CPA Welcomes the 2013 Eva Lowe Fellows
CPA is excited to welcome the 4th cohort of the Eva Lowe Fellowship for Social Justice. This year, CPA is hosting 6 fellows with experience in organizing around workers rights, immigration reform and immigrant rights, and student and community issues.
Meet the 2013 Fellows
Ada Deng, Oakland
I was born in Guangzhou, China and came to the US in 2007 when I was 14 years old. Now, I am studying at UC San Barbara, majoring in Economics and Accounting. I first met the Chinese Progressive Association through my supervisor at my last summer job and through those experiences, found that it is very meaningful to help Chinese/Asian immigrants to adapt into US society. The main reason I applied this fellowship is because I know how hard it is for immigrants to adapt to a new society when they first get here; because I have been through that process as well. My parents are both working so hard to earn a really small amount of money. Their lack of English speaking and writing skills are the biggest obstacles for them to find better jobs. I hope my experiences can provide more information for them, in order to help them go through this process.
In addition, I hope to gain more leadership and social skills as an Eva Lowe Fellow. I am a shy person in school, and I do not really know how to communicate with my classmates because I’m afraid of talking in front of groups of people. I hope I will be able to improve after joining the Eva Lowe Fellowship program.
I have been involved with a number of different social and social justice issues, including food and racial justice organizing during college. In addition, I have worked at the Southern California Housing Authority, Wage Justice Center handling wage theft cases, and the Koreatown Immigrant Workers’ Alliance (KIWA) on worker’s and immigrants’ rights issues.
I applied to the Eva Lowe Fellowship because the history and practice of organizing in worker's rights organizations gives it an atmosphere of family; a family dedicated to making their community a better place despite of or because of differences people have with each other. This atmosphere is extremely fulfilling and I would grab at any chance to be at organizations like the Chinese Progressive Association.
I hope to work with great people, learn about the Bay Area, learn everything and anything so that I can contribute to the fight for social justice for all people. In the future, I hope to continue doing social justice work, though I am not sure exactly in what area.
Wei Lee, San Francisco
I was born and raised in Brazil, but am ethnically Chinese. When I was 16 years old, I immigrated to the U.S. with my whole family to reunite with the rest of my family and to flee persecution. We fell out of immigration status after being denied political asylum and almost faced deportation. However, being undocumented did not stop me from going to college. I graduated from UC Santa Cruz in the Summer of 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While at UCSC, I also interned at the Asian American/ Pacific Islander Resource Center. Now I am one of the current core leaders of ASPIRE fighting for immigration justice.
Living undocumented since I moved to the United States was very difficult for me because I had to constantly hide my immigration status in fear of being rejected by society. After graduating from college, I learned more about ASPIRE, the first API undocumented youth group in the country. I could finally relate to people who looked like me, and that shared the same struggles and experience that I have been through. Their bravery inspired me to take action, and become involved with ASPIRE, and ignited my passion for learning more about the politics of what it means to be undocumented. Now I am more comfortable, and confident with what I am by being open about my immigration status. Just as others inspired me to embrace my status, I hope to now give back and do the same.
My main goal is to work within the API San Francisco community and be part of improving it for its community members . Being part of the Eva Lowe Fellowship would allow me to connect more with the community that I have been living in and calling home for the past few years. The fellowship will give me new opportunities to be able to think critically and craft different perspectives on how to organize our communities to create meaningful change. I want to use my skills and knowledge to build a more tight community by connecting each issue different communities face to create a holistic movement with the goal of fighting for social justice and equality for all.
Amy Lin, San Francisco
I am currently a student at City College of San Francisco, transferring to UCLA this fall. I was an intern at the Chinese Progressive Association in 2012 and have been on staff as an Admin Assistant since February. I remember my first day with CPA was at City Hall, at the first wage theft task force meeting where I got to meet Dolores Huerta. Needless to say, that was inspiring and really what has gotten me to stay with CPA and applied for the fellowship. I hope to strengthen my skills as an organizer to continue working with students, advocating for LGBTQ and immigrant rights and to share the experience at the fellowship with my organization, ASPIRE- Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education. I am beyond excited for this opportunity and summer-full of fun (and work)!
Marianna Zapanta, Lakeside, CA
I recently graduated from Carleton College in Minnesota with a degree in Environmental Studies after growing up in Lakeside, CA. I applied for the Eva Lowe Fellowship because I have always had a passion for social justice and working towards a better future. Last summer, I interned at the OCA National Center in DC. This experience was my first introduction to working on API issues. In December 2012, I went with a delegation from Anakbayan East Bay on an exposure trip to the Philippines. While there, I was able to observe the harmful effects that imperialism and bureaucratic capitalism have on the Philippines. Additionally, I was able to participate and learn from the movement fighting for the rights of the people. Integrating with the movement there solidified my desire to work towards social justice in the U.S. and in solidarity with international peoples’ struggles abroad.
At Carleton, I have worked on campus issues like transparency and ethical investment of our endowment and increasing conversations about discrimination and microaggressions that occur in the Carleton community.
Now that I am finished with undergraduate education, I am excited to learn more about social justice and grassroots organizing. After the Fellowship, I hope to continue working and organizing for social justice. The skills gained will help me to fight for social change.
Before college, I hardly had any connection to my Chinese roots. I was raised in a Western and white-washed world where I was taught to internalize racism and identify as white instead of Asian American or mixed race. Through phenomenal mentors and sociology classes, my developing racial consciousness and social analysis took me to Seattle’s International District. Here, I learned about people who looked like me and the history of Chinese and other API folks. I am deeply committed to spreading awareness about racial justice, gender inequity, privilege and oppression, and I hope that during the Eva Lowe Fellowship I will continue to build my skills in teaching about these things as well as immigration reform and other anti-oppression related issues.
For me, the Eva Lowe Fellowship represents an extremely valuable opportunity to learn about myself, the challenges facing Chinese in the U.S., and to gain more experience in community organizing and movement building work! Though the fellowship, I am also excited to work with people who share similar values in social change and activism, and to create a network that will support each other in future projects. I feel that the skills I gain will be an essential part of my foundation that I will draw upon the rest of my life. In particular, I hope to become a more effective organizer and advocate with API Chaya. Skills such as campaign coordinating, fundraising and workshop facilitation, are those that I hope to contribute to many different organizations I want to work with in the future.