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Mayor Gloria Announces Appointees to Asian-Pacific Islander Advisory Group



SAN DIEGO – As a part of his commitment to ensure more diversity, inclusion, and equity in the City of San Diego, Mayor Todd Gloria announced today the formation of his administration’s Asian-Pacific Islander (API) Advisory Group and the selection of 15 outstanding San Diegans who will make up this group of API advisers.


“San Diego is home to a rich and diverse Asian and Pacific Islander community. Having a ‘San Diego for all of us’ means hearing all voices, so I’m particularly proud to announce this API advisory group so we can better address the issues and concerns of our API residents,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “We have been able to assemble such an accomplished group of individuals who will strengthen our efforts to create a more inclusive San Diego.” 


The focus of this advisory group will be to assist in guiding Mayor Gloria’s administration in tackling the unique challenges facing API communities. The 15 initial members of Mayor Gloria’s Asian-Pacific Islander Advisory Group are:


Dr. Allen Chan

Dr. Allen W. Chan is a practicing chiropractor and the owner of Jasmine Seafood Restaurant. He is the co-founder of the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC) and was a key member of the redistricting process that created the new boundaries for City Council District 6, which includes communities such as Mira Mesa, Kearny Mesa and Clairemont. Dr. Chan is the charter president of the San Diego United Lions Club, and also serves on the boards of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, APAC, Convoy District Partnership, US China Cultural and Economic Collaboratives, and serves on San Diego’s Kearny Mesa Community Plan Update Subcommittee. His community and charity work serve to empower the various Asian ethnic communities in San Diego and those less fortunate around the globe.  Dr. Chan has a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy and Doctor of Chiropractic.


Ron Cho

Ron Cho is the current President of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association – San Diego Chapter. He has over 25 years of technology, progressive management and operational experience and has helped to lead venture-backed startup companies like Arbor Software and Ariba, Inc.  With a proven track record in creating high-performance technology teams from the ground up, Cho actively participates in venture capital financing and private equity deals focusing on emerging companies. Cho currently serves on the City of San Diego Parks & Recreation Board and Regional Oversight Committee. He previously served on the City of San Diego Citizen’s Equal Opportunity Commission and Asian Pacific Islander Advisory Board.


JoAnn Fields

JoAnn Fields is a second-generation Filipino immigrant and advocate for communities of color in the South Bay area. She founded the Lumpia Club Luncheon, a Filipino-American professionals’ network that meets monthly to discuss concerns within the community. She is also the public relations director for the Asian Pacific Islander Initiative, where most recently, she helped ensure the API community was counted in the census and advocated for disaggregated data during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Panna Hazarika

Panna Hazarika is the current President of the San Diego chapter of the Federation of Indian Associations. Hazarika is an electrical engineer who earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has held several key management positions with technology companies focused on engineering, information systems, quality assurance and project management. As an executive in a "Big Four” management consulting firm, Hazarika has worked in various industries in both the private and public sectors. He is an entrepreneur and a past small business owner. His business background includes new business development and several years of small business ownership.


Judy Ki

Judy Ki is a retired public-school teacher who taught for three decades with the San Diego Unified School District. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Educational Technology. She also earned five teaching credentials: K - 12 Multiple Subject; General Science; Computer Concepts & Applications; Gifted and Talented Education; and a special credential (SDAIE) for teaching English learners.  After retirement, her volunteer work included Asian American Pacific Islander voter registration drives, candidate support and civic engagement and policy advocacy projects. In 2012, she founded the AAPI Democratic Club in San Diego. From 2012 to 2016, Ki served on the California Commission on Asian & Pacific Islander American Affairs. The Commission’s focus during her term was on language access, education, disaggregated data and immigration services. After completing her term, the California Legislature presented her with a Resolution of Recognition for Outstanding Commitment to the Advancement of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Ki remains active in her community, volunteering in issue advocacy and mentoring new candidates for political office.


