On behalf of the ACAS Board, Staff and Volunteers, we would like to thank all the honoured guests, VIPs, performers, attendees, allies, donors, supporters who helped made the ACAS Sweet 16 CelebrAsian Fundraising Gala for Queer Asian Youth a night to remember!
A list of Asian luminaries including political powerhouse, Ryerson University Distinguished Visiting Professor, and long-time equality campaigner Olivia Chow, Trillium Book Award Winner writer Wayson Choy, and video artist, writer, public intellectual and theorist Richard Fung, along with over 300 other guests, attended the Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS) CelebrAsian Sweet 16 CelebrAsian for Queer Asian Youth (QAY) Fundraising Gala on Friday, May 6, 2016 to celebrate the 16th anniversary of QAY’s community leadership, support and services provided to provide culturally-safe services to LGBTQ youth of East and Southeast Asian heritage in the Greater Toronto Area.
Equality Advocate Olivia Chow as Auctioneer for the Oil Painting “Velvet Vault” by Artist Cheng Min, which fetched for $1000.
For the past 21 years, Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS) has provided vital support to persons living with HIV/AIDS, a safe space for LGBTQ community members, and education and outreach to underserved migrant farmworkers of East and Southeast Asian communities.
Noulmook Sutdhibhasilp, ACAS Executive Director remarks, “QAY program is a good investment for the future of youth. From time to time, I meet former QAY participants who express genuine appreciation for the support from this unique program for Asian youth and peers. They let me know the program has allowed them go through their life crisis with strength and pride….that they became who they are because of QAY.”
Filipino singer Phee Jay Domingo, serenades to Miss ACAS, community ambassador for Asian Community AIDS Services at the Sweet 16 CelebrAsian Fundraising Gala
Since 2000, Queer Asian Youth (QAY), as the youth program of Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS), has provided youth-led social spaces, capacity development, peer support, and leadership trainings for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, curious and undecided East and Southeast Asian youth and their friends.
“Queer Asian Youth is the only place that addresses in the Greater Toronto Area the specific needs of East and Southeast Asian LGBTQ youth. Our one-of-a-kind program is where these youth can find support from their peers, have opportunities to develop their leadership capacity in a safer space, and ultimately find a sense of belonging,” states Euan Hwang, Queer Asian Youth Program Coordinator.
Richard Fung speaks about his upcoming screening of “Re-Orientations” on the history of LGBTQ Asians at the Inside Out Film Festival
“QAY brings people together in various ways: A second family from home, which often doubles as a first family for some, can often give you the supports that are necessary to often help carry you through difficult times or places in an Asian person’s LGBT life,” notes Paul Cadiente, ACAS Board Chair notes. “I’m not aware of another safe space where you can be yourself within a community of people that share similar culture, language or interests.”
All of QAY’s activities are provisioned in a non-judgemental peer education approach. QAY also regularly develops multilingual resources for LGBTQ Asian youth, parents, families, friends and allies.
Multidisciplinary Filipino folk dance group HATAW Performing Arts wow the attendees with their opening performance
The fundraising gala event featured live performances by Filipino singer Phee Jay Domingo and the multidisciplinary folk dance group HATAW Performing Arts; Icess, teen singer/song-writer and Ambassador for KIDS NOW; Korean Canadian songwriter Jae10; Malaysian break-dance artist Jason Q; and Miss ACAS, community ambassador for Asian Community AIDS Services
Icess, teen singer/song-writer & Ambassador for KIDS NOW, and Break-dance artist Jason Q, perform to a sold out Sweet 16 CelebrAsian Fundraising Gala
“Both QAY and ACAS welcomes and connects me with people who can relate to my experiences and struggles. The organizations are always welcoming, understanding and supportive. They not only help me better understand and love myself, but also give me opportunities to use my skills and knowledge so I could give back to the community,” says Amy, a queer Asian youth and service user ACAS and Queer Asian Youth programming.
Award-winning writer Wayson Choy assisting with the 50/50 Raffle Draw at the ACAS Sweet 16 CelebrAsian Fundraiser Gala for Queer Asian Youth
This year’s Sweet 16 CelebrAsian for Queer Asian Youth (QAY) Fundraising Gala precedes the third annual #PinkDotTO Chinatown Pride March on May 21, 2016 organized by ACAS and community partner Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO) to rally
Hwang adds, “As funding from various sources get more scarce every year, it means a lot when the community steps in to support the upcoming generation and their space to be who they are.”
About Asian Community AIDS Services:
Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS) is a charitable, non-profit, community-based organization. It provides HIV/AIDS education, prevention, and support services to the East and Southeast Asian Canadian HIV and LGBTQ communities. These programs are based on a pro-active and holistic approach to HIV/AIDS and are provided in a collaborative, empowering, and non-discriminatory manner.
About Queer Asian Youth:
Queer Asian Youth (QAY) is the youth program of Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS) and provides youth-led social spaces, capacity development, and peer support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, curious and undecided East and Southeast Asian youth and their friends since 2000. All of QAY’s activities are provisioned in a non-judgemental peer education approach. Every year, over 200 LGBTQ Asian youths attend social events, support groups, leadership trainings, educational workshops, outreaches, and other activities organized by QAY. QAY also regularly develops multilingual resources for LGBTQ Asian youth, parents, families, friends and allies.
Like ACAS on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AsianCommunityAIDSServices
Follow ACAS on Twitter: @ACAStoronto
Watch our Youtube Channel: www.youtube.com/acasorg
Like QAY on Facebook: www.facebook.com/acas.qay
Follow ACAS on Twitter: @QueerAsianYouth
Check out the ACAS CelebrAsian Sweet 16 Fundraising Gala for Queer Asian Youth 2016 here: