Local Hot-Shot Attorney Appointed Director of USCIS

 

 

Nicole (right) representing at ECAASU 2017 Conference. Image credit ECAASU 2017 FB page

 

 

In 10 years, that is also what I hope the headline will be. Nicole Fink, a mentor, friend, and attorney, is an amazing example of how we as individuals can affect change in a community. Today, she is an immigration attorney and legal consult for NGOs, but in ten years, I think America’s families would benefit greatly from her appointment as USCIS director, bringing families together, making immigration easier, and ending the immigration backlogs. When I asked her if she wanted to become president, she kindly declined, “I would gray hairs so easily!”

Last week, I interviewed Nicole Fink, who I worked under at the East Coast Asian American Student Union. She was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule, amidst all of the immigration-related chaos and consults to speak with me about how she got started as an activist and community organizer, and where she sees herself in the future.

We discussed a variety of issues pertaining to her work, but what stood out to me was how she pinpointed where our issues with organizing and engaging lie— empathy. We discussed how it was difficult to engage youth because many feel that they have to be personally affected in order to become involved and be engaged with these social and political issues.

Nicole discussed with me the ways that she believed we could start engaging more youth, and I actually had a moment of realization; she discussed the importance of mentorship and how that is needed to kickstart each person’s activism.

The media was also a big point of discussion, and as AAPI activists, we agreed that the problems that Asian Americans faced were not being represented in mainstream media, because they were not the stories that people bought into. (We wanted to clarify, though, that we were advocating for all people of color, and for fair representation of everyone).

If you’re interested in hearing the full interview, in which we also talk extensively about North Carolina’s political climate and the recent ECAASU conference, go to this link of all associated files, where there is an audio file and a transcription as well.

 

NYT_Edit

Interview with Avery

Avery is a senior at Brookline High School. She developed a curriculum to educate elementary students about feminism  the goal to empower young people. She also has been doing activist work at an organization called My Life My Choice which is an organization that fights human trafficking.

About me: Anthony

Hi, my name is Anthony Peña and I am the Studio & Programs Coordinator for Urbano Project. Urbano Project is a youth, arts organization that pairs Boston Public School teens and artist mentors to create art centered around social justice. I have worked within many different aspects of Urbano Project for over 4 years, from participating in semesterised, multidisciplinary art projects to becoming a crucial staff member.
Outside of Urbano, I am also a member of the Teens Behind the Scenes program at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Through my participation, I have gained visitor service skills and experience working in a historic art museum. There, I was involved in organizing the museum’s first ever teen event.
P.S. My favorite ice cream flavor is pistachio :)

About me: Brittany

Hey everyone! I’m looking forward to thinking together about how to best support youth-created media. My name is Brittany and I am the Radio Station Manager at ZUMIX, where I’ve worked for about two and a half years with great young people.  At ZUMIX, we create produced audio stories about our neighborhood and a full program of youth-hosted radio shows that air on our station, 94.9 FM.  One of my favorite parts of my job has been building our radio studio inside of East Boston High School, where English Language Learners have been sharing their english writing and speaking on the airwaves.  I’m interested in how incorporating a creative element, like radio, into classroom curriculum can increase students’ interest in their learning and connect their work to their families and the community outside of school walls.  My students at Eastie have produced some important bilingual persuasive essays about immigration, mental health service provision, abortion, soccer and social media, as well as interviews with peers, interpretations of scientific results, and playlists of their lives’ soundtracks.  My life is better for hearing their perspectives, and I’m glad we have a tool to share them with the greater Boston community.  I would like to think more about distribution, so that their work is most impactful in reaching the right audience — policymakers, teachers, local organizers working to make a change, neighbors.  Outside of work, I do a lot of listening [to ZUMIX Radio] and other music, and do some running and piano playing.

Radio Arte is a big inspiration to me — a bilingual, latino-owned youth radio station in Chicago that aired community-based content from 1996 to 2011.  They are like ZUMIX Radio’s midwestern aunt, who we want to grow up like.  The good news is their twitter is still live, where I was able to find this fun cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VPczDpinV8

 

Interviews

I reached out to three different people. I reached out to the BAGLY organization, which is a youth led organization that is an LGBTQ+ advocating and safe space for people in the Boston area to get health services and support.

http://www.bagly.org/programs

I also reached out to Shayne who is a person in a peer led sex ed program I’m part of who also is the president of the GSA club at their school.

Another person is a girl named Izzy who is eighteen and a co-leader of the Get Real Teen Council which is a peer led sex ed program at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-massachusetts/local-training-education/peer-education

I also reached out to Nadya who is a freshman at Harvard and created Camions of Care. This organization’s goal is to provide menstrual hygiene products to people in need.

http://www.camionsofcare.org/

 

Shewa Adelekun

Hi everyone!

