Staff and Board full bios

APEN’S STAFF

Eric Chan, Oakland Operations Associate | eric [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Eric was born and raised in San Francisco to Chinese immigrant parents. He decided to study Molecular Environmental Biology and minored in Environmental Justice at U.C. Berkeley ever since he discovered his passion for environmental sciences in high school. Since then, he has spent his time and effort at Sierra Club’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program that focused on creating inclusive spaces in the work environment while providing educational tools and resources for racial, social, and economic justice for public use. Eric is thrilled to join an environmental justice focused organization that shares the same values as he does and is excited to contribute to the larger environmental movement. In his spare time, Eric likes to hike the outdoors, play volleyball and tennis, and attend concerts.

Puja Dahal, Richmond Operations Associate | puja [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Puja immigrated to San Pablo, CA with her family from Nepal, and in college, she had the opportunity to return to work closely with women and children in the rural villages.  Through her involvement, Puja noticed one common pattern in both countries. She saw that many youth were suffering from mental health issues as a result of their internal and external environment, and how that was affecting their overall well-being and their presentation as individuals. Puja graduated from UC Berkeley in 2016 with a degree in Social Welfare and Global Poverty & Practice. As an APEN youth member, she helped lead APEN’s voter registration campaign along with local measures and proposition work in 2016. She also participated in her first lobbying work with APEN in Sacramento with her 10-year-old brother to advance environmental and climate justice. Puja’s passion continues to be working with marginalized communities, so that they can have access to equal, equitable, and healthy environment where they can thrive mentally and physically.

Sydney Fang, Communications Associate | sydney [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Sydney is the daughter of Chinese immigrants and refugees. Prior to APEN, she served as an Emerson National Hunger Fellow at the United Way of King County in Seattle and at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement in Washington, D.C.. Sydney’s communications expertise comes from her time as a Communications Intern with Grassroots Change and her experience as a spokesperson on issues of campus diversity. Sydney graduated in 2012 from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Public Health and a Public Policy minor. She began her activist career as a student leader in multicultural campus coalitions, where she focused on recruitment and retention efforts for underrepresented Asian Pacific Islanders and served as a student senator. Sydney has also organized Chinese home care workers and served as a City of Berkeley Community Health Commissioner. She was a Public Policy International Affairs Fellow and a Bridges to Health Academy Associate at the Greenlining Institute.

Jing Jing He, Community Organizer | jingjing [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Jing Jing was born in TaiShan, GuangDong, China. She immigrated to the United States when she was 13. She speaks fluently in TaiShanese, Mandarin, Cantonese and English. She graduated last year with a Social Welfare degree from UC Berkeley. Jing Jing’s role at APEN as a community organizer helps fight for social and environmental justice. Previously, Jing Jing has also participated in APEN Action, a program designed to help organize and educate API voters.  As a community organizer, she hopes to first educate herself, then bring her knowledge about grassroots organizing to the community and learn from the community. She wants to help generate power in the Asian community into having greater influence in where they live and work.

Rachel Lee Holstein, Development Director | rachellee [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Rachel Lee joined APEN with 10+ years worth of experience in nonprofit fundraising and communications. She has raised donation dollars to fund mural art, elderly services, employment programs for formerly incarcerated men and women, international hunger relief, and fair trade for farmers and farm workers. She has creative produced and project managed micro-documentaries, online campaigns, and events of all sizes. A rainmaker for social justice, she loves working with passionate people at organizations that are making waves and manifesting positive change. Like APEN.

Vivian Yi Huang, Campaign & Organizing Director | vivian [at] apen4ej [dot] org
APEN organizes API community members to advance an environmental, social, and economic justice agenda.  Prior to working at APEN, Vivian spent seven years advocating for statewide policy, legislation, and budget funding for immigrants, communities of color, migrant farmworkers, and women.  She was Director of Legislative Advocacy at Asian Americans for Civil Rights & Equality (the Sacramento office of Chinese for Affirmative Action, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and Asian Law Caucus), as well as Deputy Director of Policy at the California Primary Care Association (the statewide organization representing community health clinics). Vivian also worked on federal policy a as  Presidential Management Fellow.

