The Asian American Federation of Florida (AAFF) is a 501(c)(3) coalition that aims to unity and collaboration among the various Asian Pacific American organizations and to improve the relationship of a culturally diverse Asian Pacific American community in Florida. The AAFF is a statewide organization made up of more than 50 Bangladesh, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Iranian, Korean, Laotian, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese faith-based and community-based organizations, businesses and media.



AAFF Youth Council at the LDBF Summit

By Catherine Wong

C.K. Lau

The Asian American Federation of Florida (AAFF) is a 501(c)(3) coalition that aims to unity and collaboration among the various Asian Pacific American organizations and to improve the relationship of a culturally diverse Asian Pacific American community in Florida. The AAFF is a statewide organization made up of more than 70 Bangladesh, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Iranian, Korean, Laotian, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese faith-based and community-based organizations, businesses and media.

At the LDBF/AAFF summit, the Asian Ameri- can Federation of Florida (AAFF) Youth Council was formed. While participating in a student panel based on empowering Asian-American youth, several student panelists discussed about different approaches and project ideas to empower Asian-American youth. With this, there was enough motivation and participation to form the AAFF Youth Council, and the first meeting was held immediately after the panel adjourned. Now that the AAFF Youth Council is formed, they are actively seeking motivated youth to take part in their ambitions to ultimate- ly serve the Asian-American society to its fullest potential. Upon posing some questions toa few panelists who participated, all of whom currently attend universities in the state of Florida, here are the responses they provided:

Alyssa Wang, Anna Sun, Deanna Kalil, Catherine Wong, Anthony-Ray Espino Reynolds Neha Swaroop, Pulkit Agrawal, and Lawrence Wong

Awards presentation from Anthony-Ray Espino Reynolds to Lawrence Wong, Catherine Wong, Alyssa Wang, Neha Swaroop, and Anna Sun


After attending the summit, what can you reflect upon?

LAWRENCE WONG: My immediate reaction was optimism. I was glad to see an organization as the large AAFF take direct action for the youth, and I was glad to be a part of it.

ALYSSA WANG: As a Chinese-American, I have lived most of my life in predominantly white neighborhoods. I grew up not knowing much about my heritage and what makes being Asian- American so special. It was only after attending the summit that I realized how deep and extensive the Asian-American community is in Florida, and I saw how much they contribute and affect their communities. I saw that they can give people a stronger meaning in life and an uplifting pride of who they are.

ANTHONY REYNOLDS: The summit was an incredible opportunity to meet individuals who shared the same passion I have for Florida’s APIA community. It was great to hear what projects and initiatives other groups have been working on in different parts of the state – the summit provided a forum for everyone to share knowledge and information with one another, allowing us all to learn from each other’s success and provide a platform for future collaboration.

CATHERINE WONG: After attending the summit, I have gained a greater insight on the mission of AAFF and the importance of the contribution of youth to AAFF.Throughout the conference, I have experienced a great welcoming feeling as minori- ties from all cultures were brought together to col- laborate with ideas and experiences to gain that motivation and wisdom from others, providing the resources necessary to succeed and achieve goals. In the youth panel I took part in, I met with and listened to the vantage points of other youths to fully understand what we must do in order to succeed with our ultimate goal of empowerment. To my surprise, I realized that for the most part everyone submitting their ideas and providing their inputs tackled youth empowerment from different angles, offering different perspectives which definitely expanded my mindset and kept it open as we collaborated in a meeting following the panel.

Why is empowering the Asian-American youth imperative, in your opinion?

LAWRENCE WONG: Empowering youth is a long-term play for stron- ger future leadership. In my opinion, a lot of who we are results from how we established ourselves in the past. Following that logic, if we want powerful leaders for the future and in the long-term, the com- munity needs to identify and empower talent while they’re young and underdeveloped. That way, we make the right people the best that they can be.

ALYSSA WANG: Without a continuous flow of Asian-American leaders in the community, how can our efforts remain consistent and remembered? While we have current leaders, youth are the future leaders. They need to continually maintain the relations and connec- tions over and over. It should be a continuous cycle in order to achieve the ultimate goal of a unified Asian-American community in Florida.

ANTHONY REYNOLDS: While it’s been said many times before, I truly believe the youth are the future of the great state of Florida and our Na- tion as a whole. Oftentimes many of my peers lose interest and passion for their heritage and culture – I’m so grateful my parents ingrained in me a powerful pride in my Filipino-American background. It is so crucial for our community that we re-ignite the spirit of pride in one’s culture among the youth. Without a passion for our culture, our community is
at risk of losing its identity. The very fabric of Florida’s APIA population rests entirely in the willingness of my generation to continue what our parents and grandparents have laid the groundwork for. This is what drives me – the compelling sentiment that should my peers and I fail to preserve our culture and heritage, the identity of being a Filipino-Amer- ican and an Asian-American in Florida would be forever changed.

