Act To Change is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to end bullying in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. All donations are tax deductible.
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Soukprida Phetmisy (she/they) is a queer Lao American educator and activist. Inspired by a decade immersed in organizing and advocacy within the arts and education sectors, Soukprida’s passion for community empowerment, impactful storytelling, and disrupting the status quo has driven her journey. Her mission centers on amplifying the stories, innate strengths, and leadership of underrepresented and systemically marginalized voices, especially Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth, and reshaping societal paradigms through storytelling and community-driven initiatives.
Prior to joining Act To Change, Soukprida served as the head of the national AAPI Alliances at Teach For America, spearheading national campaigns that fostered collaborations with influential figures, organizations, and media to fortify the Asian American and Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) educational landscape for students and educators. Recognized as a dedicated anti-racism educator and Lead Organizer on Chicago Regional Organizing for Anti-Racism’s leadership team, she is committed to cultivating radically inclusive spaces. She has delivered workshops and thought-leadership to grassroots and grass-tops institutions, including Chicago Public Schools, City Year, Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, SXSW EDU, and Teach For America, leveraging her training as a values-based leadership development facilitator. Her voice has been featured on NPR, One Day, Working Nation, WBEZ, and was recently included in Teaching the Invisible Race: Embodying a Pro-Asian Asian American Lens in Schools.
Soukprida’s commitment extends beyond her professional endeavors, as she actively contributes to various nonprofit boards and advisory councils. Presently, she serves as a Governance Board of Director for the Laotian American National Alliance (LANA).
She received her B.F.A. in Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she was a 2008 NPR Next Generation Radio fellow. Soukprida presently resides in Chicago, IL with her partner and their rescue pup, Wilbur. When she is not working she dabbles in the textile arts (where her craft was featured in The Long Thread), experimenting with making her own clothes, and exploring capsule wardrobes.
Rebecca Lee has dedicated more than 15 years to serving Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities across the United States. She most recently served as Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in the Biden-Harris Administration. In that role, she coordinated and implemented federal programs and initiatives to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities. During her tenure, she led the launch of the first-ever national strategy to advance equity for AA and NHPIs, a regional economic summit series, and the historic White House Forum on AA and NHPIs featuring Vice President Kamala Harris. Rebecca now consults with and advises AA and NHPI organizations and initiatives on strategy, outreach, and communications.
Rebecca was previously Communications Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders under the Obama-Biden Administration. She also held public affairs roles at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after joining the federal government as a Presidential Management Fellow.
With a passion for improving the lives of and creating opportunities for AA and NHPI youth, Rebecca co-founded Act To Change and served as Chair of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership. Rebecca received her master’s degree from Columbia University and bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, where she led a diverse coalition to found the Asian & Asian-American Center.
Act To Change is proud to have the support of nearly 100 organizations on the 5th Annual National Day Against Bullying and Hate.
AAPI Amplified AAPI Youth Rising (AYR) ACE NextGen DC Alliance for a Healthier Generation Always Be Creating American Sikh Council AsAmNews Asia Society Southern California Asian American / Asian Research Institute – City University of New York Asian American Progressive Student Union (AAPSU) Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) Asian Law Alliance (ALA) Asian Leadership Collective (ALC) Asian Mental Health Collective Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF) Asian Pacific Fund (APF) Asian Texans for Justice (ATJ) Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) Beyond Differences Campus Pride Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) Changing Tides (CT), a Program of Little Tokyo Service Center Chinatown YMCA Chinese American Parent Association of Montgomery County (CAPA-MC) Chinese Culture and Community Service Center, Inc. Chinese-American Planning Council Chuckanut Health Foundation Coalition for Asian American Children + Families (CACF) Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) Communities In Schools of Los Angeles (CISLA) Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) CSUSB DanceATL Dear Asian Americans Define American (DA) East West Players (EWP) Empowering Pacific Islander Communities Family Equality Filipino American Lawyers of San Diego (FALSD) Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) Foundation 649 (F649) Friends of Children with Special Needs GLAAD Gold House Harlem Pride, Incorporated Howard County Chinese School Human Rights Initiative iMentor It Gets Better Project Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Japanese American National Museum (JANM) Jeremy Lin Foundation Korean American Coalition – Los Angeles (KAC) Micronesian Islander Community (MIC) Montgomery County Progressive Asian American Network (MoCoPAAN) Muslim Advocates NAAAP San Jose National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) National Council of Jewish Women National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) National Immigration Law Center National LGBTQ+ Bar Association National Pacific Islander Education Network (NPIEN) New American Leaders (NAL) NextShark Inc. Not In Our Town (NIOT) NYCFilipinos, LLC OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates OCA Greater Chicago – Asian Pacific American Advocates OCA Greater Cleveland – Asian Pacific American Advocates Reach Higher (RH) and Better Make Room (BMR) REALSOUL RepresentASIAN Project Right To Be (formerly Hollaback!) Seattle’s LGBTQ Center SeekHer Foundation Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN) Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) South Asian Youth Action (SAYA) Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) STOMP Out Bullying Stop AAPI Hate (SAH) Teach For America (TFA) Thai Community Development Center (Thai CDC) The Conscious Kid (TCK) The Korean American Community Foundation of San Francisco (KACF-SF) The Sikh Coalition Theater Mu UpstanderKids Anti-Bullying Camp VAYLA New Orleans Vietnamese American Organization | VAO Visual Communications Media (VC) Westfield High School Wing Luke Museum (WLM)
Krizia Medenilla is Head of Brand Partnerships for Jubilee Media, an AAPI-owned digital media company with the purpose of provoking understanding and creating human connection for its millions of Gen Z and Millennial audiences globally. Her support for the Act to Change mission is fueled by a long-standing passion to represent the underrepresented, as is evidenced by 13+ years of experience within the AAPI and multicultural marketing/advertising landscape.
In a previous role leading brand partnerships with TDW+Co, a purpose-driven multicultural and AAPI-focused ad agency, Krizia worked relentlessly to cultivate meaningful campaigns with the AAPI consumer top of mind. In managing strategic multicultural marketing efforts for household brands like Disney, Procter & Gamble, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and more, her passion for multicultural representation skyrocketed.
As a daughter of Filipino immigrants, she was exposed to disgraceful first-hand experiences of racial and ethnic bullying. With raising awareness for Filipino-related issues as a focal point, Krizia led passion projects with organizations like NextDayBetter, Gawad Kalinga, and the Apl.de.ap Foundation. In 2015, she launched a Los Angeles-based grassroots Filipino Food for Thought speaker series, in partnership with a small and mighty volunteer team, which has been credited for kickstarting a Filipino cuisine boom in Los Angeles and beyond.
While Krizia resides in Los Angeles leading integrated brand campaigns for Jubilee Media, she will continue to ask, “How can I help?” for value-aligned initiatives in her spare time.
Dr. Adam Collins is the founder of Envision Zero Bullying and the author of Effective Bullying Prevention: A Comprehensive Schoolwide Approach and Data-Based Decision Making within Multi-Tiered Systems of Support: Applying the 4-step Problem-Solving Model at All Tiers (in press). He has researched and implemented bullying prevention best practices for over 15 years at the local, state, and national level. His approach to ending bullying is focused on supporting the children involved and improving the systems around those children to prevent further incidents of bullying. His work has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, Teen Vogue, and Time.
Currently serving as the Statewide Bullying Prevention Manager for the Colorado Department of Education, Dr. Collins leads the largest state-funded bullying prevention program in the nation which has shown an over 35 percent drop in student-reported bullying. Additionally, he led the creation of Colorado’s first state model bullying prevention policy and its subsequent revisions which included the collaboration of families with students targeted for bullying, education leaders, and community members.
Prior to serving at the Colorado Department of Education, Dr. Collins was a school psychologist at an elementary school in the Denver metro area for several years. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Kansas and his Doctorate of Philosophy in school psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Collins is a third-generation Japanese American, a husband, and father to two young children.
Gang Fong is a director at Copia Power, an energy transition company in the U.S. committed to accelerating decarbonization in all areas of our economy. Prior to Copia Power, Gang was a management and technology consultant for 15 years, leading and supporting public, private, and government organizations to implement transformational programs, process improvements, and optimize their operations. Gang received his Executive Master of Business Administration (Valedictorian) from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from Oregon State University.
As a first-generation Chinese American immigrant, Gang is familiar with the impacts of bullying in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and is passionate to support and amplify Act To Change’s mission and initiatives. Gang resides in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and children.
Sumi Parekh is the Executive Director for the Group Effort Initiative (GEI), an organization launched and financed by Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively that exists to create a pipeline for members of underrepresented communities to get real experience towards lasting careers within the entertainment industry.
