Hate Crimes Prevention Project

As youth, the most powerful ability that we have is our voice and the freedom to express that voice. Reviewing every single submission that is displayed in this exhibit has taught me that art is an effective medium to show the pain and effects of hate crimes.

2009 Program Intern

From meetings in predominantly South Asian or Hispanic or African American neighborhoods, this program expanded my understanding of the disparities that exist in our society; I gained a newfound appreciation for the differences that set us apart, and a greater admiration for the strength and power of disparate individuals united for one cause.

2009 Project Coordinator

About

For the past three years, Chinatown Youth Initiatives has collaborated with several youth organizations, including the Ana Luisa Garcia Youth Center (ALGYC), the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA-NY), South Asian Youth Action! (SAYA) and United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park (UPROSE), for the annual Hate Crimes Prevention Project (HCPP), a multicultural project that seeks to spread an awareness of hate crimes prevention, promote cross cultural awareness, engage high school students in hate crimes prevention, and use art as an activism tool. Every year from March to August, three interns and one coordinator from each organization discuss issues pertaining to hate crimes and hate crime prevention. With the supervision and guidance from project coordinators, the program’s high school interns collaborate to plan and host the citywide Hate Crimes Prevention Art Contest and the culminating Hate Crimes Prevention Art Exhibit, during which all the art submissions are displayed and the winners are announced. Now in its third year, the Hate Crimes Prevention Project hosts in annual art competition for New York City students of high school age, and is coordinated and developed by New York City college and high school students.

History

In 2007, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the slaying of Vincent Chin, the Organization of Chinese Americans-New York Chapter (OCA-NY) collaborated with Chinatown Youth Initiatives and South Asian You Action (SAYA!) to organize an art contest and exhibition addressing the issues of hate crimes in the community. With the support of Allstate Foundation and OCA National, the Hate Crimes Prevention Project, was founded to engage local youth in hate crime prevention and to empower youth to speak out against hate crimes through art as an activism tool. New York City high school youth submitted drawings and paintings reflecting one of two themes: (1) Melting Pot vs. Mosaic and (2) Not Tolerance but Appreciation. Six high school youth representing CYI and SAYA! formed the steering committee to receive training about hate crimes, delineate contest themes and guidelines, and judge artwork submissions.

In the summer of 2008, CYI continued its collaboration with OCA-NY, SAYA! as well as the United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park (UPROSE) and the Ana Luisa Garcia Youth Center (ALGYC) for the 2nd Annual Hate Crimes Prevention Project. The 2008 project was funded by OCA National, the Allstate Foundation, and the New York Community Trust, and ran from late May through early August. Over 25 artworks were received and exhibited at Brooklyn Borough Hall on August 7th, 2008, addressing one of two themes: (1) Popping the Bubble and (2) What Will Become of Us? Many guest speakers attended the Art Exhibition including former Councilmember & now Comptroller John Liu, Maya Azucena, and Elijah Kuan Wong.

The third annual Hate Crimes Prevention Project in 2009 brought together interns and coordinators from the Ana Luisa Garcia Youth Center (ALGYC), Chinatown Youth Initiatives (CYI), the Organization of Chinese Americans-NY (OCA-NY) and South Asian Youth Action! (SAYA). This year, we were fortunate to receive a grant from Youthbridge-New York, a student-run program that is part of the Jewish Community Relations Council. The theme of the 2009 contest was “Power to My Identity” and the contest expanded to accept various forms of art media, including paintings, drawings, collages, videos, photography, and poetry. On August 4th, 2009, over 60 received submissions were exhibited at the culminating Art Exhibit at Brooklyn Borough Hall. There were many guest speakers and performers, including representatives from Marty Markowitz and Charles Hynes’s office, the Mahina Movement, and Taiyo Na.

