can’t seem to live without ya. You’re like a brother to me now — including the fact that I can get annoyed with you as much as I love hanging out with you sometimes haha. You’re always welcome here in SJ but next time make sure you triple check your departure time LOL. Also this photo was taken by my bro. He’s great huh.
June 2011: UC Berkeley Southeast Asian Student Coalition’s Summer Institute 2011
I’ve always been jealous of UC Berkeley’s Southeast Asian organizing space and community. If I had known about this in high school, I might have picked to go there instead of UCLA (…well realistically no, but whatever). To this day, I always wonder, “what if?” Anyway, this memory is particularly significant because it gave me the opportunity to work directly with students again in a development space — so much of my four years of organizing was defined by working behind the scenes. I thought I knew it all, especially being a Mentor for the program, but this experience proved to me that I will always be able to learn something new about myself.
July 2011: UCLA Travel Study to Hawaii
Fuck. When I think about the last time I was blissfully happy, Hawaii memories always come back to mind. I was with an amazing group of individuals, experienced some awesome shit, saw some crazy community stuff, and realized how much I loved the brown of my skin. I felt beautiful there, both inside and out. It was amazing academically as well — one of the few ways I was able to practice Ethnic Studies in conditions vastly different than I’m used to with multi-layered and multi-dimensional complications of API identity. I also got to meet one of my idols: Prometheus Brown from Blue Scholars.
August 2011: Garlic Fest
This is around the time I turned 21. My first Garlic Fest. Made sisters for life. If you don’t know, then I can’t say. Hahahaha.
August 2011: Asian Pacific Coalition 2011-2012 Staff Retreat
After such an amazing year of being on APC, I didn’t think another year could top it. It just wouldn’t be as great — how could it? However, after our first retreat (which incidentally was the first time we all met) at Lake Arrowhead, I was astounded. In some magical universe, I managed to have the privilege of working with some of the most passionate, critical, outspoken, and talented young folks. This year has been amazing so far — I see great stars in this team and I can’t wait to see what folks do after.
September 2011: Tuesday Night Cafe
I’ve written poetry for a long time. I have journals and journals of angsty shit dating back to the early 2000’s [middle school] haha. I won a slam contest in 8th grade. Over the years, my style has changed dramatically and spoken word wasn’t something I experimented with until college. I remember, my first live spoken word event also coincided with my first API organizing event: CAPSA in 2009 goes to Tuesday Night Cafe. There, I saw my [future] mentor perform a piece about being Queer and I was…liberated. I thought to myself: damn, if I could ever do that, I could die happy. Turns out, two years later I would. I’ve got a ways to go to be the performer I want to be but thank you TNC for that opportunity.
October 2011: Occupy Los Angeles
Alright, this doesn’t look like an Occupy LA photo, but trust me it is. We (Asian Pacific Coalition) were the first group from UCLA to roll a student group out to Occupy LA, which was quite significant for us as we were concerned with the lack of PoC (esp. API) in this movement. We marched in with an API community contingent (for whom I was able to perform a Philip Vera Cruz piece —- “Human Dignity”). While things didn’t quite meet our expectation, having this event meant a lot to us and our community.
November 2011: Repeal Prop 209 Rally
2011 was a highly political year, especially concerning students who have intimate stakes in PoC communities. It comes after a decade of attacks in institutional and societal forms but enough was enough this year for many folks. Proposition 209 was being considered again during this time and we students felt it necessary to speak. Here, I am helping hold up a banner on behalf of the API community’s stake in this matter, whether opinions have changed in the last decade or not.
November 2011: API West Coast Coalition
There have been regional API student organization networks in the past. Many lived, thrived, but all died. Some died within months of their development. We on the West Coast have not seen one in a while, begging the question of: is it necessary? It brings up great points of how vibrant our communities have become (especially on the shoulders of previous organizing) but in light of a shattering society, it is necessary now. This is what we came to at Students of Color Conference 2011 and I’m honored to be a part of developing this. We all have high hopes, let’s hope it delivers.
November 2011: UC Regents Rally
Occupy Movements, Proposition 209, Police Brutality, all are connected. Here, I am a part of the UC Regents Rally in protest of how they are cutting budgets (ie bleeding students). This message is clear: we will not be silent.
December 2011: Vegas
Alright, kind of a combo breaker here since the last few were so political but damn this is the first time I’ve been to Vegas! No, not as just a 21 year old but in forever! Also, being 21 in Vegas is awesome! I really can understand why people go here now. However, I didn’t party as hard that weekend (I’m realizing my party stamina is low low low) as I’m getting old but I reminisce about it now. I definitely get a craving of going again as long as it’s with the right people. I spent a lot of time surrounding myself with many people, but who were the right people? And in Vegas, I realized, you gotta make an effort to make the right people with who you got. Definitely a great time.
Woo. That took a while. What a self-wanking spiel. 2012 sees some interesting highlights too: graduating, grad school (maybe?), returning home, coming to terms, health advocacy, age. Damn.
I had the wonderful privilege to speak to the UCLA community about Proposition 209 yesterday. I would like to share with you all my speech. My hope is that somewhere, this will make sense to somebody. And we stand in solidarity with you.
I am ashamed that it has taken over ten years for us to get to the point where the ban on Proposition 209 is now back in the hands of the courts. Over ten years – long enough for a generation of youth of color to grow up without mentors and without seeing figures who look like them in institutions of higher education. In one fell swoop, a golden legacy borne out of the assertion of millions of transformed minds and decades of empowered work cut shamefully short.
However, I am even more ashamed that we live in a time where the public blinds itself to the systemic injustices that Proposition 209 has actively addressed and sought to correct. This was not the California which I was raised to believe in.
