Pasadena, CA – On Friday, August 16th, CAUSE held the Leadership Academy Graduation at the KPCC Crawford Family Forum to celebrate the 2019 Leadership Academy interns’ completion of the program.
As my experience with the CAUSE Leadership Academy comes to an end, I often find myself taking a step back to reflect on the 9 weeks of the internship. These last few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster. Starting with orientation week, to the Annual Capitol Summit, to our weekly Monday workshops, I have been privileged to essentially gain a lifetime’s worth of knowledge and perspective through CAUSE.
At UCLA, I participated in a political science professor’s study on the identity marker “people of color.” A handful of questions were simple for me to answer: yes, “person of color” is a real identity. Yes, I am a person of color. But some were more difficult: who is a person of color? What makes people of color similar? What disqualifies a person from being a person of color?
Despite being unable to attend the third CLA Workshop, CAUSE was constantly on my mind as I experienced my first and last freshman orientation! Through every workshop and person I encountered during my orientation at the University of California, Los Angeles, I was given the opportunity to first-handedly witness how the CAUSE Leadership Academy has truly shaped my values and expanded my perspectives on a variety of issues.
This past week’s CLA workshop really put things into perspective for me by providing me with a glimpse into the world of politics and how difficult it really is. Though this sounds like an obvious no-brainer, one’s understanding will change when going through a real political experience or participating in an advocacy simulation.
This past week, I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at LEAP’s Annual Gala. At first, when the volunteer opportunity was posted, I was hesitant to sign myself up because, as an introvert, night time is usually the time I spend recharging my battery. However, it has been continuously urged that volunteering is a wonderful way to get involved in the API community, especially in Los Angeles.
I’ve always wanted to be an artist. And if I’m being completely honest, I am an artist; I’ve been one since I first picked up a pencil. From acrylic to oil to graphite to pastel to chalk, I’ve dabbled in every medium. Even beyond the page I’ve found myself falling in love with art. I danced competitively and found myself head over heels for acting and theatre when I got to high school. But still, calling myself an artist feels weird to me even after years and years of explaining to others my passion for what I do.
I have only been working at the Office of Assemblymember Ed Chau for two weeks, but I’ve already gained so much information and insight into the role of local government. My average day consists of coming to work, creating news clippings (quick paragraph summaries of relevant news from that day), answering constituent phone calls, making certificates, and doing event research.
The Capitol Summit was an amazing experience. Being able to see those who look like me in positions to make a difference in the Asian community was really inspiring. I met leaders like Annie V. Lam, Bill Wong, Andi Liebenbaum, Robert Abelon and everyone in the legislature, all of whom strengthened my will to make a difference in my community.
After a week of exploring my Asian American identity with my fellow CLA cohort, I was off on my own to explore the “real world” with my placement at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. (PPFA).
The first workshop of the Civic Engagement Workshop series was hosted by The Honorable Thomas Wong, Board President of the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (SGVMWD).