Speaker's List

Raaheela Ahmed

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Raaheela Ahmed is the elected representative for the Prince George's County Board of Education, District 5, representing over 80,000 people in the Bowie, Upper Marlboro and Mitchellville areas.  This lifelong Prince Georgian and product of Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) was elected to office in November 2016 with 57% of the vote from 32,000 supporters. She first ran for the position in 2012 as an 18-year old....and nearly won. Over the course of her two campaigns, Raaheela went door-to-door to over 12,000 homes and attended dozens of community events to better understand the needs of her community. As a board member, Raaheela has been a vocal and active advocate for the community. She’s zipped around the district to attend 250+ meetings and events in her first year on the board, and doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon! Inherently, grassroots, service-based leadership is what she's all about. 

Outside of the board, Raaheela serves as the Manager of Leadership Programs for New American Leaders, where she’s developing a national network of elected officials of immigrant background that are committed to an inclusive democracy.

As a young, first generation American, head-covering Muslim woman of Indian and Pakistani descent, Raaheela has broken stereotypes and expectations across the board of what it means to be a service leader. For more information, or to contact Raaheela, visit www.raaheela.com

(General Track Speaker)

John Breyault


John Breyault is a nationally-recognized consumer advocate with more that 15 years of experience championing the rights of consumers and the underserved. He joined the National Consumers League in September 2008 where is focus on advocating for stronger consumer protections before Congress and federal agencies on issues related to telecommunications, fraud, data security, privacy, and other consumer concerns. In addition, John manages NCL’s Fraud.org and #DataInsecurity Project campaigns.

Prior to coming to NCL, John spent five years as director of research at Amplify Public Affairs, where he helped launch the Internet public affairs practice support clients in the telecommunications, energy, labor, and environmental sectors. Earlier in his career, John worked and at the American Center for Polish Culture in Washington, DC.
He is a graduate of George Mason University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in International Relations.

(General Track Speaker)

Tonia Bui

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Tonia Bui is the founder of the “Politics Within Politics,” a blog for Montgomery Community Media that focuses on the intersections between gender, race, and politics. Her work has been cited by political science scholars in the Third Edition of Campaigns on the Cutting Edge. She is currently a Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, specializing in Federal policy analysis and grants management. Additionally, Tonia is a member of the Montgomery County Community Development Advisory Committee, which provides community development block grant funding recommendations to the County Executive. Tonia's portfolio also includes work with external relations at Equal Justice Works, a national non-profit, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has worked closely with former Vice Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA-34) as a Member Outreach Assistant, and with Darcy Burner as a campaign field organizer (WA-08). Tonia also previously worked for the former offices of U.S. Senator Barack Obama (IL-13) and California Assembly Member Fiona Ma (CA-12).

Tonia holds a Master in Public Policy from American University and a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications and Gender & Women’s Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

(General Track Speaker)

Grace Calvelo-Rustia

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Grace Calvelo- Rustia currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs.  She advises the Mayor on issues and policies pertinent to Asian communities in the city, ensures diversity and inclusion for Asian communities within city policies, and also assists Asian American community organizations in developing programs.

 In addition, Grace is also the current Associate State Director of the largest Advocacy Organization in the Nation, AARP in the State of Pennsylvania.  She focuses on Multicultural Development and Operations in the State of Pennsylvania.  She is an accomplished advocate for the Multicultural and Diverse community with years of experience in public affairs, community development and, management.

Grace has a competitive track record in developing and managing multi-sector partnerships, including nonprofit all across the country.  Grace also has over twenty three years’ experience in broadcast. She was a broadcast newscaster for an international Television Network, and simultaneously hosted a Radio Program in the Tri-State Area. She is also an accomplished concert producer and promoter for more than 20 years.

Grace is also the host of the current and only Reality Travel Show, “Native Grace” TV Show that airs weekly with Comcast Network. 

