Welcome to TAF 2020, from your Youth PDs!
Hello Youth campers! We (Eryn and Bing) are very excited to have you join us for the first ever TAF online! We’re going to have a variety of fun and informative activities for all of you to enjoy, including workshops developed by our advisors and speaker sessions by wonderful people. We can’t wait to make long-standing memories with all of you in our lovely community.
Love, Eryn and Bing
Please reach out with any questions or comments by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our programming will kick off with everyone else on July 24, followed by our own Youth kickoff where campers will get to know their small groups and advisers! After that, our weekends will consist of morning speaker sessions and three different workshops. The workshop topics will focus on…
- Civic Engagement: How do we participate as a member of a community in order to improve conditions for ourselves, members of our community, and our community’s future? What actions can we take to improve the lives of people in other communities?
- Dealing with Negative Emotions: In these tough times, what are some steps to maintain our mental health? What can we do for self-care?
- Community Care: While improving our mental health, what can we do to help other members of our community in their self care and mental health?
There will also be optional events (e.g. games, hangouts, movie nights) during the weekdays. You can find more information on our featured speakers below!
Digital “Packing” List
To make the most of TAF Online this summer, campers will need access to a computer and a strong internet connection. Some of our activities may also make use of mobile devices, but campers will not be required to have one to participate. We will be sending each camper a physical notebook for their use during our programming. We’d recommend having a pair of headphones to help you focus and really tune into each session.
All Youth campers should review our Zoom Call etiquette guidelines prior to our programming.
Our Youth Coordinators
Coordinators are Youth campers that help lead games, host TAF Night, and more to create a welcoming environment for their peers. This year, we have 13 wonderful Coordinators!
Davyn Jones, Kelly Shih, Joshua Tran, Benson Wu, Rachel Wu
Melissa Chiou, Jocelyn Eng, Cathy Shan
Johnny Chen, Jaclyn Chiou, Gwyn Lai, Samantha Lee, Emily Shih
Youth Speaker Sessions
July 25 – “Finding Community and Yourself”
Speaker: Kara Chang, Health educator at the LA LGBT Center
Kara Chang is a queer, trans, and Taiwanese American activist. Born and raised in Sugar Land, Texas, Kara graduated from UCLA in 2016 with a degree in communication studies and double minors in Education and LGBT Studies. During her time at UCLA, Kara was credited as the first openly transgender resident assistant in UCLA history. In 2017, she was the first runner-up for Miss QUEST, a transgender advocacy pageant. Kara now works for the Los Angeles LGBT Center as a health educator where she serves homeless LGBTQ youth and also sits on the board for Trans Student Educational Resources, a national non-profit. Kara has been attending TAF since 2008, most recently serving as a Youth advisor, and performs as a stand up comedian. Kara has shared her story with audiences upwards of 8000 people and was most recently a finalist for the Uncle Clyde’s Comedy Contest for Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank.
Session Topic: Kara’s talk will follow her life linearly and her quest for finding community. Growing up in Texas, she was faced with the intersections of her various identities, namely being Taiwanese, being Asian-American, and being a gay boy growing up in the early 2000s. She will explore the two definitions of community, a) a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common and b) a feeling of fellowship with others. She will also explore the nuance of “home” and the place where you come from, and how certain communities can be toxic to an individual. She’ll talk about how our reality, our perceptions, and beliefs are shaped by the community around you. She will explore the ideas of being part of a majority vs minority, and furthermore a minority within a minority. To that effect she will explore the pressures of assimilation and denying one’s self, and breaking away from your past communities. She will talk about her coming out journey and the transition between various identities. She will talk about her experiences uprooting her life from Texas and building her community in LA, the communities that she gained and lost, and how she let go of past communities/identities that no longer served her. TAF has played a major role in her life and will obviously be a focal point of her talk – the community that TAF has provided her with over the years, which has shaped her to be the person she is today as she continues to build community for others!
July 26 – “Reconciling Community: Negotiating Biological/Blood and Chosen Family”
Speaker: Em Huang, Resident Director at UC Berkeley
Em C. Huang (they/them) serves as a Resident Director at UC Berkeley, where they work with the UNITY Theme Program, a living/learning community focused on gender and sexual diversity. They received a B.A. in sociology at the University of Southern California and completed their M.Ed in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration at the University of Vermont. Em’s experiences as a trans and queer Asian American have led to their passion for social justice education and equity work, particularly for issues impacting queer and trans students of color. In their free time, you can find them playing music, coaching volleyball, reading, gaming, hanging out with their cat Mowgli, and geeking out about Grey’s Anatomy and Steven Universe.
Session Topic: Em will speak about chosen family: nonbiological kinship bonds, whether legally recognized or not, that are deliberately chosen for the purpose of mutual support and love. Asian Americans often grow up with a focus on the collective rather than the individual, and may want to reject this approach to community particularly when it has been used to justify harm that comes from within our blood/birth families or communities. Em will talk about how to negotiate and reconcile blood/birth family and chosen family – in particular, how to engage with self and community care that creates space for healthy and multifaceted experiences of community without compromising one’s identities, values, and experiences.
August 1 – “Collective Leadership”
Speaker: Lauren Higa, Graduate Student in Asian American Studies and Social Work at UCLA
Lauren Higa (she/her) is a graduate student pursuing an MA in Asian American Studies and an MSW at UCLA. Her research focuses on Asian American activist social workers. Even though school keeps her busy, Lauren makes it a point to build community at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, the Luskin API Caucus, and the Okinawa Association of America. Lauren is also a proud caretaker of a pug and several plants.
Session Topic: Coming soon!
August 2 – “Passions and Community”
Speaker: Thomas Duh, Digital Integrative Marketing Manager at BET, Founder of Empire Taste
Thomas hails from Starkville, Mississippi, raised by Taiwanese immigrants who left the family tea business to start a new life in America. At the age of 12, he found an affinity for music, crediting Late Registration as the moment that changed it all. A passion for discovering new artists led to a first taste of the industry- promoting shows at his alma mater University of Illinois and interning with artist management labels in NYC. In 2011, Thomas discovered the then unknown A$AP Rocky and introduced a plan to create his online presence in the midst of the industry’s digital uprising. ASAPMob.com became the number one destination for fans to connect with the collective outside of live shows. The successful partnership helped Thomas realize many artists needed similar development solutions and as a result Empire Taste was born. Through his creative agency, the ET team offers design, marketing, and experiential services for clients including Kilo Kish, Saba, and Marshall Headphones. In addition, Thomas currently works in brand partnerships at BET, applying his experience to find marketing solutions for brands like Apple, Ciroc, and Nissan. In his free time, Thomas volunteers with Taiwanese American Next Generation (TANG) in mentoring high school youth.
Session Topic: Thomas will share stories about how he found a passion and worked towards it as a career, the challenges he overcame in college, and how it led to BET and starting Empire Taste. He will share that it’s okay to not know what you want to do, but now is the time to try different things and take risks. He will also talk about the lessons he learned from his community and how he wants to pour it back into his community so the next generation has an easier path to their career goals.