Luisa Blue, RN
Executive Vice President, SEIU
Prior to being elected Executive Vice President of SEIU in May 2016, Ms. Blue served on the SEIU International Executive Board from 2012- 2016. She has dedicated the last four decades of her life to organizing and advocating for workers’ rights through the union. As a union leader, Ms. Blue has been at the forefront of making racial and immigrant justice a priority for the union. From serving on various committees to rallying with members, she continues to lead the fight for workers’ rights, civil rights and economic justice. Ms. Blue was recognized in 2015 at the national Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance convention, where she was awarded the Philip Vera Cruz Organizing Award, and was recognized by the Filipina Women's Network as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in the World because of her commitment to racial, immigrant and civil rights and her work at SEIU. She began her career with SEIU as an organizer for the SEIU Healthcare Division organizing RNs and healthcare workers throughout the United States in 1990. Four years later, Ms. Blue was asked to help lead the SEIU Nurse Alliance in its historic “safe staffing” campaign, which led to California becoming the first and only state to legislate nurse-to-patient ratio standards for acute care hospitals in the country.
Rob Bonta, Esq
Assistant Majority Leader, California State Assembly (AD 18)
Assemblymember Bonta was elected to the California State Assembly's 18th District in 2012, where he represents the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro. He was the first Filipino American legislator in California's then 165-year history. Mr. Bonta worked his way through college cleaning laundry rooms and, with the help of financial aid, was able to achieve his dream of obtaining his Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School after attending Yale College and Oxford University in England. His legal career included work as a Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, where he represented the City and County and its employees, and as a private attorney, where he fought to protect Californians from exploitation and racial profiling. Mr. Bonta was undefeated at trial, never losing a jury verdict for his clients. Prior to being elected to the Alameda City Council where he served as Vice Mayor, he served as the Chair of the City of Alameda’s Economic Development Commission, and as board president for the Social Service Human Relations Board. Mr. Bonta currently serves as the Assistant Majority Leader, and serves on the Assembly Appropriations, Communications and Conveyance, Governmental Organization, and Health Committees.
Daniel Chao, MA, MALD, PhD
Business leader, Fmr. President and CEO, Bechtel China
Dr. Chao was the immediate past Senior Vice President of Business & Finance for TerraPower, LLC, where he was responsible for all business and financing activities for TerraPower. He has over 30 years of experience in commercial and investment banking, finance, corporate management, project development, equity investments and risk management. Mr. Chao was formerly the Chairman and President of Bechtel China and a Senior Vice President and Partner of Bechtel Group, Inc. He currently serves on the Boards of the 1990 Institute and Asian Health Services, and was a former member
of the Export-Import Bank of the United States’ Board of Advisors, the Board of the US-China Business Council, the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy’s International Management Advisory Council, and was the former President and Chairman of the California-Asia Business Council. Mr. Chao holds a B.A. from Stanford University (Phi Beta Kappa), an M.A., M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and an Advanced Professional Certificate (Business) from New York University.
David Chiu, MPP, Esq
Chair, California API Legislative Caucus (AD 17)
In N-ovember 2014, Assemblymember Chiu was first elected to the California State Legislature to represent the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses eastern San Francisco. During his first year, he served as Assistant Speaker pro Tempore; since his second year, he has served as Chair of the Assembly Housing & Community Development Committee, and is currently the Chair of the API Legislative Caucus. Mr. Chiu also sits on the following legislative committees: Budget; Business and Professions; Judiciary; Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media. Before joining the State Assembly, he served as President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for six years, and was the first Asian American to hold the post. Mr. Chiu grew up in Boston and received his undergraduate, law and master’s in public policy degrees from Harvard University. In the mid-1990s, he served as Democratic Counsel to the U.S. Senate Constitution Subcommittee. After moving to San Francisco in 1996, Mr. Chiu served as a criminal prosecutor at the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and as a civil rights attorney with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights. He has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, an American Memorial Marshall Fellow, and one of the “Best Attorneys under 40” by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
Marielena Hincapié, Esq
Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center
Ms. Hincapié is the Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center, which under her executive leadership, has grown to be one of the premier immigrants’ rights organizations, strategically using a combination of litigation, policy, communications, and alliance-building strategies to effect social change. Before joining NILC, she worked for the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco’s Employment Law Center, where she founded the Center’s Immigrant Workers’ Rights Project. Ms. Hincapié holds a Juris Doctor degree from Northeastern University School of Law and served on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration. Currently, Ms. Hincapié is a member of the Welcome.US Board of Directors and serves as Board Chair of the Indivisible Project. Among the awards she has received are Univision’s Corazón Award for 2013, the Latina of Influence award from Hispanic Lifestyle in 2014, the National Public Service Award from Stanford Law School, and was selected as a Prime Mover Fellow by the Hunt Alternatives Fund. Ms. Hincapié also recently served as the Northeastern University School of Law Daynard Distinguished Visiting Fellow and the Practitioner-in-Residence at the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
Chief Executive Officer, Asian Health Services
For more than 40 years, Ms. Hirota has championed underserved communities and has made an impact fighting for health care as a right, not a privilege. She has served as Chief Executive Officer of Asian Health Services (AHS) since 1982, which has created a local model that sets the highest standards for community health centers on a national stage. As an advocate and pioneer in the Asian American and Pacific Islander health movement, Ms. Hirota’s courageous and creative leadership in health care, public policy and advocacy forged the way to the establishment of national and statewide language and cultural competence standards in managed care. She has served on the Boards and Advisory Councils of The California Endowment, Edible School Yard, and the Community Health Centers Foundation. Among many awards, Ms. Hirota has been inducted into the Community Health Center Network’s Hall of Fame and the SF State University Hall of Fame, has received the Health Equity Champion award from Centers of Disease Control, the California State Legislature Martin Luther King Legacy Award, Outstanding Woman of the Year in Health-Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame award, Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Award, and Woman of the Year for the state’s 16th Assembly District.
Former Congressmember, CD17
Over the course of his 16-year career in Congress, former Congressmember Honda quietly attained positions of authority in the House Democratic Caucus, serving on the party’s Steering and Policy Committee and rising to a seat on the House Appropriations Committee. An advocate of tolerant and inclusive policies, Mr. Honda led the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and helped found the LGBT Equality Caucus. He was born in Walnut Grove, California, served with the Peace Corps in El Salvador, and graduated from San Jose State University with a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree. Mr. Honda worked as a teacher and principal throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and served on the San Jose planning commission for a decade, before winning election to the San Jose School Board, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and then the California State Assembly. In the House of Representatives, he used his committee assignments to work on issues spanning technology, educational opportunities including the creation of the National Commission on Educational Equity and Excellence, racial profiling, national security, immigration, and anti-discrimination through the creation of the Anti-Bullying Caucus and Transgender Equality Task Force.
Kathreen Khavari, MSc
Actress and Producer
Ms. Khavari is an Iranian American actress, writer, and producer who first gained fame when her sketch Brain of Terror, in which she played eleven different characters, went viral after it was featured on Upworthy. She's best known for her role as Issa Rae's co-worker Patricia on HBO's Insecure, Samantha on HBO's Big Little Lies, and for voicing Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) in Avengers Assemble on Disney XD. Ms. Khavari was born and raised in Oakland, California to Iranian immigrant parents. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, studying public health, and then later earned a Master's degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Control of Infectious Diseases. Ms. Khavari realized her childhood passion of acting was unwavering, and in response to Trump's "Muslim Ban," she made headlines at the premier of Big Little Lies when she wore a dress that read "My Iranian Immigrant Mother Teaches Your Kids How to Read". Her satirical sketches, which she posts to her YouTube channel Brain of Terror, touch on various social justice issues, including gun control, Islamophobia, women's reproductive rights, and police brutality against Black men in America.
Tung Nguyen, MD
Professor of Medicine, UC San Francisco
Dr. Nguyen is the Stephen J. McPhee, MD Endowed Chair in General Internal Medicine and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). A general internist with a large panel of Asian American patients, he teaches medical students and residents about medicine, health disparities, and community-based participatory research (CBPR). Mr. Nguyen has conducted CBPR and intervention research with Asian American populations including Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans on cancer control, tobacco control, hepatitis B and C screening, nutrition and physical activity, and end-of-life care. He is also the Director of the Asian American Research Center on Health, Co-Director of the UCSF Multi-Ethnic Health Equity Center, and formerly a Principal Investigator of the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research, and Training. At the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Mr. Nguyen is the Program Leader of the Cancer Control Program, and a Steering Committee member of the San Francisco Cancer Initiative, where he leads its Liver Cancer Task Force. He served as a Commissioner on President Barack Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from 2011 to 2014, and as the Chair from 2014 to 2017.