Lee Ann Kim

For 16 years, Lee Ann Kim served as the founding executive director of Pacific Arts Movement, a dynamic nonprofit media arts organization best known for its annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, which grew to become the largest festival of its kind in North America.  Kim also worked for nearly 12 years as a news anchor and reporter for KGTV-10, the ABC affiliate in San Diego where she earned numerous awards for her news coverage, including a regional Emmy for investigative reporting and California’s highest honor for educational reporting, the John Swett Award, for her coverage of bilingual education. Kim serves on the boards of Alliance San Diego, The Abundance Setting, and on the community advisory boards of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Korean American Coalition of San Diego, and SDG&E. Kim is an immigrant from South Korea who continues to strive to help amplify the authentic voices of marginalized communities through storytelling, advocacy and compassion.  


Elvin Lai

Born and raised in San Diego, Elvin Lai is a fourth-generation owner-operator of the 71 room Ocean Park Inn Hotel in Pacific Beach since 2003. Lai is an active member of the lodging associations serving as Chair of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation and Chairman of the San Diego County Lodging Association. Previously, Lai served as Chairman of the California Hotel and Lodging Association, Board Member of the San Diego Tourism Marketing District, and Executive Board Member of San Diego Tourism Authority. Lai served his local community twice as past President, of the Pacific Beach Business Improvement District, also known as Discover PB. He also serves as a Board member of the Asian Business Association and as a San Diego County Alcohol Policy Panel Sector Leader. He also created, cofounded and co-chaired the PB Clean and Safe pilot program and continues to work to make this program a permanent reality for Pacific Beach. As an entrepreneur with six different businesses in four different sectors, Elvin’s greatest passions are building relationships, creating strategic alignments, supporting the growth of our economy and tourism industry, and working to better our community for future generations.


Mitz Lee

Mitz Lee has been a community leader, coalition builder, and neighborhood advocate for nearly three decades. Lee has served on San Diego City Human Relations Commission, co-founded several nonprofit organizations and has served on their board of directors. In addition, she is now spearheading two neighborhood-focused projects as Executive Director of Mira Mesa Senior Center and Chairperson of D6 Night Market. She continues to serve as President and CEO of Alliance for Quality Education. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Parents for Quality Education and the Asian Pacific American Coalition. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Economics from the University of the City of Manila and a master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Financial Management from National University in San Diego.


Kirin Amiling Macapugay

Kirin Amiling Macapugay is a professor at San Diego City College, Founder of Asian Pacific Islander Community Actions (APICA) and serves on the California Commission on Asian American Pacific Islander Affairs. Macapugay has worked in education, health and human services and various not-for-profit organizations in San Diego since 1998, primarily in organizations serving API and other underrepresented communities. She helped spearhead efforts to improve the API community’s well-being, ranging from increasing life-saving prenatal care in National City to arts-based preventive programs for at-risk youth in southeast San Diego, to support programs for military families. Her organization helped springboard key community efforts, including Viet Vote, the Kuya Ate Mentorship Program, FilAmFest, Made in Paradise Hills, People’s Collective on Justice and Liberation, and Project Reo. She is a founding Chair for Made in Paradise Hills and is part of the San Diego API Coalition’s core leadership. Macapugay earned a Master of Social Work and Nonprofit Administration degree from San Diego State University.




Connie Matsui

Connie L. Matsui is a third-generation Japanese American and a native Californian. Her career spans three high-growth industries: commercial banking, biotechnology and social innovation. During and after her years as a senior executive at Wells Fargo, IDEC Pharmaceuticals and BiogenIDEC, she concurrently served on several nonprofit boards, such as the Mira Costa College Foundation, San Diego Grantmakers (now Catalyst) and The San Diego Foundation. Her longest nonprofit board service has been at the local, national and global level for Girl Scouts of the USA and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. She is currently active as Board Chair for three NASDAQ companies — Halozyme Therapeutics (HALO), Sutro Biopharma (STRO), and Artelo Biosciences (ARTL) — and as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Balboa Park Conservancy. Matsui holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a Master of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


Su Nguyen

Su Nguyen serves on the Little Saigon San Diego Foundation’s board of directors. He is a passionate advocate for the Vietnamese and refugee communities in San Diego and has worked hard to bring opportunities to the City Heights neighborhood. 


