Category Archives: Uncategorized

Imagine Us 2016, A Celebration of Young Leaders

{Imagine Us}

On Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 200 individuals committed to justice and leadership met at Mount Baker Community Club in Seattle to celebrate emergent leaders working toward equity and justice in the Seattle-Puget Sound area.

{Imagine Us Audience}The event was hosted by Joaquin Uy. He is the Ethnic Media and Communications Specialist for the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, and also serves as a campaigns advisor for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of Bayan, a global grassroots Filipino American coalition.

{Joaquin Uy}The guests enjoyed several performances from local artists. The event opened with the original song “Take My Hand” written by Chloe Copoloff and performed by Gigi Huang, Kira Baker, Shreyas Raman, and Tye Ellis. Other performances punctuating the events of the evening included Mexican folk dancing by Luis Garcia and Breanna Hernández of Bailadores de Bronce, B-Girl Anna Banana Freeze from the Massive Monkees, and West African Drumming by Afua Kouyaté and Aboubacar “Boka” Kouyaté.

{Mexican Folk Dancers}

{African Drum Performance}Keeping with the spirit of celebrating the Seattle social justice community as family, dinner was served family-style with food prepared by our latino community and family members, Bangkok Basil, Thai Curry Simple, and Kusina Filipina.

{Setting Food on Table}We presented seven awards, including the inaugural Maeda Award, named in honor of Sharon Maeda, community activist and 21 Progress’ first executive director. Our 2016 awardees are Ariana Davis, worker’s rights advocate; Edi Flores, youth advocate; Amy Kele, student advocate; Sam Keller, worker’s advocate; Carlos Willcuts, youth and family advocate, and our Maeda Award winner Brady Huang, peace activist. To learn more about all these phenomenal leaders, please read this post.

{Brady Huang}The event was made possible by the support of many members of the community, including the following sponsors:

Community Builders:
Ellen Ferguson

Burien Dental
Slevin & Hart, P.C.
UFCW 21 – the founders of 21 Progress

Cheiron Inc.
EJK Accounting
Sunrise Dental
Union Bank
Washington State Labor Council

Puget Sound Sage
Woodburn Company
Anne Stadler
Josephine T. Murray

To join us for this year’s Imagine Us! on April 13,  2017, purchase tickets here: 

For more personal stories and to hear how 21 Progress’ programs develop skills in leaders, watch the following video featured at Imagine Us.

Welcome JoLee!

21 Progress is excited to welcome JoLee Melink to our team. JoLee is currently a student at the University of Washington at the Seattle campus. She will be interning with 21 Progress over the summer, and will be working closely with the FAIR! campaign as a program assistant.

JoLee was born in China, adopted at 10 months old, and grew up in Longview, WA. Her curiosity and passion for social justice issues are the driving force behind pursuing dual majors in both Social Welfare and American Ethnic Studies, as well as her active service around the University community. During her time at UW, JoLee has held a student assistant position at the Carlson Center and has been involved with both the Center for 21st Century Liberal Arts Learning Fellowship and with the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega.

JoLee enjoys spending her free time serving her community via projects through Alpha Phi Omega and in various organizations around Seattle. She also enjoys spending time with friends, hiking, and seeking out good food and adventure.

NEW! Summer Leadership Program: Seattle2Selma, Bridging the Movements of the Past to the Leaders of Today

21 Progress is proud to announce the launch of a their new summer leadership program:

Seattle2Selma, Bridging the Movements of the Past to the Leaders of Today

In February of 2016, 21 Progress’ Programs Director, Marissa Vichayapai, boarded a bus with 53 community members to start a 9 day pilgrimage organized by the Project Pilgrimage. Completely inspired by the work, mission, and cultivation of progressive leaders, 21 Progress partnered with Project Pilgrimage to bring the transformational experience to even more people in Washington State. Through the mentorship and support of Project Pilgrimage and 21 Progress’ exceptional commitment and service in youth leadership development, Settle2Selma was created.

Seattle2Selma is a youth centered Civil Rights Pilgrimage offering an intensive and experiential leadership development opportunity for high school and college students with an interest in making positive changes.

Starting with a series of 6-preparatory meetings, students responsibly ready themselves for the experience. Then, journeying across the deep American South over the course of 6 days, students are immersed into the historic civil rights movement through powerful human connections, visiting influential places, and engaging in diverse experiences.

Much like movements of today and the past, students can expect to be both personally and mentally challenged, as and they are forced to critically examine social concepts, reflect on personal beliefs, and analyze how history has shaped contemporary issues and society today.

Through personal drive, intentionality, analysis, and reflection, students return home with:

  • Exceptional leadership skills and experience
  • Bold vision for future self and community, while honoring the past
  • Belief in power of the people and themselves
  • Cultivation of social responsibility and commitment to social justice through action
  • Expanded community of beloved support

Upon returning home, students have the option to engage in deeper leadership opportunities to build upon the work and make real local change.

Seattle2Selma is a program of 21 Progress in partnership with Bellevue And Cleveland High Schools. Major support–including funding and inspiration and leadership support–provided by Project Pilgrimage.

Applications for Summer 2016 are currently open. Apply here by April 12th, midnight. Click here to share the info flyer.

Call for Nominations for Imagine Us!

Click here to nominate a young leader committed to justice and equity today!

On April 27th, 21 Progress is hosting our first annual Imagine Us! Celebrating Bold and Visionary Leadership, a multicultural award ceremony and dinner dedicated to awarding emerging leaders between the ages of 15-35 who are committed to equity and justice in Seattle and the entire Puget Sound region. Our leadership award ceremony will showcase and honor young individuals empowering their communities in bold and innovative ways.

Nominate a leader now!

21 Progress is a leadership nonprofit committed to equity and justice. 21 Progress provides programs that empower leaders among diverse and immigrant young people and advances bold ideas for economic and social justice.

We need your help! We hope to gather a diverse pool of nominees. Help us with your nomination TODAY. Click here for the nomination form.


All nominations must be submitted by Friday, April 1 at 5pm. Please consider the following guidelines when selecting an individual for the nomination:

Criteria for consideration:

  1. INSPIRATION: An emerging leader between the ages of 15-35 years old who encounters inequity or injustice, and makes a conscious decision to take action.
  2. ACTION: An identifiable act or group of acts that clearly demonstrate extraordinary boldness and/or commitment to advancing human rights. These leadership acts may include, but are not exclusive to:
    • Works for racial, economic and/or social justice.
    • Provides courageous leadership within a community to resolve inequity or injustice.
    • Develops innovative programs advancing human rights.
    • Supports equal opportunities and workplaces free from discrimination
  3. IMPACT: Definable and visible benefits for the community that resulted from this act or group of acts of leadership.


The Imagine Us Awards are a way to personify our mission of developing diverse leaders committed to equity and justice. By identifying 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.


We will select 6 winners of the Imagine Us Awards from the community. All Imagine Us Award winners are invited to the leadership award ceremony on April 27, as well as their guests. Winners will share their stories of leadership at the event!

Additionally, one of the Imagine Us Award winners will be awarded the Maeda Leadership Award.  This award was created in honor of Sharon Maeda, the first executive director and a social justice activist for almost 40 years. This award honors a leader who is deeply committed to justice and equity and has become a catalyst for change in the community. This may include a young leader who has taken an important stand, a young activist who has overcome extraordinary challenges and created innovative solutions. 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. 21 Progress will collect all nominations submitted by Friday, April 1, 2016. Honorees will be notified by April 8, 2016 and  receive their awards at our First Annual Imagine Us leadership award ceremony on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 in Seattle, WA. Please contact with any questions or concerns.

Enrique’s Build Your Dream Story

My name is Enrique – I’m a 21 Progress Build Your Dream leader and volunteer.

I want to tell you how I went from a protective big brother trying to help my two siblings, Ricardo and Angel, and myself get through a complex, tiring, and expensive immigration system to developing into a community leader in six months.

Almost four years ago, I signed up for DACA, a federal program for immigrants to avoid unjust immigration challenges, access a work permit, and pursue higher education opportunities. I was grateful for the powerful activists who made this law possible for me but wasn’t directly involved in the immigrant justice community yet.

My family paid over $8,000 for the legal costs and government fees upfront to keep us safe, but I wasn’t sure how to contribute and make a difference outside of my family, yet.

Every two years I am required to renew my DACA status, so this time, I decided to do things differently. I received free legal assistance from NWIRP and signed up for the 21 Progress Build Your Dream Program that same night. .

Instead of paying $465 up front to renew my DACA, I signed up for the $46.50/month interest-free loan. Not only did 21 Progress make sure I understood the loan process, but they also helped develop my goals and future!

This program is amazing because payments are less than $50 a month and they’re made to a credit union that cares about community issues and justice.

I get to build financial credit for my future and every dollar I pay back helps another student reach their dreams. I receive free access to career, college, and leadership opportunities where I get to contribute my ideas and learn from others. Finally, I get to meet women and men who are trying to support their families and make a difference too.

In 2016, I plan to start my career in information technology and consulting, empower more students and families to lead and get involved for justice and opportunity. Thanks to 21 Progress, my dream is within reach.

21 Progress Launches A Summer Internship Program

College students and rising activist: Thinking about how you could make a living while also following your passion and heart? Are you curious about working in non-profits, the social justice field, and making impactful community change using innovation and grassroots organizing?

21 Progress is proud to launch it’s summer 2016 internship program with internship positions crafted just for people like you! 

Internship positions are competitive, and we’re especially excited to announce that all positions will be paid. Undergraduates, graduate students and rising activist are encouraged to apply early.

All applications must be received by January 22nd, 2016. Final decisions will be made by February 15th.

“We envision a fun, innovative, and hands-on internship program bustling with courageous and passionate people who are eager to take on challenges, opportunities, and make a lasting difference. We want to share our favorite tools and learning lessons with those in the community who are exploring their own purpose- both professionally and personally.  This is at the heart of what we do and who we’re about.”  Marissa Vichayapai, Special Projects Coordinator, 21 Progress.

