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2017 Imagine Us! Awards: Call for Nominations

Walmart Black Friday Picket

Nominate a young leader or group committed to justice and equity today!

On April 13, 2017, 21 Progress hosts our second annual Imagine Us! Celebrating Bold and Visionary Leadership, a multicultural award ceremony and dinner dedicated to awarding emerging everyday leaders between the ages of 15-25.  Imagine Us! showcases and honors young individuals and/or a group who are committed to equity and justice in the Seattle and Puget Sound region, and are empowering their communities in bold and innovative ways. We need your help recognizing these young leaders!

Review the criteria below and nominate a leader or group HERE!

By celebrating these Imagine Us! award recipients, we hope to change the conversation on how we define leadership and recognize the hundreds of young people committed to equity and justice.


All nominations must be submitted by Sunday, March 5th, at 11:59 PM. The online nomination requires you as a nominator to provide your contact information and relationship to the the person or group you are nominating, and provide us the nominee’s email and/or phone number.  We also ask for a 250 word explanation about why you believe the nominee meets the following criteria:

Criteria for consideration:

  1. AGE: The nominee must be between the ages of 15-25 years old. If nominating a group, most members should be between these ages.
  2. LITTLE or NO POSITION OR TITLE:  We are looking for emerging “everyday” leaders, those who do not necessarily have a position or title, or typical resources, yet demonstrate great acts of leadership and courage in order to achieve equity and justice for others.
  3. ACT(S) of LEADERSHIP: An identifiable act or group of acts that demonstrate extraordinary boldness and commitment to equity and justice in the areas of:
    • Racial/social equity, such as Black Lives Matter
    • Economic justice, such as workers’ rights, reform movements, policy advocacy
    • Immigrant justice, such as immigration reform, DACA support, social awareness
    • Movement Building, such as working against income inequality with a gender lens
  4. IMPACT: Definable and visible benefits for the community as a result of this act or group of acts of leadership.


After your nomination is submitted, the Selection Committee will invite the finalists to an interview with the selection committee between March 14 and March 24.  From these interviews, we will select 4-5 winners of the 2017 Imagine Us! Awards from the community. Below is a rough timeline of the process from beginning to end:

    • Nominations Deadline – March 5, 2017 @ 11:59 PM
    • Nomination Review – March 6 – March 13, 2017
    • Nominee Interviews – March 14 – March 24, 2017
    • Awardees will be notified by April 3, 2017

All award winners and a guest are invited to the leadership award ceremony on April 13.

(4) Bold Leadership Awards (3 – individual awards, 1- group award)

This award honors a leader or group who is deeply committed to justice and equity and has become a catalyst for change in the community.

(1) Maeda Leadership Award

One of the Bold Leadership Award winners will be awarded the Maeda Leadership Award, in honor of Sharon Maeda, the first executive director of 21 Progress and a social justice activist for almost 40 years. The winner of this award will receive a gift of $500 to support the leader’s goals.

Thank you for your participation and help as we celebrate our young leaders.  Please contact with any questions or concerns.

Community engagement
Community engagement

21 Progress Receives Emerging Human Rights Group Award

{21 Progress Staff}

On December 8th, 21 Progress received the Seattle Human Rights Commission Emerging Human Rights Group award.

In 2011, 21 Progress was founded on the idea that we must unite and develop diverse leaders to end inequality and build thriving communities. We believe that the working class, youth, and diverse folks from all racial, cultural, and gender identities not only are vital for transformative community change, but that transformation can only occur if these leaders are leading the work. Right now, leadership is broken and our work seeks to reclaim, redefine, and imagine leadership as boldly working together for justice.

Our flagship program, Build Your Dream, is the largest provider of financial assistance to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) eligible youth and leadership development for undocumented youth and young adults in Washington State. Build Your Dream has reached over 5,000 undocumented folks to pursue college, careers, and advocate for migrant rights at all levels, from their own communities to Washington, D.C.