Prior to her role at GEI, Sumi held several positions in the office of Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti, including the Executive Officer to the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, where she served as a thought partner to the Deputy Mayor and as the Mayor’s Business Team Director and entertainment liaison, focusing on improving diversity, equity, and inclusion within Hollywood. While in Mayor Garcetti’s office, she started the Evolve Entertainment Fund, an alliance between the City of Los Angeles, industry leaders in entertainment and digital media, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions, dedicated to building career pathways into film, television, and music for women, people of color, and low-income Angelenos through paid internships, focused mentoring, and an ongoing series of workshops and panels. She also helped to launch LA Collab, an unprecedented effort to connect Latinx talent, executives, and creators to opportunities in the entertainment industry — and double Latino representation in Hollywood by 2030.
Sumi was also a Program Manager at the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving life for all Angelenos, and prior to that she was the Director of Legislative Affairs and Programs at the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC).
Sumi currently serves as a Commissioner to the City of Los Angeles and serves on the LA Collab Board.
She graduated in 2013 from the University of Southern California with a Master’s in Public Policy and has a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin.
Satjeet is a non-profit executive focused on civil and human rights issues, community mobilization and organizing as well as fundraising and operations.
She most recently served as the Executive Director of the Sikh Coalition, the largest and most prominent Sikh civil rights organization in the United States. Though she became Executive Director in 2018, she has worked in nearly every core facet of the organization’s work throughout her 12 years on the team. During that time, Satjeet has served as a leading organizer and activist providing direct support to Sikh communities across the country, including the rapid response after the Oak Creek Gurdwara shooting. Under her leadership as executive director, the Sikh Coalition has passed hate crime laws at the state and federal levels, successfully fought back against attempts to roll back federal policies that protected Sikhs from discrimination, improved how Sikhism is taught in six new states, oversaw the development of classroom-ready resources, mobilized grassroots voter registration drives, and successfully litigated cases to set strong precedence against religious discrimination. Recently, the organization led a U.S.-based response to the farmers’ protest in India, and provided crisis response support after the mass shooting in Indianapolis.
She currently serves as a Spiritual Life Advisor at New York University. She was named as one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress and has appeared on New York City and State list of leading Asian Americans. Satjeet has also served on interfaith advisory councils for Netflix, Facebook, and New York State. Previous to her tenure at the Sikh Coalition, Satjeet worked at SAMAR to increase the number of minorities registered on the National Bone Marrow Registry.
Satjeet was born and raised in New Jersey and currently lives in Connecticut. She is a graduate of New York University with degrees in Religious Studies and Psychology.
Bing Chen is an impact founder, investor, and new world builder. He is Executive Chairman and Founder of AU Holdings: a family of companies that incubate and invest in multicultural creators, companies, and communities to rebalance socioeconomic equity. He is also Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-founder of Gold House that powers cultural change by uniting, investing in, and championing Asian Pacific communities. He is also General Partner and Co-founder of Aum Group, a premier multicultural film fund; and serves as a Board Director and Advisor to several leading digital media companies. Previously, he was YouTube’s Global Head of Creator Development and Management, where he was one of the original and principal architects of the multi-billion dollar creator and influencer ecosystem that supports 300 million creators worldwide. He is a Hollywood Reporter Next Gen Leader and Most Influential Agent of Change; Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree; American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement and Jack Averett honoree; ABC News History Maker; Fast Company Brand That Matters; Milken Institute Young Leaders Circle Member; PTTOW! Member; ADCOLOR Catalyst Honoree; Asia Society Asia 21 Young Leader; and Asian Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year. Bing is a third culture kid across North America and Asia, finally graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. He was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, which becomes obvious at $11.99 buffets.
Hudson Yang, named by Variety, The Wrap and other publications as a rising star to watch in young Hollywood, spent six years as irrepressible protagonist Eddie on ABC’s historic Asian American family sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. His performance garnered him multiple NAACP Image Awards nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Youth, and Teen Choice Awards nominations as Choice Scene Stealer in 2016 and Outstanding TV Comedy Actor in 2017 and 2018. Yang has also appeared on Family Guy, Disney’s Sophia the First, Liv and Maddie and The Lion Guard and PBS’s Cyberchase. He starred in indie rapper Jason Chu’s acclaimed music video Marvels as Chu’s younger self and was cast in Orange Is the New Black co-executive producer Lauren Morelli’s directorial debut, Hum, opposite Samira Wiley (“Poussey” on OITNB). Born and bred in Brooklyn, Yang now lives in Ladera Heights, California.
