2019 AAPICRF Schedule

2019 Asian American & Pacific Islander Civil Rights Forum

Welcome Address | 9am - 10am

David Lopez, J.D

Co-Dean David Lopez, who joined Rutgers Law School in August 2018, was most recently a member of the firm of Outten and Golden, leading the firm's Washington D.C. Office. Until December 2016, he served for six years as the General Counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and thus acted as the lead lawyer for the nation's primary administrative agency charged with enforcing federal employment anti-discrimination laws. He has a rich and deep background in public interest law and using the legal system to champion the principles of equality and opportunity. He has also taught at Harvard Law School and Georgetown Law Center. As General Counsel of the EEOC, Lopez led the litigation program for the nation’s primary administrative agency charged with enforcing federal employment anti-discrimination laws and oversaw 15 regional attorneys and a staff of more than 325 people. Prior to joining the EEOC, he was a senior trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division Employment Litigation Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C. Previously, he was an associate with Spiegel & McDiarmid LLP in Washington D.C. He is a widely sought-after speaker who has made more than 50 speeches and presentations before the American Bar Association, state and local bar associations, and various advocacy, non-governmental organizations and universities. Lopez also serves on the board of the ACLU-DC, the Impact Fund (an Oakland-based non-profit offering support to public interest lawyers and communities through training, co-counsel and grants to advance civil rights and social justice), and Toward Justice, a Denver-based non-profit dedicated to advancing economic justice and advocacy. Lopez is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Attorneys. In 2014, The National Law Journal named him one of “America’s 50 Outstanding General Counsels.” Among the organizations that have recognized him for his work on social justice issues are: the International Religious Liberty Association, which gave him its National Religious Freedom Award, Liberty Magazine, the North American Religious Liberty Association, which cited his work on civil, religious, and employment rights; the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which gave him its Friend in Government Award in 2012. Lopez has been called a “Latino Luminary” by the magazine Diversity and the Bar and in 2011 Hispanic Business named him to its list of 100 “Influentials” in the Hispanic community. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School and graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

Breakout Session 1 | 10:10am - 11:10am


Dr. Elisa Choi, MD is the current Governor of the MA Chapter of the American College of Physicians (ACP), becoming the first female and only Asian-American woman to be elected to the Governorship in the history of the MA ACP Chapter. She also currently serves on the Executive Committee of the National Board of Governors of ACP. Dr. Choi is a representative of the ACP to the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, and practices both as an Internist and as an Infectious Disease, HIV, and Hepatitis infection specialist. 

Dr. Choi has a particular interest in healthcare disparities, and in providing culturally competent care addressing health issues affecting Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) and minority populations. Dr. Choi is on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and holds clinical and educational leadership positions in her healthcare organization. She serves as a Chief of the Internal Medicine Department at her practice. Dr. Choi is the Co-Chair Emeritus and current active member of the Health and Public Policy Committee of the MA ACP Chapter. She has extensive experience in healthcare and public health advocacy efforts at Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, and has also been actively involved in the planning and organization of an annual Advocacy Day at the MA State House for the MA ACP Chapter since 2016. Dr. Choi has received the MA ACP Chapter’s Leadership Award in 2014, and serves on numerous national ACP committees. 

Dr. Choi has been a member of the MA Adult Immunization Assoc. (MAIC) for many years, and has advocated for heightened immunization awareness among adult medicine practitioners. She was recently invited as a Keynote Speaker for the MAIC’s annual conference in April 2019.  Dr. Choi has also been an invited keynote speaker regionally and nationally on a number of topics, ranging from leadership development, Women in Medicine, disaggregated data collection for AANHOPI (Asian American Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander), health disparities in the AANHOPI communities, immigrant and refugee health, and numerous Infectious Disease medical topics. In addition to her professional efforts, Dr. Choi has been active in the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community for many years. She was appointed by the MA Treasurer’s Office as a Commissioner for the Commonwealth of MA Asian American Commission, for which she served as the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and Health and Human Services Committee Chair, during her 6-year tenure. Dr. Choi has also held titles as a Board member, Board Secretary/Clerk, Board Chair, and current role as Board Chair Emeritus of MAP (MA Asian & Pacific Islanders) for Health, a community-based nonprofit organization that works to improve healthcare access, disease prevention, and service delivery for the AAPI community in MA. She also serves on the Board of numerous other non-profit organizations (ATASK – Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence; NAAAP Boston – National Association of Asian American Professionals, Boston Chapter) which support the AAPI communities.

Appointed by Governor Charlie Baker in 2015, Commissioner Monica Bharel serves as the Commonwealth’s chief physician. She is dedicated to reducing health disparities and developing data-driven, evidence-based solutions for keeping people healthy and is helping lead the state’s aggressive response to the opioid crisis. In 2017, Massachusetts was among few states to see a reduction in opioid overdose deaths, thanks to a variety of new programs and initiatives.

As Commissioner, Dr. Bharel oversees a public health workforce of nearly 3000 and an expansive
department addressing issues, from environmental health to injury prevention to infectious diseases. In
2017, Massachusetts was named the healthiest state in the nation by America’s Health Rankings Report.
Dr. Bharel is a board certified internist who has practiced general internal medicine for more than 20
years, and has been recognized for her dedication to underserved and vulnerable populations. Prior to
becoming Commissioner, she was Chief Medical Officer of Boston Health Care for the Homeless.
She holds a Master of Public Health degree through the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University
Fellowship and a medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine.

Dr. Justin Chen, MD, MPH is a psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders in young adults, and he holds clinical leadership roles as Medical Director of Ambulatory Psychiatry and Co-Director of Primary Care Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. As Executive Director and Co-Founder of the nonprofit volunteer-operated MGH Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness, Dr. Chen delivers talks and trainings to families, clinicians, and educators throughout the United States on promoting the emotional health and psychological resilience of diverse student populations. He is also dedicated to teaching and mentorship, serving as Associate Director of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Associate Co-Director of the Mind, Brain, and Behavior clinical neurosciences course in the HMS pre-clinical curriculum, and Co-Director of the longitudinal Sociocultural Psychiatry curriculum for MGH/McLean psychiatry residents. An Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, he is an author of over 40 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the topics of cross-cultural psychiatry, stigma, racial/ethnic disparities in mental health service utilization, and medical education, as well as co-editor of Sociocultural Issues in Psychiatry: A Casebook and Curriculum, published in 2019 by Oxford University Press. Dr. Chen received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Yale University. He completed his psychiatry residency and chief residency at MGH/McLean, followed by a Master of Public Health degree in Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard-T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Dupont-Warren Research Fellowship focused on improving engagement of depressed Chinese immigrants into mental health care at South Cove Community Health Center in Boston’s Chinatown.​

Panel Description: Explore your rights as an employee or employer as it pertains to wages, health and safety, and health and retirement benefits.

