This past weekend, the Japanese American Citizens League-Pacific Southwest District was thrilled to host our opening retreat for the selected participants of this year’s Collegiate Asian Pacific Internship (CAPI).
Generously sponsored by Southern California Edison, the Collegiate Asian Pacific Internship is a 3-month program on a mission to introduce, activate and further involve passionate and community-oriented Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) college students to the advocacy, activism and struggles that AAPI Community Based Organizations (CBOs) currently address on their social justice agendas.
Our seven participants this year include Regem Corpuz, Denise Panaligan, Kristy Ishii, Alex Kanegawa, Fifita Tutoe, Jewell Alingasa, and Minh-Triet Dao. Each one has been partnered with one of our five participating CBOs, which comprise of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance-Los Angeles (APALA-LA), Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles (AAAJ-LA), API Equality Los Angeles, Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance (APIOPA), and OCA-Greater Los Angeles.
JACL-PSW has selected incredible CAPI program participants this year, who have already begun on their path of community building and empowerment through our opening retreat. The opening retreat focused on creating courageous spaces for sharing, as well as an environment where participants could learn and empower each other from their own experiences. Some of our activities were an AAPI his/herstory intersectional timeline, a personal political autobiography and trajectory map, and a workshop on multiple identities.
Through a meaningful night hike to the Griffith Park Observatory, the interns found common ground and community by opening up with honesty and extraordinary vulnerability. Our interns come from diverse backgrounds with personal connections to our immigrant, differently-abled, LGBTQ, student, and AAPI community. As each of them shared their personal stories and goals at the top of the hike, we all learned about our intersectional struggles and need for community. At the end, the group set two important goals for each other: 1) to practice self-care as activists, family members, students and whole beings, 2) to empower and support each other throughout the way.
One of our final activities included choosing a name for a blog they will collectively contribute to as a means of cultural and social change and expression. After a session of brainstorming, silly debate and reflective discussion, I believe their name speaks for themselves.
If you wish to follow the growth of each of these outstanding young individuals, please visit their blog: therisingseven.tumblr.com