Washington, DC – Each year the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) brings more than 40 community members to Washington, DC for three days of advocacy training.
Last year the organization began an additional training for experienced advocates and hosted 15 more community members. Both trainings will provide participants with opportunities to network with their Southeast Asian American (SEAA) peers from other cities and with policymakers, while engaging in collective strategizing, advocacy for issues impacting SEAAs, and brainstorming solutions to address unmet needs.Participants in both trainings will also reflect on their own personal experiences as a foundation for identifying issues and solutions.
The Leadership and Advocacy Training (LAT) program is intended for emerging leaders and members of Southeast Asian American communities who want to learn more about policy and advocacy. LAT trains participants to become advocacy leaders in their communities, and is best suited for community members hoping to learn more about education, health, and immigration policy, effective communication and framing, and creating system-level change. The training focuses on developing leadership via advocacy and culminates in a day of advocacy visits with decision-makers, enabling participants to apply advocacy skills they have learned from the previous days.
In the past, LAT participants have included staff of community-based organizations, individual leaders, and students from high school, undergraduate, and graduate programs. One participant shared, “Everyone was exceptional. The attendees and the staff were what really helped everyone bond, feel safe, and inclusive. We immediately became a family, and I think that allowed everyone the confidence to share our intimate and personal stories, as well as be open-minded to challenging ourselves and receiving feedback, too.”
Over time, there has been growing demand from LAT alumni and advocates who seek a higher level of engagement in advocacy and leadership development. The Leadership Education and Advocacy Fellowship (LEAF) training builds on our LAT program and aims to bring experienced advocates to the next level. It is also aimed at LAT alumni who have taken on more advanced advocacy roles within their communities over time.
LEAF is intended for advocates who have some background knowledge and advocacy experience in education, health, or immigration policy. Participants can expect to engage in more in-depth conversations on these and related social justice issues facing SEAA communities.
This past year, LEAF participants took part in workshops focused on developing story banks for their organizations, individualized two-minute pitches, and other communication tools. Participants can expect a similar training this year. Participants from the most recent training included executive directors, LAT alumni, as well as individual advocates not affiliated with any organization. “LEAF was a fantastic experience. It was great seeing that passion that exists across the country for the Southeast Asian community. It was also powerful to hear the stories that motivate the advocacy work of these leaders,” said one LEAF participant.
Although the training is tailored to SEAAs, it is also open to individuals working to elevate the voices of Southeast Asian American communities.
Both LAT and LEAF trainings will be held in Washington, DC but during different times of the year. You may only apply for one of the trainings. Accepted participants to either training must participate in all pre-training sessions and workshops during the training.
SEARAC will cover the majority of travel and lodging expenses for accepted applicants living outside of the Washington, DC area, but participants may be responsible for a portion of their travel costs.
Each training lasts three days and is expected to take place between the range of dates listed below. Applicants should expect final decisions and invitations by March. Final dates will be determined before final decisions are made on applications. Community members are encouraged to apply as applications may be withdrawn and/or invitations may be declined.
LAT dates: June 18 – 24, 2016
LEAF dates: September 24 – 30, 2016
All Applications Due: Monday February 22, 2016