YOUTH SHARE STORIES OF STRUGGLE AND CHANGE THROUGH ARTS DURING AAPI HERITAGE MONTH
Khmer Girls in Action Presents the 10th Annual Yellow Lounge:
CELEBRATING OUR ROOTS, PLANTING A LEGACY
LONG BEACH, CA – On Saturday, May 17th, to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month, Khmer Girls in Action will hold its 10th Annual Yellow Lounge arts and culture showcase. Khmer Girls In Action (KGA) is a non-profit organization that develops the leadership of Southeast Asian youth to create positive change in their community. Yellow Lounge will showcase an art gallery, spoken word, music, cultural and modern dance, and theater performances by Long Beach youth. Through their art and performances, youth will share stories of how they struggle, overcome, and thrive in the face of obstacles.
“This event is about taking pride in who we are and where we came from,” said KGA member Karen Kaing, 16, “And to leave a lasting effect on the world and in our community by making change.” The theme of this year’s show is “Celebrating our Roots, Planting a Legacy” as AAPI youth continue to embrace their history and build new leaders.
Asian American youth are often stereotyped as the “model minority,” which makes the challenges and experiences of Southeast Asian youth invisible. Yellow Lounge will celebrate AAPI youth as leaders and change-agents, and honor the community’s history of struggle and resilience. During the show, AAPI youth will show how they are fighting for resources and a more supportive school climate in Long Beach.
Among the performers will be singer April Nhem, an up-and-coming young star from Long Beach whose Youtube videos are viral. She is part of the group Long Beach Productions, which has over 17,000 followers on Youtube. Guest judges for the talent section of the show include Phanith Sovann who is a singer, songwriter and former Miss Cambodia and the Shining Sons who are community artists and organizers with the Filipino Migrant Center fighting for workers rights.
During the event, Khmer Girls In Action will recognize Executive Director Lian Cheun, who was recently appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs. As part of the Commission, Cheun is charged with working to improve the quality of life for AAPIs through increased participation in and access to federal programs. Along with her fellow commission members, Cheun will advise the President on innovative ways to engage AAPIs across the country and to improve their health, education, environment, and well-being.
Cheun is a 1.5 generation refugee from Oakland, CA. She has spent over a decade working in low-income communities of color. Lian started out as a youth organizer on the Kids First! Campaign and has since worked for funding for youth programs, fought for educational and health justice, volunteered and trained for numerous GOTV efforts with the Alameda County Labor Council, and most recently fought for workers’ rights regionally and internationally. In 2007, Lian helped Migrant Forum in Asia organize the very first regional, migrant domestic workers’ assembly in Asia. She was also the former director of the Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program (MAAP) at the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO).
Yellow Lounge will take place Saturday, May 17th at the Long Beach School for Adults auditorium, 3701 East Willow St. Long Beach, CA 90815. Doors open at 4:00, and the show will be held from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Yellow Lounge is a community event with food, refreshments and raffle prizes. Admission is a suggested donation of $3.00-5.00 although no one will be turned away at the door. For more information about the event, visit www.kgalb.org or contact community organizer Sophya Chum at Sophya@kgalb.org.