By Tiffany Ujiiye
Washington, D.C. — The National Youth/Student Council of the JACL hosted a youth summit, one of the council’s flagship youth leadership development programs, on Nov. 8 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The summit, titled “A Seat at the Table: Having a Voice in the Discussion on Racism in America,” was an opportunity for students and young professionals from D.C., Maryland and Virginia to take part in the daylong event.
Co-organizers and NY/SC representatives Kota Mizutani and Emi Kamemoto felt that in the aftermath of the racial tensions in Ferguson, Mo., solidarity amongst young people of color is critical in the fight for social justice. The theme of the summit was assessing the agency of the AAPI youth voice in the discussion of racism in America.
The summit began with introductions and an icebreaker led by JACL National Youth Representative Michelle Yamashiro. The morning workshop focused on identifying the unique causes and real-world consequences of Asian and Japanese American stereotypes.
After lunch and a financial planning presentation by event sponsor, State Farm, Mizutani and Kamemoto moderated a panel discussion that featured Rita Pin Ahrens of the South Asian Resource Center (SEARAC), Corey Saylor from the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Hilary Shelton of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Carmen Ye of the Conference of Asian-Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL).
The panel discussion and subsequent small-group breakout sessions with the participants revolved around building and advancing issues through coalitions, strategies to engage dissimilar, uninformed, or apathetic individuals or groups and ways youth can get involved and become better advocates for their causes.
For questions regarding the summit or the National Youth/Student Council, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.