The sixth Young Leaders Symposium (YLS) took place at Vietnamese American Community Center in Dorchester on Sept. 23. The event was co-hosted by the Massachusetts Asian American Commission (AAC) and Vietnamese American Initiative For Development (VietAID).
Aiming to promote leadership and service in both the public and private sectors among young adults, the annual symposium offers workshops and panel discussions on topics such as leading through conflicts and negotiation strategies.
“The commission’s goal is to recognize the vital contributions of Asian Americans. The social, economic, cultural and political diversity in the Asian American community,” said Nina Liang, Quincy city councilor and AAC co-chairwoman of YLS.
She emphasized the symposium’s goals are to engage young leaders and promote leadership. “We want to encourage civic participation and community engagement and to provide an opportunity for our youth to network with each other and network with Asian American leaders,” Liang said.
Jessica Tang, the first Chinese American president of the Boston Teachers Union, encouraged young Asian Americans to “not be afraid to take action.”
“Once you get into those positions, leadership is not easy. And often times, it’s counterintuitive,” Tang said. “For example, it is easier to just dictate than to collaborate once you become a leader. It’s often easier to write off dissent than to listen to merits when you’re challenged or someone disagrees with you; it’s hard sometimes to admit you might have made a mistake. That is the challenge for us as leaders. It’s not to do what is the easiest but to challenge ourselves to do what’s right.”