Tan France has been a successful fashion designer behind-the-scenes for over 15 years and became a breakout star following the launch of the Emmy-winning reboot of the reality makeover series “Queer Eye” in 2018. Surrounded by an all-new cast, France is the witty wardrobe wiz leading the charge in the fashion department, ready to make America fabulous again one makeover at a time. But the series is about so much more than just new clothes to the British-born fashion advisor; it’s about real-life issues, representation, and acceptance on all sides.
Tan can currently be seen starring as the co-host of Netflix’s new global design competition series, “Next in Fashion” alongside Alexa Chung. Tan also released his NY Times best-selling memoir “Naturally Tan” as well as the first season of his viral YouTube series “Dressing Funny,” which features him making over his celebrity friends including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Nick Kroll, Miranda Sings, Pete Davidson, and John Mulaney.
Prior to his media career, Tan was the creative mind behind successful brands including the popular women’s clothing lines Kingdom & State and Rachel Parcell, Inc. In Tan’s early years, he spent his summers working in his grandfather’s denim factory while he secretly enrolled in fashion college in preparation to start a new chapter as a fabulous design star.
In 2015, Jill served as an Advisor at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She worked on critical initiatives including “Act to Change”, promoting enrollment for healthcare, organizing the philanthropic and public and private partnership event at the White House, and working with senior federal agency executives in how their agency can better serve Asian American populations.
Jill came to federal service as a Presidential Management Fellow. Prior to federal service, Jill was a Staff Attorney for the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, and worked on the cross-section of foster youth and education as well as policy issues impacting vulnerable youth.
Jill is an active member of the National Filipino American Lawyers Association. Jill also founded and served as the inaugural President of the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Washington, DC, an affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
Maulik Pancholy is an award-winning actor, author and activist whose work has spanned hit television shows, the Broadway stage and films. He is best known for playing Jonathan on NBC’s award-winning comedy 30 Rock, Sanjay on the Showtime hit series Weeds, and Neal on the NBC comedy Whitney. He is also the voice of Baljeet on Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, and the title voice of Sanjay on Nickelodeon’s Sanjay and Craig – the first lead Indian-American character on a network cartoon.
His debut novel, THE BEST AT IT — about a gay, Indian American boy coming into his own — was named a 2020 Stonewall Honor Book, a 2019 Junior Library Guild Selection and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, The American Library Association’s Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.
As an activist, he has long been an advocate for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and LGBTQIA+ communities. He is the recipient of the Asian American Arts Alliance Award, the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award, and was named to Out Magazine’s Top 100 list. He regularly speaks at universities and corporations on the topics of diversity and inclusion.
In 2014, President Obama appointed Pancholy to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs. During his three-year tenure at the White House, he helped launch Act to Change.
Nancy Tiên (she/her) is an education consultant, community organizer, advocate and former educator from Dallas, Texas. Nancy served as a teacher for nearly a decade, with a majority of her time in her hometown teaching bilingual English and Spanish fifth grade math and science classes. During her time teaching, she also developed her advocacy and policy skills as a Racial Justice Fellow with Teach for America Dallas-Ft.Worth, Campaign Activities and Management Program (CAMP) Fellow, Leadership ISD Dallas Campus Voices Fellow, and Urban Leaders Fellow in education policy.
As a child of Vietnamese immigrants and a first-generation college graduate, Nancy is passionate in pursuing equitable outcomes and developing safe and inclusive spaces and systems for communities of color. After seeing the crucial connection between policy and students’ success in the classroom, she left teaching to pursue policy and advocacy roles to further improve educational systems. While a Board Member focused on education programming and policy with Act to Change, she is also a lead organizer and founding member of Dallas Communities Organizing to Reach Equity (CORE), an organizing alliance pursuing the creation of equitable systems for Dallas youth. With Dallas CORE, Nancy led efforts to amend local district policy to advance racial equity through improving transparency and accountability.
An Asian American and woman of color, Nancy is passionate about social justice and breaking the cycle of bullying and hate. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her partner and two dogs, cooking and trying new food, and playing video games. She is expecting her first child in July 2023. Nancy received her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas at Austin.
Jamie is committed to advancing health equity and social justice, particularly for women and children. Her public health career spans academia, county government, and federal government. In 2015, Jamie served as an Advisor at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She worked on initiatives including the historic White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and efforts to improve federal agency engagement with AAPI communities around grants. Prior to federal service, Jamie worked for the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Health and Human Services’ Asian American Health Initiative managing capacity building and community outreach programs. Her research at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland focused on international health and the socio-cultural influences of substance abuse.
Jamie holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Maryland College Park, where she was active with the Asian American Student Union and received the President’s Ethnic Minority Achievement Award recognizing outstanding contributions to the University’s equity efforts for her campus activism. She is a founding member of the University’s Asian Pacific American Alumni Network and is a former board member of the American Public Health Association’s Asian Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health. Jamie is a second-generation Cambodian American and a mom to three young children. Her family fled to the D.C. area after escaping war and genocide under the Khmer Rouge regime.
Thank you to the nearly 200 organizations across the country that are supporting AAPI Day Against Bullying+Hate.
Joie Cabrera is currently studying at Loyola University Chicago where she is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Asian Studies. She was a part of Act to Change’s first Youth Ambassador Cohort in 2022, and from there grew a great love for the organization. Joie is currently serving as the co-founder of AAPI Amplified an organization with a focus on the representation of AAPI people. Through her work within AAPI Amplified, she has been able to provide resources, educational presentations, and a national teach-in for youth. Joie also works within the Greater Chicago Area focusing on community gathering and support. She is involved with a local organization KAN-WIN, with them, Joie has carried out public speeches and teach-ins about sexual violence and current AAPI issues. Within her university, Joie works at the Department of Student Development as a student assistant, providing support to the student body along with faculty. Joie is also active within AAPI clubs as she is involved in a Filipino Club in her school called KAPWA, where Joie is a part of their mentor and mentee program along with their cultural dance team.
Dikshant Rajbhandari is a digital marketing consultant for AAPI organizations. Originally from Nepal, he attended Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire. After completing his Bachelors in Business Administration, he worked as a Community Manager for ACE NextGen, a nonprofit organization focused on bringing together Asian American entrepreneurs to share ideas and help each other in growing their businesses. Dikshant is passionate about amplifying marginalized voices and helping AAPI organizations reach their audience. He enjoys exploring the world, and learning and teaching languages.
Deborah Yeh is the Chief Marketing Officer for Sephora Americas and Sephora’s Global Chief Purpose Officer. In her Americas role, Deborah is responsible for cultivating the brand experience at Sephora and ensuring it is differentiated and compelling across all marketing touchpoints — from communications and creative, to loyalty and personalization. In her Purpose role, Deborah is focused on driving Sephora’s global mission to expand the way the world sees beauty. Prior to Sephora, Deborah held various marketing and digital leadership roles at brands including Target and Old Navy.
Deborah has been recognized as one of the 25 most innovative CMOs in the world by Business Insider, Forbes CMO Next, Adweek 50, Campaign 50, The Influence 100 by PRovoke, and Women Worth Watching by Diversity Journal. She is passionate about driving more inclusion in marketing and serves on several advisory boards aligned to this mission, including the ANA’s Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing as well as BRIDGE.
Michelle Lee is the VP of Global Editorial & Publishing at Netflix. Prior to joining Netflix in 2020, she was Editor in Chief of Allure. Since taking the helm of Allure in 2015, Lee has been committed to championing diversity and expanding the definition of beauty.
She was named Adweek’s 2017 Editor of the Year while Allure won Magazine of the Year for their groundbreaking covers, such as the July 2017 This Is American Beauty cover featuring model Halima Aden in her hijab. Lee and her staff declared the “End of Anti-Aging” in their September 2017 issue and took an oath to remove the term “anti-aging” from their own lexicon. It was a bold statement that challenged readers and brands to look at and speak about aging in a more positive way — and it has made ripples in the beauty industry and beyond.
Throughout her time at Allure, Lee has been uniquely committed to Asian-American issues and representation, featuring stars like Gemma Chan, Naomi Osaka, Priyanka Chopra, Fei Fei Sun, Fernanda Ly, Soo Joo Park, and K-pop stars Jihyo and JB on the cover of Allure; and she’s highlighted notable Asian-American voices on The Allure Podcast, including Awkwafina, Prabal Gurung, and Phillip Lim.
Lee was previously the Editor in Chief and Chief Marketing Officer at NYLON, Co-Founder and Chief Content and Strategy Officer at branded content agency Magnified Media, and held senior positions at Mademoiselle, Glamour, and more.
She is a Board member at ColorComm, a member of Adweek’s Advisory Council and Twitter’s Content Council, and she was named to the Gold House A100 of most influential Asians in 2018, 2019, and 2020, as well as Digiday’s Glossy 50, and Create & Cultivate’s Creative 100 in 2017. She was a recipient of a 2019 ColorComm Circle Award, and Allure was nominated for a National Magazine Award for its March 2018 issue The Culture of Hair featuring Lupita Nyong’o.
Sarah Ha serves as the Vice President of National Community Alliances at Teach For America (TFA). In this role, she is responsible for driving the organization’s external engagement strategy with national civil rights and aligned organizations, leading and working alongside a team of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion senior leaders who manage the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community Alliances, Black Community Alliances, DACA Initiative, Latinx Community Alliances, LGBTQ+ Community Initiative, and Native Alliances. Her team collectively works to bring the intersectional partnerships, advocacy, resources, and opportunities to further cultivate the skills and mindsets necessary for systems change in their networks to shape a child-centric educational equity ecosystem.
Previously, Sarah launched and led TFA’s National AAPI Initiative, which aimed to work alongside other organizations committed to deliver on the promise of equal opportunity for every child and help grow the leadership of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) educators inside and outside of the classroom. In that role, she was responsible for cultivating and building relationships with external grassroots and grasstops organizations, influencers, and media committed to strengthening AANHPI educators, students, and their communities. In 2018, TFA’s AAPI Alliances, through Sarah’s leadership, advocacy, and partnership building, was awarded the Leadership Education for Asian Pacific’s (LEAP) Community Award.
Prior to joining TFA, Sarah was the Senior Director of Programs and Student Affairs at the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) in Washington, DC. There, she oversaw the strategic development and implementation of academic support, leadership development, and community-building programs for 16,000+ recipients of the GMS and APIASF scholarship awards.
Sarah has over 15 years of experience working in multicultural affairs, conducting research on the educational experiences of underrepresented and underserved students in higher education and implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion programming and initiatives. Prior to serving with APIASF and GMS, Sarah worked in the Office of the Dean of Students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center, and served as an Intergroup Dialogue Facilitator dedicated to creating inclusive, affirming, and diverse campus environments.
Sarah earned her Masters of Education degree in Student Affairs, Higher Education & Organizational Change from UCLA. She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Faith, Peace & Justice from Boston College. She currently lives in Queens, NY with her beloved husband and younger sister.
Philip W. Chung oversees the creative content for YOMYOMF, director Justin Lin’s (STAR TREK BEYOND, FAST & FURIOUS franchise) Asian American-centric digital company, and has worked in various capacities in film, TV, theater and digital. Previously, he was the co-founder/co-Artistic Director of Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, an Asian American theater company, for ten years. Chung has developed projects for Google, Machinima, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Ovation TV, IFC, Legendary Pictures, ABC and others. Upcoming projects include FAMILY STYLE (an Asian food series for Warner Bros/Stage 13), MOONSHADOW (a LGBTQ-centric horror feature for Gunpowder & Sky), a Christmas musical for Disney Channel, and a theatrical adaptation of the beloved children’s book, EVERYONE POOPS.
Originally from Miami, Florida, Anthony Reyes currently works as a staff member in the United States Senate. In addition to his day job, Anthony also serves as co-Senate Vice President of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association, or CAPASA. Prior to his current role, Anthony led programming at a national non-profit organization in DC focused on filling the political pipeline of Asian Pacific Americans across the country. Before moving to DC full-time, he gained experience organizing the AAPI community in the 2016 election and intern at various think tanks, trade associations, and on Capitol Hill. He is excited to support the important mission of Act to Change and empower our youth.
Josef Canaria is currently a Program Manager at the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence (MCEDSV) where he works to promote an understanding of domestic and sexual violence intervention and prevention best practices for advocates, allied organizations and professionals, and the general public. He was previously the Campus Coordinator at the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault (LaFASA) for six years, where he worked with colleges & universities throughout the state to help improve their policies and protocols related to the response and prevention of sexual violence. He also serves on the board of Shift Change, an organization working to prevent sexual harassment in the hospitality industry.
Josef is actively involved with the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans as one of the leaders of “NOLA Gaymers”, a social group for queer folx who have interests in board games, video games, and other less mainstream pop culture fandoms. Prior to living in New Orleans, Josef served as an AmeriCorps member through City Year San Antonio and is also a proud Colorado State University alum. He is an outspoken fat, femme, Filipino immigrant and hopes to help make spaces he is a part of more feminist and inclusive of all identities.
Belinda is a product manager at Microsoft Azure and a former product manager and software engineer at Citibank in their Global Consumer Technology division. She received her MBA from the Yale School of Management and previously served as a Strategy Consultant Associate at Tyton Partners, an advisory and investment banking firm that specializes in the global knowledge sector where her duties included working with companies, investors, and organizations in the private and public sectors to drive insights for capitalizing on education-related opportunities.
Prior to joining Tyton Partners in June 2018, Belinda held multiple internships in the public and private sector, including the White House Initiative on AAPIs and FiscalNote. While at the White House Initiative, Belinda worked as a Senior Intern to spearhead the launch of the AAPI Bullying Prevention Task Force, a coordinated cross-agency effort to address community concerns about bullying across the country.
During her time at Act To Change, Belinda has held positions including Interim Co-Executive Director and Managing Director. She spearheaded the creation of the 2021 Asian American Data Report, Homeroom Anti-Bullying Workshops, and the Youth Ambassador Program. Her workstreams cover programs, operations, fundraising, partnerships, and communications/marketing.
Her debut novel, Not THAT Rich, was the #1 New Release across Immigration fiction & Asian American Fiction while also achieving bestseller status for Asian American Young Adult fiction.
1. One of the challenges parents face is not knowing the right words to explain racism to their kids. Are there some examples of how they can explain what’s happening right now?
Research shows that children begin to notice race even at the infant stage. As early as 3 months old, children begin to notice a range of differences including skin color, voice, and facial features. It is never too early to talk with your child in age-appropriate ways based on their level of understanding. The best ways to approach these conversations are being open to questions from your kids, to build their trust in you, even if you don’t have all the answers. Children pick up on their parents’ attitudes about race at an early age, so it’s critical adults also commit to learning about race, racism and racial bias themselves. For younger kids, PBS recently aired a special on how to talk to kids about race and racism. Young children may understand the concept of fairness and explore through storybooks that tackle race and identity. For older kids, Learning for Justice offers resources to talk about race with youth in general, as well a list of of children’s literature that center’s Asian American stories.
Essentially, race is a way of grouping people in our world by seeming physical or social qualities. It is important to note that race is not a scientific or biological difference in each of us. Race as a system of categories to group ourselves was invented by people. Racism is the idea that a hierarchy exists among the groups of races, and that certain people should be treated differently because of their race.
2. How can parents or teachers describe to kids what racism looks like?
Over time, racism has looked different over the years. In some ways, it means creating separate spaces or having different items for people of different races to use. Today, racism may look like someone picking on, insulting, or being physically aggressive to someone else because of their race. It can include calling people names, racial slurs, yelling at others in public, or saying hurtful, untrue things about people based on their race in-person or online. It may look like excluding people from an activity because of their race. Racism may also present in subtle ways to a child, like making fun of someone’s name, hair style, clothing, or food that’s connected with their race or religion. From media and stories, we’ve heard the ways Asian American students and adults false accusations of stereotypes and assumptions around their race, from being called terrorists, to carriers of the covid-19 virus and to not “belonging” in the United States and the need to “return to their country.”
Act to Change has worked with youth to develop the “Racism is a Virus Toolkit” which includes more examples and the history of racism against Asian Americans as well as steps to address or create change to combat racism. You can find that and our other resources on our website.
3. How should parents teach their kids to respond if they encounter slurs, etc.?
Whether or not your child is encountering a slur directed towards them or towards someone else, they should state that the slur is hurtful to whomever is saying it and then if it can be safely done, the adult present should be told. If they do not feel safe, they should find an adult whom they trust and share the incident at a time they feel safe to do so. Alternatively, if the person using the slur is a trusted friend, your child can be an advocate for themselves and others by asking the friend their intention behind why they want to use the slur, and helping the friend understand that the slur is hurtful and inappropriate so they can see it’s better to stop using racist language. Similar measures may be taken if a child encounters bullying online. They should inform and confide in a trusted adult.