Tony Olaes

Tony Olaes is the co-founder of in San Diego. Its mission is to educate, awaken and empower the next generation of Filipino Americans to uplift their community and motherland. He is president of Olaes Enterprises Inc., a 25-year corporation that supplies imprinted apparel to national retailers throughout the U.S. Olaes chairs the board of Global Electric Transport Inc., a mobility tech company that is committed to delivering smart transport to create sustainable cities. He also serves on the board of directors for Gawad Kalinga USA, a nation-building movement that aims to transform the poverty situation in the Philippines.


Jason Paguio

Jason Paguio is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Business Association San Diego (ABASD) and the Statewide Strategic Partnerships for the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce. Focusing on economic equity for the region’s underserved communities, Paguio led ABASD’s Small Business Development Center through the pandemic by assisting thousands of minority-owned small businesses, helping them to receive no-cost technical assistance and tens-of-million dollars in COVID-19 disaster relief capital. In a historic effort, Paguio partnered to establish the Strategic Alliance, a group comprising the region's three largest ethnic chambers of commerce: the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce, the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Asian Business Association San Diego. Together, the Strategic Alliance successfully advocated with the County of San Diego and City of San Diego for dedicated outreach and technical assistance to disadvantaged minority-owned businesses. Paguio’s additional involvement in boards, commissions, and committees spans the region’s philanthropic community, civic and business-centered institutions, to arts and education-based organizations.


Dr. William Tseng

Dr. William T.C. Tseng joined the Southern California Medical Group (SCPMG) at Kaiser Permanente San Diego in 2000. Dr. Tseng currently serves as a practicing board-certified internal medicine physician, President of Professional Staff, Assistant Area Medical Director, and is a physician ambassador to the corporate community. Dr. Tseng is a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine, American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association. Dr. Tseng serves as a Trustee for the California Medical Association and on the executive board of the San Diego Medical Society. Dr. Tseng enjoys balancing his time between patient care, hospital accreditation, and patient safety while continuing to oversee physician education and Kaiser Permanente’s Diversity Council. Dr. Tseng is actively involved in the community, including involvement with the Union of Pan Asian Communities, Asian Business Association of San Diego, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs, and Doctors of the World. He is an appointed volunteer faculty at UC San Diego School of Medicine. In his past role with the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation, he helped develop a successful physician volunteerism project offering donated physician office visits, surgeries, and procedures to low-income, uninsured patients. Dr. Tseng received his medical degree from the University of Utah School of Medicine and completed his residency at Johns Hopkins University Bayview Medical Center while jointly receiving his master’s in public health from John Hopkins University in Baltimore.


Natasha Wong

Natasha Wong is an international law attorney who began her career in San Diego as the Executive Director of the Chinese Service Center. Providing various social services to low-and middle-income Chinese, the Center provided services ranging from job referrals to free financial literacy courses. Wong helped implement the first IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for mono-lingual Chinese. Under her leadership, hundreds of Chinese restaurant workers also received training and earned a Food Sanitation certificate from the County of San Diego Health Department to work in restaurants all over San Diego County. Wong earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. She earned her Juris Doctorate from Whittier Law School and a Master of Law in International Law from the University of San Diego, School of Law. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Avery Tsui Foundation. She is a trustee of the Stephen Hawking Professorship at Cambridge University in England. She also serves on the Board of Advisors for the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Letters and Sciences. She is also the treasurer and serves on the board of directors of San Diego Balboa Park’s House of China.

The advisory group will meet quarterly and is scheduled to hold its first meeting on May 17.


Voices of the Filipino American Youth February Community Virtual Event Celebration

By Aeriel Suarez


The Voices of the Filipino American Youth (VOTFAY), a group of youth and young adults lead by renowned Filipino language teacher Jacquilin Magat-Lapid, held two live streams on Friday, February 26th, to expand on the release of the Pinoy Pop Alamat’s debut single “kbye,” and Saturday, February 27th, to celebrate the conclusion of Black History Month.  Run by tech leads Jordan Pagarigan and Allan Nuguid and lead by hosts Maui Wabe, Ardyel Lim, Saiken, and Marcus Fraiser, VOTFAY led eventful webinars to go in-depth about individual perspectives on Black history and its similarities to Filipino history, along with the re-introduction of Filipino culture into the world of music and fashion for both the young and “young at heart” Filipinx of the world.

