First East Coast Pan-Asian Undocumented Youth Group Launches Story Collection
Raise Our Story: A Collection of Photographs and Stories of Undocumented Asian Youth
RAISE (Revolutionizing Asian Immigrant Stories on the East Coast), a pan-Asian group of undocumented Asian youth, is launching Raise Our Story, a social media collection of photographs and stories that illustrate the unique and diverse stories of undocumented Asian immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. On May 20 at the Culture Project in NYC, RAISE, in collaboration with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), will present #UndocuAsians, a new film and theater performance by undocumented Asian American youth.
May 16, 2013 – RAISE (Revolutionizing Asian Immigrant Stories on the East Coast) is launching Raise Our Story, a social media project for sharing the inspiring stories of undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. Raise Our Story focuses on the individual profiles of undocumented Asian immigrants who are often overlooked in the narrative surrounding immigration reform. These individuals share their stories in order to use the power of narrative to influence immigration reform and to empower the thousands of undocumented Asian Americans who have lived in a culture of silence.
“Raise Our Story serves as a reminder that real individuals — and their struggles, hopes, and dreams — lie at the core of our country’s current immigration debate,” said Jill Damatac Futter, the photographer and curator of Raise Our Story. “Individuals’ stories are increasingly crucial in stirring deeper thought, understanding, and progress.”
Raise Our Story aims to illustrate the diversity of the undocumented experience. Profiles feature undocumented Asian youth born in countries including Singapore, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Peru. Featured members recount their experiences struggling to pay for higher education, hiding their status from their peers, finding their rights limited as low-wage industry workers, and grappling with the sacrifices made by their parents. Long- form versions of the first stories from Raise Our Story will be featured on The Huffington Post.
“Growing up Asian and undocumented, I was constantly searching for people who could identify with the unique struggles I faced,” said Hong Mei Pang, 24, a member of RAISE. “This important project provides undocumented Asian youth with stories they can relate to. I chose to share my story so that others in my situation can be empowered by the movement for immigration reform.”
RAISE, the first undocumented pan-Asian youth group on the East Coast, was launched by AALDEF to address the fact that Asian undocumented immigrants have seemingly been less visible in the debate over immigration reform.
“Undocumented youth have been at the heart of the immigration reform movement,” said Bethany Li, staff attorney at AALDEF who provides legal support to RAISE members. “As we continue to push for family reunification, greater protections for all workers, and a just and humane path to citizenship, their stories are more powerful and necessary than ever.”
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If you would like to contact any of the youth featured in Raise Our Story, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an interview.
RAISE (Revolutionizing Asian American Immigrant Stories on the East Coast) is a pan-Asian undocumented youth-led group on the East Coast. We aim to create safe spaces in our communities while advocating for humane immigration policies. Our visibility increases through political activism, leadership development, community education, and coalition building. Through youth organizing, we will reimagine and realize justice for immigrants in America.
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.