Values

The Hate Crimes Prevention Project seeks to engage NYC youth in hate crime prevention. With hate crimes on the rise in New York City, especially since the events and aftermath of 9/11, organizing and mobilizing communities to prevent future hate crimes from occurring is an essential endeavor. Many community organizations and municipal agencies devote countless hours and resources to responding to hate crimes”prosecuting hate crime offenders, providing support to hate crime victims, etc. but equally necessary are initiatives that aim to counteract the causes of hate crimes before they even occur. By encouraging the participation of teenage youth, both as contestants and project staff, we hope to raise critical awareness of hate crimes among NYC youth and create avenues for positive, constructive social change.

Central to the Hate Crimes Prevention Project is the development and creative input of our youth interns. Representing a diverse array of ethnic and racial backgrounds and personal, familial, and community experiences, the interns are offered a space for interaction and dialogue rare to NYC high school students. Through workshops and meetings with prominent local leaders, the NYC Hate Crimes Task Force, and political artists, this project emphasized the importance of communication and open discussion in building racial harmony, understanding and respect. Creating these bridges between the youth of different community organizations, between students of different ideas, beliefs and experiences, is itself an integral component of hate crime prevention, as we are able to instill youth with the importance of multicultural coalition building and cross-cultural awareness.

Leadership

Sponsoring Organization: OCA-New York Chapter

Liz Ou-Yang, OCA-NY Board Representative
Elizabeth R. OuYang has been a civil rights attorney for 16 years. She was appointed as a special assistant to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 2000. She worked as a staff attorney for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund for eight years where she served as the voting rights program lead for the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium. She has also worked at the Disability Law Center in Boston as a staff attorney. She currently teaches at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race and represents post 9/11 detainees in immigration court.

Partner Organization: Chinatown Youth Initiatives (CYI)

Sasha Jason, CYI Program Coordinator
Sasha is a rising junior at the University of Michigan studying Political Science and Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies. She was originally a part of the Chinatown Literacy Project in her senior year of high school, and continued her involvement through the Summer Leadership Institute and Chinatown Beautification Day. Sasha greatly appreciates the thoughts and dialogues she has been exposed to through CYI, and hopes she can learn more and give back to the organization by helping with the Hate Crimes Prevention Art Contest.

Linda Luu, Program Intern
Linda is a senior at Stuyvesant High School and she will be attending Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College in the fall. She is interested in how art can bring audiences of diverse interests and skill sets together to tackle societal problems on larger scales. She is excited to see CYI and art, both of which have inspired her own self-exploration and empowerment, come together in the Hate Crimes Prevention Art Contest to offer youth a platform to encourage a dialogue between various groups and communities.

Lauren Ng, Program Intern
Lauren Ng is a rising freshman at New York University, where she plans on majoring in Communicative Sciences and Disorders. She has been involved with CYI for the past two years and hopes to continue to raise awareness about today’s social issues and to effect change in her community this summer as an intern for the Hate Crimes Prevention Project.

Anna Wang, Program Intern
Anna will be a freshman at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and she has recently graduated from Hunter College High School. She was a participant in the 2011 Summer Leadership Institute and went on to be a language partner in the Chinatown Literacy Project for two years. She has always wanted to be involved with the Hate Crimes Prevention Project, and is glad that she can begin to facilitate dialogues about bias incidents through this program.

Mei Yin Wu, Program Intern
Mei Yin is a recent graduate from Stuyvesant High School. Her initial exposure to the Chinatown Youth Initiatives occurred two years ago through the Chinatown Literacy Project, for which she is very grateful. She hopes to explore different means of hate crime prevention through various forms of art as well as participate in other social initiatives in the future.

Get Involved

If you are part of an organization: We are constantly looking for ethnic youth organizations to join this project. If you and your youth organization would like to join our efforts in prevention hate crimes through art, please contact OCA-NY.

If you are a high school or college student: The program seeks one CYI Coordinator and three CYI interns for this project, which begins in March and ends in August. All positions are paid, but interested individuals must apply for said positions. Interviews may be requested. If interested, please contact a member of the CYI Board.

Financial Contributions! Due to the recent economic crisis, the 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Project lacked much of the financial backing it received in previous year. To avoid financial difficulties, please consider donating to the Hate Crimes Prevention Project. Your donations will directly impact the success of the upcoming 2010 Hate Crimes Prevention Project and empower a diverse new generation of youth leaders and activists.