Who is APEN?
Meet APEN’s Staff & Board
Our Staff Members
SOMAH Outreach Coordinator (she/her)
Ayesha is a first-generation Pakistani American raised in the Bay Area. Her early childhood experiences in Pakistan led her to become involved in a number of non-profit organizations providing resources to communities in need both locally and globally. Ayesha went on to receive a degree in Political Science from UC Riverside and continued to combat inequity by leading cultural competency education workshops and building multi-cultural coalitions. Through her community organizing and outreach work, she was awarded the Sumi Harada API Leadership Award and went on to be a Ronald O. Loveridge Policy Fellow. Ayesha is excited for her role as the SOMAH Outreach Coordinator where she can use her strengths in community outreach, education, and organizing in conjunction with her knowledge of statewide policy. In her free time, you can find her propagating houseplants, volunteering as a counselor for Exhale, or taking a hike.
Chinatown Operations Associate (he/him)
Eric was born and raised in San Francisco to Chinese immigrant parents. He studied 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.
State Policy Organizer (she/her)
Terilyn was born and raised in the East Bay. She studied Environmental Science and Public Policy as an undergraduate at Harvard University, and first became involved with APEN in 2018 as a fellow. As Policy and Research Fellow, Terilyn developed a slate of state bill proposals for APEN and helped to write a report on community resilience to climate impacts. Prior to becoming State Policy Organizer, she worked at the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club. Terilyn loves plants, bodies of water, and Durga Chew-Bose’s writing.
Policy Director (she/they)
As APEN’s Policy Director, Sylvia is committed to advancing transformative environmental justice policies. She is a first-generation Chinese/Taiwanese-American and grew up in Connecticut. She earned her A.B. in History with a minor in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College and her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, where she represented environmental justice communities as part of the school’s environmental law clinic. She worked at the U.S. EPA, U.S. Senate, and Environmental Law Institute before joining Verdant Law, where she practiced chemicals and green marketing law. As part of her commitment to immigrant justice, Sylvia coordinated emergency legal response for the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) during the first Muslim Ban. She also supervises law students in representing SIV and refugee applicants through IRAP, and volunteers with the Asian-American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area’s legal clinic with Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach. Sylvia developed a passion for economic justice while working on divestment in Oakland, and is an active member of the California Public Banking Alliance and Public Bank East Bay.
Communications Director (she/her)
Marie is a second generation diasporic Korean mama, researcher, and radio producer. She has worked on shows like Making Contact, Upfront, Hard Knock Radio, and Apex Express. She has put her research and communications skills to work, supporting workers and communities organizing both inside and outside of NGOs and unions. She likes cooking, swimming, and audio stories for children.
Pam Mei Harrison, PhD.
Grants Manager (she/her)
Pam Mei joined APEN with five years of experience in writing and managing grants (as well as some program development and event production) at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from UC Berkeley under the guidance of Dr. Carolyn Merchant. Her dissertation used an environmental justice (EJ) framework to understand and make recommendations regarding the usage and conditions of city parks in Richmond, Berkeley, and Oakland. She also highlighted various ways in which people’s freedom to move and belong–especially Indigenous, Asian, and Black women in public spaces–has been circumscribed directly and indirectly throughout American history. Her early childhood was spent under big open skies on top of a mountain in the desert Southwest, and she enjoys being outside (including biking and swimming), spending time with her son, and dancing. She cut her teeth as an activist during the global justice movement in New England with protests against the World Bank, IMF, WEF, and GHW Bush, etc. Pam Mei is multiracial and multifaceted. She is honored to be a part of the APEN team, supporting its crucial work towards a Just Transition.
Jing Jing He
Oakland Lead Organizer (she/her)
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.
Vivian Yi Huang
Deputy Director (she/her)
Being from a Chinese immigrant family, Vivian fights for justice for immigrant communities. Currently, she is Deputy Director for Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), organizing with immigrants and refugees to develop collective power and leadership for a thriving economy. In this solidarity economy work, Vivian is also part of Cooperation Richmond, REAL People’s Fund, People Power Solar Cooperative, and Grassroots Asians Rising. Prior to working at APEN, Vivian spent a decade pushing policy, legislation, and budget funding for immigrants, communities of color, migrant farmworkers, and women, including being a mentor for the Women’s Policy Institute. Vivian loves supporting leadership development for herself and others through teaching public health policy at San Francisco State University, training with the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), advising AYPAL: Building API Community Power, and participating in somatics.
