Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation Programs
ACLF’s purpose is to provide an environment which fosters the development of individual leadership, community strength, and inter-community unity to promote issues critical to API’s.
The key components of our organization include leadership training, political empowerment, community organizing, and mentorship.
Our objectives are:
- To prepare API’s for leadership positions in the public, private, political, and non-profit sectors;
- To strengthen API influence in the democratic process and;
- To increase API involvement in civic participation.
ACLF is non-partisan and involves any API community interested in participating.
Our core values are:
- A belief in social and political justice;
- Non-discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, age, ability or sexual orientation and;
- Asian Pacific Islanders must be represented in all echelons of business, academics, government, nonprofit and political sectors.
The Community Leaders Program (CLP) is a unique, culturally relevant program that draws from our rich, complex intertwining histories of global migration, acculturation and political empowerment in the United States. We remember, honor and educate about the significant contributions of APIs and other minorities to the Northwest and United States, which can often be overlooked in mainstream leadership programs. We provide opportunities to meet and be inspired by generations of API leaders who have made an impact in not just the local API community, but the at-large Northwest community. In addition, not only does ACLF focus on technical leadership skills such as public speaking, communication and media; we integrate values of community building, equity and social justice that serve as principle foundation to building strong communities. The CLP is an intensive curriculum that provides training and mentorship to adults with an interest in and potential to step into leadership roles within our communities. Each class is composed of roughly 15 people who meet in bi-weekly sessions over six months.
There are innumerable emerging leaders amongst us of all ages, cultures and walks of life. ACLF focuses on cultivating emerging Asian Pacific Islander leaders to strengthen our vital and complex community. We do not define “emerging” by age. Our class participants are chosen on a basis of their demonstrated commitment to community issues, desire to learn, and readiness to contribute to the group. They come from the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. Our participants are a mix of first-generation immigrants and second-generation APIs and beyond.
ACLF provides training and support to help these individuals grow as effective leaders, be it as staff, board members, or volunteers in all three sectors. This rewarding experience impacts alumni for many years.
- To foster ethical, compassionate and self-reflective API leaders who promote greater social, economic, and political justice.
- To build strong interpersonal relationships that promote communication, support, and accountability to each other and to the API community.
- To strengthen inter-group collaboration through knowledge and understanding of diverse perspectives within the API community.
- To cultivate leaders who value and practice coalition-building across all communities in order to benefit the community at large.
- To build connections between the CLP class and the greater API community.
Our three-pronged approach fosters the development of individual leadership, community strength, and inter-community unity to promote issues critical to Asian Pacific Islanders:
Program participants receive training in coalition building, interpersonal communication, community development, public speaking, media training, and other critical leadership skills.
Participants develop and apply their leadership skills by completing a community project designed to benefit a local API organization.
Networking and Mentorship
ACLF promotes networking opportunities for participants to meet API community leaders and develop mentor-mentee relationships.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In October 2011, ACLF added 14 new members to its list of over 150 graduates of the Community Leaders Program (CLP) going back since the beginning of the organization.
The CLP class of 2011, like their predecessors, spent six months learning, working, and growing together and all came out of the program ready to lead. Just five months earlier, they met each other for the first time at the program's opening retreat where they jumped head first into the deep history of the Asian Pacific American community's struggle for social justice and fight against oppression. They discussed what it meant to be a leader in this modern age and reflected upon their own past and abilities. At the end of the retreat, there was no turning them back.
There were training sessions where community leaders came to share their wealth of knowledge on the skills it takes to be an effective and caring leader. There were events where community members offered their time and energy to be a mentor to class participants.
While doing all of this, the participants applied their new-found skills on an ambitious and demanding project proposed by the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda). Their task was to assist SCIDpda in developing an Arts Revitalization Strategy that will explore the idea that arts and culture can serve as economic drivers for community reinvestment. The class had to learn the history of the International District and researched what other cities/neighborhoods have done. They solicited ideas and suggestions from a variety of stakeholders and community members. After many hours of dedicated work, the 2011 CLP members presented SCIDpda with a 64 page report on their findings, laying down the first step in a plan that could effect the entire neighborhood for years to come.
The 2011 class is just the latest wave of leaders to come out of ACLF. The next wave is already building and we need to provide them with everything they need to succeed.