Eric Chan, Oakland Operations Associate | eric [at] apen4ej [dot] org
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.
Sylvia Chi, Policy Director | sylvia [at] apen4ej [dot] org
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.
Marie Choi, Research and Communications Manager | marie [at] apen4ej [dot] org
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.
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.
Pam Mei Harrison, Grants Manager | pammei [at] apen4ej [dot] org
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 PhD 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 | 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.
Vivian Yi Huang, Deputy 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.
Maria Morales, Finance Coordinator | maria [at] apen4ej [dot] org
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).
Torm Nompraseurt, Senior Richmond Community Organizer | torm [at] apen4ej [dot] org
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.
Amee Raval, Senior Policy Researcher | amee [at] apen4ej [dot] org
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.
Shina Robinson, Local Policy Associate | shina [at] apen4ej [dot] org
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..
Laiseng Saechao, Field Director | laiseng [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Born and raised in Richmond, California, Laiseng grew up noticing the deep inequalities that existed in her community. A serendipitous enrollment in the course “Ecological Justice” taught her about APEN’s work and their organizing efforts in her own backyard. This inspired her to become engaged with on-campus organizing and intern with organizations like the Labor/Community Strategy Center and APEN. In order to tie 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. She is currently the state organizer at APEN, helping build local power in the Central Valley and Los Angeles to win statewide civic engagement and public policy campaigns. She is a self proclaimed data enthusiast, and is looking forward to building out APEN’s civic engagement data. Laiseng is extremely excited to have APEN as a political home and is looking forward to working alongside members and allies for healthy communities we can live, work, and play!
Lio meng (Sandy) Saeteurn, Local Political Coordinator | 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!
Seng So, State Organizer | seng [at] apen4ej [dot] org
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.
Joty Sohi, Executive Assistant | joty [at] apen4ej [dot] org
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 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 a MA in International Politics and Human Rights.
Clio Soiffer, Digital Organizing Coordinator | clio [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York and holding a B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley, Clio has spent the last 7 years organizing and advocating on behalf of movements for queer rights, campaign finance reform, and economic and climate justice. 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 also 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 feel incredibly grateful to get to join in struggle alongside the rest of APEN.
Kenneth Tang, Oakland Community 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.
Chiravann Uch, Operations Director | 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, Senior Advisor | 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.
Alvina Wong, Campaign and Organizing Director | alvina [at] apen4ej [dot] org
Alvina Wong is the Oakland Organizing Director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. In her role, she fights the displacement of low-income and working-class Chinese immigrants and secures opportunities for clean, quality and sustainable jobs for immigrant families. She has led campaigns to stop evictions of SRO tenants, win community benefits to preserve Oakland Chinatown, and build the leadership of impacted immigrants to fight for environmental justice. Recognizing the role policies can play to protect the most impacted and vulnerable communities, she leads her team to continue intergenerational org
Karen Yeung, Civic Engagement Coordinator | karen [at] apen4ej [dot] org
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.
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, Richmond Organizing Director | 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.
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
Daniel Kikuo Ichinose M.A. directs the Demographic Research Project at Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles, the nation’s largest legal organization serving Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities. He oversees the organization’s Census Information Center (CIC) and is lead researcher on several projects, including ongoing studies of Asian American political participation. He is a veteran of two statewide redistricting campaigns, working with stakeholders throughout California to construct the Asian American and NHPI community’s first statewide redistricting proposal in 2001 and the state’s first majority Asian American legislative district in 2011. He holds a M.A. in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
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.
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. He also co-authored Moving Silicon Valley Forward — research on the costs of inequitable development in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties — and Moving to Work, which examines the intersection between workforce development, economic development and equitable transit-oriented development.
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 also earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture at Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. He is a longstanding member of the American Planning Association (APA) and the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
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.
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.