Leadership & Advocacy Training 2019

Apply by February 28 
Applications are open for SEARAC’s 20th annual Leadership and Advocacy Training (LAT), to be held on June 19-21, 2019, in Washington, DCThe LAT program is a three-day training intended for emerging advocates from Southeast Asian American communities to uplift their stories, explore the collective Southeast Asian American (SEAA) identity, and build collective power as they learn how to become effective advocates for policy change.


LAT is best suited for community members who are highly motivated to advocate for Cambodian, Hmong, Lao, and Vietnamese communities and want to deepen their knowledge about education, health, or immigration policy. After practicing effective communication and framing skills, participants receive the opportunity to advocate for policy solutions that address the needs of their communities. The training culminates in a day of legislative visits with Congressional representatives and/or their staff on Capitol Hill, enabling participants to apply the advocacy skills they have just built during the training. Previous advocacy experience is not required.
Watch our video featuring last year’s cohort for a quick glimpse into LAT:


How to apply

SEARAC will cover the majority of travel and lodging expenses for participants living outside of the Washington, DC area, but participants may be responsible for a portion of their travel costs.
We welcome individuals from all 50 states to apply. Because of key opportunities in Congress, we especially encourage applications from community members in California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Applications due: February 28, 2019
Applicants should expect final decisions and invitations by March 22, 2019.
For more information, please visit www.searac.org/lat or contact Alyssa Tulabut at alyssa@searac.org.

The Hook

Image: Photo-sharing activity from LAT 2017 

One of my earliest childhood memories was a lazy summer afternoon spent curled up in bed, devouring a tiny collection of Amelia Bedelia books that I’d borrowed from the neighborhood library. I was a new reader and couldn’t get enough of it; I skipped dinner and instead consumed page after page.

That day, I was transported away from the small room I shared with my Lola in northern NJ and into the strange but delightful world of bizarre Amelia and her silly antics. I was hooked.

Looking back, Ms. Bedelia started my entire career trajectory—from a community news reporter who covered the inspiring stories of local change agents, to SEARAC’s new Director of Communications and Development, who aims to harness the power of our SEAA community’s stories to inform and guide SEARAC’s advocacy.

After all, stories have that kind of transformative effect on a person. They carry us to foreign lands and introduce us to new characters. They reveal our differences and showcase our commonalities. They move us to laugh, to cry, to hope, and sometimes even to action.

This year, SEARAC asked members of the 19th cohort of our Leadership and Advocacy Training (LAT) program to bring a photograph that captures their personal story and speaks to their inspiration and motivation. Next week, we’ll welcome these 47 individuals, who represent 32 congressional districts from 14 states. During the three-day affair, our trainees will gain knowledge in three main policy areas (education, health, and immigration), learn advocacy strategies, and share their stories with one another. The training culminates on Capitol Hill, where participants will have the opportunity to practice their skills by connecting their personal narratives to policy priorities in meetings with members of Congress. In the process, they’ll also build a national network of fellow committed advocates and social change agents that they can turn to for support as they take the lessons learned and apply it to their own communities all across the country.

Many communities.

Many stories.

Many advocates.

One journey.

I’m honored to be a small part of their travels, and I’m excited to go along for the ride with SEARAC.

Elaine Sanchez Wilson is SEARAC’s new Director of Communications and DevelopmentTo contact her, e-mail elaine@searac.org.