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Chinatown Scavenger Hunt

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“No history, no self. Know history, know self.” -interpretation of Dr. Rizal

After chasing clues for a piece of Chinatown history, our youth discussed the changes they saw in Chinatown. Native to the area, one of our youths mentioned, “You never know when you are going to miss something until you lose it,” referring to the historic hospital that just closed, and the old shops that they used to pass by every day, now replaced with pricey restaurants that their families can no longer afford. Another youth described the new galleries on Chung King Road as “a creepy vintage looking alley with art.” Although she lived in Chinatown all her life, she expressed never seeing this part of Chinatown before.

By digging deeper into the history of Chinatown and its surrounding neighborhoods, our youth observed that minorities are constantly disadvantaged in Los Angeles. From the Chinese massacre of 1871 to the displacement of Old Chinatown to New Chinatown, the history of Chavez Ravine, and the policies of racial segregation, SEACA youth were able to connect the past to the present forces of gentrification and displacement. At the end of the session, our youth were empowered to take action and prevent history from repeating itself!

Full House

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The month of September is not only a time for Earth, Wind, and Fire fans to play their song fanatically, but it also is a time when a new batch of cohorts are invited to the SEACA open house.

After weeks of planning, recruiting in classrooms, and doing turnout calls, the Youth Organizers (YO) got to see the fruit of their labors on the day of the Open House. New potential youth leadership participants (YLP) were welcomed with open arms and with the smell of great food in the air.

The activities planned were relationship building games which started off with the money game, and ended with the web of connections. Up to 50 new youth were squeezed into SEACA’s small space but that did not stop them from having fun and learning about each other through these activities.

Every year and continuously throughout the year, SEACA welcomes new youth to participate in activities that will build relationships amongst themselves and amongst the community. We are excited to continue to build with the youth and show them more about what SEACA is all about.

Reach for the Sky- Camping Retreat

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At SEACA, the end of the year usually means transitions for our Youth Leadership Project (YLP) participants into becoming Youth Organizers (YO) next semester. This year they were able to wrap-up the year at an exciting & informative camping retreat hosted by Community Nature Connection. Through this overnight stay in the secluded hills of Puerco Canyon our youth were not only able to learn about the Chumash, edible/ medicinal plants, and basic survival skills; but also acquired the knowledge of what it means to become a Youth Organizer, bond as a cohort, and support one another through team building. For most, this was their first time camping with minimal to no electronics. On the first night they even went on a solo hike with no use of any light source aside from the moon where they learned that humans have natural night vision! Additionally, they worked on developing collective power through a theater activity based on identifying different assets that people have and coming together to do community work. We ended our retreat at a Malibu Coastal Access Point and had a splash at the beach.

SEACA Dragon Unite for May Day

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May Day Collective Poem
Everyone’s life has an important story
No story is lesser than the others
We work and work to live
With our sisters & brothers
But we don’t realize that we need each other
And When workers & students are united
We will never be defeated

Every year SEACA youth spend several weeks preparing for the International Worker’s Day march, through making stenciled posters and learning about global immigrant worker’s struggles and rights. This year we decided to get a bit more creative by constructing an oversized SEACA Peace Dragon with messages including, “We’re going to crush that wage theft” and “Don’t sleep on worker’s rights.” We even spent some time writing collective poetry based off what they learned about the daily struggle of immigrant workers surviving in Los Angeles, which includes that of their parents and family members.

On May 1st, with six youth wearing the dragon, while others chanted “When workers are under attack/ What do we do?/ Stand-up fight back!” we glided through Chinatown from the SEACA office down to City Hall to catch the tail end of the march. As we passed by workers and shoppers along Broadway, they turned their heads to watch where we were headed. Once we got to City Hall we looped down Spring St. toward Placita Olvera to witness community members speaking out and writing messages of solidarity for women and children in immigration detention centers. As the march came to a close we hope that our youth continue share to their messages of solidarity beyond this action.

Tasty! Feast of Resistance

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SEACA’s Feast of Resistance is back again. This year, we are bringing in tasty foods, such as banh mi, tamales, budaejjigae, and donuts, for our YLP students. We opened up the space to discuss the importance of being connected to people through food culture because our current society has been breaking us all apart in many different ways.

But hold on! The fun continues as we begin introducing our YLP students to more serious topics for discussion, which include U.S. militarism, European colonization, cultural erasure of different ethnic groups, and, most importantly, the significance of solidarity and organizing teamwork.

To students, these may be difficult topics to discuss, but here at SEACA we encourage students to step outside of their comfort zones and to think outside the box. By incorporating different cultural foods, students were able to understand how community organizing today built off of historical context of the past can help us figure out what path we, as a society, should walk on in the future.