For two days, from July 15th to July 16th, the UCA hosted the UCA National Youth Convention as part of the 2022 Chinese American Convention. The Youth Convention was a cultural and political experience seeking to empower Asian American youth through exploring identity and community.
The UCA hosted over 50 community organizations and youth groups from across the country during the event. Each had a chance to network with leaders in the Chinese American community and share their ideas for a bright and equitable future.
A select number of groups also presented their accomplishments at a convention-wide event, the AAPI Youth Organizations Presentation, for 90 minutes to an audience of over 100 attendees.
For those of you not able to attend or attendees looking for more information about how to get in touch with and support these amazing young leaders and advocates, we invite you to review some of the hard work that our students have been doing to solve real, pressing issues in the world today!
UCA National Youth Convention Youth Groups
Confront the Climate Crisis (CTCC) is a grassroots, statewide campaign that has been achieving climate action solutions in Indiana since 2020. CTCC educates youth through climate literacy programs, including building small climate resiliency libraries, creating an information hub for blogs of resilience projects, and planning events to engage the local community.
CTCC also facilitates relationships between youth, local organizations, and policymakers to accomplish specific environmental goals. CTCC drafted and introduced a bill to the 2021 state legislature establishing a climate task force and concurrent resolution acknowledging the climate crisis. Partnering with Indiana Senator Ron Alting, we met with key legislators and built a coalition around our legislation. Although our bill did not make it to committee, we continue to push for statewide legislative action against climate change.
We were excited to participate in the UCA convention and share our progress and climate policies with attendees and other student groups during the student organization presentation.
co-Executive Director and Events Director
“I attended a climate strike in September of 2019. There, I met many young activists who encouraged me to get involved in the movement. I was inspired to join Confront the Climate Crisis to push for local environmental action, focusing on often ignored issues like coal ash and climate literacy. Climate change is a big issue and it’s very interconnected. In Indiana, our growing seasons will change, particulate pollution will increase, and thunderstorms will grow more severe.
Since joining, I quickly took on a leadership role in Events Planning, and pushed the team to do more outreach. We did an arts and an intersectional activism event to reach more of the community, and gained more connections with other organizations that helped our events and goals. Although it’s sometimes been difficult when other members have to focus on school or work, I’ve learned a lot about community organizing and how to turn passion into action. Working with CTCC has encouraged me to care more about my community and my neighbors.”
The Asian American Athlete Alliance is dedicated to uniting diverse Asian and Asian American athletes’ communities with the purpose of fostering support and standing united against discrimination and violence. AAAA aims to build a network of support among Asian/Asian-American athletes to help them reach their highest potential in sport and in life.
“As an athlete committed most of my life to being an Artistic swimmer, I began my swimming journey at around 8 years old. My partner and I came in sixth place at the tournament held in Slovakia in August. Although I didn’t go home with any shiny medals, I felt it was an honor to represent my country at a top-tier competition.
Though traveling between Hong Kong and Shenzhen for training is exhausting, it’s all for the love of the sport. I am thankful for having the opportunity of bringing my energy to my community and build up a place where members are supported, embraced, empowered, and feel belonging and connection.”
“As a female Asian basketball player with no height advantage, I once doubted myself. However, I realized that I could make up for it by being quicker than my taller counterparts if I developed my speed and agility. Now I am lightning-fast and an excellent scorer in competitions. Many things throughout life teach us lessons like this – we are stronger than we know.
In AAAA, I hope to take the lead in research initiatives to increase knowledge and awareness of the realities of the Asian-American experience, both on the field and off. At the UCA National Youth Convention, I saw the power of standing against discrimination and violence in all forms, and I hope to use our platform to both shed light on the injustices faced by Asian-Americans and also to celebrate all the wonderful things Asian-Americans are doing every day.”
“Although I’ve been playing sports within amateur leagues since I was about four, it wasn’t until I started playing club volleyball at 12 when I realized there was a difference in the way I competed in sports as opposed to my white counterparts. And as a member of the AAPI community, I feel that working on this project has made me grateful for the community I have found during my amateur athletic career. In turn, I want to pay that forward to those who may feel as though they don’t have one.
I am very hopeful for the future. After showcasing our cause at the UCA convention, I’m proud to say we’ve officially kick-started our campaign. I believe we should aim to grow our community and foster a safe environment.“
“I believe sports have the power to help with issues unique to Chinese Americans. Unfortunately, Asians and Chinese Americans are not often involved in sports, which is a problem because sports are one of the most important cultural fields in the United States. The majority of American students participating in sport have done so since they were kids. Those cultural lessons, relationships, and knowledge have a lot of influences on kids. If we could push Asian Americans to play sports from a young age, that could change how white Americans view Asian Americans and improve racial relations greatly.”