Patty Colarossi started with the US Department of Labor /Wage and Hour Division in 1990.  Ms. Colarossi worked as an Investigator and remained in that role until August 2011.  Ms. Colarossi is currently serving as the Community Outreach and Resource Planning Specialist for the Boston District Office.  This role within Wage and Hour is to help assist with sustaining Wage and Hour compliance by providing educational outreach and support to employers, employees, and various organizations that have an interest in Wage and Hour issues. Ms. Colarossi has been the recipient of many Secretary Exceptional Achievement Awards as well as being named Wage and Hour Employee of the Year in 2002 and 2004. Ms. Colarossi has a BS degree in Education from Springfield College.








Peter Barletta is the current “Compliance Assistance Specialist” for the Boston South OSHA Office in Braintree MA, providing technical assistance, outreach and training to OSHA stakeholders and the public through alliances, partnerships, and other cooperative programs. From 2004 to 2014 he was the Assistant Area Director for the OSHA Boston Office leading and managing a multidisciplinary team of OSHA safety specialists and industrial hygienists. Prior he worked 14 years in the field as an OSHA Compliance Officer conducting inspections and accident investigations on various construction and general industry sites including the Boston Central Artery Construction Projects and Deer Island Tunnel Projects. 

Education – Masters Degree at Suffolk University Boston in MPA Program, Civil Engineering Degree BSCE University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a graduate from Boston Latin School High School. He is a Certified Safety Specialist (CSP), and Engineering in Training Certificate (EIT). Mr. Barletta is an active member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Boston Chapter.






Karen Gagnon is the Lead Benefits Advisor (LBA) with the Boston Regional Office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).  Karen joined EBSA in 2010 as a temporary Benefits Advisor. In 2015, Karen was promoted to Sr. BA and has just recently taken on the role of LBA.  As a LBA, Karen provides direct technical and compliance assistance to plan participants and their beneficiaries, administrators, fiduciaries, services providers and other interested parties regarding their rights and obligations under the statutory and regulatory provisions of ERISA, ACA, HIPAA, COBRA and related legislation. The Boston Regional Office covers all of New England and upstate New York.  In addition, Karen trains and mentors new staff members joining EBSA. She is also actively involved in the outreach and educational opportunities for ERISA and related laws throughout the region.

Prior to joining EBSA, Karen spent over 20 years in the private sector managing employee benefit plans.  Karen obtained her Bachelor of Science from Worcester State University. She has also earned her Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) designation in December, 2016 and has maintained her certification as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) since the early 1990’s.  Additionally, Karen graduated from the Graduate School’s Executive Leadership Program in 2017. Lastly, Karen held the elected position as Secretary for the Worldwide Employee Benefits (WEB) Worcester, MA Chapter for many years until the Chapter disbanded. 

Panel Description: This interactive, multimedia panel features fresh digital stories by young generation co-producers through Asian American Studies coursework with Prof. Shirley Tang’s Digital Storytelling Team at UMass Boston—the region’s only university with Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) designation and funding by the US Department of Education. Reflecting their diverse, intersectional backgrounds as Nepalese, Vietnamese, and Khmer American young women, the panelists’ narratives illustrate current critical issues involving leadership, sexual violence, educational climate, and intergenerational well-being. These examples of local AANAPISI data sources highlight the value of stories to complement critically important census counts and other measures of demographic change relevant to civil rights advocacy and inclusion for low-income Asian American students and their immigrant/refugee families and communities in metro Boston. 


Shirley S. Tang, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Asian American Studies Program of the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her areas of research and teaching expertise are: war, gender and migration; Southeast Asian and Chinese diasporic cultural and community studies; digital storytelling pedagogy and knowledge production, and AANAPISI program development. She is co-principal investigator for UMass Boston’s current five-year, $1.75M Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Part F grant through 2021, and she led a U.S. Department of Education-funded collaborative project for a network of AANAPISIs in California and Massachusetts focusing on digital storytelling, student development and college success. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from SUNY Buffalo and a B.A. degree in English with Honors from Chinese University of Hong Kong.





Parmita Gurung is a 1.8 generation Nepalese American woman. A current staff member of Phillips Brooks House Association’s Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment Program and a former Coordinator of UMass Boston’s Asian Student Center, Parmita graduated in 2019 with a major in Sociology and a program-of-study in Asian American Studies.






Theresa Tran graduated from UMass Boston in 2019 with a major in Psychology, a minor in Biology, and program-of-study in Asian American Studies. She grew up in Randolph, MA with her family and works at the Randolph Intergenerational Community Center as a multicultural program developer. She served as President of UMass Boston’s Vietnamese Student Association for two years and currently co-leads the Community Engagement Cabinet of the New England Intercollegiate Vietnamese Student Association.





Ammany Ty is a second-generation Cambodian American daughter of refugees. Raised in Dorchester, she graduated from UMass Boston in 2018 with a degree in English and a program-of-study in Asian American Studies. She currently serves as a Co-production Assistant, supported by an AANAPISI grant, with the Digital Storytelling in Asian American Studies Team. Ammany was the UMass Boston winner of the 29 Who Shine Award in 2018 which recognizes outstanding students across the Massachusetts public higher education system.

Panel description: Since the Korean War in the 1950’s and continuing to the present day, the practice of intercountry adoption in Asian countries (as well as in Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America) has persisted as a way to address the separation of families due to events such as war, famine, poverty, natural disasters and other other socioeconomic factors.

In America there are are more than 150,000 Korean adoptees and a growing pan-asian adoptee community consisting of Chinese, Taiwanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Indian transracial adoptees. As more Asian adoptees have aged and started families, there have been many studies conducted by transracial adoptee scholars such as Dr. Kim Park Nelson, Dr. Amanda Baden, and others examining the socio-emotional wellbeing of transracial adoptees in the U.S. and the need for expanded post-adoption services.

This panel discussion will feature conversations with Massachusetts state representative Maria Robinson and Maria Leister, J.D., and Kenny Leibe focused on the post-adoption services needed by the transracial Asian Adoptee Community in Massachusetts. This panel will be moderated by Nate Bae Kupel, MSW, Commissioner, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission.


Nate Bae Kupel, MSW is a Commissioner and Chair of the Legislative Committee of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission. Nate is currently the Associate Director at the New England of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice, a leadership and management certificate program for nonprofit leaders. He is also the President of the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition.

Prior to the Institute for Nonprofit Practice, Nate worked for a healthcare-based marketing and communications firm called Crescendo Consulting Group where he developed digital marketing and innovative digital behavior change programs for healthcare organizations to improve the quality and access of services to at risk populations.

Before joining Crescendo, Nate was the Associate Director of the Academy for Transformation at YouthBuild USA, an international youth leadership and workforce development organization. In his role, he developed trainings, webinars and other technical assistance engagements for the Department of Labor funded grantee organizations across the country.

Nate has also worked at the Institute for Asian American Studies at UMass Boston, the Asian American Resource Workshop SRP program, and served several terms as President of the Boston Korean Adoptees, Inc. Nate holds a Master of Social Work from Simmons College, a BA in Sociology and a Certificate in Asian American Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Representative Maria Duaime Robinson was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2018. She brings to the State House a decade of experience working in the clean, advanced energy industry. Her experience ranges from working with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources deploying solar panels at municipal water and wastewater facilities to working in state legislatures and agencies in over half of the country to advocating on clean air regulations to providing expert testimony in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Representative Robinson also worked for now-Governor Jay Inslee during his term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania (think: the Office), Representative Robinson is the child of public servants and union members, Stephen and Denyse Duaime.  She is a lifetime Girl Scout, serves on the boards of the Framingham Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the Framingham Library, and is an elected member of the Framingham Democratic Town Committee. Representative Robinson is an adoptee and is the first Korean-American elected to the state legislature. 

Representative Robinson holds degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (S.B. in Chemical Engineering) and the University of Tulsa (Masters of Energy Law). She lives in Framingham with her husband, Matt, their children, their dog Guinness, and Maria’s parents.




Maria Leister, JD, Lawyer, faculty with the Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, Global Mental Health, Harvard University Fellow, Human Rights educator and Board Member of the Boston Korean Cultural Society. She teaches Human Rights at the intersection of the right to health, mental health equity, justice, and trauma-informed leadership. Maria oversees Leadership Development at Kotter International, a change leadership and cultural transformation consulting firm founded by Chairman, Dr. John Kotter, Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus at the Harvard Business School. Maria has led strategic planning initiatives, developing strategies to create cross-sector engagement for higher education, government, and mission-driven organizations.  For nearly a decade she was instrumental in organizational effectiveness initiatives through designing and implementing leadership programs, coaching and mentoring initiatives, and fellowships at Harvard University and Harvard Law School. She is currently involved with designing trauma-informed leadership programs for UNICEF and other NGOs. She has helped design and has been a guest speaker for Human Rights initiatives with Lesley University and Massachusetts General Hospital’s Global Health Residency Fellowship. She holds a Juris Doctorate degree from IU Bloomington and held a fellowship with Harvard University’s Office of the President Administrative Fellows Program.


Kenneth Leibe, born in Manila, raised in Connecticut, and currently residing in the Boston area, Kenneth studied at various art schools in New England, but eventually fell into a career as an Application Systems Engineer at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In addition to his professional career, he has been involved in the adoptee communities by participating in conferences, camps, and panels locally, nationally (CA, NY, CO), and internationally (Philippines and S.Korea). Outside of the adoptee community, Kenneth has also been part of the Asian American community by volunteering with the Boston Asian American Film Festival. With BAAFF, he has been part of the core planning team, screening committee, production team, and has represented the organization at various film festivals across the country

Panel Description: “Identity” is a term that describes how a person thinks about themselves, how they fit in the world, and how others perceive them.  Most of us have many identities that combine and counteract in complex ways. How does the Asian American identity affect the way we live in America today?  Is there even a single, or typical, Asian American identity? (How does the Asian American “model minority myth” complicate our identity explorations?) In this session, our panelists Jenny Hsi and Hung Nguyen will discuss their diverse professional and personal experiences in learning, exploring, and supporting others in their Asian American identity journeys.  Topics include youth mental health, LGBTQ issues, generational divides, and building communities for healing and thriving.


Jenn Tran is a Boston native with a history of involvement in the local Asian American community, stemming from her desire to understand her role as the daughter of a refugee. In 2012, she was chairwoman of the Boston Asian American Student Intercollegiate Coalition where she organized events focused on discussions about the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) experience. Jenn has worked with The Family Van, a Boston-based mobile health clinic for the underserved in Quincy, a community with an increasing Asian immigrant population. Her other activities include conducting research on diabetes in the Vietnamese patient population at Boston Medical Center, teaching English as a Second Language at the Boston Public Libraries, and serving as a student leader of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association at the Boston University School of Medicine. Jenn was the inaugural recipient of the AAPI Scholarship presented by the Commonwealth of MA Asian American Commission in 2016. As a future physician, Jenn hopes to continue working with the AAPI population in efforts to eliminate health disparities and break down barriers to care.




Katie Ho is a medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine. She is from Hawaii, where her early exposure to health disparities within subpopulations of the Asian and Pacific Islander community is what contributed to her interest in medicine. As president of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) in 2016, she was able to collect data on the Boston Chinatown population to help address the specific health care needs of this community. Her continued work with APAMSA led to her volunteer efforts with Tufts Community Wellness Initiative to help provide free health screenings in Chinatown and in organizing a bone marrow drive to help diversify the registry. Her interests in providing culturally competent care to every ethnicity that make up the Asian American and Pacific islander demographic is where she hopes to make an impact as a future physician. Katie Ho is a medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine. She is from Hawaii, where her early exposure to health disparities within subpopulations of the Asian and Pacific Islander community is what contributed to her interest in medicine. As president of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) in 2016, she was able to collect data on the Boston Chinatown population to help address the specific health care needs of this community. Her continued work with APAMSA led to her volunteer efforts with Tufts Community Wellness Initiative to help provide free health screenings in Chinatown and in organizing a bone marrow drive to help diversify the registry. Her interests in providing culturally competent care to every ethnicity that make up the Asian American and Pacific islander demographic is where she hopes to make an impact as a future physician.





Hung Nguyen is a graduate from UMass Boston with an individualized major in Asian American Studies. They identify as Vietnamese American, Queer and Trans. Hung has been deeply involved with working in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) community. They started off at MAP for Health, which is an organization that is dedicated to improving AAPI sexual health education on topics such as HIV and STDs. Hung has also worked with the Boston Alliance of GLTBQ Youth, Providence Youth Student Movement, Viet-AID, the Boston Asian American Student Intercollegiate Coalition (BAASIC), and now Fenway Health, where they are the Clinical Coordinator for the Prevention and Screening Team. Their team works with Queer and Trans patients of color to get the health care that they deserve and to help them own their health. As they share their story today, they hope you listen with an open mind and heart. 






Jenny Hsi is a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) candidate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  Her doctoral thesis focuses on understanding the social, emotional, cultural, and identity development experiences of Chinese international students in the US, with the aim of designing better programs and services at universities.  She is also a lead research assistant for the AWARE Project at Boston University School of Social Work, which develops and provides culture- and gender-specific group psychotherapy programs for young Asian American women.  As well, she is an organizer of the “Let’s Talk!” annual conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education promoting the success and wellbeing of Asian & Pacific Islander students.

Prior to graduate school, Jenny has worked in Beijing, China on HIV epidemiology research and tobacco control policy and advocacy.  She grew up in Hsinchu, Taiwan and Vancouver, Canada.  In her free time, Jenny performs with The Genki Spark, a Boston-based Asian women’s arts and advocacy group that uses Japanese taiko drumming, personal stories, and creativity to build community and advocate respect for all. 

Breakout Session 2 | 11:20am - 12:20pm


Jenna Agatep is currently a second-year law student at Northeastern University School of Law and is designing her curriculum to advance her knowledge and skills of corporate social responsibility in the fashion industry.

Prior to law school, Jenna worked at a law firm in New York City assisting attorneys on a variety of cases ranging from pro-bono human rights matters to litigation disputes between fashion companies. Being highly interested in the intersection between fashion and the law, Jenna went on to receive her master’s in Fashion Law at Fordham University School of Law in New York. During her master’s program, Jenna worked at the non-profit Nest, which is centered on bettering transparency across the supply chain and obtaining legal rights and benefits for artisans and homeworkers across the globe. Jenna’s notable experiences in law school include serving on the executive boards of APALSA and Human Rights Caucus, her co-op at Oxfam America in the Private Sector Department, and her upcoming co-op at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts with the Hon. Denise J. Casper.


Margaret Hahn-DuPont, Esq. is currently the Teaching Professor and Program Director for the Legal Skills in Social Context program at Northeastern University School of Law. Prior to joining the faculty full time, she taught Legal Research and Writing at the School of Law as an adjunct professor, in both the first-year and upper-level programs, and served as the writing specialist for the law school. Professor Hahn-DuPont was previously an acting assistant professor in the Lawyering Program at New York University, and has taught first-year and upper-level Legal Research and Writing courses at Brooklyn Law School, Fordham University School of Law (where she also taught in the LLM program) and Boston University School of Law. 

Professor Hahn-DuPont began her legal career as a litigation associate with Shearman & Sterling, where she worked on a variety of civil matters. She also had an extensive pro bono practice, including representing a death row inmate in Florida, advocating for Chinese restaurant workers in an employment dispute and counseling prisoners with civil rights claims. In addition, Professor Hahn-DuPont clerked for the Honorable Denny Chin, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.



Dr. Mary Y. Lee dedicated twenty-seven years of her career at Tufts University where she served as Dean for Educational Affairs at the School of Medicine and more recently, 

Associate Provost for the greater University. As Associate Provost, Dr. Lee was responsible for multidisciplinary educational initiatives, faculty development programs, and information technology initiatives that span Tufts’ seven schools. Additionally, Dr. Lee assumed the prestigious six-month Kimitaka Kaga Visiting Professorship at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Medicine in 2014.  Although she is now retired, Dr. Lee is still consulting nationally for medical schools for institutional accreditation and strategic planning.







Nina Liang is the first Chinese-American City Councilor in her hometown of Quincy.  Born in Quincy and raised by immigrant parents, she has experienced first hand the challenges minority children and families face.  Over the years, she has had the opportunity to be a part of community organizations dedicated to addressing the needs of those who are new to both the language and customs of American culture.  Having worked as the office manager and helping to manager operations with her family’s restaurant group, Nina also has the experience and perspective of a small business owner, creating jobs and opportunity in the communities in which they operate.  Nina understands that it takes collaborative efforts among these local organizations, businesses and public service facilities to better address the needs of the diverse residents Quincy has.


Karina Lam is a senior at Braintree High School who is the president of Cultural Awareness Club and Model United Nations. She is also the founder of the BHS Baking Club. Karina is captain of the high school’s Gymnastics Team and is a member of the Dive Team. She is a member of the National Honor Society as well as the Spanish National Honor Society. In the summer Karina spends her free time volunteering at Mass General Hospital and Norfolk County’s Sheriff’s Camp


Christina Carr is a student at Braintree High School. She identifies as a bisexual female. Christina is involved in her community by running a gender sexuality alliance club at her school and by attending summit meetings in the summer that allow me to discuss topics in the community during the school year. She is extremely passionate about helping the LGBTQ+ community.






Ivy Stanton is a senior in high school who is active in the LGBTQ+ community in Massachusetts.  She is the president of her high school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance, along with being staff for the MA GSA Leadership Council.  Ivy also is a member of the MA Commission on LGBTQ Youth, in which she works on inclusive health and school curricula for queer youth.  In her free time, you can find Ivy reading books, practicing photography, and trying to keep a few houseplants alive.

