APIAVote's update: Empowering Student Leaders
APIAVote's Program Associate, Kathryn Quintin,
leads a workshop at the Level Up! Conference at
University of Central Florida.
As the school year comes to a close, APIAVote’s Program Associate,
Kathryn Quintin, crisscrossed the country empowering and networking
with student leaders.

From my time in the south at the Southeast Regional Conference for
Asian American leaders (SERCAAL) and the Level Up! At University of
Central Florida to my time at the Association of Asian American Studies
Conference in Portland, OR, I found the experience of working with
young leaders exhilarating and empowering. Not only did I work with
some amazing AAPI leaders, but I also learned how different and
similar the issues and narratives were in each part of the country.

APIAVote’s interactive workshops focused on understanding both
individual and community power and how to enact change today. We
discussed what is power, how it is utilized in our everyday lives and in
organizing communities, how to alter the relationship with power, and what are tangible steps to accomplish our goals and
build collective power on campus or in the community.
Student leaders take a group photo at the end of SERCAAL.
When speaking at the Triangle Asian American Student Conference in North Carolina, we discussed how building
collective and political power relates to the fight to implement an Asian American studies program at their respective
universities. The students strategized on how to outreach and engage other AAPI organizations, faculty and staff.

When it comes to learning about power, half of the battle is understanding you have power. A preconceived notion
commonly believed by many of these young leaders was the idea that other people hold power, but not themselves.
Students believed that parents, administrators, elected officials, elders, and teachers hold all the power to impose their will
on young people. We opened up dialogue on how we utilize our power every day to make a difference in our surroundings,
and how to shift the balance of power to reflect the needs of youth.
APIAVote collaborates with AAOP, CAPI, and Freedom, Inc. on
a youth power workshop at the Hmong National Conference.
From left to right: Yaomee Xiong (CAPI), Pashie Vang (AAOP),
Chai Moua (Freedom, Inc.), Kathryn Quintin (APIAVote), and
Samantha Vang (CAPI).  
At the Hmong National Development Inc. Conference,
with my colleagues at Freedom Inc., CAPI, and Asian
American Organizing Project, we immersed the students
in understanding power through a Hmong lens. The
conversation of power hit close to home, with students
opening up about examples of how Hmong politics
shape the power dynamics of their community. In our
breakout session, students called out different issues
such as civic engagement, anti-blackness, and abusive
international marriages.

The New York City Asian American Student Conference
(NYCAASC) engaged students of all ages. College, high
school, and middle school students shared their
experiences and strategies with each other. Students
had different approaches on how to get young people to
understand their power. While some students talked
about the need to develop sustainable models of Asian
American student organizations, others addressed the
culture of pressure and stress on high school students
to get good grades.

Students pose for a selfie during the New York City Asian American
Student Conference hosted at NYU.
APIAVote has been at the forefront of advocating
for and with AAPI youth, but we also need your
help! Young people have the power to create
positive change, but they lack the tools and
resources.

Now more than ever it is important to invest in
young people and attend youth and
student-organized conferences. Donate to
APIAVote to ensure that we are able to continue
to build community power with young AAPIs and
fight for our future together.