Richmond Community Organizer (he/him)
Denny is a 2nd generation Laotian American that was born and raised in North Richmond California. Growing up he experienced life in a low income neighborhood that was plagued by health and public safety issues. Denny attended Richmond High and joined youth programs, such as South East Asian Mentorship (SEAM) and South East Asian Young Leaders (SEAYL) where he learned about Asian refugee and immigration history in the United States and partnered up with youth to prevent gang violence within Richmond. After graduating high school Denny took up photography and through photojournalism he learned about APEN and their presence, work, and love for the community. Overtime he attended member meetings and APEN academy which helped ignite his interest in social and environmental justice. Denny is proud to say that he’s transitioned from an APEN member to the new Richmond Community organizer.
Richmond Youth Organizer (she/her)
Katherine is from Richmond, CA, born from a family of first generation Mien refugees. In elementary school, she began to attend APEN member meetings, as well as rallies and protests against the Chevron Refinery. This early participation in direct action is what fostered her passion and commitment to social and environmental justice. Throughout her teenage years, she continued to pursue her passion by taking on leadership roles for various civic engagement opportunities. A few of her past experiences to highlight include: Lead Phone Banker for Power California’s Summer 2019 Program, Team Lead for APEN Action’s 2018 Civic Engagement Program, and Lead Signature Gatherer for Richmond Kids First. She is proud to say that she is now the Richmond Youth Organizer at Asian Pacific Environmental Network.
Oakland Local Organizer (she/her)
Cheuk is a 1.5 generation immigrant from Hong Kong. She grew up in a working class family in Greater Seattle. As a first-generation college student, she graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Comparative History of Ideas and a minor in Diversity. In 2016, she was introduced to community organizing as a Seeding Change Fellow with Youth MOJO at the Chinese Progressive Association. Afterwards, she organized with the autonomous Chinese/diaspora organization Parisol//Pacific Rim Solidarity Network in Seattle, a healing and accountable political home in the struggle for collective liberation. She also organized with the Chinatown-International District Coalition (#HumbowsNotHotels) engaging AAPIs in anti-gentrification work in solidarity with other historically redlined communities. Cheuk is excited to work at APEN fighting for environmental justice and human rights with marginalized communities of Oakland and beyond!
Oakland Community Organizer Assistant (he/him)
Sky was born in Guangzhou and immigrated to America with his family in 2006. Oakland is the first city he settled down in and he has been living in Oakland for more than 10 years. He started volunteering at Oakland Asian Branch Library since high school. After he met APEN staff at Laney College, he started joining APEN’s meetings and doing volunteer work with APEN. He previously was voted as a member of the Oakland Leaders Committee, so he got more opportunities to join council meetings and meet with governors for different campaigns. After he graduated from UCSD with a degree in Computer Science, he came back to the Bay Area and tried to find some ways to improve the community he has lived for a long time. That is the reason he is joining APEN. He hopes to talk to more residents in the Oakland community, and understand how they want their community to be improved, so that we can work together to achieve our goal.
Operations Manager (she/her)
Nicole Manzana grew up on the Westside of Union City and began her activism in the Filipino community at the young age of 15. Growing up she was privileged to have an Ethnic Studies department in her high school and exposure to powerful leaders both internationally and in the Bay Area. This inspiration led her to transfer from community college and graduate with an Ethnic Studies degree from UC Berkeley. After graduation, she dedicated her time to learning about the disability rights moment and worked at a local non-profit serving adults with developmental disabilities to be empowered and live independently. During her time there, she developed as an administrative professional and recently became certified as a Professional in Human Resources. With this skillset, she hopes to continue to harness her power to support movements and organizations like APEN centered around human rights and environmental justice to their everyday victories. Outside of work, she gains a lot of joy with boxing, dancing, eating, being by the beach and surrounded by people she loves.
