San Francisco, CA -- Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center (A&PIWC) is
launching the QUEER ASIAN & PACIFIC ISLANDER PRIDE SCHOLARSHIP FUND which
will award two to six scholarships each year ranging from $2,000 to
$12,000 for the first time this spring.   "The goal of this landmark
scholarship program is to help eradicate the invisibility, homophobia and
isolation faced by thousands of Asian and Pacific Islander lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth living in San
Francisco and San Mateo Counties who are eligible for this scholarship,"
said John Manzon-Santos, executive director of Asian & Pacific Islander
Wellness Center.  "An equally important outcome will be that all
teachers, parents and young people who learn about the Pride Scholarship
will be reminded that their Asian and Pacific Islander students, children
and friends might be struggling to come out and need their support."

Requirements.  Scholarship applicants must (1) be 21 years old or younger,
(2) be of Asian or Pacific Islander (A&PI) descent, (3) identify as
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQQ), (4)
live in San Francisco or San Mateo Counties, (5) be a senior in high
school, have a high school diploma or GED, or be attending a college or
university and (6) indicate financial need.  Applications must be
received by April 30, 2000.

Applications can be picked up at Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center
(730 Polk Street, 4th Floor at Ellis Street in San Francisco) or
downloaded off the internet at www.apiwellness.org.  An application will
also be mailed in a plain envelope to anyone calling A&PI Wellness Center
at 415.292.3400, extension 315.

The Pride Scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Edward
Cheng Ming Tang, a Chinese immigrant, successful businessperson and gay
man.  Mr. Tang's wish is to help Asian and Pacific Islander lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning youth achieve educational
pursuits and dreams, proudly and without shame.  "The Pride Scholarship
gives people like me the opportunity to go to college.  We are a 'third
level' minority, being young, queer and Asian/Pacific Islander.  By being
true to who we are, we risk losing the support of family and friends, but
we deserve the same chance to succeed. My gratitude to Ed Tang and Asian
& Pacific  Islander Wellness Center for acknowledging this," said Desmond
Kwok, a peer leader from Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center's
AQU25A (Asian & Pacific Islanders, Queer and Questioning, 25 & Under
Altogether) program.

A national survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students by
the National Youth Advocacy Coalition found that 85.8% of youth reported
hearing homophobic remarks in their classrooms.  27.6% reported
experiences of physical harassment (being shoved, pushed, etc.) and 13.7%
reported experiences of physical assault (being beaten, punched, kicked,
etc.).  The experience  of Asian/Pacific Islander youth was no different
from the general population -- they suffered as well:  93.8% reported
hearing homophobic remarks in school and 13.4% reported being physically
harassed.

This new and historic scholarship recognizes these challenges and strives
to break down some of the barriers in order for A&PI LGBTQQ youth to
achieve their educational goals. The work is spearheaded by youth who are
coordinating the scholarship's recruitment and selection process.
The Pride Scholarship is being administered by Asian & Pacific Islander
Wellness Center's AQU25A program.  AQU25A (Asian & Pacific Islanders,
Queer and Questioning, 25 & Under Altogether) is a program for and run by
queer and questioning Asians and Pacific Islanders 25 and under who are
committed to creating a safe space where issues important to them are
examined.  Through drop-in program, retreats, social events, skills
building workshops, leadership development, outreach activities, and a
queer youth on-line 'zine (www.aquanet.org), peer-led HIV prevention
education takes place.  AQU25A is committed to fighting homophobia and
heterosexism and building a queer A&PI youth community.

Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center is the oldest and most
comprehensive, non-profit HIV services organization in North America
targeting Asian and Pacific Islander communities.  A&PIWC's HIV Care
Services provides free and confidential HIV treatment case management,
mental health counseling, on-site primary medical and psychiatric care,
client and treatment advocacy, and group and individual support to A&PIs
living with HIV/AIDS.  Its HIV/STD Prevention Services reach immigrants
and refugees, youth (straight, queer and questioning), gay and bisexual
men, transgenders, homeless people, and women working in massage parlors
through community organizing, workshops, peer counseling, prevention case
management and support groups. Its Community Services programs offer
HIV/STD testing, employment services, social marketing, community events,
internships, and volunteer opportunities. Its Research & Technical
Assistance program builds HIV prevention capacity in organizations and
communities throughout the United States and its Pacific Territories;
conducts community-based research; and trains non-medical service
providers in HIV treatment. A&PIWC staff speak 16 different languages.


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