Claremont, Calif. (December 8, 2015)—The City of Monterey Park honored Pitzer College Professor of Asian American Studies Kathleen Yep with the Mayor’s Centennial Volunteer Award for the partnership she created between her Asian American Studies classes and the adult literacy program at the city’s public library. During the awards presentation on November 17, 2015, Monterey Park Mayor Peter Chan cited Yep’s “unwavering commitment to improving literacy in this community and dedication to serving others which is inspiring to all.”
“Thank you for giving your time and making a difference in so many lives,” Chan said.
Yep developed the program in 2009 in partnership with Literacy for All of Monterey Park (LAMP), a nonprofit adult and family literacy program, with funding from the Weingart Foundation and support from Pitzer’s Community Engagement Center. Over the past six years, students in Yep’s courses have provided more than 2,000 hours of support to community members preparing for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization exam, learning English as a second language and learning creative writing. The community partnership has a quantifiable success rate: 98 percent of those who prepare for the naturalization exam through this program pass the test. Yep, Pitzer students and LAMP community members have also created a wide array of culturally relevant curriculum in digital and analog formats.
Yep credits the success of the program not only to the tangible deliverables but also to feminist and critical pedagogical frameworks for the collaboration.
This partnership stemmed from Yep’s scholarly interest in exploring the challenges that current immigrant and refugee elders in the San Gabriel Valley face such as increasingly stringent naturalization policies, limited access to healthcare, and poor housing.
Kathleen Yep’s courses at Pitzer College include Health Inequities, Teaching As Social Change, Community Health, and Racial Politics of Teaching. Her scholarship and expertise include cultural politics, feminist/antiracist pedagogies and critical public health. She is the author of Outside the Paint: When Basketball Ruled at the Chinese Playground and co-author of Dragon’s Child: The Story of Angel Island. Her writings have appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Ethnic and Racial Studies, Metropolitan Universities, and Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. Yep served as co-principal investigator and faculty adviser for API Women, Faith & Action: Fourteen oral histories of Asian Pacific Islander women and their faith-based activism, a community digital archive funded by the California Council of the Humanities.