Isabella Brooke is a senior at Beaver Country Day School. My goal in life is to create a more equitable environment. To do this, she spends the majority of her high school career doing projects and independent studies on different social justice-related topics. She has been educating herself on certain topics as she feels that she is has a responsibility to learn what she can do to make a difference in her community. Yet, a lot of this has been about self-discovery. Isabella was able to learn how to identify herself as a white-passing girl with a grandmother who immigrated from the Philippines. Isabella is currently in the process of really pin-pointing her sexuality. Through this all, she feels that the most important part of making a difference in the world is making change in yourself. For her that process was really complicated and, at some points, painful; but no one can really make a difference without knowing themselves best. Isabella hopes to inspire others to do the work for themselves and then for others.

PANEL DESCRIPTION: A broad discussion on environmental concerns through an environmental justice, public health, and first generation Asian American point of view. Asians are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the country but are often overlooked in regards to environmental health and injustices. The lack of general knowledge of the environment and AAPI professionals in the field make it difficult to communicate the importance of environmentalism and the effects of exposure to harmful pollutants.


Mandy Liao is a life scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency and is the Asian American and Pacific Islanders Special Emphasis Program Manager for EPA New England. She has been working in the Pre-Remedial program under Superfund for the past four years where she investigates sites that could pose threats to human health and the environment. She also assists in emergency responses and was deployed twice when Hurricane Irma/Maria hit. Before EPA, she interned at Triumvirate Environmental as an Environmental Specialist. Mandy holds a BS in Environmental Science with an Economics minor from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Chau Vu‘s family immigrated to the US from Vietnam in two different phases in 1980 and 1991. Chau herself arrived in MA shortly after finishing high school in Vietnam in 1991. She attended college here and was a health inspector for the City of Boston for 1 1/2 year right out of school. Chau then moved on to work for the MA Department of Public Health for 3 years as an environmental analyst before joining the New England Environmental Protection Agency in 2001. Chau has a background in environmental science and public health. She has a deep interest in the cultural differences on public health and environmental issues and awareness. Today she will share with us her experience of these cultural differences from a community level and a personal level.






Marcus Holmes is EPA Region 1’s Environmental Justice Program Coordinator.  Born and raised in the Roxbury area of Boston, Marcus was a METCO student in Sharon, MA for 7 years. He then attended Boston Public School in 8th grade at Dearborn Middle School before he was accepted into Boston Latin Academy High School.  He later went on to receive his BS in Mathematics at Morehouse College in Atlanta, one of the nation’s top HBCUs – (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). From there, he went on to earn an additional BS in Civil Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.  He is currently enrolled at New England Law School seeking his Juris Doctorate Degree.  

After graduation, Marcus took a job in EPA’s Brownfields program as a project officer managing grants and also acted as the job training program lead.  He then moved into emergency response, where he worked for 9 years addressing emergency releases of hazardous substances.  In his role as EJ coordinator, Marcus wants to “create a platform where local EJ communities can communicate with each other more seamlessly and efficiently to be as productive as possible.”   He is family oriented and an active advocate and mentor for young men of color.


Anthony Pino, Enforcement Supervisor is a ten -year veteran of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Boston Area Office. Anthony started with the Commission in 2009 as an investigator and was promoted to Enforcement Supervisor in October of 2014. Anthony has an extensive military and law enforcement background. He served as a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, Deputy Sheriff for Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Air Marshal and served as an adjunct hand to hand combat instructor for the agency, and Police officer with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Anthony has experience investigating complex, systemic, pattern and practice and class cases for the EEOC. Anthony’s fair, firm and consistent supervisory style, sets him apart from others. Anthony has received many awards during his tenure with the EEOC to include but not limited to, the District Directors Award and Sustained Performance Awards.


Jessica Wong also known known as ‘Jay’ is a second generation bi-racial/Chinese American. Jay’s passion for public service began during her high school years after becoming involved with Peaceful Coalition, a gang-prevention/intervention group. Her mentors within that group inspired her with the power of voice and telling her narrative in order to create change within the community. From there, she advocated for violence prevention through speaking your truth, education, empowerment, and service. 

Jay graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in Political Science in 2015. Post graduation, Jay took time off to travel around China and Cambodia. In 2015, Jay returned back to her hometown to serve as an AmeriCorps member for her community. As an AmeriCorps member, Jay became the creator and founder of a young women’s empowerment group called W.A.V.E (Women. Action. Voice. Empowerment) that met weekly at three of the local high schools in Fall River, MA. Aside from running WAVE, Jay was also the lead facilitator for the Fall River Youth Violence Prevention; Confronting Discrimination group. In 2017, Jay was the youngest and first Asian American female to run for School Committee in Fall River. 

Currently, Jay is the Administrative Coordinator for the Massachusetts Asian American Commission. On her free time, Jay is the Marketing and Communications Chair for the Asian American Women in Leadership Conference hosted by Asian Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence (ASPIRE). She was also featured on ‘From Radiance to Resiliency” podcast hosted by Asian Women for Health as she told her story on coping with Epilepsy.


Shannon Alessandroni is a legislative aide for State Representative Maria Robinson (D-Framingham).  She started in January when Representative Robinson was sworn in as a new legislator. Prior to working in the legislature, Shannon was a campaign manager for a state rep race.

Shannon attended college at Suffolk University in downtown Boston where she double majored in Spanish and Government. She graduated a year early from Suffolk in the spring of 2018. In her time at Suffolk, she was a Resident Assistant, spent a year abroad at Suffolk’s Madrid campus, performed in various shows, and ran cross country. In her summers, she worked as a Student Services Coordinator with the English Language Center’s Junior Program, which provides English courses and programming for international students aged 11 – 17. Additionally, she is a longtime volunteer with the American Legion Auxiliary’s Massachusetts Girls State Program where she teaches state and local government to high school-aged young women in a week-long government simulation program.

Shannon is proud to have grown up in Woburn, Massachusetts (Go Tanners!) where she attended the public schools for K-12.”





Alethea Harney is an innovative communications and government affairs leader with over 15 years of public and private sector experience. Prior to joining the Treasurer’s Office as head of communications, she led a team of 14 communications professionals at a global energy organization, overseeing a $5.5 M budget to support the needs of 500 customer locations and nearly 8, 000 employees across the U.S. and Canada.

