Every Saturday, fourteen high school students and I meet in Fullerton in a dimly lit room, watching a documentary that addresses a social issue. We then split into groups to passionately discuss ways to combat against current anti-immigrant trends. This is important because on the following Saturday, we will be at Cal State Fullerton to talk with people to support prioritizing schools and communities’ needs over corporate interests, and register them to vote.
This is the Youth Advocacy Alliance (YAA). It is a program at KRC where youth discuss critical issues like immigration and gentrification, and it is where we develop the next generation of leaders who will carry on the movement.
Our organizing efforts continue to grow. Fifteen students were meeting at our Los Angeles leadership program. Today, our office is a bustling hub of energy, with over 65 youth from various different programs, including the Youth Advocacy Alliance, active both in Fullerton and Koreatown.
This year, we celebrate Brisieda Quero Merino’s leadership with the Youth in Action Award at KRC & NAKASEC’s annual fundraiser gala. As a member of the Youth Advocacy Alliance, Briseida demonstrated strong resilience and high motivation to learn, volunteer, and support others in the community.
Briseida shared her story:
“I am a senior at Westminster High School, and wish to pursue a career in the medical field. As an undocumented individual who identifies as Mexican-American, I struggled with understanding my identity and the limitations of my status. Coming from a low-income and marginalized neighborhood, discrimination and injustices were prevalent in my community.
As these unjust perceptions continued to rise, I decided to join the Youth Advocacy Alliance high school program to understand the policies that affect underrepresented minorities. I was also able to strengthen my passion for empowering marginalized communities and advocating for an inclusive society. I aspire to continue my advocacy work by incorporating my values with my medical career to provide all individuals with comprehensive health services.”
This is not just Briseida’s story; I believe these are the struggles and dreams of many of our community members, who strive for justice in the face of great challenges. And this is why I gather with our youth in our little room every week to continue educating and organizing the community.
Please support our work! Join us on November 7 at our Fundraiser Gala Organizing Our Communities to Build a Transformative Future. Your contribution will help develop a stronger and more sustainable program to grow leaders for years to come.
Korean Resource Center