(General Track Speaker)

Patrice Cleary

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Born in the Philippines to a Filipino mother from Bicol, and an American father from Massachusetts, her family moved to the U.S. when she was still a baby. Patrice grew up watching her mother turn to food as a way to hold onto her identity, and Patrice was soon helping alongside her in the kitchen.

After spending 8 years in the Marine Corps and another 8 years in the restaurant industry, in December of 2014 a phone call came, asking if she wanted restaurant space. Taking a leap of faith and believing in herself, she opened Purple Patch, a Filipino-American restaurant.  She dedicated half of the menu to her mother’s recipes and the other half to comfort food that her son enjoys.  She taught her kitchen how to prepare Filipino food just as her mother taught her.

Purple Patch Restaurant celebrated their 3 year anniversary in March of 2018.  It has been recognized as one of the first Filipino Restaurants in Washington, D.C., and named by Tablelog  as one of the top 9 Filipino restaurants in America. Purple Patch’s success has also been headlined in articles for The Washington Post, EaterDC, and the 2017/2018 Michelin Guide.

Tuyet Duong

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Tuyet Duong is a native Texas dancer and poet who just happens to be an attorney – she’s been in and out of the nonprofit and governmental sectors for almost 15 years, working on social justice issues that ignite her imagination and vision for systems change, including diaspora building, human and civil rights, small business capacity-building, and immigration policy. Prior to joining DAWN, Tuyet worked in the Obama Administration as a Senior Advisor at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Tuyet is DAWN’s growth strategist and legal counsel.

(Womxn's Track Speaker)

Megan Essaheb

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As Director of Immigration Advocacy at Advancing Justice (AAJC), Megan Horn Essaheb advocates in Congress and federal agencies on issues affecting immigrants, including immigration reform, family reunification, the Muslim Ban, immigration enforcement and more. Before joining AAJC, Megan worked at Farmworker Justice where she engaged in policy advocacy on immigration and labor issues affecting farmworkers. Megan also advocated on behalf of Mexican guestworkers at Centro de los Derechos del Migrante. Prior to attending law school, Megan was an immigrants’ rights activist and a member of Teach For America in Miami, where she taught for four years. 

Megan holds a law degree from Fordham University School of Law where she was a Stein Scholar in Public Interest Law and Ethics. Megan received her B.A. from Wesleyan University.

(General Track Speaker)

Caroline Fan

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Caroline Fan is the Executive Director of the Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates (www.mira-mo.org) where in 7 weeks, she helped kill a state bill and unanimously passed a proactive St. Louis City resolution. Prior to MIRA, she founded Cabochon Consulting, advising nonprofit, government, and private clients. Her prior experience includes helping legislators nationwide analyze 3,000+ bills and defeat and pass immigration and workers’ rights bills, and working for her Congresswoman during the PATRIOT ACT.

Caroline is also a writer. In college, she was published in Yell-Oh Girls!, an anthology of AAPI female writers, alongside the late Rep. Patsy Mink. In 2007, she founded a political blog that was lauded by the Library of Congress. She serves on boards and committees including the Asian American Action Fund, the American Red Cross of Eastern Missouri, and the St. Louis County Courts Committee on Race and Bias. As Immediate Past President of OCA St. Louis, she led civic engagement and partnered with various local organizations. For her leadership, she was honored by the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum as one of 15 APA Women Leaders.

She graduated from Williams College and holds a MPA from Baruch College through the National Urban Fellows.

(General Track Speaker)

Jennifer Fang

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Jenn Fang is founder, editor, and primary blogger of Reappropriate.co. Created in 2001, Reappropriate is one of the web’s oldest and most popular Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) race advocacy and feminism blogs. Reappropriate’s writing focuses on race, gender, identity, Asian American history, and current events. In 2015, Reappropriate was named an Asian American blog to watch by NBC News.

