Attendees at the first ACT Conference shared insights about their identities on signs on February 8, 2014 at the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center. • Courtesy Photo
Attendees at the first ACT Conference shared insights about their identities on signs on February 8, 2014 at the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center. • Courtesy Photo

The University of Washington is often viewed as an institution where Asian students rule the campus. People turn left and right and can see Asians everywhere. Asians are not seen as the minority at UW Seattle and the prevalence of Asians on this campus masks the struggles and oppressions of the people who make up this demographic. At this school, realizing the discrimination and hardships that the Asian community faces is difficult. Asian Coalition for Equality (ACE) is a unique organization on this campus that strives to dismantle the stigmas and preconceived notions that people at UW and Seattle have about Asians. ACE breaks down the barriers of ignorance and racism in order to increase awareness of marginalization within our communities, advocacy for equal representation and resources, and collaboration within the Asian community and across color lines. Asians and Asian Americans do have problems and are not the “model minority.”

ACE resides in a unique niche at the University of Washington and Seattle. We consist of a generation of youth that have a desire to learn and advocate for our communities. We want to form relationships with other students and community organizations to collaborate around issues of social justice. ACE is not just a social venue or a mere forum to express anger and frustration. ACE is focused on using action to resist oppression.

ACE was one of the first organizations in Seattle that organized Asians to build solidarity with other races and fight for civil rights. In 1969, ACE demanded for the inclusion of Asian Americans into the University of Washington’s Special Education Program and the affirmative action recruiting. That same year, ACE protested for job equality and police repression. Individuals of ACE united with the community and other races to protect and secure civil rights.

In 2015, the passion for Asian and Asian American advocacy is still present. ACE continues to work with other organizations at the University of Washington and community members. We have fought for the creation of a permanent Southeast Asian Recruiter position at the University of Washington, facilitated the remembrance and conversation regarding Vincent Chin, created space for the discussion of the sexualization of Asian women, and brought leaders, activists, and students together to connect. We serve as a bridge to bring the community onto the campus of UW and UW into the community. Through collaboration, ideas, and aspirations, the beginnings of change and movements can transpire.

Our signature marquee event is the annual Asians Collaborating Together (ACT) Conference. The ACT Conference is an opportunity and space for students and community members to engage in and learn about their own identities and to use that knowledge to act and contribute to society. This conference is different than other events that are hosted at the University of Washington because of the ACT Conference’s emphasis on leadership and power through education. ACT is more than a leadership conference and is greater than just a social gathering; it is a space wholly for our community.

The 2015 ACT Conference takes place on April 4 at the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center. Our overarching themes this year are identity and unity. By cultivating a deep awareness and appreciation of Asian identities, participants will learn to be able to identify and comprehend the discrimination that our communities face. Unity encompasses the collaboration across ethnic and racial lines in the fight for equality.

To facilitate the learning, discussion, and action, ACE has selected excellent individuals to host interactive workshops, panelists, and performances. Our keynote speakers consist of Judge Dean Lum and former Washington State Gov. Gary Locke.

With Locke, Lum, and a gamut of other community leaders, the Asians Collaborating Together Conference is a unique opportunity for everyone to congregate, build relationships, and take action. Come and learn about Black and Asian relations, historical collaborations, rights, and much more. Events like the ACT Conference do not come around often, so please attend.

Tickets for the conference can be purchased at:

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