CATHERINE WONG: The youth must be targeted as soon as pos- sible because they hold the keys to the future, what our society and planet will become. With this, it is important for youth to realize that they are needed as much as adults are to forward society. The youth also provide more energy and vitality to current projects, which in turn can result in a more successful end product. Especially with the time that is able to be implemented, the youth can definitely be a big help in accomplishing projects, and are usually willing to do so. After all, they


SOURCE: 14 Aug 2011 • asiatrendmagazine.com

# # #are depended upon to take over existing professions and positions.
The sooner youth are being reached out to the better it is to prevent the tragedy of closed-mindedness and ignorance.
If you have any questions, comments and/or are interested in being a part of this AAFF Youth Council, please contact us at: board@ aaffyc.org




The AAFF/FMCRC/Let's Do Business Florida Summit

MIAMI, FLORIDA – July 15, 2011

AAFF Summit

                On June 16-17, 2011, more than 50 Asian American community leaders gathered in Fort Lauderdale during the Annual Summit of the Asian American Federation of Florida (AAFF), to discuss economic development, issues and opportunities that impact their communities, organizations, and businesses. This was done in conjunction with the Florida Economic Development Summit hosted by Let’s Do Business Florida and Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition (FMCRC).

                Key members of the White House and Federal agencies including Minority Development Business Agency (MBDA), HUD, and Department of Labor identified the need for public services and resources in the context job creation in low-and-moderate income communities,  and successful approaches for addressing these needs. The panelists explored federal efforts to support job creation development in low-and-moderate income communities, including the challenges of access to community economic development capital for nonprofits that serve minority and underserved communities.


                Jeanette Lee,  Staff Attorney for the Asian American Justice Center’s Affirmative Action Program, talked about the necessity and effectiveness of minority contracting programs in public and private sectors locally and nationally, and encouraged Florida Asian American business owners and organizations to share and write their experiences in government and corporate contracting. Jessica Chia, NAPABA Law Foundation Partners and In-House Counsel Community Law Fellow at the Asian American Justice Center, discussed the DREAM Act and  the need for community advocacy.  Dr. Antonio Wong,  Medical Director of Doctors Plus, gave an update on affordable health care and its impact on the Asian community.  Ahn Nguyen, Partnership and Data Specialist from the U.S. Census Bureau, Atlanta Region, summarized the latest statistical data for Asian Americans in Florida at the Summit and gave a hands-on workshop at the NANAY Community Center on how to access online data from the Census.  Mikki Canton,  Founder and CEO of Asia-Americana  International LLC and Senior Public Policy Advisor to the Mayor of the City of Miami for Public/Private Partnerships and International Alliances, presented plans to set up an Asia Americana International District in Miami. ASIA Affinity Group gave free visual screening to the Summit attendees and a powerpoint presentation on Health Vision.

                The highlight of the AAFF Summit was a panel presentation by Florida student leaders who participated in the AAFF Youth Essay Contest  on “How To Empower Youth To Become Future Leaders of Our Community”. Lawrence Wong and Catherine Wong from the University of Miami garnered the First and Second Prizes, while Alyssa Wang from the University of Florida won the Third Prize. The other youth panelists were Neha Swaroop, Northeast High School Graduate who is going to University of Florida beginning in Fall 2011; and Anna Sun, a second year student from University of Florida.  The panel was moderated by Anthony Reynolds, Vice President of the University of Florida Student Body and Chief Executive Officer of the Student Government Cabinet.  Below are excerpts of the speeches presented by the youth.

Anthony-Ray Espino Reynolds - AAFF Youth Council - 6/17/2011
Lawrence Wong (part 1)
Lawrence Wong (part 2)
Catherine Wong
Alyssa Wang
Neha Swaroop
Anna Sun
All Video produced by Asia Trend Magazine http://www.AsiaTrendMagazine.com

                “AAFF would like to encourage youth participation and identify future community leaders that can be mentored and who can potentially bring Asian Americans in Florida to a higher level of achievement,” said AAFF President Dr.  Joy Bruce.

                As a result of this initiative, the AAFF Board members unanimously agreed to create  a new AAFF Youth Council, that will initially be headed by Anthony Reynolds and Lawrence Wong.

                The next AAFF meeting will be held on October 15-16, 2011 at Double Tree Hotel in Orlando, Florida, and will include a 4-hour workshop on the business requirements for Government Contracting to be facilitated by Atlanta-based President of Government Contractors Association,  Abe Xiong, who will share vital information  on how to register, prepare and successfully negotiate for government contracts.

The Asian American Federation of Florida (AAFF) is also planning to include Voters Education and Advocacy in its next meeting agenda, with specific focus on the Alien Land Law (Florida is the only State that still has this provision discriminating and prohibiting Asians from owning properties). The current Florida Census data will be utilized to design initiatives for advocacy and empowerment, which includes voters’ registration and youth mobilization.

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