In addition to maintaining Reappropriate, Jenn’s writing has also been featured in: NBC News, Quartz, BlogHer, Good Men Project, Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, Asian Americans for Obama, Angry Asian Man, Northwest Asian Weekly, Change.org, Blog for Arizona, and The Nerds of Color. Her writing has also been published in print in the Harvard Kennedy’s School Asian American Policy Review and the Journal of Critical Scholarship in Higher Education and Student Affairs. Jenn can be found on Twitter (@reappropriate) and Facebook (facebook.com/reappropriate.co).

Jenn graduated Cornell University with a minor in Asian American Studies. She earned her Ph.D. in 2010.

(General Track Speaker)

Allan Fung

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Mayor Allan Wai-Ket Fung is the first Asian American Mayor ever elected in Rhode Island.  He has taken a city that was in dire financial straits when he arrived, to one of the Top 50 Cities to Live in America for three straight years, and now one of the Top 100 Places To Raise a Child.  Mayor Fung has become incredibly popular due to his large investments in the public education system, improvements to infrastructure, and expansion of senior services.   Prior to becoming leader of his city, he was a government relations counsel for MetLife. 

He is now the endorsed Republican candidate for Governor of Rhode Island in 2018.  When successful in November, he will become the first Chinese-American Republican Governor in the history of the United States, and the first racial minority Governor in the history of Rhode Island.

Social media links:  Twitter:@MayorFung  FB:@AllanFungRI

(General Track Speaker)

Ted Gong

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Ted Gong retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2009 as a Senior Foreign Service Officer.  His assignments addressed issues such as border security, visas, immigration, refugees, citizenship and consular services, bringing him to consulates in Taipei, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Sydney and Manila as Vice Consul or Consul. He is now Director of the 1882 Project Foundation, a non-profit organization that broadens public awareness and understanding of the history of Chinese in America, particularly of the civil rights significance of the Chinese Exclusion Laws.   

He is also President of the DC Lodge of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, National Vice President for Policy and Public Engagement for the Alliance, a member of the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia, a founding member of the Fairfax County Asian American Oral History Project, and an organizer of the monthly Talk Story Events held in Chinatown Washington DC.   He has traveled throughout the United States to speak on immigration and Chinese-American issues. 

Ted was educated at the University of California in History, University of Hawaii in Asian Studies and U.S. Army War College in National Strategic Studies. 

(General Track Speaker)

Eugene Hung

A former evangelical minister, Eugene currently writes and speaks on a freelance basis about issues of gender, race, and parenting. He has also served professionally as an advocate for women’s and girls’ rights, both in the nonprofit sector and in higher education. He blogs at FeministAsianDad.com and has written for HuffPost and various social justice organizations, including Sojourners, Christians for Biblical Equality, and Red Letter Christians. He is a recurring guest on public radio station KPCC in Southern California, where he lives with his amazing wife and daughters. 

(General Track Speaker)

Jennifer Kim

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Jennifer Kim is an Assistant Division Chief in the Decennial Census Management Division of the U.S. Census Bureau. In this role, she oversees questionnaire content, forms design, translation, and Puerto Rico and the Island Areas operations. She serves as the chair of the Decennial Content Council, lead language expert for the Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee Language Working Group, and a Census Bureau representative on the International Census Forum Content Working Group.

She holds a Ph.D. in International Education Policy from the University of Maryland, M.S. in Education Policy and Administration from the University of Southern California, and B.A. in Linguistics and Spanish from the University of Michigan.

(General Track Speaker)

Sandra Kim

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Sandra Kim is the Founder and Training Director of Re-Becoming Human and Founder and President of Everyday Feminism. She recently founded Re-Becoming Human, which is an online educational platform supporting people in healing from internalized oppression and reclaiming their right to be human. She founded Everyday Feminism in 2012 and led it to become one of the largest independent feminist media sites in the world, with millions of people visiting the site every month. It supports people in applying intersectional feminism to their everyday lives in order to address the daily struggles of violence, discrimination, and marginalization.

