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Natasha Saelua, Ph.D. ABD, is a researcher at McREL International, specializing in higher education assessment and accreditation. In this role, she supports a variety of projects through research and consultation under the REL Pacific contract. She has worked as a graduate research assistant at the Indiana University School of Medicine’s Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity office, the National Institute for Transformation and Equity at the University of California, San Diego, and the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University. She co-founded and worked as a lead researcher for Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), a national nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, California. Natasha will be earning her Ph.D. in higher education from Indiana University in September, 2021, and holds a B.A. in history and an M.A. in Asian American studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Juliann Anesi is an Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at the University of California – Los Angeles. Her research interests include disability and indigeneity, educational policies, and decolonial feminisms. As a community educator and activist, she has also worked with non-profit organizations and schools in American Sāmoa, California, Hawai ́i, New York and Sāmoa.
Juliann’s work has appeared in venues including Disability and the Global South, Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600 to 2000; and Disability & Society.
She values and is deeply committed to promoting equity based on her experience as a queer, multi-racial, woman in the field of philanthropy. She is currently Executive Director of Masto Foundation, a US-based family foundation rooted in the Japanese-American community.
Prior to taking on leadership at the foundation, Sparks worked in philanthropy for 12 years, as a Program Officer and founded Queer Leaders in Philanthropy (a national network focused on changing the culture of philanthropy to be more empowering of LGBTQ individuals through advocacy and community building).
Sparks has served on the Program Committee for Horizons Foundation for ten years and regularly advises the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, National Center for Family Philanthropy, Asian-American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), and Council on Foundations. She a former Board Member of San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR) and the SF LGBT Community Center, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District and the Board of Directors for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
In addition to volunteering her time, Sparks has led initiatives to make the field of philanthropy more accessible. She founded Horizons Foundation’s young donor circle called HYPE and was a founding member of the Funding Queerly Giving Circle which, in five years after granting out $1+ million, fundraised and allocated more money to small-budget LGBTQ nonprofits than any other US-based giving circle in history.Prior to entering philanthropy, Sparks worked as a clinical social worker for foster care youth in Harlem, New York, and received a BA from Vassar College, a Master’s in Social Work from UC Berkeley, and a Master’s in Business Administration for the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. She lives in San Francisco with her partner, Sierra, and adorable Morkie named Panda and travels up to Seattle regularly for work with the foundation.
Dr. Linda Trinh Vo is a professor and former chair of the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Mobilizing an Asian American Community, co-author of Vietnamese in Orange County, and co-author of the report Transforming Orange County: Assets and Needs of Asian Americans & Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, along with co-editing numerous collections, including Keywords for Asian American Studies. Dr. Vo was president of the national Association for Asian American Studies and has served in leadership roles with numerous community projects and organizations, including Viet Stories: Vietnamese American Oral History Project; Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Orange County; Orange County Asian & Pacific Islander Community Alliance; and Viet Film Fest. From her campus, she has received the Pedagogical Innovation: Civic Engagement Teaching Award and the Community Service Award.
Broadly focusing on regional economic and geopolitical themes in the Asia and Pacific regions, Arnie Saiki is currently leading a working group on data, statistics and valuation in the Pacific. His book “Economic and Ecological Accounting: Towards Intemerate Values,” was published last year by the Pacific Conference of Churches, the Pacific Theological College and the University of the South Pacific.
Since the publication, this campaign has been introduced to the Ecological and Economic Justice program at the World Council of Churches and he is participating in a G8 Interfaith forum for the inclusion of Wellbeing indicators into our economic accounts.
While national statistics and ecological accounting normally fall under the purview of government, academic or international institutions, Arnie has been campaigning in democratizing our ecological data, seeking support for a proof-of-concept accounting program that would enable poor, impacted, and indigenous peoples to actively participate in how we account for our socio and economic biodiversity. Intemerate Accounting is an equation that helps to correct accounting disparities that have, to a large extent, excluded the Global South. Revising our accounting system can provide access and opportunities that cross wide campaign sectors, bringing hope, action and efficacy to reverse climate change, restore our ecological biodiversity, and redistribute global wealth more equitably.
Arnie has been actively promoting and working on global justice campaigns since 2007 when he received a “We the People” grant from the Hawai’i Council of the Humanities for his work on Hawai’i Statehood. He has organized conferences with Hawaiian national independence groups, managed the Save Rapanui campaign after the Chilean military forced a lockdown of Easter Islanders. Arnie spoke at the World Bank representing the Pacific Island Forum, and participated in discussions around regionalism in the Pacific. He was recently appointed the US-Pacific Diplomacy and Solidarity Mission for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), and is on the management team of the Deep Seabed Mining Campaign.
In 2011, Arnie received the blessing from Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell to organize a counter-conference in Honolulu while APEC was there and coordinated the Moana Nui conferences, an international partnership between the International Forum on Globalization and Pua Mohala I Ka Po. For the last ten years he has been campaigning on issues around trade, development, ecological resources, indigenous issues and militarization in the Pacific.