Finance Coordinator (she/her)
Maria Morales grew up in Minnesota where the values of environmental justice, immigrant, women’s and labor rights were impressed upon her at an early age. She brings to APEN over 15 years of non-profit administrative experience working with Bay Area API immigrant communities. Maria is proud to support APEN’s work to advance equity and environmental justice and she appreciates the organization’s ability to flex its network in larger regional and national coalition spaces while still developing ladders of engagement for a local base of marginalized immigrant communities. She has a BA from Oberlin College and speaks English, Spanish and conversational Chinese (Mandarin).
Development Director (she/her)
I am originally from New Orleans and grew up in a southeast asian immigrant community in east Oakland. My childhood years were spent observing my mom organize the apartment’s residents to start and tend to our one acre community garden. I returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to assist with the recovery effort as the inaugural Business Development Director at the Mary Queen of Viet Nam Community Development Corporation – raising over $4 million to recover our minority owned small businesses and farmer’s market. At the same time, I was organizing alongside local leaders to shut down a landfill that threatened to contaminate the water source for home and community gardens. The campaign was documented in the Emmy-nominated documentary A Village Called Versailles. Five years later, in the wake of the BP Oil Spill, I led a successful campaign to win recognition and compensation for loss of traditional subsistence use of seafood that fishers brought home to barter, feed the family, and provide for community events. For my work, I received the UCLA School of Public Policy – Rishwain Social Justice Entrepreneurship Award. Grassroots environmental campaigns that are grounded in regenerative cultural practices inspire me and I am proud to support APEN and our donors to advance winning strategies with enduring impact for the health of the people and our planet.
Prior to joining APEN, I was an attorney in Louisiana. I continue to serve on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Louisiana and the Lowlander Center. I received a JD from UCLA School of Law with a certificate in Public Interest Law and Policy, an MA from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies with a concentration in International Economics and Southeast Asia Studies, and a BA from Amherst College.
Senior Richmond Community Organizer (he/him)
Torm was born and raised in Laos where he completed his teacher college training and worked as a director of a community development and education project. He escaped to Thailand in May 1975, and arrived in the U.S as one of the first Laotian refugee families to settle in Contra Costa County. He has deep connections with the Laotian community and has co-founded and served as a board member to several Laotian non-profits. He has extensive experience in both social services and the non-profit sector working as an eligibility worker with the Contra Costa County social services for over a decade, providing consulting services to governments and non-profits, and providing interpretation and translation services in Lao, Khmu, and Thai. Torm has been with APEN in different roles since 1995, and believes in compassion, love and care for a strong a visionary future.
Senior Policy Researcher (she/her)
Amee is a second-generation South Asian American 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. Through her role at APEN, she offers an environmental justice and health equity lens to climate and energy policy in California. She previously worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on research and advocacy addressing the environmental and occupational health impacts of extreme heat due to climate change. Amee graduated with an MS in Environmental Health Sciences from UC Berkeley School of Public Health. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and camping.
Local Policy Associate (she/her)
Shina has a deep commitment to environmental justice as the intersection of human rights, equity, health, and ecological sanity. She has experienced 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. At APEN, Shina has served as Executive Assistant, building and supporting sustainable infrastructure for the organization. As Local Policy Associate, she now organizes our member leaders to pass and implement policies for community resistance and resilience in Oakland, Richmond, and with statewide partners.
Political Director (she/her)
Laiseng is a second generation Mien American who was born and raised in Richmond, California. A serendipitous enrollment in the course “Ecological Justice” taught her about APEN’s work and the inspiring Southeast Asian community members organizing for environmental justice in her own backyard. She graduated from Scripps College with a B.A. in Politics and International Relations where her concentration was Power and Justice. Laiseng is passionate about building deep democracy and political power within the Asian American community and volunteers her free time with the Lao Iu Mien Culture Association, and Iu Mien Scholarship Fund. She is a self-proclaimed data enthusiast, lover of the ocean, and you can often find her trying new recipes or playing board games.
Lio Meng (Sandy) Saeteurn
Local Political Coordinator (she/her)
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!
Operations Associate (she/her)
Christina (A.K.A. Tina) was born and raised in Richmond, California. Tina holds a B.A. in Sociology from Cal State East Bay, and an M.A. in Human Resource Management from MDX University. She is also a recipient of the Rainbow Push Coalition Scholarship Award, as well as a Shriver Award from the Marguerite Casey Foundation. Before joining APEN as staff, Tina has spent almost 10 years as an active APEN Community Leader. As an adolescent she was introduced to environmental justice through APEN’s youth program called Asian Youth Advocates (AYA). From then on, she continued her political education and attended the School Of Unity and Liberation (SOUL). Throughout adulthood Tina joined APEN’s Leadership Steering Committee, as well as the APEN Academy, where she advocated and worked on various campaigns on Climate Justice and Statewide policies. Tina is thrilled and honored to be apart of APEN’s Operations Team, holding down their satellite office in her hometown of Richmond. She hopes that in this role she can connect and engage her community towards empowerment and equality.
State Organizer (he/him)
Seng has been a youth organizer in California’s immigrant communities since 2007, most recently with the Young Men’s Empowerment Program at Khmer Girls In Action. He has previously served as a youth organizer for Youth Together around issues of educational justice across racial, ethnic and generational lines and with a grassroots organization called Serve the People, an organization dedicated to the liberation of Asian Pacific Islander communities through organizing. In the 1980s Seng’s parents fled the Khmer genocide and settled in the Bay Area. It is from this history—the struggles and sacrifices of his ancestors—that paves his path today. At the heart of his life and work are three principles: community, love, liberation.
Executive Assistant (she/her)
Joty is a first generation Indian American, who was born and raised in New York. Recognizing social injustices from a very early age, Joty is driven to advance social and economic rights. Joty is joining APEN with over 6 years of experience in international development. Prior to APEN, Joty worked at Open Society Foundation, supporting efforts to strengthen women’s right organizations and movements, advancing reproductive rights and justice, and promoting economic rights. Joty also had the opportunity to work as a Peace Fellow in Nepal. Where she worked with a local community organization; she was involved in the development and implementation of a major sustainable child educational project. Joty holds a BA in Sociology and Political Science, and an MA in International Politics and Human Rights.
Digital Organizing Coordinator (they/them)
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York and holding a B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley, Clio has been organizing and advocating on behalf of movements for queer rights, campaign finance reform, and economic and climate justice since their sophomore year of high school. From knocking on people’s doors to designing emails to hundreds of thousands of supporters, they have developed their communications and organizing skills alongside leaders in the fossil fuel divestment movement and with organizations including the California Trade Justice Coalition, the Working Families Party, and 350.org. Clio is a graduate of the National People’s Action weeklong organizing training in Chicago and developed their digital skills through a fellowship with digital strategy firm Trilogy Interactive. They approach this work with a strong commitment to our autonomy and control over our work, bodies, resources, and communities, and are grateful for the opportunity join in struggle alongside APEN’s members and staff.
Oakland Housing Lead Organizer (he/him)
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 an immigrant from Hong Kong, he is passionate about connecting with the Chinese community, and he enjoys spending time with seniors for they are full of wisdom and advice that we can all learn and benefit from.
Operations Director (she/her)
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.
Campaign and Organizing Director (she/her)
Alvina Wong is the Campaign & Organizing Director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. In her role, she fights the displacement of low-income and working-class Asian immigrants and refugees while building their leadership to fight for environmental justice. Leading her team in intergenerational organizing towards community governance and power at the neighborhood, city, and regional levels, she has led campaigns to stop evictions of SRO tenants and win major community benefits. Alvina began organizing in the Chinese immigrant community as an Eva Lowe Fellow at Chinese Progressive Association, SF and prior to this, spent eight years developing and organizing young people around education access and youth incarceration issues.
Civic Engagement Coordinator (she/her)
Karen was born and raised in Hong Kong. She has a strong community and volunteering organizing background as a member of HKJPC Western District Council. She has started volunteering with APEN since high school. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Architecture and minor in Sustainable Design. One of her hopes is that everyone would be able have a nice environment to live in. She discovered her passion for environmental justice for AAPI people since she became an APEN state team canvasser during her last semester in school. As an immigrant, she knows about Asians’ culture and AAPI voters’ lack of information about elections. After that, she became a CEP canvassing team leader for two years, and now the Civic Engagement Coordinator to continue developing the connection with voters and voter education.
Executive Director (she/her)
Miya Yoshitani has been the Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network since 2013. Starting at APEN as a youth organizer in the 1990’s, Miya has an extensive background in community organizing, and a long history of working in the environmental justice movement. APEN has been fighting – and winning – environmental justice struggles for the past 27 years and remains one of the most unique organizations in the country explicitly developing the leadership and power of poor and working class Asian American immigrant and refugee communities. Through many years of leadership, Miya has supported APEN’s growth and expansion from a powerful local organization in the Bay Area, to having a statewide impact through an integrated voter engagement strategy and winning transformational state policy for equitable climate solutions for all Californians. A movement leader in many key local, state, and national alliances, APEN is helping to shift the center of gravity of what is possible when the health and economic well being of working families, immigrant and communities of color are put at the center of solutions to the economic and climate crises.
Richmond Organizing Director (she/her)
As the Richmond Organizing Director, Megan Zapanta draws on her experience in worker, youth and community organizing to build a strong team. Raised in the border city of San Diego in a mixed-race Filipino family, Megan is committed to justice for migrants and working class people, here and in our homelands. Megan joined APEN staff in 2011 and has played several roles including individual donor fundraising, event planning, social media and youth organizing. Outside of work, Megan plays soccer and organizes with Leftwing Fútbol Club and is an active member GABRIELA Oakland, a progressive Filipino women’s organization.
Our Board Members
Vu-Bang Nguyen is a consultant for Baird & Driskell Community Planning and Exygy, working in the fields of housing, philanthropy and govtech. He was previously a program officer for Silicon Valley Community Foundation, leading the housing and transportation grantmaking strategy and an associate director of land use and housing at Urban Habitat. Vu-Bang 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. Vu-Bang is also on the board for Sacred Heart Community Services in San Jose.
Allistair Mallillin has served as Program Officer at Common Counsel Foundation since 2016, after relocating to Oakland, CA. At Common Counsel Foundation, Allistair manages foundation services and philanthropic advising for member funds, supports donors in aligning their philanthropic practices with social justice and equity grantmaking, and bridges relationships with other funders and allies in the philanthropic field. Previously, Allistair served as the Membership & Communications Manager for Justice Funders. Prior to that, he lived in Boston where he held positions in the nonprofit and philanthropic fields. As Executive Director for Asian American Resource Workshop, he set up systems and processes, built up sizable reserves, and tripled the organization’s budget during his tenure. In the role of Associated Director of Programs and Services at Associated Grant Makers, he coordinated funder affinity groups, directed programs to increase fundraising capacity within nonprofits, and leveraged relationships to bridge the nonprofit and funding community. Allistair has served on various grantmaking roles, including at Access Strategies Fund, Haymarket People’s Fund, Saffron Circle Giving Circle, and the New England Foundation for the Arts. He also has served on several nonprofit boards, and currently serves on the boards of Bikes Not Bombs and Asian Pacific Environmental Network. Allistair is a Steering Committee member for Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy-Bay Area, AAPIP-Bay Area, and is the Chair of the Bay Area’s Local Engagement Group for Exponent Philanthropy. He originally hails from Towson, MD, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health and Biology from Tufts University.
Kimberly Chen M.P.A earned her Master in Public Administration from the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. She is also a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Ethnic Studies and Gender & Women’s Studies. Kimberly currently serves as the Government Affairs Manager at the CPEHN, where she leads the organization’s advocacy efforts to advance health equity for communities of color in the state Capitol.
Before joining CPEHN, she served as staff in the California State Assembly, where she worked on transportation, environmental, language access, and taxation issues. Kimberly also worked with the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, advocating for improved health and economic outcomes for Asian and Pacific Islander boys and young men. She volunteers as a Youth Advisor to the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project, a conference dedicated to developing civic participation, leadership, and interest in public service for API high school students in California. She also serves as a mentor to the Fellows of the Women’s Policy Institute. Kimberly is an alumna of the Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship Program.
Ellen Wu is the Executive Director of Urban Habitat, whose mission is to democratize power and advance equitable policies to create a just and connected Bay Area for low-income communities and communities of color. Urban Habitat brings race and class to the forefront of transportation, land use, and housing policies and supports community leaders to serve on boards and commissions. Previously Ellen was the Executive Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, a statewide health advocacy organization.