Alethea spent over a decade working in politics and has held various roles on political campaigns from the local to the national level. In 2008, she served as a senior advisor to Vice President Joseph Biden’s Presidential campaign and in 2012, served as campaign Press Secretary to Senator Elizabeth Warren. Alethea also served in the Deval Patrick Administration as the Director of Communications and Public Affairs in the Governor’s Recovery and Reinvestment Office. In this position, Alethea developed a successful marketing campaign for the MA stimulus program, which became a national model for communicating the impact of stimulus funding across the country and was replicated in several other states. 

Alethea began her career as a budget analyst for the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways and Means. She then joined Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications as an Associate Vice President, where she played a significant role in the success of several business issue campaigns.

An accomplished spokesperson, Alethea has been quoted in numerous media outlets including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times and frequently appears on New England Cable News as a political analyst. A graduate of Tufts University, Alethea serves on the Board of Directors for Project Bread, which aims to end hunger in Massachusetts and hosts the annual Walk for Hunger. Alethea and her husband Patrick live in Cohasset with their son Jack and daughter Emerson.


Jeremy Surla Vargas, MSW, LCSW is currently the Office Manager and Bookkeeper for the Massachusetts Budget & Policy Center, located in Downtown Boston. Formerly, Jeremy was the Program Director at the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC). He ran day-to-day operations at the organization in addition to doing outreach, speaking at events, and representing HBGC at a variety of panels and functions. In his role with HBGC, he was responsible for all the organization’s programming including: the Youth Empowerment Conference, monthly men’s and women’s groups–BLAQ T and Sister Circle, Healing/Community Circle, and the New Leaders Institute Program. He also does GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) work and is involved in the TOD@S Collaborative which focuses on doing work in the Queer People of Color (QPOC) domestic violence arena. Additionally, he also managed volunteers, facilitators, and interns. Jeremy began his career in non-profit and health service settings in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, CA. Prior to his role at HBGC, he interned at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Hyde Square Task Force. Additionally, Jeremy did a three-year stint as an AmeriCorps Member. Jeremy has significant experience in homeless shelters, HIV/AIDS organizations, LGBTQ agencies, and health/behavioral health settings. He received his B.A. in English with specialization in American Cultures and Global Contexts/Womyn in Literature and minors in Education and Applied Psychology (emphasis) and LGBTQIA+ Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Masters in Macro Social Work from Boston College. He is also a Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW).

Luncheon plenary | 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Natasha Warikoo

Natasha Warikoo is Associate Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is an expert on the relationships between education, racial and ethnic diversity, and cultural processes in schools and universities. Her most recent, award-winning book, The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities (University of Chicago Press, 2016), illuminates how undergraduates attending Ivy League universities and Oxford University conceptualize race and meritocracy. The book emphasizes the contradictions, moral conundrums, and tensions on campus related to affirmative action and diversity, and how these vary across racial and national lines.Warikoo’s first award-winning book, Balancing Acts: Youth Culture in the Global City (University of California Press, 2011), analyzes youth culture among children of immigrants attending diverse, low-performing high schools in New York City and London. Both of these projects involve extensive ethnographic research in the United States and Britain. Warikoo received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017 to study racial change in suburban America. She is studying the growth of Asian Americans in privileged, previously predominantly white communities, including the nature of racial boundaries, beliefs about success and achievement, and youth cultures. Warikoo’s most recent articles can be accessed for free here, and her op-eds can be accessed here. At Harvard Warikoo teaches courses on racial inequality and the role of culture in K-12 and higher education. Prior to her academic career Warikoo was a teacher in New York City’s public schools for four years. Warikoo completed her PhD in sociology from Harvard University, and BSc and BA in mathematics and philosophy at Brown University.

Breakout Session 3 | 1:40pm - 2:40pm

PANEL DESCRIPTION: In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) candidates running for public office which have sparked headlines across the country. However, AAPIs are still vastly underrepresented when it comes to public office. The AAPI community is a broad term that encapsulates many diverse ethnicities and cultures. Additionally, Asian Americans are among the fastest growing racial groups making up the fastest growing voting sector as well. The panel will discuss how the AAPI community is being represented in public office and the challenges of being an AAPI legislator.


Jenny Chiang is the Executive Director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission. She is a second generation Taiwanese American. She first got involved in the AAPI community after taking Asian American Studies at UMass Boston. She continued her exploration through community organizing in Chicago’s Chinatown as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community.

Jenny furthered her education with a Master of Social Work degree at Boston College, focusing on Macro Intervention, with a determination to improve systems affecting the AAPI community. She has worked alongside community leaders in her work with UMass Boston, the Boston Public Health Commission, and the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK). Jenny has been dedicated to advocating for undocumented immigrants, supporting AAPI health equity, and encouraging youth leadership and civic engagement.






Mehreen N. Butt, Esq. is an attorney living in Wakefield, MA.  Mehreen was elected to the Wakefield Board of Selectman in April 2017, becoming the first Muslim-American woman elected to a Board in Massachusetts. In April 2018, the Wakefield voted to officially change the name to a gender- neutral name and became Wakefield Town Council.  

Ms. Butt has over 15 years working in the social justice and public policy fields and on local, state and federal campaigns. Ms. Butt has worked at Rosie’s Place, Tufts Health Plan and Health Care for All. In these positions, Ms. Butt was responsible for overseeing the policy and legislative agenda of the organizations.  Ms. Butt was also a Researcher for the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture at the Massachusetts State House, working for Chairman Frank Smizik (D-Brookline). 

Ms. Butt received a J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law and a B.S. in Biology and English from Tufts University.  She is also a Board Trustee for Hallmark Health Systems, an advisory member of the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston and an associate member of the Friends of Lake Quannapowitt and the Wakefield Alliance Against Violence (WAAV).  Ms. Butt is an alumnae of both Emerge Massachusetts and the Woman’s Bar Association Women’s Leadership Program.


Tram Nguyen is the State Representative for the 18th Essex District, which includes parts of Andover, Boxford, North Andover, and Tewksbury. She is a first generation Vietnamese-American immigrant and was the first person in her family to attend college and law school. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Tufts University and a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law. From the start of her legal career until she took office, Nguyen worked at Greater Boston Legal Services as a legal aid attorney and advocated for domestic violence survivors, workers, seniors, veterans, and children. She also engaged in legislative advocacy and worked with statewide coalitions, lawmakers, and lawmaking bodies to push for laws that address issues of racial and economic justice and protect the rights of the most vulnerable populations. Nguyen was recently elected into office in November 2018 and is the first Vietnamese American woman to serve in the Massachusetts Legislature. She has received the Lawrence Bar Association Merit Award, the Vietnamese American Bar Association Public Service Award, the Reginald Heber Smith Award for innovation and excellence in legal advocacy, and the UAW Social Justice Award.