C-World is a formally registered teenager volunteer organization and platform. Teenagers can help and support teams in their community via C-World by joining activities that cooperate with professional, national, and international non-profit organizations for community service.
Our goal is to promote more teens in junior high and even elementary school to commit to volunteering, since it increases their self-confidence, openness of character, and gratefulness for the society. Also, by volunteering, volunteers can learn more about other cultures, to eliminate stereotypical views toward others.
Founder & Vice-President
“When I was young, I was very introverted. I did not volunteer, and I did not meet many people outside my close family and friends. So I wasn’t very culturally competent. A few years ago, I began to volunteer, and I immediately saw myself become more open, communicating with lots of people. As I got more involved with volunteering, I started to enjoy it, especially giving back to society and building up my self confidence and self-esteem. That is when I developed the idea to create a volunteer organization to let more people, especially elementary and junior high students, engage and commit to volunteering to build their character at a young age.
C-World is a place where all children can have someone to lead their character development, to not only build their humility, self-esteem, and openness, but also give them an international perspective to establish a sense of equality and reciprocity with other races and cultures. C-World has grown its mission from simply providing volunteer services to promoting more young teens to volunteering. We have grown from only my four close friends to a diverse and multicultural group leader team. We are very proud to have established a Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) exam state test center in our school and organized tutors for participants. Our test center’s pass rate has ranked first among North American test centers.”
This annual summit aims to unleash the full potential of East Asian youth by providing the means to solve the “triple-E” challenges (Education, Employment, and Engagement) that East Asian youth face around the world.
As the largest generation of youth in history, East Asian youth carry the burden of not only sustaining but improving upon the dramatic socioeconomic growth that the region has experienced in the past few decades.
A rising junior at St. Paul VI Catholic High school in Virginia, USA. David comes from Dongguan, China. He is strongly interested in international relations and passionate about spreading Asian culture with and among his peers.
CAA provides information about prevention, self-diagnosis, and community help for those living with or at risk for AIDS. This is done through a Model– View–Controller (MVC) pattern, enhancing the code’s scalability and portability and achieving backward compatibility. We use RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) to construct a database of resources and manipulate it with SQL (Structured Query Language). CAA was created to raise public awareness of AIDS and the resources available to combat it.
Xuqiu (Tina) Wang
“I am Xuqiu (Tina) Wang, a senior at Culver Academies and the founder of CareaboutADIS (CAA).
I first became interested in this issue when I was in sophomore year. I was doing infectious disease research on WeChat, and HIV/AIDS was one of the topics. After careful research, I discovered that this is a uniquely difficult infectious disease, because AIDS is not only a health problem, but also imposes a heavy burden on many families required to care for patients, which is a social problem.
Building this website has helped me to understand that not everyone has the same access to medical resources as I do. Disadvantaged groups who are not able to afford insurance and medicine, who are not even educated about this issue are most severely affected by AIDS. They need help. From learning about AIDS and working to prevent and treat it, my world has gotten bigger. Thank you to the UCA for giving us the opportunity to exhibit our work and allow our ideas to be heard by more people. We hope to continue empowering more people in the future.”
Gright is a subversive social enterprise exhibition that mainly focuses on a pop-up museum with immersive environmental displays. By using entertaining and interactive technologies, STEAM education, and science shows, Gright aims to provide more accessible and cost-friendly edutainment to families with children.
“My name is Kevin Fan. I am a rising junior in high school. In the summer of eighth grade, I went to a museum and felt that most of our time and energy was spent on the journey and tickets, but I didn’t get much of a chance to really interact with the exhibits. So I wanted to create a museum that was both convenient and interesting. Our team started from this initial idea, moving to the conceptualization in various business competitions, the implementation of the business model, and then to website design. Our goal has always been the same: more convenient and fun museums. Thank you to the UCA for giving us the opportunity to communicate with like minded people interested in promoting communication through culture.”
Sex Education For All advocates for accessible, comprehensive sexuality education materials published by reliable sources for youth. In this increasingly difficult climate, SEFA advocates for policy change so that students can learn about sex and learn how to protect themselves. This means a comprehensive overhaul of our sex education system, including establishing national sex educatino standards.
“Hello! My name is Jincheng Zhao and I’m a rising junior at the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland. I grew up in 4 different countries, but we never stayed long enough in any country for me to invest time and energy to learning how politics in that country worked, since we would soon be moving away. I developed my passion for advocacy after realizing that there wasn’t much progress on the issues I cared about because of the lack of Asian representation in government and politics.
