I am deeply humbled and grateful to have been a part of APEN’s growth to become the powerhouse that it is, to organize our Asian immigrant and refugee members, to create and win grassroots policies, and to help build the environmental justice movement in California and nationally.
When I first came to APEN as a youth organizer in the mid-1990s, I didn’t anticipate that this is where I would spend the majority of my adult life so far. I didn’t grow up in an Asian American neighborhood or ethnic community, but I came to APEN because I wanted to be part of environmental justice organizing that was rooted in Asian communities.
Since then, our community organizing has grown tremendously. The young women that were part of APEN’s youth program got their parents and grandparents involved in organizing. We connected with Chinese workers and elders in Oakland Chinatown, and fought for healthy workplaces and tenant protections. As we started going up against big industrial polluters like Chevron, we quickly realized that in order to change the impact that big polluters were having in Richmond, we would need to build stronger, broader alliances that could have a meaningful impact in bigger arenas. We would have to be part of building a bigger movement for environmental justice nationally.
Through it all, we’ve maintained the heartbeat of the organization, and continued to expand and deepen our community organizing.
I want to personally thank you for your support over the years. APEN was born as a movement organization and we’ve been so generously supported, held, and encouraged by all of you. APEN would not be where we are without this broader community of support.
In every change, there is an opportunity. I am excited to share that our APEN board, staff, and members have decided to take this opportunity to transition to a Co-Director leadership structure, in which two Co-Directors will work together to lead our organizational strategy, power building and campaigns. As we work together to build a more leaderful and regenerative movement, I believe this new structure better reflects the values of shared leadership that are core to APEN’s identity.
I could not be leaving APEN in better hands. I am thrilled to share that Vivian Yi Huang, APEN’s Deputy Director, will be starting as the first of our two Co-Directors! Vivian is a true visionary, warrior, and brilliant leader who will support APEN to grow into a more powerful, more effective, and more impactful organization.
I am not going far. I plan to transition into a Senior Strategist for APEN Action, APEN’s c4 sister organization. I will continue to play a leadership role in strategic power building in the electoral arena to deepen my advocacy for Asian immigrant and refugee communities throughout California. I plan to officially transition out of my current Executive Director role on December 31, 2021.
I am excited to work with the Board to bring on the new leadership at APEN in this critical time. We are at the highest capacity we’ve ever been and are celebrating this moment of the next phase of APEN’s organizational growth. I am looking forward to the many opportunities ahead for APEN and the next set of victories that APEN will accomplish.
With deepest appreciation and gratitude,
P.S. — Please honor my leadership and invest in the next generation of leaders at APEN by donating to our Grassroots Asian Environmental Leadership Fund. Find out more and donate here.