Community Building



Here are some things to think about:

What struggles are important to your community?

Why are these struggles important?

What are some origin narratives around these struggles?

How can you get involved or make a difference?


Download a copy of the FACTS Founders’ Day document that outlines the ideas around the founding of FACTS for grades 3 to 5 classes and for Kindergarten to grade 2 classes. As well, it includes the thoughts of some of the founders, including Debbie Wei, Alex Wong, Betty Lui, Hao-Li Tai Loh, Helen Gym and Debora Kodish. Below is some of the content from the document.


Thoughts from FACTS Founders


Thoughts from Alex Wong

Twelve-some years ago, when Debbie, Ellen, Ming and I and other AAU staff tried to organize new and old immigrant parents to meet to address public school education issues—that was the first time I knew how bad the Philadelphia Public School system was. I was a newcomer to public education issues and learned a lot through being involved in organizing parents and students.

I remember that I was in tears one time, when I listened to the stories of our parents and students. One student’s words, from one of the meetings, is still fresh in my mind. He brought with him a Chinese take-out menu, written in English. He said, “If I could learn a word a day from this menu in school, then eventually I would be able to read the whole menu. But I can’t even learn a word a day in class.”

At that time, we had some successes fighting with the School District but most of the time we failed to get what our parents and students needed. We all still had a dream back then of how wonderful it would be if we could have our own school.

The idea to start a charter school has been a struggle for all of us at AAU. All the pros and cons of having (and not having) a charter school were legitimate; each had its reason. Finally, we broke through our differences and started the process of forming a charter school almost three years ago. I now see that the struggle has not been divisive but consolidated further our thoughts about having a charter school that serves all immigrants.

The whole process of forming the charter school has been wonderful and painful. I always believed that we were going to have a charter school, no matter what, even in ther darkest moments during that period of time. Of course, at times, we were greatly discouraged and sometimes felt hopeless. Throughout the whole process, I learned to see my friends and comrades in a whole different way. I am still amazed at how much this group could do! We had different opinions on issues and various matters, but we had one common goal, which was to make this charter school happen. Again, amazingly, nobody lost sight of the common goal throughout the two-year struggle.

March 9, 2005 was a date I will never forget. I was among a sea of people in red t-shirts, hearing testimonies from our friends, allies, supporters, and of course, from our opponents, too. Our friends, allies and supporters came from different communities and ethnic groups. The emotion that I felt at the time was the highest, most intense, so far in my life. I remember that Ellen sat in front of me, and when the last vote from the SRC was cast, she turned around and we hugged each other. I cried for the first time since I was a junior high student.