She is on the City of Oakland’s Office of Parks and Recreation Commission and the Board of Directors for the East Bay Housing Organizations and Asian Pacific Environmental Network. She received her Masters in Public Health from UCLA.
Justin has served as a state-level legislative and regulatory advocate over the last decade in California, and is currently the Policy Consultant at Everyday Impact Consulting based in Sacramento. Over the years, he has advised multi-sectoral statewide coalitions as well as local initiatives in the Bay Area, and most recently worked for a member of the State Assembly. Justin’s career in policy and advocacy are rooted in the community organizing work that preceded it, and up until recently, he was an appointee to the Alameda County Public Health Commission.
Justin is a proud alum of UC Riverside, and obtained a Master of Public Health at UC Berkeley. Justin also served in the Peace Corps where he met his wife, Colleen, and they live with their daughter in East Oakland.
Catherina 'Cat' Nou
Catherina ‘Cat’ Nou has been a public policy leader for more than a decade. Cat currently serves as the Chief Consultant for the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. She previously served as Chief of Staff for a California State Assemblymember. Prior to joining the California State Assembly, Cat worked as the California Policy Advocate for a national civil rights organization where she focused on policies impacting Southeast Asian Americans in California.
Cat is the daughter and sister of refugees from Cambodia and was recognized for her work advancing the human rights of Cambodian women and girls with the Courage and Leadership Award by Devata Giving Circle. She graduated from the University of California, Davis and later obtained a Master of Arts in Higher Education at Sacramento State.
Eddie Ahn is the executive director of Brightline Defense, a legal and policy advocacy nonprofit dedicated to environmental justice issues. In 2017, he was appointed to the San Francisco Commission on the Environment, which sets policy for the SF Department of Environment and advises the City and County on environmental matters. In 2018, he was also appointed by the California Assembly Speaker to the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), a planning and regulatory agency for the San Francisco Bay and its shoreline. In 2020, he was appointed to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which plans and finances transit in the nine Bay Area counties. Prior to being a nonprofit attorney and commissioner, he worked as an AmeriCorps member and an afterschool programmer in Oakland’s Chinatown.
Eddie has received his J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and his B.A. from Brown University.
Aysha is an attorney who accelerates justice movements through policy and philanthropy. She currently leads the Policy Fund at the San Francisco Foundation, which builds the capacity of local governments and nonprofits to address the Bay Area’s interconnected challenges of housing, transportation, and economic opportunity.
Aysha recently served as Health Equity Lead and Senior Attorney for ChangeLab Solutions, helping local leaders use policy to improve community health for marginalized people and places. She was recognized for this work as one of the de Beaumont Foundation’s “40 under 40 in Public Health.” She recently concluded a Fulcrum Fellowship at the Center for Community Investment, where she produced groundbreaking research for ChangeLab on the civil rights of health, as well as the equitable enforcement of public health policy. Aysha previously worked as Economic Equity Policy Counsel at the Greenlining Institute, where she partnered with a diverse coalition to build wealth in communities of color.
Aysha’s other philanthropic work has included leading three donor collaboratives in voter justice and democratic integrity; economic and worker justice; and climate justice. She also served on the founding Advisory Boards of the Women & Climate Fund and the Collective Future Fund.
Stephanie Chen serves as Senior Policy Counsel for MCE, a local government agency formed to address climate change through renewable energy, energy efficiency, and local job creation in Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, and Solano Counties. Prior to joining MCE, Stephanie led the Energy Equity team at The Greenlining Institute, a racial justice advocacy organization dedicated to building economic opportunity in California’s communities of color. Stephanie’s work has driven investments in solar, energy efficiency, and other clean technologies into environmental justice communities, and promoted meaningful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for people of Color in California’s clean energy economy.
Stephanie is a member of the state’s Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group, which works with the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission to ensure that clean energy policies benefit environmental justice communities. Additionally, Stephanie serves on the board of directors for Vote Solar, and has previously served on the boards of directors for Rising Sun Energy Center and the Conference of California Public Utility Counsel. Stephanie holds a B.A. in Government from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law.