His essays, “TPP at the End of the Line: a briefing on economic cooperation and capacity building” was published in American Quarterly by John Hopkins University Press, and “Manifesting the Liquid Continent,” was published by Yunnan National University, as part of the 1st International conference on Asia and Pacific Ethnology and Anthropology.
Aryani Ong, Civil Rights Activist, Attorney and Consultant Aryani Ong is a civil rights activist, attorney and consultant who has worked on issues concerning Asian Americans for the last 30 years. Civil Rights – National Security Balance Since 2015, Aryani has advocated for civil rights safeguards for Chinese Americans who are collateral damage in the government response to the rising U.S.-China conflict.
She facilitated bimonthly conversations among community leaders around scientists and researchers until early 2019 through the Asian American Justice Task Force, which she co-founded. With leading national and community organizations, Aryani has organized coalitions around advocacy and media campaigns; organized dialogues, several with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s offices around the country; and, worked on a documentary. In early 2020, Aryani co-founded the Asian American Federal Employees for Non-Discrimination (AAFEN), which calls for protections for Asian Americans in the federal government against negative employment actions, particularly security clearances due to suspicions based on race, ethnicity and national origin. Through AAFEN, she has given many briefings to congressional committees, members and staff and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, as well as high ranking federal agency officials and employee affinity groups. The roots of Aryani’s activism at the intersection of civil rights and national security dates back to the Dr. Wen Ho Lee case.
Back in 2000, Aryani participated in a community advisory group to the U.S. Department of Energy Task Force Against Profiling. Representing the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), she was among a delegation who met with then-Attorney General Janet Reno to raise concerns about Dr. Lee’s treatment. The briefing memo that recorded the broad community concerns was written by Aryani for the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPALC) and entered by Rep. Patsy Mink into the Congressional Record.
Hate Crimes Inspired by Helen Zia’s activism in 1982 around the Vincent Chin case, Aryani became a civil rights lawyer specializing in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). She was the project lead on an annual national report that tracked and analyzed hate crimes against AAPIs; the report was produced through the now-Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Pacific American Justice Center (formerly the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium) and its affiliates. Aryani worked with Leadership Conference on Civil Rights on advocacy efforts to press Congress for stronger legal protections.
Invited to join a civil rights delegation of U.S. experts, she testified before the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva and organized speaker panels for the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa. Aryani wrote among the earliest community response guides on hate crimes in the field as a consultant and then Deputy Director of the now OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates (formerly Organization of Chinese Americans).
Aryani is a founding member and Senior Advisor of Communities United Against Hate (CUAH), an anti-hate crime coalition in Montgomery County, Maryland. She also served as member of an Asian American parent advisory group to Montgomery County Public Schools, and addresses school bullying. Aryani regularly speaks to dozens of audiences around the country. Representations of AAPIs To preempt bias, Aryani has worked to inform the public about AAPI and challenge stereotypes in the public domain. She has co-created and co-led professional training sessions for teachers and administrators at the Montgomery County Public Schools. Recently,
Aryani’s efforts led to a groundbreaking student listening session where AAPI students addressed the school community about their perspectives during the pandemic and the unprecedented numbers of reports of anti-Asian incidents. Outside of schools, she’s also worked with Norman Mineta and the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition to negotiate MOUs on diversity initiatives at the major TV networks; an award-winning pictorial book that featured Asian American heroes and community responses to 9/11; and several campaigns that challenge racist depictions by public figures, retail or media corporations and political campaigns. Diversity, Inclusion And Equity Aryani promotes diversity, inclusion and equity.
She is Founder of the Montgomery County Progressive Asian American Network (MoCoPAAN), which focuses on racial equity, immigrant rights and bias and profiling. Related to education, she served on an Asian American parent advisory council, or Asian Pacific American Student Achievement Action Group (APASAAG), and the Beyond the Boundaries Working Group with Impact Silver Spring. Aryani also facilitated Study Circles with students on the achievement gap.
She’s worked within coalitions to file amicus briefs on affirmative action cases before state and federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. Related to immigrants and workforce development, Aryani served as board chair of the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL), countywide system of 50+ ESOL programs. Related to inclusion, Aryani has addressed the county government leadership several times, proposing a blueprint to address the AAPI community needs, and facilitated a table dialogue at a community forum on a proposed racial equity bill. Immigrant Integration, Civic Participation and Political Empowerment Aryani supports the pipeline of immigrant integration to civic participation and political empowerment. She works with local and national groups such as Civic Leadership USA and Asian American Unity Coalition and serves as Senior Advisor to the United Chinese Americans.
In 2018, Aryani returned to politics after having worked for the California Democratic Party as a field organizer for the Clinton/Gore/Boxer/Feinstein coordinated campaign in 1992. She served on the kitchen cabinet advisors to Hoan Dang (county council) and Lily Qi (state assembly). She moderated the candidate forums for the Maryland gubernatorial race (as a member of the United for Maryland PAC) and Montgomery County Executive’s race (as an officer of the Asian American Political Alliance). Aryani is on the board of the Asian American Action Fund (AAA Fund) and a member of the local MoCoWoMen political group. In 2019, she invited to serve on the new Montgomery County Executive’s transition team. During the 2020 elections, Aryani served as a co-chair of Chinese Americans for Biden (CAFB – 2ndgeneration) affinity group under the AAPIs for Biden component of the Biden campaign. Currently, she serves on the AAPI Leadership Committee under the DNC AAPI Caucus and as an advisor to Indonesian American Democrats.