Ninez Ponce, MPP, PhD
Professor of Health Policy & Management, UC Los Angeles
Professor Ponce is an expert on immigrant and global health, survey-based research, social determinants of health, and health disparities, and is a Professor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management. She helped develop the first California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) in 2001, is Director at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and is the principal investigator of CHIS. She is also formerly the Director of the UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, and Associate Director of UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center. Ms. Ponce led pioneering efforts in multicultural survey research, including measures of racial/ethnic identity, acculturation, generational status, and discrimination. She has served as RAND's resident advisor to the Republic of Macedonia's Ministry of Health and has worked for the World Bank and Catholic Relief Services in Thailand. Ms. Ponce was deputy director of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), and has also served as a consultant with many community-based organizations including Oakland's La Clínica de la Raza and Asian Health Services. She received a bachelor's degree in science from UC Berkeley, a master's in public policy from Harvard University, and a PhD in health services from UCLA.
Karthick Ramakrishnan, PhD
Professor of Political Science & Public Policy, UC Riverside
Professor Ramakrishnan is a founding Director of the Center for Social Innovation, and Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at the University of California, Riverside. He is also a Board Member of The California Endowment, former Chair of the California Commission on APIA Affairs, and adjunct fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Mr. Ramakrishnan received his PhD in politics from Princeton University, and has held fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. His research focuses on civic participation, immigration policy, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States. Mr. Ramakrishnan directs the National Asian American Survey and is founder of AAPIData.com, which publishes demographic data and policy research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In addition, he is the founding editor of the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (JREP), an official section journal of the American Political Science Association, and Director of the UC-wide program on AAPI Policy. Mr. Ramakrishnan was recently named to the Frederick Douglass 200 and is writing a book on state citizenship in the United States.
Kyu Rhee, MPP, MD
VP/Chief Health Officer, IBM
Dr. Rhee serves as Vice President and Chief Health Officer of IBM, where he has global responsibilities for Watson Health and assuring a Culture of Health at IBM. Prior to joining IBM, he was Chief Public Health Officer at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), where he served on and led numerous national initiatives related to prevention, quality, and public health. Mr. Rhee also served as the Director of the Office of Innovation and Program Coordination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he served on and led numerous initiatives related to eliminating health disparities and promoting health equity. Prior to his federal government service, he worked in community health settings as the Chief Medical Officer of Baltimore Medical System Inc., and as a National Health Service Corps Scholar and Medical Director at the Upper Cardozo Health Center. Mr. Rhee was a Chief Resident and performed his medical residency training in both internal medicine and pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Southern California, and a master's degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Mr. Rhee acquired his Bachelor in Science degree from Yale University in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, where he also served as President of the student body.
Paul Song, MD
COO/CMO, NKMax America, Inc.
Dr. Song is a physician, progressive activist, and biotechnology Chief Medical Officer/Chief Operating Officer at NKMax America, Inc. He serves as the Co-Chair for a Campaign for a Healthy California, which advocates for statewide single-payer healthcare legislation. In 2013, Mr. Song was named and served as the very first visiting fellow on health care policy in the California Department of Insurance. In addition, he writes for the Huffington Post regarding the health care system, and serves on the Boards of Physicians for a National Health Program California, Progressive Democrats of America, Healthcare NOW, the Eisner Pediatric and Women’s Center, and has also served on the Boards of People for the American Way and the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, and is a former Chair of the Courage Campaign. He graduated with honors from the University of Chicago and received his MD degree from George Washington University. Mr. Song completed his residency in radiation oncology at the University of Chicago and did a brachytherapy fellowship at the Institute Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France. He is on the staff at Dignity California Hospital where he sees primarily Medicaid and uninsured patients.
Author and Journalist
Ms. Zia is an activist, award-winning author and former journalist. In 2000, her first book, Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, was a finalist for the prestigious Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize. Ms. Zia also authored the story of Wen Ho Lee in My Country Versus Me, about the Los Alamos scientist who was falsely accused of being a spy for China in the “worst case since the Rosenbergs.” Her latest book is Last Boat out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese who Fled Mao’s Revolution. Ms. Zia is a former Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine and a founding Board Co-Chair of the Women’s Media Center. She has been active in many non-profit organizations, including Equality Now, AAJA, and KQED. Ms. Zia is featured in the Academy Award nominated documentary, Who Killed Vincent Chin? and was profiled in Bill Moyers’ PBS series, Becoming American: The Chinese Experience. In 2008, she was a Torchbearer in San Francisco for the Beijing Olympics amid great controversy; in 2010, she was a witness in the federal marriage equality case decided by the US Supreme Court. Ms. Zia received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the Law School of the City University of New York for bringing important matters of law and civil rights into public view, and is a Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of Princeton University’s first coeducational class.