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Holding Multiple Truths: Challenges and Calls to Actions for AAPI Communities in the Pandemic and Uprising for Racial Justice

Wednesday, July 29, 2020 -
1:00pm to 2:30pm PDT
Zoom Meeting
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We are in a crisis within a crisis. We are facing a pandemic of COVID-19 within systemic racism, which has always been with us. Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities are facing a particular set of experiences in the pandemic that pose challenges to basic safety, economic stability, and a sense of belonging in the United States. National leadership and media have labeled the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.” Reported hate crimes committed against AAPIs have grown to more than 1,500 incidents and continue to rise. AAPI workers, businesses, and commercial districts, specifically Chinatowns, have been suffering before COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the United States and face barriers, such as language access, to relief and recovery efforts.

AAPI communities also have an important role to play in dismantling systemic racism, showing up for Black communities, and building multiracial coalitions and solidarity.

These beliefs, challenges, and calls to action are not new yet have taken on a severe urgency with current events. How can philanthropy step up to respond and resource AAPI communities to address the pandemic and systemic racism? Join us to hear from an exciting panel of community advocates and funders on how we can show up for AAPI communities.

Panelists will share:

  • Direct experiences and impact of COVID-19 on AAPI communities
  • Opportunities for AAPI communities to dismantle anti-Blackness and build multiracial solidarity
  • Centering communications around AAPI values, histories, and communities
  • An analysis of community and economic challenges AAPI communities are facing
  • Philanthropic strategies to increase support and resources to AAPI communities


Cynthia Choi, Co-Executive Director, Chinese for Affirmative Action

Cynthia Choi the Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, a 50 year old community based civil rights organizations based in San Francisco which aims to advance racial justice, economic justice, education equity and immigrant rights. Most recently she was the Vice President of Philanthropic Partnerships at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy where she was responsible for leveraging strategic opportunities to advance AAPI social justice issues and philanthropic investments.

Prior to joining AAPIP, Cynthia led local, state and national community based organizations working on a range of issues from reproductive justice, gender violence, immigrant/refugee rights and environmental justice issues.

JoAnn Fields, Asian Pacific Islander Initiative

JoAnn Fields is an active and engaged community leader and professional providing a voice for Filipinos and other Asian Pacific Islanders in our region. She serves on the board of the Asian American Journalists Association - San Diego Chapter, is the Public Relations Director for the Asian Pacific Islander Initiative and works with the Ground-Up Youth Foundation and (PIFA) Pacific Islander Festival. JoAnn is the founder of the Lumpia Club - a Filipino American professional’s advocacy network and writes for the Filipino Press in National City.

JoAnn has worked in all levels of government and has received awards including CA Senator Ben Hueso's Citizen of the Month, Filipina Women's Network Top 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S., Urban League of San Diego County's Top 40 Under 40, among others.

Amanda Kim, Blue Shield of California Foundation

Amanda Kim, communications officer, advances the goals and strategic directions of the Foundation through storytelling, grantmaking, strategic communications, and narrative change projects. She has over 14 years of experience as a communications officer, supervisor and manager in public sector fields ranging from health and human services to the environment and housing.

Amanda received her master of Fine Arts from San Francisco State University and her bachelor of American Civilization from Brown University. She is a fourth-generation Californian, whose family has been farming and working on farms since the 1890s. Amanda has a strong affinity for California’s diverse stories and has worked on two California oral history projects, one documenting farmworker life and the other on the history of health sciences in the Bay Area. Amanda is an avid hiker, an amateur naturalist, and food adventurer. She serves on the board of the nonprofit East Palo Alto Center for Community Media.

Heather Jue Northover, Director of the Center for Health Equity

Heather Jue Northover is the Director of the Center for Health Equity, a Los Angeles County Alliance for Health Integration initiative led by the Department of Public Health. Prior to her current appointment, she served as Senior Advisor to the Chief Deputy Director, Special Assistant to the Director, and in multiple capacities within the Division of HIV & STD Programs. Prior to joining Public Health in 2005, her professional focus was on adolescent health while working in hospital, school and community settings.

Ms. Northover has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in classic civilization from UCLA and a Master of Public Health in community health from New York University. Most recently, she completed a fellowship with the Health Equity Awakened Leadership Institute sponsored by Human Impact Partners.

Paul Ocampo, Co-Chair, AAPIP Bay Area (moderator)

Paul Ocampo is currently the Development Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, the nation's first Asian American civil rights and legal nonprofit. He currently serves as co-chair of the SF chapter of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), a national membership organization dedicated to mobilizing philanthropic resources for underserved AAPI communities. A Rockwood Institute Resource Leaders Fellow, he also leads AAPI organizations including Lacuna Giving Circle and Kearny Street Workshop. Paul was born in the Philippines and came to the U.S. at the age of eleven. He earned a B.A. in English at U.C. Berkeley, a M.A. in Asian American Studies at UCLA, and assisted Maxine Hong Kingston in editing the anthology Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace. 

Target Audience

This program is open to NCG, SCG, and SDG members. 

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