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Meet SEARAC's Summer Interns: Fue Lee, Carleton College
Jul 10 Meet SEARAC's Summer Interns: Fue Lee, Carleton College
Hi, my name is Fue Lee and I am from Minneapolis, MN. I am a rising senior at Carleton College majoring in Political Science/International Relations. I was born in Thailand and my family came to the United States as refugees when I was a year old. My family settled in Massachusetts for one year before coming to Minnesota. The neighborhood I lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota for sixteen years has experienced drastic changes due to the number of Hmong families decreasing, the local grocery stores either relocating or closing, and public housing torn down for newer housing developments. This has made me realize the importance of mobilizing the Hmong community—especially youth—to create systemic change.
An interest of mine is the educational disparities between students of color and their majority peers. In particular, national educational data of Asian American students is presented aggregately and this presentation is misleading because it masks educational disparities experienced within the population. This past term at Carleton, I collaborated with the national Students for Education Reform (SFER) organization and formed a chapter on campus to promote awareness about the achievement gap and to mobilize undergraduate students as stakeholders in education reform. We organized a variety of projects and dialogues to provide students with opportunities to address these issues with policymakers and educational professionals. The experience I gained through SFER has been useful during my SEARAC internship, specifically in assisting with the coordination effort of the Leadership and Advocacy Training (LAT).
(Students for Education Reform Minnesota Chapter Leaders)
My previous service experience working with the Southeast Asian community includes serving as a volunteer coordinator for a local Minnesota election. I held this position during the state senate campaign of Carleton alum, Chai Lee, for the 2010 special election in the East Saint Paul district in Minnesota. My primary purpose for working on this campaign was to increase the participation level of Hmong Americans in the electoral process. I encouraged Hmong American youth to volunteer for door knocking, phone banking, and literature drop off to ensure that our candidate was well known in the district. Throughout the election, our campaign was able to inspire many young voters across all races and genders. Specifically we helped mobilize a good number of Hmong Americans to be more civically engaged and politically involved. This unique combination of work experiences has given me great insight and a deep passion to continually serve the Southeast Asian American communities in Minnesota.
(Chai Lee for Minnesota State Senate District 67 Campaign 2010)
This summer, I am working with Riamsalio on SEARAC's annual Leadership and Advocacy Training. I am motivated to undertake this summer internship with SEARAC in order to serve the Southeast Asian American communities since these communities are often grouped under the umbrella of Asian Americans. This grouping forces Southeast Asian American communities out of conversations when it comes to the discussion about race and needs due to the Model Minority Myth—a misconception that all Asian Americans excel academically and faces few obstacles. Thus, I am excited to intern with SEARAC to work towards a more accurate picture of our communities. I hope to bring the knowledge and experiences I gain here in D.C. back to my community in the Twin Cities area, Minnesota.