This article presents case study data from a 2-year ethnography of Southeast Asian youth engagement within a grassroots community organization that serves immigrants in North Carolina before, during, and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Specifically, this study focuses on the ways in which five adolescent young women, who self-identified as refugees, from different parts of Southeast Asia evolved as they engaged in social justice programming through the Coalition of Southeast Asian Youth (CSAY). Data were analyzed through the concept of critical social capital. Findings reveal the importance of institutional spaces that nurture identities, experiences, and social consciousness and provide networks and opportunities for marginalized youth to mobilize around issues of importance to them. Given growing numbers of immigrant and refugee youth in U.S. communities and a simultaneous backlash against them, it is timely and necessary to examine how community-based organizations shape immigrant youth identities and civic participation in impactful ways.
- Community engagement
- Southeast Asian refugee
- youth activism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology