Posted by all YAC members

API-ACT(Asian Pacific Island Activism and Community Teach-Out) is an annual week-long summer program held by APILO for Bay Area youth. It focuses on activism and social justice issues in our communities through the education of history, identities, and issues that affect our Bay Area API community. 

This year’s API-ACT started off with a panel with our APILO staff, where participants were able to meet with lawyers and social workers, ask questions about their work, and get great career advice. We were able to learn more about the work that APILO does, as well as the lives of those who work there. After, we got a brief history of APILO from its founder, Dean Ito Tayler. We then embarked on an Ethnotour of Filipino communities in SF and learned about the history of Filipino Americans, different resources and community centers, and artwork scattered throughout the city, including murals and a Filipino American bookstore. This experience was very new to many of youth because San Francisco’s history is so complex that some important parts become hidden.

The next day, we went on a tour of San Francisco’s city hall, where we were able to meet our city’s representatives and talk about the Youth Advisory Council’s work. Some places we were able to see included the Department on the Status of Women with associate director Carol Sacco and the Department of Police Accountability with accountability director Paul Henderson. We were also able to meet with some staff of Supervisor Hillary Ronen and ask questions about what the city of San Francisco is doing to curb important issues that affect citizens every day. From the youth perspective, it was interesting to see and learn about the responsibilities of people with decision making powers in terms of funding and making sure everyone is accounted for in San Francisco.

Then, we planted a small bed of flowers and vegetables at Spiral Gardens, which is a community garden that helps educate the East Bay community about home gardening and health. Spiral Gardens pushes for food security by bringing in volunteers to plant food together, and giving it to those in need when harvested. We also got to learn about gardening in itself, as well as lots of fun facts about different plants and basils. Our hands got dirty, but our efforts to create a lovely bed of vegetables and flowers will pay off.

Next, we presented a short presentation about YAC’s work at a gathering at The Spot, where several Bay Area youth organizations gathered to learn about each other’s work. Lastly, we ferried to Angel Island for an overnight camping trip and bonded over cooking our own meals, hiking up the steep hill, and spending more time with each other (and some feral raccoons). While the camping trip served as a survival and group bonding experience, we still recognized the history of Angel Island and our privileges being able to camp freely on the island.

This year’s API-ACT was a fun, amazing, eye-opening experience. We were able to learn so much about our past and present community here in the bay area and current efforts and organizations that combat important issues such as domestic violence. Hope to see you next year!