What kind of place do are we in today where a public education sought is a public education denied? What kind of place are we in today where the overwhelming majority of our public high schools are more effective as a mechanism to marginalize and criminalize youth rather than serve as a mechanism to liberate, empower, and reaffirm a human life and experience? What kind of place are we in today where so-called ‘merits’ and ‘indolence’ are wrongfully conflated with the underlying issue of inequitable distribution of resources and access as navigated through race, national origin, gender, sexuality?
The fight for affirmative action is not about quotas, merits, or unfair preferences as you might have been wrongfully told. Rather, the fight for affirmative action is a fight for a more just and equitable America that recognizes why it was a pursued solution in the first place: in order to liberate education from its cages in the hands of the few and privileged in this country and allow those who are most separated
from it the chance to pursue it.
At the cusp of a great social upheaval as we are today where teachers join hands with freedom fighters in order to rise up to critique our economic structures, now is the time to act as those who do not act are just as culpable as those who actively resist change.
So today, I stand here in solidarity to repeal Proposition 209 not because of statistics, facts, or any other quantitative reason. Rather, I stand here in solidarity because repealing Proposition 209 is simply the right thing to do and I urge you all to exercise your right to democracy and ensure the future is bright for our generations to come.
-Trung Nguyen, UCLA Asian American Studies, Asian Pacific Coalition Director
Asian Pacific Coalition, it’s been a blessed year with y’all. Keep this movement goin, keep the community runnin.
APC Staff Nominations 2011-2012
Interested in serving the Asian American/Pacific Islander community at UCLA and beyond? Are you a critical eye for UCLA’s API? Do you want to advocate on behalf of a diverse and ever changing community? Do you want to see change through solidarity, action from the ground up?
Know somebody who you feel is perfect to play this role?
Then nominate someone you feel is qualified to serve YOU and YOUR community to be on Asian Pacific Coalition Staff for 2011-2012!
Nominations may be made digitally here: www.tinyurl.com/APCStaffNominations2011-2012
Nominations must come from active members of the coalition or one of the 24 member API organizations. In order to apply to be on staff, you MUST be nominated.
Nominations are non-binding; the candidate must accept the nomination for it to be official. Nominations will be accepted until 11:59 PM, Friday, May 13 and nominations may also be withdrawn until then. You may nominate more than one person for each position. There is no benefit to nominating a person multiple times.
Applications will be emailed out to all nominees and nominees ONLY by SATURDAY, May 14th.
Completed staff applications are due DIGITALLY to APC Director, Layhannara Tep (email@example.com) no later than 5PM, Thursday, May 19th.
Elections will be on Friday, May 20th. All potential applicants must attend in order to be eligible.
To learn about the positions, please contact any current or past APC staff member or see our constitution at http://apcla.org/constitution09.pdf.
To learn about more about APC’s history, please visit our website’s archives at http://apcla.org/history.html.
I believe that this coalition’s necessity is more apparent now more than ever, not just to the Asian American/Pacific Islander community of students but for all those who advocate for progressive change.
Call for Visual Art and Writing to display at UCLA’s First Cambodian Genocide Commemoration
Submissions accepted until Thursday April 21, 2011 at 5:00 PM
Open to all! Not just for UCLA students.
Description of Event:
Event: Cambodian Genocide Commemoration
The coalition will issue a more formal statement, but I just wanted to send something from myself to the tumblr community:
Thank you to all of you who have read, liked, and/or reblogged in solidarity with the API community, the Asian Pacific Coalition at UCLA, and myself. It truly was amazing to see the outpouring of support and the strength of our collective communities uniting across space and time at a period when it is more critical than ever. I believe this form of support greatly stands in supplement to an entry I wrote earlier about the supposed apathy of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders. We will not allow the unfortunate event which occurred here at UCLA to stain the integrity of the university nor will we allow the pain inflicted upon our communities to remain silent. You, as the community, had a hand in that through your grassroots reblogging efforts. You are transforming society by showing your support.
However, I must comment that the work that we do to lift and empower our communities in the face of oppression, racism, sexism, prejudice, hatred, and so on is not always done in reaction to events such as these but rather it is a part of a continuous and long-standing effort. In order for this fight, this movement, to be sustainable, we must recognize these efforts prior to this incendiary event which sought to fight injustice and furthermore allow ourselves to participate in and support future endeavors against said injustice through continuing to be open-minded, by educating others, by doing what you do.
I will forward you now to the coalition’s tumblr to receive more updates on the state of our communities, how you may continue to be aware, and how you may contribute to the cause; I will continue to reblog these items, but to new followers know that this still remains my personal blog which may or may not contain items which pertain to the matter.
http://apcucla.tumblr.com/ -> follow now!
Asian Pacific Coalition: a 40+ year heritage of Asian American and Pacific Islander student leaders, movers, shakers, and agitators at UCLA and in the greater Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
Asian Pacific Coalition Internship: this isn’t any standard internship. Forget clerical work. Forget filing papers. Forget answering to a “boss.”
As an intern, you are expected to come in with an open mind and eager hands, to contribute as much as you extract.
As an intern, you are expected to challenge your perceptions of activism.
As an intern, you are expected to speak and be heard.
As an intern, you are expected to critically assess yourself and your community.
As an intern, you are expected to being committed to spark change for the better, whatever that change may be.
Are you ready?
Internship applications now live for new applicants for Winter 2011. Complete full application online at the following link: APC Internship Application - Winter 2011
APPLICATIONS DUE DEC. 30TH! DON’T WAIT TO FILL ONE OUT NOW!
Be a part of the Asian Pacific Coalition Internship. Be a part of the legacy.