Leadership Training with the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) |Written By: Kyle Lui, 2016 ILF Fellow
On Saturday, July 16th, I had the privilege of attending OCA’s leadership training. While initially apprehensive of the early and long hours on a Saturday, I soon realized that those hours would prove to be extremely valuable and enriching. The training began with a few icebreakers and breakfast from Panera’s. After the initial icebreaker, we were put into groups to categorize historical, discriminatory events against Asian Americans it’s form of discrimination. After compiling everyone categorizations of events on a visual timeline, many reacted in disbelief at how many events made up the timeline.
Afterwards, we had a discussion about the erasure of history and its problems in the education system. Although many people disagreed on the root of this issue, I appreciated the kindness and respect opposing speakers conducted themselves with. Another activity I thoroughly enjoyed was an activity we did about the different parts of our identity. We discussed what did and didn’t give us privilege and what we felt safe in. In our discussions, people opened up about some of their most vulnerable issues they have dealt with growing up. People even shed tears and the room was full of love and support. It is amazing and heartwarming to see how vulnerable people are willing to open up in a space where they feel comfortable even if they do not know everyone in the room.
Although it was late in our summer, I really enjoyed actually having a space to get to know and be vulnerable with other Asian American interns from the other programs affiliated with ILF. Lastly, we participated in an activity about different leadership types, named after different animals. We self identified with one of these animals and divided into our respective groups to discuss the pros and cons of our leadership styles. In the end of the activity, each animal group pitched an idea to another group. Although I still do not know exactly what leadership style I possess, I truly feel like I know what will work well when I do figure that out. Overall, the 8 hours spent at OCA national center proved to be a transformative experience.