Learning opportunities to 21P interns include:

  • Work one-on-one with a hands-on and passionate staff person. Check out 21P’s amazing team here
  • Join an expansive a powerful network of social justice activists, and movement builders
  • Orientation, training, goal setting, supervision and professional support will be provided
  • All interns should expect to walk away with new hard skills, first hand experience working with professionals and clients, and understanding of social justice non-profit work
  • Right in the heart of the Seattle’s international district,  learn and work in one of the most beautiful, progressive, and diverse neighborhoods in the U.S.

To learn more about 21P’s summer internship opportunity, click here.

About 21 Progress

21 PROGRESS runs programs and campaigns that empower leaders among the hard working people of Washington and advances bold ideas for economic and social justice. 21 Progress serves youth and young adults of color, and many who identify as undocumented or immigrant workers and/or students. If you’re interested in learning more about internship or volunteer opportunities contact 21 Progress at info@21progress.orgor (206) 829-8382.


409 Maynard Ave S Suite 202, Seattle, WA 98104

P: 206-829-8382 | E:


Twitter: 21PROGRESS_

Amy Kele Calls to Action Undocumented Asians and Pacific Islanders

Fearless volunteer and 21 Progress leader, Amy Kele, has recently been in the news, and in videos sharing her story and increasing Asian and Pacific Islander visibility when it comes to immigration reform. She was more recently interviewed by Hawai`i Radio Connection‘s Braddah Gomes about her recent 100 mile pilgrimage.

You have to check out Amy’s candid interview.

Amy chats candidly about her own family’s story, their journey from Fiji to the U.S. and how they eventually ended up undocumented. Amy also calls allies and other undocumented APIs to ACTION asking them to come forward, share their stories, and STOP hiding in the shadow. 

Listen to and share Amy’s powerful story now.

Want to learn more about the movement? Do you or anyone you know need immigration assistance? Contact or call (206) 578-1255.

Welcome 2015-2016 MSW Graduate Interns!

21 Progress is excited to welcome our new Graduate Interns, Angela Aphayvanh and Francesca Gatuz. Angela and Francesca are both masters students at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work.


Angela Aphayvanh is a first generation Lao American originally from South Seattle. She has a burning passion for educational equity among underrepresented students of color, community organizing, and immigration reform. She is also an active alumni, sometimes a math tutor, web programming volunteer, a science instructor for the Washington State Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program, and a member of the Southeast Asian American Access in Education (SEAeD) Coalition.

Angela received her Bachelor of Arts in Asian International Studies with a Minor in History from the University of Washington, and is currently pursuing an MSW degree with hopes of bridging the gap between social justice and technology to empower communities of color.

Outside of school and the office, Angela enjoys running with her dog, drawing, and reading. She is an RPG video game enthusiast and an amateur fencer.


Francesca Gatuz was born and raised on the island of Guam. She moved to Los Angeles in 2007 to attend Loyola Marymount University. During her time there, she worked as a Career Counselor Paraprofessional, served as member liaison and then president of Isang Bansa (the premier Filipino and Filipino-American student organization), and performed Filipino folk dance. After graduating with a Bachelors of Psychology in 2011, she found herself back in Guam, where she spent her time working at Erica’s House: A Family Visitation Center and providing volunteer support to Island Girl Power.

In 2014, Francesca made a new home in Seattle and began her graduate studies at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work. She hopes to build her skills in empowering marginalized communities through intergroup dialogue, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development, and community organizing.

In her free time, Francesca enjoys hanging out with family and friends, going to the beach, attending concerts, dancing, and cooking. She is currently a member of the UW’s Social Work Asian Pacific Islander Affinity Group and GABRIELA Seattle.

21 Progress Collaborates with Leadership Tomorrow

{BYD Graduates}

21 Progress recently completed a leadership development program with Leadership Tomorrow, a Seattle-based organization that works with emerging leaders to strengthen local communities. Leadership Tomorrow’s support enabled us to develop a comprehensive career planning workshop aimed at immigrant youth who are often first generation college graduates engaging in new systems that provide career readiness programs to young people.

{Community Panel}

Together, we developed a three-part career toolkit to help people get a sense of the kind of work they want to do. The workshop components are designed to promote self-reflection: an analysis of one’s strengths and weaknesses, determining personal values, career anchors, and tips for getting started. Additionally, the toolkit provides advice from people in a variety of careers on each of these areas. Taken together, immigrant youth who attend our workshops learn what they want from a career and how to navigate to their desired goals.

{Build Your Dream graduates}

At this point, the Build Your Dream program at 21 Progress has integrated many of the elements of our work with Leadership Tomorrow, and it continues to be a useful tool to help people figure out what careers they’d like to pursue.

New 21 Progress Office Renovation

21 Progress is grateful to announce that the renovation of our new office in the Historic Bush Asia Hotel is now complete. We would like to extend our deep appreciation for our contractors, supporters of the Legacy of Leadership Event, and our board and staff. We would like to acknowledge James To, Director of Operations and Finance, for his ability to move this project from idea to reality in less than eight weeks. Please find below a few before and after photos and a video thank you and tour of our new office from our team.