Our community education collaborates with 50 community based organizations, 20 high schools and colleges to deliver leadership curriculum focused on economic justice, human rights, and social change to more than 2,500 students in classrooms. Through digital media campaigns and ethnic media that have reached over 3 million people, and a 5-state social justice pilgrimage through the deep south, we aim to inspire a generation to believe in the power of their voice and to challenge inequality in schools and in the community. Year round, we provide training to 140+ emerging and established leaders to create social change campaigns rooted in imagination, relationship, and purpose.

21 Progress was founded by UFCW 21, a 45,000 member private sector union who continues to be a core partner in our shared work for economic and social justice today. We are truly grateful for the formative partnership of Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, International Examiner, the Fair Work Center, and the Satterberg Foundation. Most importantly, we are deeply in gratitude to our elders, fierce advocates and allies, and a young community of diverse young leaders who allow us to walk alongside them in the pursuit of joy and justice every day. This honor is a challenge to serve more deeply, and we will. 

Featured image courtesy of Seattle Human Rights Commission Twitter – @humanrights206

Attention Students: We Are Looking for a Work Study Intern!

Are you a work study eligible student?
Are you interested in developing programs for youth of color?
Are you passionate about social justice and equity for all?

If yes, apply for a 21 Progress work study position today.

{21 Progress Volunteers}

About 21 Progress:

21 Progress seeks to foster the talented leadership of youth of color in our community while providing living wage jobs. Through popular education, civic engagement and arts & culture, 21 Progress assists emerging leaders – especially young adults and immigrants – to claim their place in building a more just society and reaching their dream. Be apart of our young diverse team of passionate activist and change leaders today.

21 Progress takes a progressive stance in an effort to dismantle traditionally harmful non-profit practices. We aim to give all of our interns a collaborative experience that they find valuable, and provide opportunities for education, not just service.

Learn more about 21 Progress or meet our staff here.

Intern Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Work directly with the Director of Programs to strengthen current programs and develop new ones
  • Think critically to conceptualize and implement project plans
  • Work with a team to actively build exciting and innovative programs
  • Facilitate, organize, and run workshops and related programs
  • Support administrative and logistical needs
  • Research available programs and resources to build knowledge and understanding
  • Support 21 Progress staff as needed

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Eligible for work study
  • Has experience or is passionate about serving diverse communities and multi-cultural liberation
  • Interested in social justice, enjoys learning about, building deep consciousness, and engaging in conversations around contemporary social justice issues
  • Able to take direction quickly and effectively; works well with minimal instruction, can execute on the go, and meets deadlines
  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Proficient in Office Suite: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.

Educational Benefits:

  • Gain hands on experience and contribute to the progressive social justice movement
  • Gain project management and collaboration experience and with activist, students, and community organizers
  • Work and learn directly from passionate young professionals who are committed to your development
  • Meet other passionate, young volunteers and professionals
  • Monthly potlucks, lunch and learns, and other leadership development opportunities

Compensation: $12-$13/hour

Application Deadline: Monday November 28th, 2016

How to Apply: Submit your resume & cover letter to Marissa Vichayapai (



What are the benefits of DACA?

Here’s how DACA is improving the lives of young immigrants, according to this 2015 nationwide survey conducted by the Center for American Progress, the National Immigration Law Center, and Tom K. Wong of the University of California, San Diego.

  • The average hourly wage increase after receiving DACA was 45% (from $11.92 to $17.29)
  • 57% increased their family’s earning power
  • 69% of recipients obtained a better paying job
  • 89% were able to get a driver’s license or state ID
  • 21% bought their first car
  • 92% of recipients who are students “pursued educational opportunities they previously could not”

Source: The Center for American Progress, “Results from a Nationwide Survey of DACA Recipients Illustrate the Program’s Impact”

Other benefits reported by the Center for American Progress include less fear of taking part in daily activities, an increase in civic participation, better access to healthcare and the ability to help both documented and undocumented family members.

In brief, DACA recipients have experienced significant economic and educational mobility since its implementation in 2012.

