Our Mission

To build power among Southeast Asian youth and their communities in Los Angeles for a more just and equitable society through intergenerational, multiethnic dialogue, leadership development, and community organizing.

Our History

Launched in 2002, SEACA was founded on the principle of inclusion, and from the beginning, has been guided by a belief that individuals can improve and build power in their own communities. The organization was started due to a lack of resources targeting the needs of Southeast Asians. Most API organizations were dominated by the needs and interests of more established API communities (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.) who were typically more affluent. These issues tended to focus largely on representation and glass ceiling (i.e. affirmative action) issues.
Because of their history with the War in Vietnam and the Killing Fields of Cambodia, many Southeast Asians came to the U.S. as refugees, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, poverty, and poor education (in an effort to return Cambodia to an agrarian society, Pol Pot destroyed all the schools and executed teachers and anyone who appeared to be an intellectual). Yet most organizations that dealt with poverty or education issues were unable or unwilling to represent the needs and concerns of SEA refugees. In order to be able represent the needs of SEA communities with a social justice perspective, it became clear that a new program needed to be created specifically targeting those communities.
SEACA creates spaces for new forms of leadership to emerge and we support the development of members of our community to create new and culturally relevant solutions to deep-rooted social, economic, and racial justice issues impacting the Southeast Asian community. We began as a youth leadership program and over the years have expanded our programs to include youth organizing, creative arts and self-expression, and most recently, health and community building through food and gardening.

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Our Methods

Towards achieving our mission and vision, SEACA uses the following methods:


Community Organizing
Community members understand and have the capacity to create change in their own communities. Community organizing is empowering our members and giving them the tools to change power relations that often exclude community members.


Advocacy
Most often, large-scale decisions in our neighborhoods, schools and health care settings are made without community insight. Advocacy will be empowering community members to influence existing power structures including government institutions that create public policy and allocate public resources.


Community Building
We address community building through building lasting relationships to strengthen our communities. Relationship building includes sharing our stories and having space and time for fun and shared experiences.