Spotlight: The Jubilee Project
Jason Y. Lee, 23, Eric Lu, 24, and Eddie Lee, 25, of The Jubilee Project have created 25 videos in the last year that have raised over $23,000 for 11 non-profit organizations. Their integration of entertaining online videos with philanthropy raises money in addition to making viewers aware of important issues like deaf children in America, human rights, education for the underprivileged and HIV/AIDS to name a few.
Asian Avenue catches up with Eric Lu and Eddie Lee to get insight into the brains behind The Jubilee Project. Lu just finished his first year of medical school at Harvard University and Lee works at the White House in Asian-American outreach. Jason Lee is a management consultant in New York City, but is currently in Zambia.
The Jubilee Project has been around over a year now. What are your feelings on the progress you have made? You started out just making videos for fun and now you have over 14,000 followers.
Lee: We were surprised. We never expected for it to get to this point. It all began with a central belief that through videos we are able to make an impact. We were hungry for that kind of leadership. We have been able to get a lot of support from the community, students and young people, and have been able to continue this whole movement. It’s a passion of ours so we enjoy doing it and have a lot of fun. At the same time we see all of this support as a responsibility. We feel like we have to empower and inspire the community by giving back.
What do you like best about working on the Jubilee Project?
Lu: I like everything.
Lee: The whole directing process- coming up with this story idea and then seeing it come to life. It’s pretty exciting to see your passion and your story come true, and to reach out to people and make them happy.
What are some setbacks you have encountered?
Lee: The hardest part of this whole thing is managing our time and energy. We are certainly coming to a point where the work we put in could almost be at a full time level. We still have med school and jobs on the side so it’s really hard to make this a full time thing. A lot of times our message is to do what you want to do and chase your dreams. Our dream is to share these stories and make these videos and to be able to really do that someday would be phenomenal. We’ve been really lucky.
Lu: I like to think that The Jubilee Project is my full time job and school is my extracurricular.
What advice do you have for young people and individuals in the Asian-American community who want to make a difference?
Lee: Good question. We get that a lot. We’ve made a lot of mistakes and have come a long way. I think what really got us here is that we had a lot of fun. Find what you want to do and do it because you love it. It may sound really cliché, but I think when you’re serving the process you realize how true it is. I can’t imagine myself doing this if I didn’t love it. I think all of us would be done with it, and we would have fizzled out early on.
Lu: It’s cliché but there’s definitely some level of truth in it. Seize the opportunities that are presented to you and don’t be afraid of either getting uncomfortable, taking risks or just getting out of your own element.
What else can would you like our readers to know about The Jubilee Project?
Lu: We like to engage with our community. Step up with different people. We are like a Jubilee Project Movement. It’s not just about three guys and one camera but about everyone. We want to enable and inspire people to do start doing good whether it’s volunteering at a homeless shelter or making their own videos. We love being a part of that and want to help as much as we can through our process.
Lee: This is a pivotal time in society and in the Asian American community. People are going to look back at this era as a time when young people stood up and did phenomenal things. It’s kind of like our civil rights generation like it was for African-Americans in the 1960s. It’s not going to be to that extent but it’s going to be this generation that really breaks through that “bamboo ceiling. “ You’re going to see people do incredible things in entertainment, in business, in medicine, in politics, what have you. We want to empower folks, give them the resources, the inspiration and the imagination to dream big dreams. And if we can get one person to think that way, then I think we’ve been a success.
Look for information on The Jubilee Project’s college tour of the U.S. in the fall and their new video exploring college life and Asian-American stereotypes perpetuated by the main stream media in the coming months. You can visit jubileeproject.org and follow them on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.