Read more:

State-by-State Analysis of the Economic Impact of DACA

The Top Ten Benefits of being DACA-mented

3 Years In, It’s Increasingly Clear that DACA Benefits All of Us

What are the primary benefits of a DACA loan?

  • The loan allows the applicant to overcome one of the biggest hurdles to accessing DACA: paying the $465 application fee. According to Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, this is one of the number one reasons eligible immigrants say they delay their applications.
  • The loan recipient receives the loan from a credit union, which gives them access to mainstream financial services and establishes a line of credit.
  • DACA loans from accredited institutions keep desperate applicants from borrowing from predatory lenders and potentially deepening their financial difficulties.

Read more:

GCIR: Expanding Financial Access for Immigrants

Overcoming Barriers to Applying for DACA: Loan Programs for Potential Applicants

DACA Loans for Low-Income Applicants

Young Leaders Rise Up: TXT 4 JUSTICE

Seth_MayDay-3The Problem

Mikaela is sixteen years old and she works at a well known Seattle mall for her first summer job. She was unaware that the minimum wage is currently $10.50 an hour instead of the $7.25 national average that she is getting paid. She deserves to know — and we want to help. Unfortunately, every single day wage theft among young workers occurs. According to the Economy Policy Institute, in three major cities the combined wage theft was nearly $3 billion dollars for low income jobs.

The Solution

Our economic justice project this summer is Young Leaders Rise Up TXT-4-JUSTICE. Seattle has passed some of the best laws for workers: wage theft protection, ban the box, paid sick leave, but laws don’t work if we don’t know about them.

This campaign is an easy friendly text messaging program that informs young workers, ages 16 to 24, of their rights at work. We want young folks to have access to the laws that impact them, their families and community. I believe access is power.

You can find our team at Southcenter Mall, Capitol Hill, Seattle University, University of Washington, Seattle Street Food Fair, and Seattle Center and your next community event. We are on a mission to meet young folks where they live, work, and play. We are at 200 young leaders who know and your support will get us at 500 young folks served by Young Leaders Rise Up.




We encourage you to sign up for our Young Leaders Rise Up by texting                                               “GO” to (206) 900 – 9569

International Examiner is Hiring Newspaper Distributors!

The International Examiner is seeking young people who are interested and able to help distribute our community newspaper twice a month!

This is an awesome opportunity for young folks who are invested in the community to develop more connections. We would love to share this opportunity to people who are involved in the community or looking to get more involved!

The International Examiner is a nonprofit paper that has been serving Seattle’s Asian-Pacific Islander community since 1974. The print issue of the paper comes out on first and third Wednesdays and they need your help to get the news out into the community!

newspaperWhat are the benefits?

  • These delivery positions are PAID (routes range from $20-$70) and contract-based.
  • It’s a great opportunity for high school and college students (or recent graduates) looking to supplement their income without committing to regular part-time work.
  • Distribution can be physically demanding, but it’s also an excellent workout every other week!

Time Commitment:

  • 3 months or more


  • Valid work permits are required but they contract with DACAmented young folks as well!
  • Access to a car for the South End and West Seattle routes.

Contact Lexi Potter either by email at or by phone at 206.972.5125!

New Community Outreach Volunteer Position with FAIR!

21 Progress is seeking a Community Outreach Volunteer for FAIR!

Are you interested in getting experience in community building and organizing? Do you want to make a difference within your community?

Are you fluent in or have strong conversation ability in: Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Tongan, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Tagalog, or Vietnamese?IMG_2163_i0uuhf

FAIR! Advocates at the ACT Conference with former Governor
Gary Locke and Aiko Schaefer.

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, help 21 Progress promote it’s FAIR! Fearless Asians for Immigration Reform Program within your own community!

The ideal Community Outreach Volunteer would be interested in community organizing work and be available to help table at events and feel confident speaking to strangers about our programs and services. If this sounds like you,  check out more information here!

unspecifiedSome of our amazing volunteers being activist and marching in the 2016 May Day Parade
for Immigrant and Workers Rights!