The live stream consisted of multiple interviews between hosts Maui Wabe, Ardyel Lim, and Saiken with guests and Alamat themselves discussing the new release of “kbye” and the exuberant reactions to the game-changing music video.  As a leading figure for new generation Asian boy-bands, Alamat incorporates the various backgrounds of its members into their music and video production.  Pinoy fashion designer Kenneth Barlis commented, “They are creating something that is good for the new generation of young Filipinos,” in regards to the modern take on the classical Filipino attire akin to each member’s specific regional background from the Philippines.  Being able to see different styles of fashion influenced by the cultural heritage of the Philippines is important for younger Filipinx, as many who aren’t natively from the homeland lack exposure to those particular styles and references.  “I really liked the implementation of… the cultural dances like maglalatik,” says Gabby Almazar, co-star of the hit series Filgrimage, on Alamat’s integration of Filipino lifestyle into the production.  Her co-star Tyler Jacobs observes, “It’s a perfect getaway, with such a catchy song, and then having those kinds of elements of traditional culture that’s in there… I love the pimped-out jeepney that they were dancing inside.”  In addition, Filipino language teachers Gng. Fontimayor, Gng. Almazar, Gng. Lapid, and Gng. Thomson “would like to use it in our classroom,” in the sense that they all find the new introduction and integration of modern styles with traditional customs.  On the surface, Alamat looks like just another boy-band, yet they find a perfect balance of modern and cultural dances, sounds, and references that show the pride they feel in being Filipino.

The second live stream incorporates hosts Maui Wabe, Marcus Fraiser, and Ardyel Lim interviewing three guests about their take on Black History Month, especially following the Black Lives Matter movement that began in June 2020.  The first guest, Dr. Richard Vernon Moore, Chief of Educational Equity and Support Services of the Sweetwater Union High School District, speaks on the injustices people of color face in our society.  “Suspension rates in public schools in California, San Diego, and even in the Sweetwater District where I work are alarmingly high for African-American students.”  The issues stem from the fact that many educators do not see a student for who they are; rather, they see the stereotypes in their students and act in ways that don’t promote a just educational system.  One cannot truly understand the situation of another human being and our imperfect judgment leads to morality issues, stemming from centuries of injustice and racial profiling that date back to 15th and 16th-century conquest and exploration.  The second guest, California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber expands on these ideas, stating, “Studying history is the process of studying your character.  Who are you?”  The reflection of how much the world has changed and strives for change pushes forward many African-Americans to a new light, seeing examples such as Kamala Harris as our 49th Vice President of the United States and the First of African-American and Asian descent.  The Filipino community’s roots in the history of California and the United cannot be neglected, just as the history of African-Americans cannot.  The final guest, the Director of the Filipino Resource Center Joann Fields, speaks on current events regarding Asian and Asian-American issues that mirror the same principle of racial profiling against African-Americans.  With the introduction of COVID-19 into all lives, many Asian-Americans face criticism, violence, and abuse.  Ms. Fields proclaims, “We must speak out with one another… because we are stronger together,” and the Filipinx community must rise together to face each day with pride in oneself but without malice towards others.  

With that in mind, the Filipinx community can stand behind the new Alamat group as a way to show that pride and love for the homeland, spreading the “Good News” of Filipino ways of life and joyful presentations of traditional culture mixed with modern ideas and trends to appeal to all people.  Choosing to rise in the face of adversity defines Filipinos, and the Voices of the Filipino American Youth strive to show all people the strength, and voice, of new generations of Filipinos.  And in that way, the Filipinx community can support African-Americans in their pursuit of true racial equality in remembrance of Black History Month, as we are reminded that Filipino and Black history are important outside of their given months.  Finally, you can find more information about the Voices of the Filipino American Youth on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


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First 5 CA Zoom LinK for Virtual town hall of april 13

California’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) Coalition hosted a virtual town hall on Tuesday, April 13 for advocates and concerned parents to learn more about current issues facing child care programs, and the urgent need for support statewide.  Provided is the link on the recently concluded Virtual Town Hall as well as the First 5 CA FACT SHEET.













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