Samuel Hyun, For the past four years, Sam has worked for Massachusetts House Speaker, Robert DeLeo. Currently, He is pursuing his Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Brandeis University’s Heller School. He has previously spoken on various panels or been a keynote speaker to various groups on a wide range of issues, such as being Asian-American in politics, how to navigate the political realm, and leadership. Outside of his job, Sam has been very active in the Asian-American community to further engage AAPI’s within politics. The goal is to bring unification among the diverse community in order to unify and stand alongside Black and Brown brothers and sisters. Sam is very passionate about social justice and spends a significant amount of time mentoring the next generation. By utilizing the network, he has developed, Sam uses his connections to plug the youth into internship and job opportunities, while also mentoring them one on one. His goal is to create opportunities and ensure that society is a just and equitable world for all. That with love, empathy and compassion, in collaboration with uplifting people, we can and will work in harmony in order to build the society we’ve always dreamt of into our reality.


Mary K. Y. Lee is an attorney based in Boston. Her practice concentrates on business immigration and complex real estate litigation. An immigrant of Indonesian-Chinese ancestry, she participated in a number of initiatives advocating for the interests of Asian Americans, including the first Asian American and Pacific Islanders Civil Rights Forum Human Rights Panel. She currently serves as Co-Chair on the Immigration Section of the Boston Bar Association and is a member of the Massachusetts Trial courts Language Access Advisory Committee. She was selected as “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers in 2015-2018. She earned her credentials from Boston College and Touro Law School.


Judge Roberto Ronquillo Jr. was born in El Paso, Texas and attended and graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso, and then attended New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts where he received his Juris Doctor degree. While at New England School of Law, he was a founding member of the Black/Latino Student Association as well as active in the Recruiting Committee. 

After law school, Chief Justice Ronquillo worked as an Assistant District Attorney for Suffolk County from 1985 to 1988, when he co-founded the Law Offices of Visram, Ronquillo and Associates, in Chelsea, Massachusetts. In 1995 he founded the Law Offices of Ronquillo and Associates, focusing his practice primarily on Criminal Defense and Plaintiff Personal Injury. While in private practice, Judge Ronquillo offered per pro bono legal work for those in need and was also active in Latino issues in Chelsea and in the surrounding communities. He was also an active member of the Board of Directors of the Suffolk Lawyers for Justice, an organization responsible for providing representation to indigent criminal defendants in Suffolk County.

In October 2007 Judge Ronquillo was appointed First Justice of South Boston Division of the Boston Municipal Court and in October 2008 he was appointed First Justice of the East Boston Division of the Boston Municipal. As First Justice, he was responsible as the administrative head of the court division as well as adjudicate civil and criminal cases.

January 2014 Judge Ronquillo was appointed Chief Justice of the Boston Municipal Court Department where he is responsible for the overall management and operation of the Boston Municipal Court Department, overseeing 30 judges and approximately 470 employees and responsible for the fair administration of justice conducted in the eight courthouses that make up the Boston Municipal Court Department.

Judge Ronquillo is an Adjunct Professor at New England/Boston where he teaches a Trial Practice Class and his Professional affiliations include the Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, American Bar Association, Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys, Massachusetts Judges Conference as well as the Massachusetts Bar Foundation.

Natasha Warikoo is Associate Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is an expert on the relationships between education, racial and ethnic diversity, and cultural processes in schools and universities. Her most recent, award-winning book, The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities (University of Chicago Press, 2016), illuminates how undergraduates attending Ivy League universities and Oxford University conceptualize race and meritocracy. The book emphasizes the contradictions, moral conundrums, and tensions on campus related to affirmative action and diversity, and how these vary across racial and national lines.Warikoo’s first award-winning book, Balancing Acts: Youth Culture in the Global City (University of California Press, 2011), analyzes youth culture among children of immigrants attending diverse, low-performing high schools in New York City and London. Both of these projects involve extensive ethnographic research in the United States and Britain. Warikoo received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017 to study racial change in suburban America. She is studying the growth of Asian Americans in privileged, previously predominantly white communities, including the nature of racial boundaries, beliefs about success and achievement, and youth cultures. Warikoo’s most recent articles can be accessed for free here, and her op-eds can be accessed here. At Harvard Warikoo teaches courses on racial inequality and the role of culture in K-12 and higher education. Prior to her academic career Warikoo was a teacher in New York City’s public schools for four years. Warikoo completed her PhD in sociology from Harvard University, and BSc and BA in mathematics and philosophy at Brown University. ​


Bora Chiemruom is the owner of Kravant Boutique LLC. It’s the first and only Khmer woman-owned rental and consignment boutique in the city of Lowell, MA. As a social enterprise, Kravant boutique lends our dresses to under-resourced young women, who can’t afford the rental fees.

A refugee from Cambodia, Bora and her family settled in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts. She has over 20 years of non-profit leadership experience working in Lowell and Boston. Recently, she served as executive director of the Asian American Commission from 2015 to 2017, overseeing day-to-day operations and management.

She is a board member of Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association in Lowell, MA. Since 2015, she has served as an advisory board member for the Institute for Asian American Studies. This past year, she spoke at the National Asian American Conference on Law and Public Policy at Harvard Law School. In 2016 and 2017, she co-chaired the Asian-Americans Pacific Islanders Civil Rights Forum in Boston.

Bora has received two (2) City of Lowell Mayor’s citations, a citation from City of Lynn, and three (3) citations from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts House of Representatives. In addition, a citation from the Massachusetts Treasurer and Receiver General’s office for “Your dedication and commitment to the Asian American Commission” from State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg.

Bora hopes to be a successful entrepreneur and ultimately create jobs for young people especially young women. She hopes to inspire the next generation to be leaders and active members of their communities through her non-profit volunteer work and entrepreneurship. She continues to be a passionate advocate for the Khmer Community and for all Asian Americans.