Perks and Impact:

  • Be on a team of young advocates who are working to make a difference in their community!
  • Gain skills around community building and organizing, as well as, communication.
  • Get hands on experience
  • Provide crucial help in connecting undocumented non-English speakers to much-needed social support services

Learn more here and apply now!

Note: A required four hour training and orientation will take place June 9th from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Please apply soon and RSVP to the event. 

For questions or comments or to RSVP, please email JoLee at

DAPA Reaches Supreme Court

US v. Texas has now reached the highest court in the nation. On April 18, 2016 the US Supreme Court heard the oral arguments of both sides of US v. Texas, the case that is the center of the fight for DAPA and Expanded DACA. This means that the Supreme Court listened to the reasoning behind why Texas and other States are suing the US Government. Texas and other States are claiming that creating the new programs, DAPA and Expanded DACA, would be too much of a financial burden. However, the Obama administration is arguing that DAPA and Expanded DACA would bring in revenue to the state because of taxes.

A decision from the Supreme Court on DAPA and Expanded DACA has yet to be made, but one should be expected in June 2016. Until then, what happens to DAPA and Expanded DACA will remain unclear, but there is good support for these programs.

In the meantime:

  • DACA is still in effect, so if you or someone you know might be eligible for DACA, get screened today by calling 206-579-1255 or visit
  • If you or someone you know might be eligible for DAPA or Expanded DACA get screened, save money, and start preparing your evidence (applications are not available yet).
  • If you are an advocate, you can spread the word and inform others of about this important issue. Share this fun and short video about what’s happening:

Past 21 Progress Posts on DAPA and Expanded DACA:

The Fight Isn’t Over. We’re Going To The Supreme Court – November 9, 2015 – Link

DACA/DAPA Delay: Here’s The Facts – March 23, 2015 – Link

Stay Focused, Keep Applying, Keep Fighting – February 2, 2015 – Link




關於這兩個項目, 最高法院還沒下發最終裁決, 但預計在2016年6月會有結果。在此之前,DAPA和DACA的前景還沒明朗,但關於這兩個項目我們還是受到一定的支持。


  • DACA依然有效,如果你或者任何你身邊認識的人有符合DACA條件的,請在今天致電206-579-1255,或者登錄 了解更多資訊。
  • 如果你或者你身邊認識的人符合DAPA或者DACA條件的人經過了篩選,積累存款,並且開始收集證據。
  • 如果你是代訟人,你可以跟身邊的人分享這個信息。同時可以觀看以下相關視頻:

以下是21 Progress關於DAPA和DACA擴展的貼文:
持續關注,繼續申請,共同抗爭 –2月2日,2015 –

抗爭還沒結束,我們正邁向高級法院 — 11月9日,2015 – Link

DACA/DAPA 延後: 這就是現狀 – 3月23日,2015 – Link


한국어 번역

미국 vs. 텍사스 건이 미국 대법원에 도달했습니다. 2016년 4월 18일, DAPA와 확장형 DACA 프로그램 논쟁의 중심에 있는 미국 vs. 텍사스 건의 피고와 양고는 연방 대법원에서 구두변론 했습니다. 이것은 연방 대법원이 연방정부를 고소한 텍사스 주와 다른 주의 논리를 들었다는 뜻입니다. 이 주들은 DAPA와 확장형 DACA 프로그램을 시작하는 것이 큰 재정적 부담을 가져온다고 주장했습니다. 그러나, 오바마 정부는 DAPA와 확장형 DACA 프로그램의 세금으로 인한 주 정부 예산 증가를 주장했습니다.

아직 DAPA와 확장형 DACA 프로그램에 대한 연방 대법원의 결정은 내려지지 않았지만 2016년 6월 까지는 결정이 내려질 것이라 예상됩니다. 그때까지 프로그램의 존속여부는 불확실하나 많은 프로그램 지지자가 있습니다.