4. How should parents teach their kids to respond if they witness someone else being bullied, experiencing racism, etc.?
Always speak up or say something if you notice bullying or racism. You can either interrupt by being distracting, being funny, or directly calling out the incident. It is most important to ensure the safety of the person being bullied or experiencing racism and ensure your own safety, and you can do so with a simple distraction, such as asking for directions, dropping something and making a commotion, or redirecting the attention of the people involved, ideally to something random and irrelevant to the situation.
For adults, it’s important to also model this behavior of intervening as bystanders of incidents. Organizations such as Hollaback have developed the 5 D’s of Bystander Intervention, and offer resources and trainings through their website. It’s just as important to report incidents to local authority and advocacy organizations such as Stop AAPI Hate to support in tracking and improving responses to the rise in hate crimes. For more information on how to handle or report incidents, visit their website here.
Act To Change is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to end bullying among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth. We envision a world where all youth have the opportunity to grow up feeling proud and supported in their identities.
Our interdisciplinary approach spans education, public health, and civil rights. We’re working to equip youth, educators, parents and caregivers with the tools they need to deal with bullying — especially in the AAPI community. We believe that, together, by providing support, building strong coalitions, and changing education and policies, we can end bullying.
On May 18, 2019 — in honor of the birthday of Vincent Chin, whose murder in a hate crime in 1982 sparked a national uprising, Act To Change created the first-ever National AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate with the support of elected officials, business leaders, nonprofit and community grassroots organizations. In 2020, our commemoration received the support of 20 participating cities and states and nearly 200 partner organizations. The virtual program United We Stand garnered 50,000+ views.
As we approach May 18, 2022, we’re conscious of how much our community is in need of healing, joy, and justice. After sustained attacks on not only our community’s physical and mental health, but also our sense of belonging, we hope to help you and your ERG use not only our program, but also the entire month of May as an opportunity to center and support ourselves and our community.
Throughout the rest of this document, you’ll find frameworks, ideas, and resources to help you and your ERG plan how you want to approach APAHM. We recognize that not everyone will be able to participate in live events, including our May 18 livestream, and so we’ve also included guidance on asynchronous ways to connect. Of course, you know your community best, and we encourage you to tailor and adjust as you see fit for your needs.
Consider using the three objectives of Educate, Celebrate, and Activate to anchor your planning for APAHM. Every project or event should tie back to one or more of these three core objectives, and all three should be balanced across your APAHM work to avoid marginalizing or excluding AAPI employees who may be seeking a particular connection to their community. For example, planning an entire month of speaker events around AAPI history may make an incredible learning experience (educate), it will not satisfy those who are seeking opportunities to find joy in community, or those who wish to contribute tangibly to the ongoing movement to address anti-Asian racism.
Below, we’ve listed a handful of examples of an event or project associated with each objective.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION (DEI)
Working within the API community comes with unique challenges particularly around diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage you and your ERG leaders to be thoughtful and reflective about creating programming that speaks to all folks who identify as API. This includes all the racial and ethnic identities across Asia and the Pacific Islands, as well as adoptees, multi-racial folks, and children of multi-generational immigrant families who may not all share the same cultural background or lived experiences.
We’ve found it best to be upfront and proactively name it when our diversity doesn’t match the true diversity of our community, and to acknowledge that these conversations need to happen not just during May, but during the rest of the year as well. We also recommend that organizers and leaders allow and encourage AAPI employees to opt out of any events that may not serve their needs. Not only do we all have different experiences that shape our connection to the AAPI identities, but it has also been a particularly painful and difficult time for our community in recent months.
Can we still join Act To Change as a sponsor or partner for May 18’s National Day Against Bullying and Hate? Absolutely! Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re also always looking for new partners on future events, and welcome new connections all the time!
Is Act To Change available to come speak to my ERG/company? Yes! We are staffed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors who are all leaders across government, law, education, nonprofits, and consulting. We frequently speak about our work on supporting AAPI youth in a variety of spaces, and we’d love to talk with you about what you’re looking for. You can email us at email@example.com.
Do you have recommendations for guest speakers for some of the ideas you listed above? We do, and we’re also excited that there is a growing community of AAPI leaders across ERGs and industries that could help you. We always recommend starting with asking your own networks within your ERGs for connections, but if you need more, we recommend reaching out to our friends at Gold House and the Asian Leaders Alliance.
How do we stay in touch with all the work that Act to Change is up to? Find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok.