Asian Americans represent less than 5% of the population and are the fastest growing and racially diverse minority groups in the United States, estimated to become the largest minority group (9%) by 2050. In the DC area, Asian Americans students represent as much as 7% of the student population. The "model minority myth” suggests that Asian Americans are largely successful, masking the truth about the struggles these students face. About 30% of Asian American students in Montgomery County, DC qualify for reduced priced lunches, and more than 10% of Asian American residents in DC live below the poverty line. Asian American families, therefore, often have many barriers including decreased language proficiency, cultural unfamiliarity, inability to access marketable skill training for occupation attainment. These issues suggest that Asian American students must struggle to become self-sufficient and are an at-risk population (www.aalead.org).
The East Coast Asian American Student Union student-run nonprofit organization traditionally holds an annual conference that gives a forum for college student leaders to discuss issues pertaining to the Asian American population at large and on campuses across the nation. To further provide resources to students who will become student leaders, ECAASU hopes to expand the opportunity to experience a forum-like advocacy discussion to low-income high school students as well. These students would be able to network with other college and high school students, to contribute to a large discussion about about Asian American issues, and to become inspired to make a difference on their own campuses.