Pitzer College Alumna Sissy Trinh ’96 Trains Teens to Speak Up to City Hall

Claremont, Calif. (December 7, 2011) — Pitzer College alumna Sissy Trinh ’96 founded the Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA), a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that helps teenagers change their neighborhoods and change their lives.

Established in 2002, SEACA’s mission is to “build an empowered Southeast Asian community through leadership development, education, advocacy and community organizing.” Programs include a Youth Leadership Project that helps young people develop leadership skills and Rise Up!, an arts program run in collaboration with students from the Claremont Colleges.

Teens make up the majority of SEACA members but people of all ages are involved in some projects, such as the organization’s community health program.

Trinh drew on her own experience as the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants when she founded SEACA. Growing up, she saw a need for youth to become more active in their communities and more vocal in local government.

SEACA is currently working on a campaign about land use in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. “Land use dictates how a city gets laid out and what gets built where,” Trinh said. “It determines what neighborhoods get freeways and what neighborhoods get parks.” The campaign teaches young members of the organization the ins-and-outs of government and how to speak effectively with public officials.

Trinh and SEACA were recently featured in a Los Angeles Times article.

Trinh majored in English and world literature at Pitzer College.

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