My name is Shewa. I’m a master’s of public health student with an internet obsession which I’ve tried to validate through academia. My attempt at validation quickly turned into a deep dive into course work research and literature to better understand web 2.0, the internet of things and how we all (especially the youth) engage with technology. My hope is that through this understanding I can work with communities to design better interventions and tools with which to promote adolescent mental health and advocacy.

 

Last year I spent some time living in Nepal during the blockade. During this time some combination of the Indian government and Madeshi protesters  blocked the India-Nepali border preventing the trade of fuel. This led to a black market trade of fuel and as expected the cost of gas rose exponentially, to the point that petrol for cooking was at times a luxury. This is a video/choreography of a youth dance troupe (Cartoonz Crew) responding to the fuel crisis with hip hop. I love this video because while making a specific political statement the the youth also challenge (even in the face of economic adversity) many of the stereotypes or dominant narratives spread about Nepal and other Low Income Countries.  Through their creativity and amazing production we  also see that youth from “developing” countries ARE tenacious, creative, enterprising, silly, engaged, aware, current, smart and fashion forward. They can be B-boys, and yeah they might hit dat nae nae.

About Me: Maxwell

Hello, my name is Maxwell Kreppein and I am currently enrolled at NuVu Studio in Cambridge, MA. I have two older brothers, Jared who is a freshmen at Denver University, and Ben who is a sophomore at Newton North High School. Jared is a one of my biggest inspirations and also one of my biggest supporters. He has helped me to develop my entrepreneurial skills, math skills, and also a lot of my social skills. He also is always at my side when I need help or advice. Ben and I are two years apart and you can probably guess how we interact… as brothers. We are really good friends most if the time but of course we have our moments. Ben has been a great older brother and someone who I can always look to for anything I need. My parents recently filed for a divorce which is pretty tough on me and my brothers, but I know they both have the best interest for me. I have always loved baseball, soccer, and the outdoors. One of my favorite things to do is to climb tree and feel the breeze on my back and watch the birds fly around. Something I have a strong passion about is animal rights. I always love seeing fish swim in a lake, or little chipmunks running around my yard. When I see a chipmunk caught in a trap or fish in a tank it really annoys me. People have to think to themselves, “Would I cage a dog for days and nights in one place? Would I set traps to kill bluejays or cardinals? Then why am I killing other innocent animals?” I have included a link to a website in which a couple kids save the day! http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/08/0812_020812_TVpuffin_2.html

-Maxwell

About me: Tabia

 

Hello Everyone!
My name is Tabia Smith, and I am I sophomore at Wellesley College. I am pursing a Media Arts and Sciences and Spanish double major. I am from Charlotte, North Carolina, and having attended a very conservative private school, activism and social issues were always an interest of mine.
  Even from a young age, it was easy to see the administration’s desire to stop any progressive efforts at our school (like having a GSA, a more gender equal dress code, etc). And being from the south, students were also conservative and often racist or ignorant about social justice issues. This motivated me to learn more about social issues and join my YMCA’s Youth and Government program. Now at Wellesley, I try to keep myself updated on current events, and I am a writer and talent on Wellesley’s satirical news show.

I find bouts of activism to be especially inspiring when they are started by children. Child activists make me forget my hopelessness or cynicism about the effectiveness of activism in our country, especially when the power of conservative, oppressive officials seems too powerful to challenge.  They remind me that if people that young can do something, I most definitely can. I especially like the story of Little Miss Flint. An 8 year old from Flint, Michigan, Mari Copeny became the face of the Flint water crisis after writing a letter to President Obama requesting meeting to discuss the effects of the water crisis during her trip to D.C. Copeny’s work didn’t end with her meeting with Obama, since then, she has raised awareness of the water crisis on social media, organized toy drives, and even meet with Donald Trump.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-read-little-miss-flint-letter-20160504-snap-htmlstory.html

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/22/little-miss-flint-water-crisis-amariyanna-copeny

About me: Kathy

Hey everyone! My name is Kathy Wu. I’m somewhat new in the world of design justice, and design activism. I’m excited and curious to learn from everyone here.

I graduated from RISD in 2015 with a background in Graphic Design/Literary Arts and I’m now working as a software designer. My skill specialty is visual design and interaction design; I’m also generally stoked about design futures. I have a little brother who goes to MIT and he is a big inspiration for me. We’re both passionate about education; together we make a very complementary STEAM pair.

These days I am looking to move my practice from one in a corporation setting to one in the community. For me, this means taking this studio class and maybe returning to school in the fall to learn more about media studies, research, ethnography. I’m especially passionate about education, pedagogy, and platforms for self-expression and learning. In my spare time, I’ve been volunteering at a kids’ science museum, which is fun.

One campaign that I’ve been following from my own school community is called Sad Asian Femmes. It was a class project by two graphic design seniors that is starting to have legs of its own! I admire their use of media to create a community and a platform that gives Asians in western spaces an artistic voice. https://www.instagram.com/sadasiangirls/