Sandra shares the key lessons from her own cyclical Zen Buddhism-based healing and spiritual journey from internalized oppression to spiritual wholeness - as a person with multiple marginalized and privileged identities, as an organizational leader, and messy human being. Sandra brings a unique inside-out approach to activism based on her belief in the interdependence of personal transformation and social transformation and that self-love and healing in community are necessary components of social justice.

(B3 Professional Leadership Development Track Speaker)

JR Kuo


JR Kuo received his BA in International Affairs from the University of Colorado, Boulder and his Masters of Nonprofit Management from Regis University in Denver. He is the Co-Founder and Program Director of Friends DO Make a Difference, a mental health awareness and training program designed for college students. He has facilitated and trained students at over 35 universities and conferences across the United States. He also taught cultural competency, leadership, and mental health classes at University of Colorado Boulder and Regis University. JR is also the owner of JRKGroup, a consulting company that provide hands-on services for small business and nonprofit organizations. His passion lies in working with college students on increasing awareness around mental health wellness.

(College Track Speaker)

Gavin Logan

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Gavin is the Telecommunications Fellow for the National Urban League Washington Bureau. Prior to joining the Washington Bureau, Gavin served as the Assistant General Counsel for the District of Columbia Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment. In Gavin’s current role, he works with the Federal Communications Commission and members of the tech industry to ensure that the Urban League, and those represented by the Urban League are given voice in telecom policy decisions that impact their ability to participate meaningfully in the economic and social impacts of technological advancements.”

(General Track Speaker)

Stan Lou

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Stan Lou was born in Greenville, Mississippi, of immigrant parents from China.  Growing up in the Deep South in the time of severe segregation was an ordeal for all minority races and made many lasting impressions.  The family survived, and Stan eventually earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan, leading to a long career in the Federal Aviation Administration, culminating in a position as Manager of the national multi-billion dollar airports grants program.  Upon retirement Stan went to China in 2003 - 2005 to teach English to university students and to learn about himself and his identity as a Chinese American.  He returned to the Washington, DC, area where he has committed himself to become engaged with understanding more about his heritage as a Chinese American, and to fight for the Asian Pacific American community.  Most of his focus has been as a lifetime member with OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, where he has served as President of the Greater Washington DC Chapter and the Vice-President for Education & Culture on the OCA National Board.  He is currently the Chapter Vice-President of Community Outreach, works with the 1882 Foundation, and is active with a group that created the Talk Story series that engages the DC community in sharing the stories of their experiences living as APAs.

(General Track Speaker)

Theresa Mah

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Illinois State Representative Theresa Mah made history in 2016 when she became the first Asian American elected to serve in the Illinois General Assembly. Representative Mah is a former college professor with a Ph.D. in modern American history and teaching experience in history, ethnic studies, and Asian American studies. Born in San Francisco, California, and a graduate of UC Berkeley, Rep. Mah first came to Illinois for graduate studies at the University of Chicago more than 25 years ago.

Prior to her election to the General Assembly, Dr. Mah served as a senior advisor in former Governor Pat Quinn’s administration, working with legislators, Cabinet members, and co-workers at state agencies on efforts to improve diversity and minority representation in state government. She worked with advocacy groups on a variety of issues such as licensing and employment, immigrant rights, workers’ rights, voting rights, language access, and health care.

In the General Assembly Rep. Mah serves on the Committees on Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations, Aging, Health & Healthcare Disparities, and Health Care Licenses, among others. During her first term, Rep. Mah successfully carried and passed legislation in the areas of civil rights, consumer protection, language access, and immigrant rights. More recently, she has been appointed to the State of Illinois’ Complete Count Commission, whose mission is to ensure the accurate count of all populations during the 2020 Census.

(General Track Speaker)

Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke

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Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke is the President & CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) as well as the Founder and Principal of Arum Group, LLC.  She brings more than 20 years of experience working in political campaigns and specializes in political/non-profit fundraising and political training. Ms. Mielke began her professional career working at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and later for the Clinton/Gore Coordinated ’96. 