This was why, when I heard they were looking for volunteers to speak to Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen at the United Chinese Americans (UCA) Convention, I jumped at the chance. I wasn’t going to stay quiet when I had a platform where I would be heard. In representing Asian Americans in Maryland to Senator Van Hollen, I made sure that I conveyed the dilemma of many Asian Americans I knew: having ties to family members in China, which is now considered a strategic competitor, as well as the increasing feeling of insecurity as Asians are increasingly targeted for hate crimes. In addition, I greatly appreciate that UCA had workshops for LGBTQ+ youth. I think that in the next UCA convention, we could also have workshops aimed to reduce this taboo in the Asian American society and better protect our youth.”
Chief Operations Officer
“Hi! My name is Kangyi Zhou and I am a rising sophomore. I became interested in sex education as I began to realize the real lack of sex education throughout my years in the United States. Although my middle school, personally, had a decent health curriculum, I know a lot of people that did not have health education as good as mine. Thus, when Jincheng approached me for help on this project, I felt quite passionately about making an impact on this increasingly prominent issue. We have definitely grown and expanded since then—from our website rollout, to future activities and advocacy. During our growth, we have changed our focus from creating a comprehensive curriculum to advocating for curriculum change in the education system.”
Social Media Manager
“Hello! I’m a rising junior from Culver, IN, and I participated in UCA to introduce Sex Education For All. At the showcase, we presented our ideas and our work and hope to gain more support and members. Before the convention, I and my teammates prepared for our showcase by redesigning our logo and redefining our mission and future plan. We did more research and worked to connect our mission to women rights and the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case.
UCA offered me an opportunity to meet more friends who are also working hard to solve problems in our society and to improve lives. I learned a lot from the people I met in the showcase. I also got inspiration from some of the successful organizations that give presentations in UCA. I learned about their strategies of organizing activities and how to attract more people to support them and hope to implement them for SEFA in the future. The political leaders I met in the convention also taught me about leadership, discipline, and how to develop an idea into a full project. Thank you to the UCA for creating such an opportunity.”
CRI is committed to improving public awareness of new energy sources, environmental protection, and cooperation among environmental protection organizations. CRI also aims to promote the development of sustainable transportation technology by focusing on the safe and environmentally-friendly recycling of electric car batteries.
“I discovered my interest in environmental and new energy studies after entering high school and taking an environmental science class. Grappling with the facts of our potential energy crisis, depleting energy resources, and the upsurging development of clean energy around the globe, I am looking forward to broadening my knowledge beyond the content in textbooks and learning possible solutions that lead to a promising future. Thank you to the UCA for providing a platform and becoming a bridge that welcomes all people to think about topics such as climate change, global warming, battery recycling, etc. In the future, I hope to expand the organization and make it impactful in China and the U.S.”
SLAI aims to create an automated grading platform for foreign language students centered around a new voice recognition algorithm for language learners which will allow them to practice at their own pace and based on their own needs. SLAI will have varying levels of language difficulty and can automatically adjust difficulty level based on student input.
“SLAI started out as a project to combine my passion for linguistics and artificial intelligence, but it expanded from there and so did my team. I never imagined being able to showcase SLAI at the UCA Youth Convention. As a startup that focuses on foreign language education, it was genuinely surprising how much interest there was for a product like ours, despite still being in (albeit final) stages of prototyping.
In addition, through conversations with leaders of Chinese-American communities across the country, I’ve received valuable perspectives and feedback. Through their questions, I’ve found areas in which to continue to hone our product. Additionally, listening to the different speakers and panels has been inspiring; it’s truly been an honor to be able exhibit my startup at the UCA Youth Convention. It was wonderful to be able to talk with other members of the Chinese American community to not only showcase our impact, but to build connections to further our impact in the future. “
Seize the Awkward aims to help everyday people have conversations about mental health. Although it might be uncomfortable, individuals can make all the difference to those going through a mental health crisis. Seize the Awkward makes available tools – from conversation guides to tips –that can help you help those in need.
Zitong (Tony) Wang
“Hi! I am Zitong Wang and you can call me Tony. I am a senior at Shanghai Pinghe School. Inspired by a volunteer experience with a youth education program, I founded Seize the Awkward with a group of like-minded peers who are concerned about mental health. I hope to apply technology as a tool to empower young adults to get involved when they suspect a friend is experiencing mental health issues or may be at-risk for suicide. Thanks to the UCA for giving us the great opportunity to talk with other young advocates and share our values. We hope to launch more projects in the future to support young people in Asian communities.”
We look forward to welcoming more passionate young people at future UCA events. Only by nurturing our next generation of leaders can we grow our community and make our voices heard. If you or someone you know is interested in collaborating with or supporting any of the groups above, please feel free to contact them directly or get in touch with requesting contact information.