Building coalitions is an essential part to building movements and making progress. In this panel, policymakers and advocates explore intersectional identities of APIs, intrasectional solidarity within API identities and allyship with other communities.
Associate Dean and Director of the Draper Center, Pomona College
Sefa is currently the Associate Dean and Director of the Asian American Resource Center at Pomona College. Professionally, he has served as an academic and student-organizational advisor, as well as an instructor for Asian American Studies programs at UCLA and California State University, Fullerton. Sefa has taught courses in contemporary Pacific Islander issues, community engagement, and has done countless workshops and talks at colleges and universities throughout the country.
Sefa has helped to establish leadership pipelines that allow for Pacific Islander college students to build their own résumés through internship and fellowship opportunities in Washington DC, California and Hawaii. He has utilized his expansive network to help build the capacity of the larger Asian American and Pacific Islander community. He is a lifelong educator with a commitment to creating transformative experiential learning opportunities for students.
In September of 2010, Sefa was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Sefa served as the Vice-Chair of the Commission from 2010 – 2014. He has also been a Reader for the APIASF (Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund), and AIGCS (American Indian Graduate Center Scholars) Gates Millennium Scholarship. Through his work on college campuses and in the larger community, Sefa has demonstrated his commitment to increasing the support and opportunities for non-traditional, marginalized, first generation students.
Assemblymember, California District 27
In November 2016, Ash Kalra was elected to represent the 27th Assembly District, which encompasses downtown San Jose, East San Jose, Evergreen and parts of South San Jose.
Ash was appointed Chair of the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment, and also sits on the Aging and Long Term Care, Education, Judiciary, and Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committees.
Assemblymember Kalra has established himself as a leader on issues ranging from the environment and conservation, to criminal justice reform, health care sustainability, housing affordability, growing our transportation infrastructure, and expanding economic opportunity to all Californians.
He previously served as a San José City Councilmember for eight years and was a deputy public defender in Santa Clara County for 11 years prior to the City Council. He is the first Indian-American to serve in the California Legislature in state history.
Ash lives in Hayes, the same San Jose neighborhood where he grew up.
Assemblymember, California District 66
Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) represents California’s 66th Assembly District, located in the South Bay of Los Angeles County. He is a former prosecutor and Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice and a former Torrance School Board member.
As a state legislator, Muratsuchi is fighting for the South Bay and the California Dream. His priorities are jobs, education, public safety, the environment, and veterans. As a father and husband, Muratsuchi is fighting to keep the South Bay a special place to live and raise a family.
Ret. Assemblymember, California District 55
The Honorable Warren Furutani served in the California State Assembly from 2008 until 2012. Throughout his extensive career, he has demonstrated a clear passion for social justice, equity and inclusion, particularly in the area of education. He began as a counselor at a continuation high school in the mid-1970s and, in 1987, became the first Asian Pacific Islander American to be elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education—the second largest school district in the country. While he was on the school board, he led the effort to grant honorary high school diplomas to Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II and unable to complete their education. In 1999, Mr. Furutani was elected to serve on the Board of Trustees for the largest community college district in the country—Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD).
Executive Director, Khmer Girls in Action
Lian Cheun is the Executive Director of Khmer Girls in Action. She is a 1.5 generation refugee from Cambodia. She grew up in the Bay Area and has spent 2 decades working in low-income communities of color. Lian started out as a youth organizer on the Kids First! Campaign and has since worked for funding for youth programs, fought for educational and health justice, volunteered and trained for numerous GOTV efforts with the Alameda County Labor Council, and fought for workers’ rights regionally and internationally. In 2007, Lian helped Migrant Forum in Asia organize the very first regional, migrant domestic workers’ assembly. Lian believes in fighting for our self-determination as women, as workers, and as creators of knowledge and culture in our communities. She was also the former director of the Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program (MAAP) at the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO). In 2014, Lian was appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.