  • DACA 프로그램은 아직도 유효합니다. 만약 주변에 DACA 프로그램에 적격인 사람이 있으면 206-579-1255 또는 에서 확인하세요
  • 주변에 DAPA 또는 확장형 DACA 프로그램에 지원 할 사람이 있으면 지원자격 확인, 저축 및 증거수집을 시작하세요 (지원서는 아직 이용 할 수 없습니다)
  • 만약 당신이 대변자라면, 이 프로그램들에 관련 정보를 퍼뜨려 주세요.  짧고 유익한 비디오를 공유하세요:

DAPA 와 확장형 DACA 프로그램에 관한 21 Progress 포스트:

계속 노력하고,  신청하고, 논쟁하세요 – 2015년 2월 2일 – Link

아직 끝나지 않았습니다. 대법원으로 갑니다 – 2015년 11월 9일 – Link

DACA/DAPA 지연: 이슈관련 사실 – 2015년 3월 23일 – Link

Seven Leaders for Equity and Justice – Imagine Us

{Imagine Us Awardee}

“For the Imagine Us Award winners, we asked for nominations in the community of young equity and justice leaders between the ages of 15 and 35 years old who had performed acts of leadership that led to direct benefits for individuals and communities. We received 27 nominations for 16 candidates. Even though it was our first year, we received outstanding nominations of leadership from the sectors of education, environmental justice, labor and worker rights, housing access, and immigrant reform. These leaders were all “everyday leaders” making impact from direct access for individuals to statewide policy. From the list of 16, the selection committee narrowed the list to 7 winners, representing a tapestry of leadership across our communities.” -Imagine Us Awards chair, Susie Wu

The awardees:

{Ariana}Ariana Davis – It’s difficult to imagine that someone as young as Ariana Davis has accomplished so much in such a short period of time. This young labor activist’s vision is to build a powerful member-based union. As a mere 26 years old, Ariana is the youngest female executive board member serving United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21. Ariana has worked at Safeway since she was 16 years old, and is a dynamic leader and spokesperson for workers rights. On the ground, Ariana signed up over 400 members to Local 21’s active ballot club and gathered thousands of signatures for initiative 1433. She has organized grocery workers at Safeway and Albertson’s in Oregon, and worked on paid sick leave and minimum wage campaigns in Bellingham and Tacoma. As if that weren’t enough, Ariana has trained union members how to tell their stories to elected officials and the public, and run community forums, informational pickets, and rallies. She is also currently going through her first bargaining session as a lead spokesperson.

{Edi}Edi Flores – Edi Flores is a young man who is passionate about serving the Latino community. He has 14 years of direct social service experience at Lifewire, Bellevue LifeSpring, and currently,  Jubilee REACH, a Christian-based nonprofit partnering with Bellevue School District. Edi works tirelessly as a bilingual domestic violence child and youth advocate. Edi joined 21 Progress after learning that one of his families needed support with their DACA application. Rather than passing along information, Edi attended the Success After DACA program to educate himself and has now taken the lead at 21 Progress in reaching out to as many families as he can. His positive energy and willingness to help others are contagious, and he talks openly about his own life and the barriers he’s had to overcome, in order to encourage others not to be afraid to claim their rights. In his own words, Edi states, “As a DACA-mented young adult I have learn to be bold. I have to serve as a role model, sharing my personal experience with other undocumented students who find themselves in a similar situation. My hope is for 1079 students to continue leading with courage.”

{Amy}Amy Kele – Amy Kele inspires us because of her spirit of leadership and perseverance at such a young age and with such responsibilities. She was born in the Fiji Islands and moved to Washington State when she was four years old. Amy grew up in a mixed-immigration-status family,  within a community where opportunity was scarce, and gang violence was right outside her door. Separated from her parents for over seven years, Amy helped raise her three younger siblings and supported her elderly grandmother. Amy overcame great odds and at 19 years old, Amy currently attends the University of Washington, Bothell, being the first in her family to attend college. She is seeking an undergraduate degree in Biology and is a student advisor for incoming freshman and active member of a social justice student group.

