By: Josh Fisher, Administrative & Program Support
Often times I think about the Asian American and Pacific Islander high school youth I’ve worked with in the past and how many of them told me they were not motivated to pursue higher education. As I was hearing this, all the facts and data I have heard and read about the large enrollments of AAPI’s in the UC and California State University systems replayed in my head. Where is the data that shows the other side of the story? How can the full scope of AAPI youth get recognized?
On December 3rd AAPIP held its first meeting on Asian American Pacific Islander boys and Young Men of Color. We held a convening here at the National office with representatives from community partners East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) and Khmer Girls in Action (KGA). It was here that the group discussed issues of visibility, resources, and health issues related to AAPI boys and young men. The members of this group brought their experiences, knowledge, and expertise to the table in an effort to begin the conversation around what can be done to address the needs of our communities…
This gathering felt like much more than a discussion. I could feel that folks here were very invested in addressing the causes to these issues. At the same time, because of how deep the oppression runs in many of our communities, at times it felt that discussion was all we could do. By the end I realized there is more than just one way to begin to address the problems that affect our young people, and that the point is to try. The point is to gather as much information, experience, and perspective as possible. Rather than be stagnant in choosing a direction, it is important to realize the immense opportunities for growth and transformation that lie ahead and begin to move towards them.
While many of us continue to do grassroots organizing to address community problems, increased resources and awareness is an important factor in transforming growing trends affecting AAPI boys and young men. AAPIP plans to play a role in making sure this becomes reality.