seaca: raising up a new generation of community leaders

This is a great Los Angeles Times article on the youth leadership program of the Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA), a grassroots organization that's engaging and organizing Southeast Asian youth on issues affecting them, their families and the community at large: Taking their Los Angeles community into their own young hands.

SEACA was founded in 2002 by Sissy Trinh, the daughter of Vietnamese refugees. Having grown up in a working class immigrant household, she started the organization as an outlet for her long-held feeling that families like hers were powerless. Now she's passing on lessons to young people growing up with similar struggles:
Brandon is a community leader in training. He's learning how the city works by studying some of its seemingly boring essentials: the stuff that's discussed in city planning meetings, for example.

His mentor on this journey is Sissy Trinh, a 37-year-old daughter of Vietnamese immigrants and the founder of the Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA). Her group is trying to build civic awareness among teens like Brandon, who attend workshops and eventually learn to speak out at public meetings.

Trinh's students are, like Brandon, all recruits from high schools in the communities of Lincoln Heights, Solano Canyon and Chinatown. Her short-term goal is to add new voices to the debate over northeast L.A.'s economic development. But she's also trying to set in motion a much larger renaissance among the community's Southeast Asian immigrants. Many of them are impoverished people who don't fit the "model minority myth," Trinh said.

"This isn't just a school project," Trinh told me. "We're fighting for the future of our community."
To learn more about the important work the Southeast Asian Community Alliance is doing to develop new generations of community leaders, go to the SEACA website here and their Facebook page here.

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