Long Beach youth uplifted the importance of culture and voice during the 13th annual Yellow Lounge at Roosevelt Elementary School Auditorium Saturday night.
Yellow Lounge, an awareness-raising celebration led by local nonprofit Khmer Girls in Action, showcases performances, art and culture that elevates youth voices, particularly those from the Southeastern Asian community in Long Beach.
Organizers also pointed to the 2020 election, urging teens and adults to pre-register and register to vote.
This year, organizers themed it as “We Love, Believe, and Care” about young people’s future, highlighting race-related violence at schools, women’s rights to bodies, deportations and more.
The event included classical Khmer dances, poetry, video screenings, singing, PSAs, hip-hop dances and skits.
Peathdra Sou, 17, who attended Yellow Lounge for the first time this year, said the talks about deportations resonated with him because he has friends with family who have been deported.
Sou was part of Khmer Girls in Action as a senior at Poly High School and knew a little about the national immigration issue and deportations but said he enjoyed a “Know Your Rights” video created for those at risk of being deported.
“It really gave me a better understanding of what’s really happening,” Sou said.
Youth also uplifted an ongoing KGA-led Invest in Youth campaign, a mission aimed to draw in annual dollars from the city’s budget for a Long Beach Children and Youth Fund to support youth programs.
Last year, KGA, Long Beach Forward and several other organizations convinced the city council to approve a one-time fund of $200,000 for youth programs as part of a first-time People’s Budget Proposal.