Chinatown Youth Initiatives is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering New York City youth with the knowledge and skills to address the needs of Chinatown, Asian Americans and other underrepresented communities. One of the events that we host to achieve these goals is CYI’s annual Chinatown Beautification Day! What began as a mission to address the concerns of the negligence of post 9/11’s Lower East Side has since then evolved into a two part event that brings youth from all around the city to participate in a unique learning experience.
Our theme for the 2015 Chinatown Beautification Day is Sea Change: Turning the Tide Within Asian America. In light of events such as Ferguson, the Chapel Hill shootings, and other highly racialized and violent events, this year’s theme reflects our desire for young Asian Americans to recognize their capacities as agents of social change, particularly in regards to the invisibility of Asian American issues. This year’s workshops will center on countering apathy within Asian America by challenging participants to question Asian American history and experience. We hope to encourage participants to use this knowledge and rock the boat within their own communities. Ultimately, our goal is to teach young Asian Americans how to turn a critical eye toward both external and internal factors that shape Asian American narratives.
This day gives the volunteers a chance to go out onto the streets of Chinatown armed with brooms, dustpans, and garbage bags. This part of the event not only shows the Chinatown community that we really care, but will also act as a message, telling the people who traverse Chinatown to remember to take care of the community.
Our Youth Conference is a full-day event for youth participants to explore the social justice issues and experiences that they are interested in or already passionate about. Through a day of workshops, panels, and small group discussions, CBD conference participants explored solutions to these obstacles while educating and empowering their peers.