Check out this awesome list of just 10 examples from our colorful and rich history of fighting back!

February 20 - 23: Washington D.C. for the East Coast Asian American Student Union conference! My workshop will be on #NotYourAsianSidekick, online organizing, and Asian American feminism. I’ll also be speaking on a panel on Greek life and Asian American issues!

April 4 - 6: Philadelphia for University of Pennsylvania’s “Rethinking Activism” Conference. I’ll be speaking on a panel with Dr. Jan Ting (Temple University), Biju Mathew (NY Taxi Alliance), and Manar Waheed (SAALT) on activism in underrepresented communities.

April 24th - 26th: NYC for NYCAASC, the New York City Asian American Student Conference.

Interested in inviting me to your campus? Shoot me an email at!

The New York City Asian American Student Conference (NYCAASC) is honored to introduce our High School Liaison (HSL) Program. Every year, NYCAASC aims to empower high school students from the metropolitan NYC area by providing a space for activists and student leaders to engage in dialogue on racial, social, and political matters about Asian/Pacific/Americans.  

We are looking for talented and well-rounded high school students who are interested in participating in collegiate activism along with learning how a grassroots conference is organized through the HSL Program. Students will gain more knowledge on in Asian/Pacific/American issues, leadership, communication, networking, and professionalism. Furthermore, we will provide them with mentorship and guidance throughout their time in the program.

You can apply through the application form. If you know of any interested students for our program, please share this with them! They do not have to be ethnically Asian or Asian American to apply!  If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to email our Associate Director at

Register now for the 2014 Listen to the Silence conference in Stanford, CA!

LTS is a one-day conference that features keynote speakers, workshops, a research forum, and a concert. This year, it will be held on Saturday, January 18th, 2014. We are looking forward to inviting a host of amazing guests including keynote speakers Beau Sia, Kristina Wong, and Nidhi Chanani, and concert performers JR Aquino and The Company Dance Crew. It is completely free and students of all backgrounds and ethnicities are welcome!

I was lucky enough to speak at LTS 2013, and I can vouch for the pure awesomeness and knowledge that comes with LTS. And bonus points for being free! Click through the link to register, or copy paste here:

For more information, please visit their (super beautiful and really cool) website at

Just recently, a good friend of mine asked me if he could ask me a personal question. Casually, I responded that of course he could, but I would have never expected the question that came next.

“What happened to your dad?”

Immediately my heart began to stumble upon itself. Should I respond with something sugarcoated so that it wouldn’t elicit further questions? Or should I be honest with him and myself? Earlier this month, I wrote a short blog on my tumblr in response to multiple comments on my identity development as an activist and feminist. Far too often, I have received well-intentioned statements about my strength as a womxn and Asian American activist (whatever that means), often ending in some “profound” revelation about daddy issues and the absence of a father figure as the source of that strength.

I heard it so often that I began to internalize it. I began to thank my struggles and hardships that my father put me through for who I am today. I was thanking the individual who was essentially absent from my life, while also completely ignoring the countless influential people I had surrounding me. How messed up is that?

My heart continues to skip as I write this because I do not often share my personal life with friends, let alone the Internet. It is considered taboo to speak about these issues and in respecting that, I lost a little bit of myself. I think often and fondly about how Project Ava has given me the courage to share my own true and real stories.

Like the many history books that we are forced to read during our schooling, hxstories like mine, like my family’s are nearly absent. Genocide in Cambodia? Oh, just a single sentence on page 421. Agent Orange and bombs scattered throughout the entirety of Southeast Asia? Yep, nope. Asian American feminists and heroines? Gotta search a database for that shit. Project Ava is at the core of my heart because it gives me the opportunity to share the stories that we are not given access to. Project Ava sheds light on communities and individuals that deserve to be heard in all their glory and authenticity.

So here we go. During much of my childhood, I grew up with an abusive father. Being the oldest child, I was often the recipient of that anger and frustration. Despite the situation becoming worse and worse as I got older, my mother continued to stay with my father because she believed in the idea of family. She believed that the strength of family and love could eventually overcome the hurt and neglect that poisoned our household. We were relocated to North Carolina for a year and things continued to spiral downwards. One day, my mom finally decided to give up on the idea of a “perfect” family, packed us up, and drove us back to Denver. Her love for us overcame her obligation to appease social constructions of whatever a wife is supposed to be. Her decision is why I am who I am today. She is the most courageous person that I know.

Wow, okay. I really just wrote that. I’ve come to understand that my passion for activism, equity, and inclusive excellence stem directly from her bravery and actions. I was often hesitant to share this story with anyone because I was afraid of being viewed as damaged. These are the narratives that are not often heard because our world teaches to us perceive them otherwise. Strong womxn? Obviously a man had to play some role in that. But… really, for myself and I am sure for many others, that is far from the case. I am inspired to be better and to love more because of the individuals who continue to love me. They gave me audacity and accepted me as an Angry Asian American Womxn who constantly started heated dialogues via her Facebook status and was on a mission to fight inequity.

My fellow activist and friend Juliet  (<3) of Facinasians shared this song with me earlier this summer during our internships in D.C. and told me that it reminded her of me. I have used it as a personal theme song ever since.

Don’t you take my kindness for weakness. Love or fear, the fear last longer. But love is stronger, so I stay loyal to love with honor. You got those who wanna take that for weak. Be prepared, they’ll test you in front of your peeps.
I have been told that I am too critical, too political, too radical… but isn’t it our mission as the next generation to question what we have internalized in order to challenge systems that continue to oppress our communities? Our passions and hardships should empower us, not shame us. At the same time, I have been told that I am too kind, too understanding, too hopeful… but isn’t love in itself a radical lifestyle? It is easy to be hateful, to be resentful. My mom showed me that love is the bravest thing you can choose to act on. Like my friend Tony shared with me, running on love is incredible. It is incredible because it requires us to constantly put others before ourselves, while also respecting our own needs.

I thank all of you for your love and kindness in sharing my story. I thank you for helping me to heal. It is from you that I have learned these valuable lessons:

  1. Thank and recognize the people around you who have given you the strength and support to be who you are. As a womxn of color, I am often told how I should behave. Never let someone dictate who you should be or what you should represent. 
  2. It is okay to challenge notions that exist and are commonly accepted, even if it means that you have to stand alone. Often, they are things that we have been taught, rather than authentic knowledge. Question it.
  3. While our experiences may be filled with much pain and hurt, regret should be absent. Negative experiences may have an impact on who we are, but love can also give us the agency to choose who we want to be.
  4. You need to dig deep for your roots, because often they are hidden from us. Our own stories are often kept from us, but it doesn’t mean that they’ve disappeared completely. Once you find them, stay rooted.
  5. Let your voice be heard. Cheers to the many individuals who are constantly pushing the boundaries of racism, sexism, notions of beauty, etc. People will disagree with you, people will attempt to silence you and tell you that you are being too sensitive, people will tell you that you need to pick your battles. Battles are not mutually exclusive, we’re all fighting the same thing. Your courage is exactly what we need.

To this day, my mom still wonders how she raised a child that turned out to be such a troublemaker (oops, Summer of 2013 will always be one to remember). I always just respond with a smile and a thank you.

It’s because of you, mom. It’s because of you.

Ava Love,


by Janani Balasubramanian 

To be clear: I know that there are always emotions involved.  Participating in, witnessing, and responding to oppressive acts will always carry some degree of rage, sadness, anger, or any number of other feelings.  Those feelings do require care, healing, time, etc.  What I’m saying is that those feelings are a result of the systemic fucked-up-edness of those oppressive acts, not the other way around.  I don’t want responses and apologies all about feelings; I want political accountability.


Descriptions of Available Positions:

The Associate Director assists in oversight of National Board and works closely with the Executive Director. This position acts as the National Board liaison to the Board of Directors and Conference Committee. The Associate Director will also work with the Executive Director in the creation of the upcoming year’s overall budget for the National Board. If the Executive Director cannot attend a meeting, the Associate Director must attend. In addition, in the event National Board Executive Director is unable to fulfill his/her duties, the Associate Director will be promoted to serve as National Board Executive Director until the next election.

The Director of Development leads the Development Team and goals, is responsible of overseeing grants, maintaining the sponsorship relationships of ECAASU, and creating the fundraising campaigns and projects. This position will be in charge of making sure ECAASU has the proper funding for its projects and events. A few of the current projects are the Artist Directory and ECAASU Concert. The Director will also work closely with the Executive Team in the creation of the upcoming year’s budget.

The Development Manager will search for grants that would apply to ECAASU’s objectives, write grant proposals, keep record of grant applications and statuses, work with other teams and teammates on making sure the objectives of grants and ECAASU’s projects/programs are met.

The Fundraising Coordinator will create Sponsorship Packets for the events ECAASU hosts such as Youth Summit, Campus Fall Tours, and Conference. This position will keep record of sponsors and activities, search for potential sponsors, and keep track of the objectives set by sponsors and ECAASU in the sponsored event(s) or project(s). This position will also be responsible for organizing fundraising events, if they should arise.

The Director of Advocacy leads the Advocacy Team and goals. This position is expected to keep up-to-date with AAPI issues and public policies that may affect the AAPI student community, act as a proactive advisor for the National Board for AAPI issues, and supervise the creation of any statements made by ECAASU. As a liaison to the community, this position will maintain relationships with Asian American Studies Departments and student organizations and pursue any civic engagement projects (i.e. voter registration, etc….) as they develop.

The Advocacy Coordinator will keep up-to-date with AAPI issues and public policies that may affect the Asian American student community and seek out more information of specific topics that ECAASU will focus on. The coordinator will write fact sheets on the specific topics and statements on specific stances on events, topics, and etc. The Advocacy Coordinator may also pursue projects to further advance the goals and mission of ECAASU and civic engagement.

The Asian American Studies Initiative Manager is the point of contact for students and/or student organizations that seek out assistance with strengthening their Asian American Studies movement. This position will develop and maintain an Asian American Studies Council with the previously mentioned students. The manager will continue the growth and development of the National Asian American Studies Honor Society (NAASHS), oversee the development and launch of the Asian American Studies Resource website, and oversee the website’s content and direction.

The Policy & Research Analyst will track public policy issues that may affect the AAPI community and research and provide reports and recommendations to National Board and Board of Directors. The policy & research analyst will also develop public research reports for dissemination to ECAASU’s community members. This position also include writing statements of support and fact sheets on policy issues that affect the AAPI community.

The Policy & Research Analyst will track public policy issues that may affect the AAPI community and research and provide reports and recommendations to National Board and Board of Directors. The policy & research analyst will also develop public research reports for dissemination to ECAASU’s community members. This position also include writing statements of support and fact sheets on policy issues that affect the AAPI community.

The Director of Communications leads the Communications Team and goals and reviews all public communications such social media posts, blog posts, and email blasts. This position will create a Public Relations plan for the year, which will include how to increase the following of ECAASU’s social media and email list and an editorial calendar.

The Public Relations Manager will develop a template and create digest/newsletter. The Public Relations Manager will also be responsible for creating and distributing press materials. This position will manage logistics and planning for press and internal events both local and at remote locations. This person will also be responsible for editing and proofreading all documents for grammar, style, organization and consistency.

The Blog Writer will create content for the ECAASU blog, lead a group of writers, and post ECAASU and other opportunities on blog. This position will monitor content that needs to be placed in social media and email blasts and respond to comments/questions on the ECAASU Blog. This person will work closely with the Social Media Coordinator.

The Web Developer/Graphic Designer will upkeep the website, creates graphics, gather web statistics, and handle administrative responsibilities.

The Social Media Coordinator will create and/or collect social media posts, post social media posts on a schedule and respond to comments/questions. This person will work closely with the Blog Writer.

The Director of Outreach leads the Outreach Team and goals and maintains relationships with Campus Ambassadors, Affiliate Organizations, and other partners. This position focuses on further developing current programs.

The Campus Tour Coordinator oversees the application process of the Campus Tour, works with organizations to piece together tour, and works to train National Board members if they are part of the tour.

The Professional Development Coordinator develops videos for YouTube and a pipeline for work opportunities to reach the students. This position monitors and keeps conversations on LinkedIn going and responds to comments/questions. The coordinator is the point of contact for potential employers.

The Bid Coordinator is the point of contact for questions regarding hosting the 2015 ECAASU Conference. The Bid Coordinator will help interested bid groups with their inquiries about hosting an ECAASU conference , and maintain contact with potential bid groups in preparation with their presentations at the 2014 Conference.

The Special Events Coordinator is the point of contact for event planning for ECAASU’s special events. These events include the Youth Summit, Benefit concert, etc…The Special Events Coordinator will be responsible for logistics of the special events and work closely with the Fundraising Coordinator, if necessary.

The Campus Ambassador Coordinator oversees the application process of Campus Ambassadors, facilitates Campus Ambassador discussions, and creates the programming of Campus Ambassadors experience. This position is the main point of contact for Campus Ambassadors.

The Affiliate Organizations Coordinator serves as the main point of contact with affiliate organizations. This position is responsible for organizing, tracking and communication with organizations under the Umbrella Group (regional student organizations). This person is also responsible for researching and connecting with new organizations (community groups or student groups) for ECAASU to partner with in the future.

The High School Fellow position is dedicated solely for high school students who are interested in AAPI issue but unsure of what position you would like but would still want to be a part of ECAASU National. You will work with members of the National Board in accomplishing a variety of general tasks including: advocacy, development, outreach, research, and maybe saving the world.


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the ECAASU Directorate. E-mail them at


Listen to the Silence 2013: Click, Connect, Engage
Date: Saturday, February 2, 2013 
Time: 9:30 AM
Location: Cubberley Auditorium, Stanford University