We are a family that builds power within the immigrant community by uplifting the voices and nurturing the leadership of Los Angeles undocumented Asian & Pacific Islander youth to dismantle systems of oppressions.
UPLIFT is an Undocumented Asian and Pacific Islander (API) youth-led organization, based in Los Angeles. We strive to provide a safe and progressive space for API immigrant youth. We raise awareness of various immigrant and civil right issues in the API community, advocate for equality, and uplift the narratives of API undocumented youth in the immigrant rights movement. We build lasting relationships to empower and strengthen the next generation of leaders.
At its inception in 2010, UPLIFT was a student immigrant rights organization on campus. It was created as a response to the concerns of Asian students feeling like “a minority within a minority”. The original objective of the organization was to seek out and befriend other undocumented Asian students; their ultimate goal was to strengthen and unify the undocumented Asian students both on and off campus, raise awareness among the community, and to promote immigrant rights through education.
In 2012 the undocumented API student group in UCLA made the critical decision to transition out of the campus to target the greater Los Angeles area and renamed themselves "ASPIRE-Los Angeles". Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA played an essential role as a key supporter of the organization throughout the transition process. Advancing Justice-LA sought out an intentional relationship with the organization as they heard the demanding voices of the all too often overlooked undocumented API youth. Advancing Justice-LA recognized as well the need to assemble, organize, and equip. Between the two groups is a full-time Policy Advocate staffed by Advancing Justice-LA who works with both organizations in maintaining the development of a healthy, productive relationship. The individual’s responsibilities include facilitating the space and providing technical, programmatic, and administrative support.
Since the transitional development of 2012, the organization has made promising strides in becoming a truly progressive grassroots organization led by undocumented Asian and Pacific Islander (API) youth. We have been tireless in building leadership, in optimizing the influence of the undocumented API youth in the community, and in spotlighting the many experiences and narratives of undocumented APIs. We established ourselves as an influential and effectual organization in the Los Angeles area—it has become the mouthpiece for the many unsung voices of undocumented APIs all over the nation.
On July 2016, we officially changed our name from ASPIRE-Los Angeles to UPLIFT to reflect the growth of our organization. We are excited to continue serving our community under our new name.
Hxstory* The "x" is meant to be an inclusive and progressive term that stands for the many different identities, struggles, and intersectionalities. Additionally, it is meant to shed light on the social injustices womxn have and currently face.