Nonprofit Management, Board Governance and Consulting Aryani has devoted her career to the nonprofit sector in various professional roles ranging from staff, fundraising and management to consultant and coalition partner. She has been hired as a consultant to work with clients that ranged from nonprofits such as the Urban Institute, whose work provides strategic direction to The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) and the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund to universities such as Harvard’s Civil Rights Project and University of Maryland’s Asian American Studies Program.
Aryani was trained as a senior governance consultant by BoardSource and by the Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership and a ChevronTexaco Management Institute-sponsored training program. While MCAEL’s board chair, she created a peer board chair circle for Nonprofit Montgomery. Aryani has served on several boards, among them the OCA – Washington, D.C. chapter and the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County (CRCMC) and as advisor to the Betty Ann Ong and Calvin J. Li Memorial Foundations. She’s a Leadership Montgomery graduate (class 2013).
Further Background Aryani has been represented in major news outlets such as NBC4, New York Times (Chinese language edition), the Washington Post, Science magazine, CSPAN, and ethnic or international media such as Voice of America – China, Voice of America Indonesia, CNN Indonesia, SinoVision, South China Morning Post, DingDing TV, as well as local county cable and print media and podcasts.
She has freelanced for Newsweek magazine. Aryani has received awards and recognition from Maryland’s Top 100 Women Award, The Community Foundation’s Linowes Leadership Award (semi-finalist), the Center for Nonprofit Advancement (board), and the Clarion Award (team book project).
Aryani holds a law degree from George Washington University Law School and a B.A. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. She has clerked on Capitol Hill, the National Women’s Law Center, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and the Human Rights Commission in San Francisco. Aryani is working on a blog called Six Hues to elevate stories with multi-dimensional perspectives, especially from AAPIs.
“Greg Lutze is an Asian American founder, advisor and artist based out of California. A polymath, his interests lie in a variety of creative pursuits including design, photography, painting, fragrance and fashion.
The Co-Founder of VSCO, Greg is a leader driven by creative vision and soul. VSCO has been named Apple’s “App of the Year,” Google Play’s “Best Apps” and Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies in Social Media.” He is a a member of Gold House, a non-profit collective of Asian & Pacific Islander founders, creative voices, and leaders; a venture partner at Hidden, investing in the future of creative work; and a mentor at Praxis Labs, a creative engine supporting innovators motivated to love their neighbors and renew culture. Greg serves as an advisor to creative startups Studio, Made in Part & Chroma.
Previously, Greg was a Creative Director working for clients including Universal Records, Sony, Showtime, Interscope Records, Capitol Records, Warner Brothers, Nintendo, XBOX, and K2 Snowboards. Greg’s work has been recognized by The Grammy Awards, Graphic Design USA, Taschen, and Communication Arts.
Outside of work, Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, cheering on Chelsea FC, going to the gym, and making music.”
Stephanie serves as the Executive Director of the Jeremy Lin Foundation, a private Foundation with a mission of loving and serving youth via hope, empowerment, and leadership development. The Foundation is focused on overlooked AAPI and cross-racial youth programs that wraparound their youth relationally. Prior to the Jeremy Lin Foundation, Stephanie worked with the Partnership Fund, a civic fund making catalytic investments into underserved communities in New York City. She also worked at Bain and the Bridgespan Group, consulting to some of the world’s largest Foundations. Stephanie received her MBA from the Wharton Business School and a BA from the University of Virginia, where she was President of the Asian Student Union and led efforts for Asian American Studies and an AAPI Mentoring Program.
Pawan Dhingra is Associate Provost and Associate Dean of the Faculty and is Professor of American Studies at Amherst College. He is a former curator at the Smithsonian Institution. His bylines include The New York Times, CNN, and more. He and his work have been profiled in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, TheGuardian, and other venues. His most recent book is Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough (New York University Press 2020). His other books include the multiple award-winning Life Behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream (Stanford University Press, 2012) and the award-winning Managing Multicultural Lives: Asian American Professionals and the Challenge of Multiple Identities (Stanford University Press, 2007). He co-authored Asian America: Sociological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, now in its second edition (Polity Press 2021). An award-winning teacher, he also appears in the documentary, Spelling the Dream. He is President-elect of the Association for Asian American Studies and has been Chair of the Board of the South Asian American Digital Archive. He has been department chair and held tenured positions at Tufts University and Oberlin College.
I am professor and chair of the Department of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington (UW). I’m also UW’s Director of the Diversity Minor Program and the Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies program. My academic research focuses on migration and culture, community change, and multicultural education. My latest book, The Ocean in the School, is an ethnography of Pacific Islander students and their allies who attempted to make meaning out of their schooling by transforming their own university. I’m currently editor-in-chief of ALON: Journal for Filipinx American and Diasporic Studies, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Asian American Studies, and former president of the Association for Asian American Studies. I obtained my PhD degree in Communication from the University of California, San Diego.