After returning from the ’96 campaign, Ms. Mielke worked for the Co-Executive Director at the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Vice President Gore’s team, the New Democrat Network PAC and then she returned to her roots as the Training Director for the Ron Brown-Paul Tully Institute (BTI), the training arm of the DNC.  In 2002 Ms. Mielke started her political consulting firm, specializing in fundraising and political training. Madalene has collaborated with national organizations and federal campaigns of all levels to raise millions of dollars to empower communities of color.

Madalene is a proud graduate of Tulane University, Newcomb College. She serves as a mentor through a variety of collegiate mentoring programs including the Newcomb College Institute Women to Women Mentoring Program and Georgetown University’s Politics Mentorship Program. 

(General Track Speaker)

Kham Moua

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Kham S. Moua directs and manages the OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates’ policy, advocacy, and campaign efforts, as well as all communications within those areas. Policy and advocacy areas currently under his supervision include immigration, education, military justice, telecommunications and technology, and civic engagement. Moua co-chairs the National Council of Asian Pacific American committee on immigration. He also currently sits on the board of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA). Issues close to him include LGBTQ rights, Asian Pacific Islander and Southeast Asian equity, and comprehensive immigration reform. Before working at OCA, he coordinated programming, along with state and local advocacy for Hmong National Development. In his free time, Moua enjoys videogames, the outdoors, and reading. You can check out his sparse twitter account @KhamMoua.

(General Track Speaker)

Thu Nguyen

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Thu Nguyen serves OCA National as the Communications Associate. A graduate of Rice University with degrees in Chemistry and Sociology, Thu found her way into the nonprofit sector in college when OCA-Greater Houston invited her to talk about Asian American body image at their TEA Talks. Then, as the president of the Vietnamese Student Association, she partnered with OCA-GH for the VSA’s annual College Leadership Workshop for low-income high school students, fell in love with the organization, and interned there as the social media and college programs co-coordinator.

In her capacity, Thu produces print and digital content to keep the community updated and advance organizational objectives. She hopes to bring her artistic direction to OCA’s magazine, social media, and other platforms to push information design for social advocacy organizations.

(General Track Speaker)

Aryani Ong

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Aryani Ong is a former civil rights attorney, advocate and aspiring blogger.  She co-founded the Asian Pacific American Task Force to bring together community leaders nationwide to address concerns about ethnic profiling of Chinese American scientists and federal employees.  To that end, she led grassroots and lobbying campaigns to effect civil rights safeguards in law or policy and to raise public awareness.  She organized and moderated a press conference in June and on Capitol Hill where congressional and community leaders, Sherry Chen and her lawyer, and Dr. Xiaoxing Xi spoke. 

Aryani is also senior advisor and a founding member of a local anti-hate crime coalition of 70 member organizations.  Previously, she’s spoken on hate crimes to various audiences, including a UN Committee on Race, Racism and Xenophobia, and worked on the few publications related to Asian American data collection and community responses.  Additionally, Aryani is active in intersections of education and advocacy.  As a member of a new Asian American parent advisory council to the school district, she addresses bullying, mental health, staff hiring and cultural proficiency.  Aryani also has chaired a nonprofit that supports a countywide system of ESOL programs, instructors and staff.  This year, she’s been involved with various political campaigns and groups, for whom she has moderated forums on the national, state and county levels.   

Aryani plans to write a blog called Six Hues that will offer multi-dimensional perspectives on issues, news makers and community.

(General Track Speaker)

Gregg Orton

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Gregg is the National Director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans where he leads the coalition in developing policy and communications strategy and advancing a joint agenda to address the needs of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities.

Gregg joined NCAPA after spending nine years working on Capitol Hill for Rep. Al Green (D-TX). He has served as a dedicated advocate for the AAPI community, as well as a mentor for many AAPI staffers in Congress.

