Center for Asian Americans United for Self-Empowerment (CAUSE) will be celebrating its 26th Anniversary on Thursday, April 18, 2019 at The Westin Bonaventure Hotel (404 S Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071).
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?
Out of all the CLA Civic Leadership Sessions in the program, I particularly looked forward to the homelessness and housing policy panel. At school, I am part of a wonderful team where are have a mission to start a shelter for college students experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity.
I strive to be independent and as someone from a low-income family, my finances makes true independence hard to come by. While the scholarship I received to go to college put a pause to my concern over financial stability, post-college life forced me to confront my financial reality.
Los Angeles, CA – On August 8th, 2019, CAUSE hosted the annual Summer Alumni Mixer at the CAUSE offices. The event allowed a space for past and current program participants to connect and reconnect with each other over refreshments and fun activities.
Los Angeles, CA – On Friday, June 21, 2019, the CAUSE Leadership Network convened in an exclusive, member-only breakfast meeting with the Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus at Los Angeles City Hall. Members engaged with Caucus Chair Assemblymember David Chiu, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, and Assemblymember Ash Kalra in an intimate and open dialogue.
How do we change lives for the better? This question is fundamental to who I am and what I want to do with my time, yet it is one that I’m not even close to figuring out. It’s a question which has gotten more complex to answer as I continue to gain experiences.
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.
This past week’s civic engagement session gapped the tremendous bridge between the past and present in terms of systemic injustices. During the overview of our API history, we highlighted issues that were often seldom brought up in mainstream media.
Politics is a noun; when people in America hear it, they frequently picture some sort of red-white-blue amalgamation, with the NBC logo and some elephants and donkeys thrown into the mix. What most people either forget or forget to realize is that politics is also people.
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).
On June 18th, it was 110 degrees, my stomach was growling, and I was on a bus headed for Indio to spend three days with CAUSE Leadership Academy (CLA) Interns who I had just met an hour before at the beginning of CAUSE’s Leadership Academy Orientation Retreat.
Walking into the first day of CAUSE Leadership Academy, I was certain about one thing: that I would be walking out of it with a holistic toolkit to pursue my career goals. In just the first week alone, CAUSE has forced me to confront my anxieties about networking.
Monterey Park, CA – On Saturday, June 15th, CAUSE held the Leadership Institute Graduation at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music to celebrate the 2019 Leadership Institute fellows’ accomplishments and completion of the program.
Los Angeles, CA – On Wednesday, March 27th, members of the CAUSE Leadership Network were officially introduced to the broader community at the Meet the Network Reception of Los Angeles City Hall’s Tom Bradley Tower.