Ratha Lai, Our Power Campaign Coordinator | ratha [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Ratha holds a Bachelors of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies Field from UC Berkeley. He brings experience in community and political organizing, public policy, and community development. He is a mission-driven individual, who has worked for mission-driven organizations focused on marginalized communities. He has experienced first-hand how poor urban planning, unsafe air and water quality lead to compounding social and health complications. These experiences make him deeply rooted in the initiatives and programs APEN focuses on.

Timmy Lu, State Organizing Director | timmy [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Timmy Lu has nearly ten years of experience in the Asian American community, with skills ranging from direct action to field organizing for electoral campaigns. Timmy built up APEN’s civic engagement programs by developing custom voter databases to outreach Chinese voters, translating call lists for monolingual Chinese leaders, designing tools to identify Laotian voters, and providing essential research, targeting, and logistical support for APEN’s electoral organizing. Timmy is active in training a national pipeline of young Asian American activists in to community and labor organizing. He mentors students from his alma mater Stanford University, where he organized student-labor solidarity and antiwar demonstrations. A child of ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam, Timmy is deeply committed to working towards social justice for all.

Aiko Pandorf, Deputy Director | aiko [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Aiko first became part of the APEN family in its very early days as a consultant raising up stories of members and EJ campaigns developing APEN’s newsletter, position papers and reports. Returning to join the staff as Deputy Director in 2016 feels like coming home. She brings a wealth of experience in organizational development and nonprofit management through her tenure in social justice and Asian American nonprofits. Most recently she has served as Development Director at Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, as Board Chair for Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, and as Executive Director at the Asian Women’s Shelter.  Her experience working in community development and raising her family in Zimbabwe in the mid 1990s reinforce her strong belief in the incredible resilience and power of people to heal, build community and transform civil society.

Amee Raval, Policy & Research Associate | amee [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Amee is a first-generation Indian American, who was born and raised on the East Coast. Her personal experiences have supported her awareness of how inequalities in the workplace, as well as the built and natural environment, influence community health. As a recent master’s graduate from UC Berkeley School of Public Health, her studies have focused on the intersection between worker health, climate resilience, and environmental justice. She previously worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council to support international policy advocacy efforts protecting vulnerable urban communities in India from extreme heat due to climate change as well as worsening air pollution. Prior to attending Berkeley, she spent a year in India supporting research and educational outreach on the social and environmental costs of the electronics industry. In her new role at APEN, Amee is committed to building a stronger understanding of California’s political landscape and the policy strategies by which APEN supports the environmental and climate justice movement. In her free time, she enjoys supporting radical South Asian community groups and exploring the Bay Area on her bicycle!

Shina Robinson, Executive Assistant | shina [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Shina has a deep commitment to environmental justice as the intersection ofhuman rights, equity and ecological sanity. She was exposed to the link between environmental health and poverty at a young age between visiting family in the Philippines and growing up in the shadow of a Los Angeles area oil refinery. Shina began work with human rights campaigns while pursuing undergraduate degrees in International Studies and Political Science at Long Beach State and focused on climate disaster relief and food justice. Currently, she organizes with Anakbayan from the Bay Area to the Philippines, fighting always for people, culture, community and planet over profits.

Laiseng Saechao, State Organizer | laiseng [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Born and raised in Richmond, Laiseng grew up noticing the deep inequalities that existed in her community. A serendipitous enrollment in the course, “Ecological Justice” taught her about the work of APEN and their organizing efforts in her own backyard. This inspired her to become engaged with on campus organizing through her programmatic work on topics including race, gender, class, and disability at the social justice center, Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment. It also meant spending two summers at APEN as an intern learning about local campaigns, and grassroots organizing in 2013 and 2015. In order to tie her academia to her passion for equity, Laiseng graduated from Scripps College with a degree in Politics and International Relations where her concentration was Power and Justice. This allowed her to combine political theory, public policy, and personal narratives to understand the ways we fight against systems of oppression and build power from it. Laiseng is extremely excited to find her political home at APEN and is looking forward to working alongside members and allies for healthy communities we can live, work, and play!

Lio meng (Sandy) Saeteurn, Community Organizer | sandy [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Sandy was born in Thailand and came to the United States at the age of 3 months. Her family is from Laos and her native tribe and language is called Mien. Sandy comes from a big family. She has a mother, 5 sisters, 2 brothers, 13 nieces and nephews, and 2 children.

Sandy grew up in Richmond, California. At the age of 14, Sandy was introduced to environmental justice and organizing through APEN’s youth program Asian Youth Advocates (AYA). Sandy’s been with APEN for 15 years, and has played a variety of roles such as, Youth Advocate, General Support Associate, Youth Organizer, LOP (Laotian Organizing Project) Community Leader, and currently is Community Organizer. Her passion is to organize and empower Asians to fight for their rights. For work, Sandy organizes the community, for play, she organizes her family, she is a true organizer!

Nai Saeteurn, Operations Associate | nai [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Nai’s journey at APEN started in the summer of 1998, she was  just 15 years old and  getting ready to enter high school.  She joined Asian Youth Advocates (AYA) which was the 4th year APEN had organized young Laotian girls in Richmond. The first couple years in AYA involved learning about self awareness and cultural differences, moving deeper into social and environmental injustices within our community.  One of the first campaigns she worked on was the Multi-lingual Warning System Campaign and battling against a large oil company – Chevron. This was a very empowering experience as she reflects on her life, being Laotian, a young woman, and finding her own identity and purpose in this world.

After leaving AYA’s 4-year program and graduating high school, she ventured out into the world with the right knowledge provided by her experience in the youth program.  A couple years later, she was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work closely with APEN and the community that has shaped her life in so many ways. For that, she is grateful!

Parin Shah, Senior Strategist | parin [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Prior to APEN, Parin was with Green For All where he worked with cities and counties on equity and environmental policy.  In 2004, he founded the Urban Accords Institute, which in 2005 co-hosted the UN World Environment Day in San Francisco out of which was developed the Urban Environmental Accords-a road map for creating green cities. From 2000-04 as the President of the Commission on the Environment for the City and County of San Francisco, he co-authored ground-breaking legislation on climate change, environmental justice, wetlands conservation & restoration, zero waste, green buildings and food security. Parin has also developed and managed habitat restoration projects, horticultural education and job-training programs for formerly incarcerated youth and adults in San Francisco. He began his community work in Tunisia as a Peace Corps Volunteer where he led community development projects, taught, and supported the organization of a local women’s weaving cooperative. 

Kenneth Tang, Oakland Organizer | kenneth [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Kenneth joined as APEN staff in April 2015. He never, in his wildest dreams, thought he would be working for a non-profit transformative organization. He grew up with a capitalist mindset and really didn’t know about environmental justice movement until he started coming to APEN. At the invitation of his peers, he was able to realize how extractive our economy is with the current system. Before he was hired, Kenneth started out as an APEN volunteer and became a member shortly after. As a immigrant from Hong Kong, he is passionate about connecting with the Chinese community, and he enjoys spending times with seniors for they are full of wisdoms and advices that we can all learn and benefit from.

Mabel Tsang, State Organizer | mabel [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Mabel’s commitment to being a community organizer is grounded in her life experiences, and in her mother, in particular. Mabel brings a wealth of experience to APEN. She built her skills in electoral organizing, managing field teams, and coalition building during her time with San Francisco Rising and other progressive political projects. Mabel has connected with and organized Walmart workers across the country to demand respect for human dignity when she was a part of the Our Walmart campaign. Mabel is an alumna of University of California, San Diego, where she led campaigns to secure resources for students of color on campus. 

Chiravann Uch, Operations Coordinator | chiravann [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Chiravann is a first generation Cambodian American from Oakland, California. After working with youth organizations like AYPAL and Forward Together throughout high school, she began to see the power and resilience of Asian/Pacific Islander communities. Through youth organizing, she became exposed to environmental justice work through conducting interviews with nail salons about healthier work conditions and facilitating community workshops on climate justice. Before graduating from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Asian American Studies and Sociology, she coordinated a 3-year mentorship for low-income Oakland and Richmond high school students and served as Executive Director for REACH!, the Asian/Pacific Islander Recruitment and Retention Center on campus. As she continues to (re)discover her own roots coming from an immigrant refugee background, she is grateful to come full circle back to environmental justice and have the opportunity to bring her leadership to APEN.