Gregg hails from Arcadia, CA and attended Vassar College. Following graduation, he came to DC as an Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) Housing Fellow and joined Rep. Green’s office. He most recently served as the Congressman’s Chief of Staff.

(General Track Speaker)

Vimala Phongsavanh

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Vimala Phongsavanh is the proud daughter of Laotian refugees and was born, raised, and educated in rebellious Rhode Island.  As the Policy Director, she leads NAPAWF's strategic direction in policy and research to build power for AAPI women and girls. Vimala has experience working directly with and organizing the Southeast Asian community in Rhode Island, including successfully lobbying for data disaggregation legislation for SEA students. Additionally, she has served as an elected school committee member in her hometown of Woonsocket, RI, and has led successful local and state campaigns at the intersections of democracy, education, and health. She holds a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Rhode Island, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Providence College.

(Womxn's Track Speaker)

Oiyan Poon

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Dr. OiYan Poon is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education Leadership in the School of Education and Director of the Center for Racial Justice in Education & Research at Colorado State University. Her research focuses on the racial politics and discourses of college access, higher education organization and policy, affirmative action, and Asian Americans. Prior to joining the faculty at Colorado State University, Dr. Poon was an assistant professor of Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago. After earning her Bachelor’s degree at Boston College and M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Administration at the University of Georgia, OiYan worked in multicultural student affairs, as the first Asian Pacific American Student Affairs director at George Mason University and the first Student Affairs Officer in Asian American Studies at UC Davis.

Throughout her career, Dr. Poon has developed extensive experience in higher education policy analysis and advocacy. She was a key advocate for the establishment of the federal AANAPISI designation. She was also elected President of the University of California Student Association (UCSA), which represented the interests of all UC students in the statewide system’s governance process. She recently co-founded the Chinese Americans Reimagining Leadership (CARL) Summit in Boston (reimaginingleadership.org), which aims to cultivate critical consciousness for progressive Chinese American community youth leadership.

(General Track Speaker)

Darakshan Raja

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Darakshan Raja is the co-director of Justice For Muslims Collective, a local organization that works to dismantle structural Islamophobia through community defense, coalition-building, and base-building among Muslims. Previously, Darakshan was the interim executive director of the Washington Peace Center and worked at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center as a researcher on a range of criminal justice projects focused on evaluating interventions for victims of sexual assault for state and federal government agencies. She currently serves on the board of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Darakshan also serves on the board of Consumer Health Foundation, a leading racial equity funder in the region that advocates for racial equity and racial justice through programs and investments that advance the health and well-being of low-income communities and communities of color. Darakshan holds a MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

(General Track Speaker)

Kyle Serrette

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Kyle Serrette is a senior policy analyst at the National Education Association (NEA). He works with NEA affiliates and allies to form education coalitions, develop campaign strategies, deepen NEA affiliate and ally understanding of key school improvement policies, and helps coordinate national and regional campaigns that work to bolster our public education system.  School districts across the country have adopted school improvement policies that he has helped draft. He is one of the founders of the Community School Institute. He also is one of the founders of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS). He is a member of the Strategy Council for the Partnership for the Future of Learning. Kyle has 20 years of campaign experience and has received various awards recognizing his role in organizing and policy victories. Previously, Kyle worked for the Center for Popular Democracy, Change to Win, SEIU, and AFSCME. 

(General Track Speaker)

Ali Smith

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Ali Smith is the Communications Director at the 1882 Foundation. She is also pursuing a Master’s degree in International Migration Studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center. She works as a Museum Educator at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, facilitating dialogue on immigration history and leading student, private, and public visits to the museum. She has previously worked in client service at an investment management firm in Connecticut, and prior to that as a paralegal at an immigration law firm in Washington, D.C. Ali graduated from Georgetown University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies and Chinese, focusing on U.S. immigration history. She also has experience serving as a research assistant at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has previously interned with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Asian American Justice Center.

