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Detroit Asian Youth Project Celebrates 10 years of Mentorship

The Detroit Asian Youth (DAY) Project is celebrating 10 years of connecting urban economically disadvantaged Asian-American youth with college students, artists and community leaders to learn about multiracial coalition building, Asian American history, leadership and social justice activism.

“The program was started in response to questions being raised at the 20-year anniversary of the Vincent Chin incident,” said Detroit Asian Youth (DAY) Project co-founder and coordinator Soh Suzuki, referring to the beating death of a Chinese American man in a Detroit suburb in 1982. “Where has the Asian American community in Detroit gone? What does it mean to organize Asian Americans in Detroit today?”

“We also provide opportunities to discuss and share about their identities,” said Suzuki, questions like “What does it mean to be Asian American in Detroit today?” Other hands-on activities include making a community mural, collecting oral histories, role playing, writing exercises, field trips, and collaborations with other youth groups.

Founded in 2004, DAY Project grew out of Detroit Summer, founded by civil rights icons Jimmy and Grace Lee Boggs; and American Citizens for Justice, founded after the baseball bat beating death of Vincent Chin.

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— Frances Kai-Hwa Wang