Malcolm Amado Uno, Political Director | amado [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Before joining APEN, Amado served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor in the Office of Public Engagement where he expanded opportunities for community participation in the grants and regulatory process, served on the interagency implementation team of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and assisted in the Department’s efforts to engage organized labor.  As the Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, he created strong labor and community partnerships, advocated for multi-generational leadership in the labor movement, helped to train the next generation of AAPI union organizers and implemented APALA’s Every Vote Counts political program.  Amado is a recipient of the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship and the Coro Fellowship and received his graduate degree in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Mei-ying Williams, Operations Director | mei-ying [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Mei-ying has served as the Operations Director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) since 2008. She is committed to helping to establish and further support strong organizations advancing our collective struggles for justice. Prior to beginning her tenure at APEN, Mei-ying worked for five years at the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), three years of which was as Co-Director. She has also worked as an 8th grade English and History teacher in Oakland, and is the proud mama to a joyful and energetic 4-year old who teaches her lessons daily. Mei-ying currently represents APEN on the coordinating committee for the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. She also sits on the Board of Directors at the Rockwood Leadership Institute.

Alvina Wong, Community Organizer | alvina [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Born and raised in Washington, Alvina used to spend afternoons selling Chinese jellos and cotton candy to the neighborhood kids in Redmond and summers building more accessible hiking trails in the Cascades, which sparked her passion for environmental justice. Since then, she has organized API immigrants and youth, students of color, and low-income communities at varying capacities, including access to healthy and culturally relevant foods, youth incarceration, access to quality and higher education, and healthcare. Alvina began organizing in the Chinese immigrant community as an Eva Lowe Fellow, the summer of 2010 after graduating from the Evergreen State College in Social Work and Media Production.

Miya Yoshitani, Executive Director | miya [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Miya has an extensive background in community organizing, campaign strategy, leadership development and training, organizational development, and fundraising, and a long history of working in the environmental justice movement. In her twenties she was the executive director of the largest student environmental network in the US, the Student Environmental Action Coalition, SEAC, and worked broadly in international environment and development networks organizing for environmental and economic justice. Miya was a participant in the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991, and was on the drafting committee of the original Principles of Environmental Justice, a defining document for the environmental justice movement. Miya first joined the APEN staff in the mid-90’s as a youth organizer, and has served as lead organizer, development director and spearheaded APEN’s strategic planning. APEN has been fighting – and winning – environmental justice struggles for the past 18 years and remains one of the most unique organizations in the country explicitly developing the leadership and power of low-income Asian American immigrant and refugee communities. APEN has been a trailblazer in bringing the voices of APA communities to the forefront of environmental health and social justice fights in the Bay Area, winning real policy solutions for the community across a gamut of issues including occupational safety of high-tech workers, affordable housing, transportation and land-use, and challenging multinational corporations to mitigate pollution that is devastating the health and well-being of countless low-income communities of color.

Megan Zapanta, Community Organizer | megan [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Megan started her environmental activism in high school by organizing recycling drives and Hurricane Katrina relief funds. As a Black Studies major at Amherst College, she deepened her commitment to fighting for racial and economic justice. After college, she organized workers for Unite Here Local 30 in her hometown of San Diego before she moved to Oakland to work as APEN’s Development Associate. Over 2 1/2 years, Megan helped throw many APEN events from happy hours to Galas and expanded the organization’s grassroots fundraising capacity and social media presence. In her new role as a community organizer, she is proud to support Richmond residents in advancing local solutions to climate change. Outside of work, Megan practices martial arts, plays soccer, reads science fiction and serves as the chair of Anakbayan East Bay.