This past year, Amy went on a 100 Women 100 Miles Pilgrimage to raise awareness for immigration reform. Upon returning,  Amy has organized one-mile marches around the Everett community to keep the discussion of reform alive. Like Edi,  Amy has taken that great leap of courage to share her own personal experiences to encourage others like her to access support in the DACA application process. Her ongoing and consistent work and dedication and commitment to her community is what inspired this award.

{Samantha}Samantha Keller – One of the descriptions that stood out to us on the Awards Committee was this statement about Samantha from her nominator: “Sam is an amazing leader – the kind of leader that does an incredible amount of work, but so rarely gets publicly recognized for all she has done to support workers and people of color.” As the program director at the Fair Work Center, Sam coordinates the Fair Work Collaborative, which conducts outreach and education on labor standards in Seattle. She is a strong community organizer who built intentional relationships with South Park and Georgetown residents in a study on of diesel exhaust pollution. Because these residents had previously experienced shoddy processes and reporting from other research agencies, Sam persisted in centering this study on the their needs and concerns. Her work resulted in a successful collaboration between citizens and researchers. Sam’s colleague at Puget Sound Sage describes Sam as a young leader who “is not afraid to challenge and speak up when inequity has been missed and is also able to hear and dialogue with differing opinions.” According to her colleague, it is Sam’s humbleness and humor which allow her to keep her activism fresh and energized.

{Saraswati}Saraswati Noel – Saraswati Noel is a math teacher at Seattle World School, which is a 100% ELL school for newly arrived immigrants, and which annually graduates students who have been in the country less than 3 years. Her nominator writes, “Saraswati is innovative with her curriculum, because she takes a subject matter that is oftentimes not seen as applicable to real life, let alone social justice and racial justice, and shows them how to apply mathematics in these contexts.” For example, after Seattle World School had been passed over repeatedly by the school district for a new building, Saraswati showed her students how math can be used to advance social justice in their lives. Under her guidance,  students designed math problems to investigate and show the added amount of travel time an average Seattle World Student took to get to their school. The students then presented these findings to the district.  As a result of their efforts, Seattle World School will now be moving into a building specially tailored to their needs. Her principal credits Saraswati with the growing leadership developing among her students: “Our ASB presidents who are Winners for Life winners both noted Ms. Noel as the one teacher influential to them.”

{Carlos}Carlos Willcuts – Carlos Willcuts is one of the Area Directors for Jubilee REACH in Bellevue, and in this role has touched countless lives of the students and families at the schools in which he has worked. Carlos’ 12 nominations nearly overwhelmed the Awards Committee.  Rather than summarize his contributions, it is more powerful for me to quote an excerpt from one of his nominators who spoke so deeply about Carlos’ impact on his life: “The thing that has inspired me to nominate Carlos for this award is the way he does things for others. His devotion for the greater good of others is what has gotten him so loved by everyone. When I was in Middle School and just got to this country,  about 6 years ago I really struggled with self-esteem and tried to fit in with a crowd of kids to not feel lonely.  And because I wanted to fit in with them I ended up misbehaving in school. This cycle continued and I kept feeling lonelier and not comfortable. It was because I didn’t have that role model to seek help with these problems. I felt desperate so I stayed in silence and I could not voice out my concerns to anybody. When Carlos showed up because of his constant pursuit, I was able to trust in him and tell him what I was going through. He helped me realize that being myself and being happy are more important than trying to impress or belong to a group of people.” This story is just one example of the first of many and different stories and impacts that Carlos has done in this community.

Brady Huang
– Brady is the inaugural Maeda Award winner. He is a social justice activist focused on genderism, racism and accessibility issues, an artist studying ethical leadership, and a peacemaker. Brady, a scholarship recipient at the Bush School, has led efforts to make the school more accessible for all. While on tour of a historic neighborhood in Washington DC, he saw gentrification and displacement of a century-old African American community. He brought that learning back and was co-instructor of a leadership workshop, “What’s Good in the Hood? Understanding the Roots of Gentrification in Seattle and Beyond.” Brady received a $500 monetary award to use towards any of his many projects.

Congratulations to all our Imagine Us awardees!