The SEAD Project
Minnesota, focus on community development, serving Southeast Asians
About the Organization:
The SEAD Project (Southeast Asian Diaspora) is a community organization on a mission to be an accessible creative hub that provides streamlined workshops and tools to engage and share knowledge in Khmer, Hmong, Lao and Viet diaspora communities. Through safe and welcoming spaces, we hope to grow empowerment to plant the seeds of hope and possibility, locally, and globally.
Storytelling is currency for humanity. Minnesota is home to more than 10,000 active and thriving Southeast Asian communities yet when data is disaggregated, young people (12-25) lack the adequate access to tools, training, support and representation from mentors they need to thrive successfully in education and economic opportunity. According to recent reports from the last Census’ American Community Survey and Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, Southeast Asians (Hmong, Khmer, Lao and Viet) in high school have one of the lowest educational attainment rates and many aren’t attending college or do not finish at all. And within our legislation, policies are written by people outside of our community.
- Grow and Strengthen our SEA Roots Program. We are working to offer our language and culture workshops digitally, and looking toward creating a hybrid model where those who feel isolated from community can join in from wherever they’re at and in whatever situation they find themselves in. We are investing in technology tools and software for online program delivery, as well as adapting our curriculum for hybrid delivery.
- Expand our Planting SEAD’s Program: We are expanding our storytelling work to help community members engage on critical conversations like community safety and racial justice and finding new and creative ways to showcase our stories through public art. For instance, this fall we will begin a story collection project with our elders, gathering their stories to be illustrated by second and third generation emerging artists, creating that intergenerational connection and preservation of heritage.
- Serve more youth through our SEA Change Lab Program: We plan to reach at least 10 additional youth through our leadership development program. Last year we received over 80 applications for only 20 slots. Youth apply leadership skills through arts advocacy projects, including writing, theater, music, and dance.
- Provide timely and urgent translation and mutual aid in our Community Response: Because we’re in close proximity to our Southeast Asian communities and understand how to use multimedia and language across all issue areas, we have pivoted to quickly adapt and mobilize our constituents so they are fully informed, engaged, and able to access information and resources, as well as make their needs heard.