(General Track Speaker)

Monica Thammarath

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Monica Thammarath is currently senior liaison in the Community Advocacy & Partnership Engagement Department at the National Education Association (NEA). At NEA, Monica works to connect NEA’s 3 million members and affiliates to student, parent, and community organizing opportunities focused on racial and social justice, particularly as it impacts the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Monica also serves as NEA’s appointee to the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) National Executive Board and was elected to become APALA’s National President in August 2017, making her the youngest and first Laotian American to serve in this role. On behalf of APALA, Monica co-chairs the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) Education Committee.

Prior to joining the NEA, Monica was the Education Policy Advocate at the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). She also holds experience organizing campaigns around affordable, high quality public education and provided direct services to low-income, immigrant, and refugee communities. The youngest daughter of political refugees from Laos, Monica was born and raised in southeast San Diego and is a proud product of California’s public K-16 education system. When she isn’t organizing educators, families, and students for racial and social justice, you will likely find her hosting brunch with friends, training for her next marathon, or planning her next camping trip.

(General Track Speaker)

Jes Tom

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Jes Tom (they/them) is an actor, writer, and weird queer stand up comic. Born & raised in San Francisco and now based in New York, Jes’s comedy gleefully provides the nonbinary queer Asian American radical cyborg perspective that everyone never knew they wanted. Jes has shared stages with Awkwafina, Kate Bornstein, Aparna Nancherla, and Rosie O’Donnell. As an actor, they appeared in the Funny or Die short film “Soojung Dreams of Fiji,” and played the lead in “Anatomy of an Orchid” dir. Sonja O’Hara (Independent Magazine’s “10 Filmmakers to Watch”). Their writing has been published by Reductress, by Shondaland, and Condé Nast’s  Them. In collaboration with fellow comedian Chewy May, Jes Tom wrote, co-directed, and starred in the viral video Ghost in The Shell PSA, which received p raise on platforms such as Buzzfeed, Upworthy, Nextshark, iO0, and Perez Hilton. Jes has been featured in GO Magazine, Splitsider, and the Fader, and were named one of TimeOut New York’s “LGBTQ POC Comedians We’re Obsessed With.” Their first half hour comedy special, “COLD BREW” is available to watch on Vimeo. Follow Jes on Twitter @jestom and Instagram @jesthekid.

(Youth Luncheon Speaker)

Nicole Turner-Lee

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Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee is a Brookings Institution fellow in the Center for Technology Innovation, and a contributor to TechTank.  She comes to Brookings from the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC), a national non-profit dedicated to promoting equal opportunity and civil rights in media, where she served as vice president, chief research, and policy officer.Prior to joining MMTC, Dr. Turner-Lee was vice president and the first director of the Media and Technology Institute at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the nation’s leading think tank on issues related to African Americans and other people of color.

Dr. Turner-Lee has been cited in the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications.  She is also a widely sought expert and has testified before Congress.  Dr. Turner-Lee was a two-time Digital Research Program Scholar as part of Time Warner Cable’s Cable Research Program in Communications, and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (2015) and one of the Most Inspiring Women in Media from the Alliance of Women in Media (2014).

Dr. Turner-Lee graduated from Colgate University magna cum laude and has a M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University. 

(General Track Speaker)

Stephanie Wong

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Stephanie Wong is OCA’s Chapter and Membership Associate. In her role, Stephanie works with over 35 chapters and 1500 members throughout the country. Stephanie serves as the liaison for OCA’s chapters, members, manages chapter development and civic engagement, and has been involved with mobilizing groups throughout the country on issues such as Immigration, Affirmative Action, and the 2020 Census.

