Written by Juliane Nguyen
The California Young Women’s Collaborative (CYWC), NAPAWF’s flagship youth-led research and activism project, made its way down to Southern California in Fall 2009. CSU Fullerton’s Asian American Studies program was excited to sponsor the CYWC project last year, where 11 students led community-based participatory research regarding women’s reproductive and sexual health. The focus was on female college students’ attitudes and behaviors towards contraception and Pap tests.
The highlight of our social activism was traveling to Sacramento to present our research findings at the API Policy Summit on May 4. Eight students were able to attend the event. During our trip, the Sacramento NAPAWF sisters graciously hosted our group and we met sisters from other chapters. The sisters shared stories about what they are doing for their communities and their goals, which inspired some of us at CSUF to consider starting a chapter for Orange County.
We feel that we are the “never-ending” cohort. We are still continuing some our social activities even though our class is over. Over a period of 10 weeks, seven students co-authored a manuscript highlighting ethnic differences around Pap knowledge and screening rates and submitted it to a peer-reviewed journal. This in essence allowed us to travel the full circle of the community-based participatory research process. We are pleased to report that our manuscript is currently under review. Also, three of us are going to be presenting alongside our professor, Sang Leng Trieu, at the California Wellness Foundation conference in Los Angeles to a statewide audience of women’s health advocates regarding our research. We want to continue sharing our research findings and knowledge.
In efforts to keep the momentum of our social action going despite the end of the school year, one way is to start a NAPAWF Orange County chapter so that we can continue presenting our work, educating our communities, and continuing our friendships. Orange County is a well-populated API community and we noticed that there are not many API organizations nor a local NAPAWF chapter in our community that meets the need of API women and the issues we care about. We decided to create an OC NAPAWF chapter. Our plans for the OC chapter will be an extension of our class. Our current mission is to continue promoting and informing people about reproductive and sexual health, unifying generation gaps, promoting awareness on sensitive issues by holding future health fairs and workshops, and discussing current issues that may or will affect our community. The OC chapter is currently working on recruiting more students and is open to having male allies because they were a huge asset to our cohort.