Project FIRE is a new collaboration among four Asian Pacific American (APA) organizations in New York City, created to facilitate a youth-led racial healing project between the respective organization’s youth programs, and serving a total of 750 youth over three years. According to the 2006 American Community Survey, Asians are by percentage the fastest growing group in New York City, nearly doubling every decade since 1970 and constituting nearly 12% of the population. Of the nearly one million Asians living in New York City’s five boroughs, 78% are foreign-born, 28% speak little or no English, and 53% are born into poverty. This is a community quite diverse in language, culture, immigration experience, and socio-economic status.
Project FIRE will enhance youth learning and development by developing greater self-knowledge (understanding one’s experience with racism), leadership competence (the capacity to mobilize oneself and others to work collaboratively), and facilitate grassroots social change in the community. Activities will include: the Annual Asian Pacific American Youth Summit and APA Youth Dialogues to educate, train, and inspire cross-community dialogues among a future generation of anti-racism APA activists; Inter-Community Visitations – youth-led community tours where participants receive a first-hand feel for another community and participate in a grassroots action; and curriculum-based initiatives to document best community organizing practices and create an accessible anti-racism curriculum for APA youth. During the first two years of the project, efforts will be focused on anti-racism work within the APA community – prioritizing a close examination of the community’s complexity. In the final year, the project will begin to integrate other communities of color into the project.