Ron Chang is the Development Director for the Morrissey-Compton Educational Center, Inc., a non-profit educational organization serving the broad need of children, adolescents and adults with learning differences, mental health issues, and behavioral challenges. The organization was founded in 1982 by Patricia Morrissey, Ed.D and Carolyn Compton, Ph.D. Morrissey-Compton strives to enable individuals with learning disabilities to achieve their goals by providing the highest quality diagnostic and intervention services in a supportive environment, and attempts to provide services to all who need them, regardless of their ability to pay.
Ron has worked in the non-profit arena for the past 13 years, after transitioning from a long and successful career in finance, management, and business development.
Ron has advocated on behalf of the AAPI Community for many years. He previously served on the board of Cameron House, a social services benefit agency in San Francisco’s Chinatown. He is currently the National President of Pi Alpha Phi Greek Fraternity, Inc. Pi Alpha Phi is the oldest, active Asian American interest Greek fraternity in the United States. Started at UC Berkeley in 1929, Pi Alpha Phi currently has 23 chapters across the country, over 500 active members, and thousands of alumni worldwide.
Ron lives in San Mateo with his wife, Yvonne, and their son, Mitchell.
Building the power of Asian immigrant and refugee communities.
Asian Pacific Environmental Network is an environmental justice organization with deep roots in California’s Asian immigrant and refugee communities. Since 1993, we’ve built a membership base of Laotian refugees in Richmond and Chinese immigrants in Oakland. Together, we’ve fought and won campaigns to make our communities healthier, just places where people can thrive.
All people have a right to a clean and healthy environment in which their communities can live, work, learn, play and thrive. Towards this vision, APEN brings together a collective voice to develop an alternative agenda for environmental, social and economic justice.
Through building an organized movement, we strive to bring fundamental changes to economic and social institutions that will prioritize public good over profits and promote the right of every person to a decent, safe, affordable quality of life, and the right to participate in decisions affecting our lives. APEN holds this vision of environmental justice for all people. Our work focuses on Asian immigrant and refugee communities.
Our communities are stronger than the crises that threaten us. Together, we’re building a world where all people have the resources they need to live full, dignified lives.
APEN is leading a transition away from an extractive economy based on profit and pollution and toward local, healthy, and life-sustaining economies that benefit everyone.
We’re building community-owned renewable energy resources to power our neighborhoods, protecting affordable housing so that our historic cultural communities can stay together, creating a local economy of cooperatives owned and governed by community members, and taking back control of our democracy.
Our work is grounded in the leadership of immigrant and refugee community members, who know that to win what our communities deserve, we have to build power at many levels and in many ways.
Diagram caption: 1. Start with the experience & knowledge of the participants 2. Identify Patterns 3. Add new information and theory linked to the patterns in what people know 4. Practice skills, strategize, & plan for action 5. Apply what’s been learned in the world.
The heart of our work is bringing together Asian immigrants and refugees in Oakland and Richmond to advance solutions to the issues that matter most to them. We believe that everyone can develop their leadership, and people come to this work as both teachers and learners. Working with multiple generations of Asian Americans in multiple dialects and languages, APEN plays a critical role in developing the leadership of our communities.
At the state level, we’re engaging with immigrant and refugee voters in their languages to advance our shared vision. We are organizing in the communities that politicians and political parties too often ignore, and we are winning groundbreaking policies that put working-class communities of color first.
Along the way, we’ve formed deep relationships with organizations around the country that are taking on similar challenges and putting power back where it belongs—in the hands of our communities.
Together, we’re building a movement powerful enough to make justice inevitable.
Where We Work
We have offices in Oakland Chinatown, Downtown Oakland, and Richmond.
Find us in
Our Office Locations
Our Main Office (Downtown Oakland)
426 17th Street, Suite 500,
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 834-8920
Fax: (510) 834-8926
Our Oakland Chinatown Office
1200 Harrison Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: (510) 593-2283
Our Richmond Office
12818 San Pablo Ave,
Richmond, CA 94805
Phone: (510) 236-4616
Fax: (510) 236-4572
Thank you to all of our individual donors, who make our fight for environmental justice possible.