APEN’S BOARD

Nikki Fortunato Bas is the daughter of Filipino immigrants and has advocated for social justice for more than 20 years in the Bay Area. She is the Executive Director of the Partnership for Working Families, a national network of coalitions in 17 major cities working to tackle the crises of income inequality and climate change by pushing cities to take action on jobs, waste, transit, housing and economic development. She previously served as the Executive Director of the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE), where she partnered with APEN to build Oakland Rising and collaborated on economic development issues. She has worked side-by-side with immigrant women garment workers as the Executive Director of Sweatshop Watch, where she led campaigns that resulted in a landmark sweatshop reform law in California and millions of dollars in back wages paid to garment workers from major corporations. She has a deep commitment to environmental justice and this work includes leading the Military Toxics Project to support communities impacted by military pollution, such as rural and indigenous communities neighboring mines and munitions ranges, and veterans impacted by the use of depleted uranium.

Betty Hung is Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA’s Policy Director, overseeing the organization’s strategic policy and advocacy initiatives to promote equal access and equal justice for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities in solidarity with other underserved communities.  She started her career at Advancing Justice – LA in 1997 as a member of the legal team that litigated the groundbreaking El Monte Thai and Latino garment worker case and rejoined the organization in February 2012. More recently, Betty has focused on supporting the leadership and civic engagement of Asian American and NHPI community members on issues such as immigrant rights and racial justice.  Betty is actively involved in the community, and also serves on the boards of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) – LA, Economic Roundtable, Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, and the National Lawyers Guild, as well as the Advisory Board of the Los Angeles Black Worker Center. Hung is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.

Joanne Kim sets the strategic priorities for business development, housing and transportation projects for the Los Angeles City Council District Eight. She also advises Council Member Marqueece Harris-Dawson on planning, land use, and economic development. Before joining City Hall in 2015, Joanne served as the Chief Operating Officer of Community Coalition, one of the nation’s leading community organizing institutions. She was responsible for setting the strategic vision for the organization, overseeing the executive management team, and building up the human resources infrastructure. Joanne received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Master of Public Health from University of California, Los Angeles. She resides in the West Adams area of South Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

Hao T. Lam, CPA, is the Chief Financial Officer of CoEfficient, LLC, an energy efficiency finance company based in San Francisco.  Prior to joining CoEfficient, Hao spent five years as Controller and Chief Financial Officer for Kapor Enterprises, Inc. where he directed the accounting and financial operations for a web of connected non-profit and for-profit organizations focused on social justice.  Hao’s additional work experience includes ten years in public accounting, with four years at KPMG where he worked as a tax specialist doing estate, trust and high net worth individual tax returns.  Hao earned his degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He currently lives in Oakland with his wife and two children. 

Nayantara Mehta is a Senior Staff Attorney at the National Employment Law Project in Berkeley. She works on eliminating unfair barriers to employment for people with criminal records and expanding the employment rights of other vulnerable workers. Prior to working at NELP, she was Senior Counsel at Alliance for Justice and a Fellow with the Women’s Policy Institute, a lobbying and leadership development program of the Women’s Foundation of California. She has advised and worked on policy campaigns related to reproductive justice, immigrant rights, and many other social and economic justice issues. She also provided trainings and technical assistance to nonprofits and foundations on the legal issues related to lobbying and election-related activities.  Nayantara has a BA from the College of William and Mary, an MA from the University of Chicago, and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. 

Vu-Bang Nguyen is a program officer focused on SVCF’s regional planning grantmaking strategy. He was previously an associate director of land use and housing at Urban Habitat, where he was site lead for the Great Communities Collaborative, working on regional planning initiatives and local transit-oriented development campaigns. Vu-Bang also has worked for the City of Berkeley’s Department of Planning, the Town of Los Gatos Planning Division and for a real estate development company working on infill residential development projects in Fremont, San José and Los Gatos. Vu-Bang holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, where he created a community engagement handbook for the San José Redevelopment Agency to increase Vietnamese American participation in local government decisions. He earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture at Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design.

Shiree Teng has worked in the social sector for 30+ years as a social and racial justice champion—as a front line organizer, advocate, network facilitator, capacity builder, grantmaker, and evaluator and learning partner. Shiree brings to the work a lifelong commitment to social change and a belief in the potential of groups of people coming together to create powerful solutions to entrenched social issues.