Sarath S. Suong is a co-founder and current Executive Director of Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM), founding Board Co-Chair of the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE), and National Coordinator of the Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN). Born in the Thai Refugee camp Khao I Dang, his family fled Cambodia during the civil war and eventually immigrated to his hometown of Revere, Massachusetts. To cope with the violence, pain, and injustices facing Southeast Asians, he became a community organizer, centered around the unique intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. PrYSM community based organization in Providence, Rhode Island who mobilizes Southeast Asian youth and families, queer and trans youth of color, and survivors of state violence to build grassroots power and organize collectively for a world without prisons and police. ARISE prepares, promotes, and empowers Rhode Island’s Southeast Asian students for educational and career success. SEAFN is a national family of grassroots Southeast Asian organizing groups committed to fighting deportations and building a Southeast Asian movement based in gender justice and queer liberation. Sarath moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1998 to attend Brown University. He majored in Ethnic Studies with a specific focus on Southeast Asian immigration, resettlement, and resistance.





Kevin Lam (he/they) is a queer, Lao and Vietnamese American community organizer committed to developing and supporting leadership within Asian American communities in the fight for social transformation. He currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (QAPA). He is the Organizing Director with the Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), a pan-Asian community-based organization mobilizing the Asian American community across the Greater Boston Area through arts & culture, education, and activism & organizing. He organizes with a national Southeast Asian deportation defense network mobilizing to fight against the deportations targeting community members for detentions and deportations. Kevin was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, NY due to his family’s displacement from Laos and Vietnam because of the war in Southeast Asia. His family’s and community’s histories and experiences are what created his foundation and grounding for the way he organizes. Kevin moved to Boston in 2015 after receiving his Master’s Degree in Humanistic & Multicultural Education from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Previously, Kevin served as the Program Manager with the Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM), and on the Board of Directors for the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA).




Bethany Li is the Senior Attorney leading the Asian Outreach Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services. The Asian Outreach Unit uses a community lawyering model to serve the legal needs of the Asian Americans by strengthening the impact of community organizing through direct legal services, advocacy, legislative campaigns, and impact litigations. Previously, Ms. Li was a Robert M. Cover Fellow at Yale Law School, where she taught and supervised students in the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization. Ms. Li also served as a staff attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow at te Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, where she litigated discriminatory zoning cases concerning immigrant and Muslim communities, represented low-income workers in wage theft cases, and guided the launch of the first undocumented Asian American youth group on the East Coast. Ms. Li also taught on Asian American civil rights and legal issues at City University of New York-Hunter College. She graduated from Georgetown University Law Center and Amherst College.


Attorney Jason Chan is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in Massachusetts. He is a partner at Seed, Chan & Associates practice and, along with Attorney John Seed, specializes in felony cases including human trafficking, drug trafficking, firearm charges, sexual assault, assault and battery and other types of criminal charges.  Attorney Chan graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Psychology. He then went on to attend the New England School of Law where he served as Editor-In-Chief for the New England Journal of International and Comparative Law. Attorney Chan also had his comparative paper published in the spring 2007 edition of the journal.














Judge Joun moved to Brooklyn New York with his single mother and two younger siblings when he was 4 years old. His mother only had $46 to her name when the family started their lives in America. Judge Joun attended Umass for his undergraduate degree then he went to obtain a law degree from Suffolk University school of law. 

Upon graduation Judge Joun worked at Howard Friedman, P.C. in 1997 and opened his own law firm in 2007. Judge Joun focused his practice on criminal defense and civil rights law. Judge Joun was also extremely active in the community. He served on the Board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and has served on the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and the Board of Directors of Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the Boston Bar Association. He also served as the president of the Asian American Lawyers of Massachusetts. 

In 2015, Judge Joun was nominated to a seat in the Boston Municipal Court by the Massachusetts Governor Debal Patrick. Judge Joun currently sits as a justice out of the Boston Municipal Court Brighton Division.






Andrew Leong is an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. Previously he taught at the College of Public and Community Service for over 25 years.  From 1987 to 1993, he was Clinical Director of the Chinatown Clinical Program at Boston College Law School. He was the Supervising Attorney of the Asian Outreach Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services from 1986 to 1990. 

Andrew Leong was the President of the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts from 1989 to 1994. During the same period he was also the President of the Harry H. Dow Memorial Legal Assistance Fund. He had served on the Governor’s Advisory Task Force on City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson, and the Delivery of Legal Services Section Council of the Massachusetts Bar Association. In addition, he has served on the Board of Trustee of numerous organizations, such as the Asian American Resource Workshop, Asian Community Development Corporation, the Chinatown Quincy School Community Council (Chair), the Institute for Affirmative Action, Executive Committee of the Greater Boston Civil Rights Coalition, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and John Jay College Center on Race, Crime and Justice.

Prof. Leong specializes his work in law, justice, and equality pertaining to disenfranchised communities, with a focus on Asian Americans. Substantive areas include anti-Asian violence, hate crimes, immigration reform, Asian American legal history, environmental justice, anti-gentrification strategies, and community lawyering.   Prof. Leong has provided legal representation and technical assistance to victims of anti-Asian violence since the 1980s. He was the legal counsel for thirteen victims of an anti-Asian bias hate incident at Tufts University and successfully negotiated an agreement where the perpetrator admitted to his guilt

Closing | 2:50pm - 3:30pm

Christopher Sean

Christopher Sean was born in Washington State. The son of a career military man, he grew up in the Philippines, Japan, Mississippi, El Centro, CA and Oxnard, CA. His father retired as a senior chief in the Navy, met and married Christopher's mother, who was a Japanese national. Because of his multi-ethnic background combined with his varied childhood, Christopher is conversational in Japanese and Spanish. Additionally, because he grew up in so many different locations, he has an understanding and appreciation of many cultures and locales.

After his father retired from the Navy, the family settled in Oxnard and Christopher discovered his passion of acting. Studied from a number of well-known teachers, including Margie Haber, Lewis Smith and Anthony Meindl, Christopher began his acting career with numerous independent movies which led to a series regular role on Days Of Our Lives and 13 episode recurring role on Hawaii 5-O. Christopher is currently the lead on Star Wars Resistance and In addition to acting, Christopher is experienced in multiple forms of Martial Arts including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Tai Kwon Do.