Stephanie currently serves as the President for the Washington, D.C. chapter of Filipino Young Professionals (FYP-DC) which seeks to empower and equip the young Filipino-American professional with resources to help them in their career endeavors. Stephanie has worked with organizations such as FilVetRep and NaFFAA to help raise funds for Congressional Gold Medals for Filipino American WWII veterans. In addition, Stephanie is an alumna of the Asian Pacific American Institute of Congressional Studies and worked for Congresswoman Bordallo in the office for Guam.

Stephanie graduated from the University of Florida where she studied Political Science, English, and Asian American Studies. While at UF, Stephanie served as President of the Asian American Student Union, Senator and Assistant Director for Student Government, and Programming Director for the Southeast Regional Conference of Asian American Leaders (SERCAAL). Stephanie also developed the Asian American community in the Southeast, helping with the formation of the Florida Asian American Student Union (FAASU) and bringing the first Asian American Studies minor to a college campus in the Southeast.

(General Track Speaker)

Jacqueline Wu

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Jacqueline Wu is the daughter of immigrants, whose father originally hailed from Shanghai, China and mother from Samar, Philippines. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jacqueline was cognizant of her intersecting identities as a low-income queer woman of color growing up. For undergraduate, Jacqueline attended the University of Washington where she completed her Bachelor of Arts with majors in American Ethnic Studies and History (Honors), with minors in Diversity, Labor Studies, and Chemistry. During undergraduate Jacqueline began her involvement with Seattle’s Asian and Pacific Islander community through OCA-Greater Seattle Chapter. Wanting to share space and experiences, Jacqueline and her fellow interns organized and hosted two conferences:  A Passage to Seattle: Past, Present, Future and Pre-Conquest of Indigenous Cultures and. Both conferences were three day and drew over 300 people from the local area, nationally, and Canada. Due to popular demand, PICA return for a fifth year this past fall with theme of BANNED: Reexamining 1882 CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT & Denials of Other Liberties.

Jacqueline’s involvement in community organizing led her to pursue a Master in Public Administration at her alma mater, which she graduated from last June. She now works at Catholic Housing Services in Community and Housing Development.

(General Track Speaker)

John Yang

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John C. Yang is the president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), where he leads the organization’s efforts to fight for civil rights and empower Asian Americans. His extensive legal background enables AAJC to address legislative discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and other minority communities.

John has been a leader among the AAPI community since 1997, when he co-founded the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the direct service legal needs of Asian Pacific Americans in the D.C. metropolitan area. John was president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) from 2003 to 2004, and since 1998, he has served as Co-Chair of NAPABA’s Judiciary and Executive Nominations & Appointments Committee. John’s other leadership positions have included: Minority caucus chair of American Bar Association House of Delegates 2014-2016; Board Member, ABA Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession (2009–12); General Counsel, Organization of Chinese Americans (2000–02);

John also served in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor for Trade and Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Commerce. He has also worked in Shanghai, China for several years as the legal director for the Asia-Pacific operations of a U.S. Fortune 200 company.

John graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School, Chambers USA recognized John as one of “America’s Leading Business Lawyers” and as a Washington, D.C. “Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics.

(General Track Speaker)

Corrine Yu

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Corrine Yu is managing policy director for The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. Ms. Yu is responsible for developing new program opportunities and coordinating policy development, advocating to policymakers in the executive and legislative branches. She also serves as staff liaison for coalition task forces on census, media/telecommunications, and health care.

Ms. Yu previously served as The Leadership Conference and The Education Fund’s director of special projects where she developed groundbreaking initiatives. She also served as director of education, with oversight responsibilities for all of The Leadership Conference and The Education Fund’s offline and online communications, publications, and research, including the organization’s award-winning website, civilrights.org.Ms. Yu was also previously the director and counsel of the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, and co-editor of its highly respected biennial reviews of the Clinton administration’s civil rights track record. Prior to joining the Citizens’ Commission, Ms. Yu was an attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of Nixon, Hargrave, Devans and Doyle where she specialized in First Amendment, antitrust, and other litigation. She is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School.

(General Track Speaker)