About Us

AAPI Youth Rising is an organization composed primarily of middle-schoolers. Our mission is to take small actions to make positive change in our communities. In March 2021, AAPI Youth Rising organized a 1,200+ person rally to bring awareness to the increase in xenophobia against Asians in America.

The city of Berkeley, CA awarded our group with a proclamation for continuing to organize in our community. After the AYR rally, we launched the ONE/180 pledge asking our schools and teachers to teach at least one day of Asian American history and culture during the school year. We have spoken with Asia Society, Boys & Girls Club, and at numerous rallies and panels to spread awareness about the issues affecting AAPI youth.

We have partnered with national groups Act to Change and Beyond Differences to introduce diverse books into our libraries and to share anti-bullying resources with our peers. AAPI Youth Rising has also joined national coalitions advocating for change within our educational systems. AYR supported AB101, a bill mandating the teaching of ethnic studies in public high schools throughout California, by writing op-ed pieces and calling our legislators. AB 101 was recently signed into law! We are also announcing partnerships with grassroots state-specific initiatives over the coming months.

This fall, we launched art activist events in the Bay Area including the Our Diverse Voices youth art show at E14 Gallery in Oakland, CA. This is an exciting time for change and we are honored to be a part of this adventure. We realize that even as middle-schoolers, we can make a difference.

Are you interested in learning how you can start your own youth-led movement in your own community? Email us at aapiyouthrising@gmail.com to learn more!

TIME for Kids wrote about the AAPI Youth Rising Rally here. You can see a video of the AAPI Youth Rising Rally on our Instagram.

Please consider donating to AAPI Youth Rising by clicking here.

Mina, Founder

1. What role do you most enjoy with AAPI Youth Rising?

I enjoy being inspired by other youth, making sure our voices are heard and making meaningful art.

2. What is your favorite memory with AAPI Youth Rising?

My favorite memory is from the end of the AAPI Youth Rising Rally that took place in Berkeley, CA on March 28, 2021. We were walking back from the bridge where we held up signs over the busiest intersection in CA, reflecting on the amazing day. After weeks of planning, my friends and I were so excited about how the rally had turned out. Many of us spoke out, we heard from many other inspirational youth and activists, and we felt like we all took a small step in making our communities better. We continue to be filled with hope for the future and we realize how these small actions can make a difference!

3. Why do you think it’s important for young people to get involved in their communities?

It is important for young people to get involved in their communities because we are the future. We can make positive differences and impact our communities even as youth. It is important for us to be educated and involved today so we can do a better job tomorrow.

4. What do you like to do for fun? What are your interests?

I enjoy drawing, philosophizing, learning about all things neuro and spending time with my family, friends and many pets – two cats, a dog and many chicken.

5. Anything else you’d like to share?

I spoke about the rise in xenophobia against the AAPI community due to COVID-19 at my school assembly at the beginning of the pandemic, at a time when no one was talking about this issue.  After a year of witnessing the increase in anti-Asian sentiment and violence towards my community, I decided to take more action. Originally I had a little idea to hang a sign in support of the AAPI community over the I-80, one of the busiest intersections in CA.

Anna joined this little idea and it evolved into the AAPI Youth Rising Rally. Friends Bee, Cam-Ly, Charlee, Juno, Mila, and Siwoo joined to help out. At the rally, middle-schoolers Ashlyn, Bee, Charlee, Juno, Mila, Shubh, Siwoo, Stella, Timothy and many others spoke up.

On March 28, 2021 community members representing the diversity of the Bay Area came together in solidarity with the AAPI community. Originally, I had hoped for 70 participants. To my surprise, over 1,200 participants joined the crowd. On a bright and sunny day, we heard from many brave youth as we raised our voices. A first grader even spoke up! We then marched to the SF Bay Pedestrian Footbridge and hung our signs on the overpass while we heard motorists honk in support. It was an inspirational day for all of us. In that moment, we realized that even as middle-schoolers, we can make a difference. These small actions add up.


Anna, AYR Youth Board Member

1. What specific role do you most enjoy with AAPI Youth Rising?

I like writing because it’s a fun way to educate myself and the people who read what I wrote. It’s also a good way to show my opinion without mincing my words. There’s no delete button when you’re speaking, but in writing there is. When I write, I can clearly convey what I mean without mumbling or stuttering so much that my words are completely unidentifiable.

2. What is your favorite memory with AAPI Youth Rising?

My favorite memory is from way back at the beginning of our group, where we were all sitting around the table in Mina’s yard, making buttons, designing the website, and writing some posts from our newly formed Instagram together. We were all laughing because none of us had any clue as to what we were supposed to do. At that moment, we were all together in unison, sharing our confusion and excitement as one organization.

3. Why do you think it’s important for young people to get involved in their communities?

I think it’s important for young people to get involved in their communities because you can share your opinion and have it be heard. You can take small steps to create a big impact on what you believe in inside of your community. As kids, it’s more impressive if you do something big, so you get more attention. With that attention, you can bring issues you think need to be addressed to light.

4. What do you like to do for fun? What are your interests?

I like to swim and draw for fun. They’re both great ways to de-stress, as exercise releases endorphins (the stuff in your brain that makes you happy), and drawing helps you release all of the excess thoughts in your head.

5. Anything else you’d like to share?

I’d like to tell kids that might want to start an organization of their own never give up. Not even when you don’t seem to get any more attention, or if people send you hateful messages. Just remind yourself that even if it’s not the outcome you wanted, you still affected a lot of people. Maybe your words will inspire others to take action as well. You can create a domino effect of activism. Remember that if you think about giving up.


Aashi, AYR Youth Board Member

1. What specific role do you most enjoy with AAPI Youth Rising? I enjoy reaching out to others, registering voters, bake sales, and drawing.

2. What is your favorite memory with AAPI Youth Rising? Phone banking: I like talking with people and most people are kind.

3. Why do you think it’s important for young people to get involved in their communities? Getting involved with your community can help it become a better place to live for all community members.

4. What do you like to do for fun? What are your interests? I like making things (from cardboard, clay, recycled materials, etc.), baking, and singing.


Charlee, AYR Youth Board Member

1. What specific role do you most enjoy with AAPI Youth Rising? I most enjoy talking to different organizations and teach others about why we should learn about other cultures and exchange ideas.

2. What is your favorite memory with AAPI Youth Rising? My favorite memory with AAPI youth rising is when we all marched to the bridge, and held up signs, and almost everybody honked in support.

3. Why do you think it’s important for young people to get involved in their communities? I believe it is important for young people to get involved in their communities, because we are the future, and if there is something that you believe is not right, you can do something about it.

4. What do you like to do for fun? What are your interests? In my free time, I like to practice judo and read.

Cooper

1. What specific role do you most enjoy with AAPI Youth Rising? I enjoy being physically involved in rallies and other events as well as recruiting others by showing them our values. Being with other youth activists in protests has been such an empowering experience for me, and it has taught me so much about the importance of activism. Inviting others to join AAPI Youth Rising has also been really enjoyable because it allows me to strengthen my connection with others in the form of a common goal. Expanding our organization, even at a gradual rate, is important in spreading our message further.

2. What is your favorite memory with AAPI Youth Rising? My favorite memory with AAPI Youth Rising is the first protest I went to for AAPI rights. Seeing the massive support and community was very comforting for me. And having the ability to advocate for justice gave me the great feeling of knowing I was making the world a better place. 

3. Why do you think it’s important for young people to get involved in their communities? Young people, despite the preconceptions we may have, can truly make a difference in the political scene and can have a big impact on promoting measures for positive change. Oftentimes, politics is looked at as something adults and lawmakers should handle, but that is simply not the case. The more people working towards a cause, the better. Even if you can only go to a select few events, your contribution matters and is valued by all in our community. 

4. What do you like to do for fun? What are your interests? I like to play video games, cook/bake, and code. I spend lots of time on my computer which is part of the reason why I am interested in writing code and gaming. My interests also include rowing, math, music, and languages. 

5. What else would you like to share? I think that’s all I really have to share , but on a final note I ask all of you to consider getting yourselves more involved in activism. At first I was apprehensive, like many people are, but making that first step of going to an event and contributing to making the world a better place is absolutely amazing and is already going above-and-beyond what most people do.  

Max 

1. What role do you most enjoy with AAPI Youth Rising? Hello! I’m Max. I’m a freshman at Head-Royce School in Oakland, CA. I’ve enjoyed supporting AAPI Youth Rising as a supporter through attending the rallies and speaking on behalf of AAPI at conferences.


2. What is your favorite memory with AAPI Youth Rising? Speaking in front of Asia Society and sharing my experience as an AAPI youth was my favorite memory.


3. Why do you think it’s important for young people to get involved in their communities?
It’s important to hear youth voices in every community.


4. What do you like to do for fun? What are your interests?
I enjoy debate, playing the piano, and learning languages.


Mila, AYR Youth Board Member

1. What specific role do you most enjoy with AAPI Youth Rising? I really love the creative tasks in AAPI Youth Rising such as drawing and designing posters and signs.

2. What is your favorite memory with AAPI Youth Rising? My favorite memory with this group is at our rally in March 2020: I was standing on the bridge, looking out over the park, and saw that thousands of people had showed up.

3. Why do you think it’s important for young people to get involved in their communities? I think it important for young people to take control of their generation’s future; it is actually their responsibility to get involved in their community.

4. What do you like to do for fun? What are your interests? Outside my work with AAPI Youth Rising, I enjoy playing soccer and practicing circus arts such as the trapeze. I identify as Jewish and Finnish.


Siwoo, AYR Youth Board Member

1. What specific role do you most enjoy with AAPI Youth Rising? I enjoy reaching out to others about events and learning about issues with AAPI Youth Rising.

2. What is your favorite memory with AAPI Youth Rising? My favorite memory with AAPI Youth Rising was when we got to present our slideshow for the Boys and Girls Club, sharing it with others was a fun experience.

3. Why do you think it’s important for young people to get involved in their communities? I think it’s important for young people to get involved in their communities because it makes a big impact on everyone. It inspires your friends, your family and strangers.

4. What do you like to do for fun? What are your interests? I like to read, listen to music, and play instruments (like guitar and cello). I also like to collect plants, crystals and cds. I enjoy debate and I’m interested in Greek/Roman mythology.

5. Anything else you’d like to share? My pronouns are (she/her) and I have a Taurus sun, Libra moon and a Virgo Rising.


Berkeley Proclamation in honor of AAPI Youth Rising

In May, 2021, the City of Berkeley awarded AAPI Youth Rising with a Proclamation acknowledging our work to better our community through youth action. Thanks to Councilmember Robinson and Councilmember Kesarwani for supporting our communities and for nominating us. Thanks to the entire City Council for this honor!

Shout out to AYR honorees: Anna Hill, Bee Norton Tsang, Mila Cavagnaro, Juno Yu, Siwoo Rhie, Charlee Trenkle, Cam-Ly Nguyen, Timothy Hamp, Shubh Doshi, Surina Pugh, Stella Chua, Aashiana Gupta, Cooper Hong and Mina Fedor.

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