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2016 CAPALtalk: Engaging AAPIs in the 2016 Elections and Beyond

April 26, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

| Free

Our Speakers

Christine Chen – APIAVote
 2016 CAPALtalk: Engaging AAPIs in the 2016 Elections and Beyond Christine Chen, the founding executive director from 2006-2008 returned to APIAVote in January 2011 to serve as its current Executive Director.  During her tenure she had strengthened and expanded APIAVote’s partners into 22 states.  APIAVote’s research and polling of Asian American voters and their regional trainings and field programs have strengthened the local grassroots programs in reaching and mobilizing Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. Through all these efforts, APIAVote has played a key role in elevating the Asian American and Pacific Islander electorate to an unprecedented national level in recent years.

In addition Chen serves as President of Strategic Alliances USA, a consulting firm specializing in coalition building, institutional development, and partnerships among the corporate sector, government agencies, and the nonprofit and public sector.

Profiled by Newsweek magazine in 2001 as one of 15 women who will shape America’s new century, Chen served from 2001 to 2005 as national executive director of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), one of the leading APIA civil rights organizations in the country. Leading an organization with more than 80 chapters and affiliates across the nation, she worked with OCA’s national board, executive council, chapter representatives, members and funders while managing a staff of 13.

Chen is well-known by activists across the county. Her track record in building coalitions and working at the grassroots and national levels established her as one of the strongest voices in the APIA community. She has more than two decades of experience in organizing and advocating on issues such as immigration, hate crimes, affirmative action, census, racial profiling, voting rights, election reform, and various derogatory and racist media incidents. Her role as a trusted coalition builder has her effectively building relationships with key Congressional offices including the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, federal agencies, and the administration.

Throughout the years with Chen’s multitasking abilities, Chen also was a member of the executive committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. She also served on numerous boards such as the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Demos Board of Trustees, Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), Youth Vote, Gates Millennium Scholarship Advisory Council, advisory board for the Progressive Majority Racial Justice Campaign, and the Board of Advisors for the Midwest Asian American Students Union, East Coast Asian American Students Union and the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association.  In 2003, she was a founding member of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund and also in 2006, a founding member of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote.

Chen currently serves on the Kennedy Center Community Advisory Board, Center for Asian American Media, OCA Northern Virginia Chapter, and the advisory boards for the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association (APAMSA), and CAPAL.

Koustubh “K.J.” Bagchi – Democratic National Committee (DNC)
 2016 CAPALtalk: Engaging AAPIs in the 2016 Elections and Beyond K.J. Bagchi currently serves as the DNC’s Director of Asian American and Pacific Islander Engagement. Raised in Reno, NV, he is a graduate of the University of California Davis, where he received his BS in Biopsychology and law degree from Seattle University School of Law. He also currently serves on the board of Asian American Action Fund and as a Commissioner on the D.C. Mayor’s Commission of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs.
After graduating from college, K.J. worked on political campaigns, including as Field Director for a winning Congressional campaign, and subsequently worked as a government consultant with clients including state agencies and local governments. These experiences were pivotal in developing his interest in the intersection between law and policy which led to his decision to attend law school. During law school he worked on juvenile justice and education policy issues through legal internships, was a Board Member for the South Asian Law Student Association and was elected to serve as the Diversity Representative on the Student Bar Association.
K.J. has provided counsel and policy advice for elected members at the local and federal levels. He worked as Legislative Counsel to Councilmember Jim Graham at the D.C. City Council and served as Legislative Fellow and then Legislative Counsel for Congressman Mike Honda. In Rep. Honda’s office, his legislative portfolio included immigration, civil rights, and justice, as well as matters related to the Congressman’s role as Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
In his current role at the DNC, he is most excited about the launch of Progress AAPI, the DNC’s vehicle to engage with the AAPI community through programs, trainings, and conversations meant to continue the Democratic Party’s efforts to embolden and empower the AAPI community.

Christopher Kang – National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
 2016 CAPALtalk: Engaging AAPIs in the 2016 Elections and Beyond Christopher Kang is National Director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a coalition of 35 Asian Pacific American organizations, and formerly a Board Member and Legal Counsel for CAPAL.

From 2009 to 2015, he served in the White House, as Deputy Counsel and Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama, Senior Counsel to the President, and Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs. For more than four years, he was in charge of the selection, vetting, and confirmation of President Obama’s judicial nominees, and in this role, he worked to fulfill the President’s unprecedented commitment to expanding the diversity of the federal bench—including more than doubling the number of Asian American & Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander federal judges appointed in history—while maintaining the highest standards of integrity, intellect, and fair-mindedness. He also advised the President on commutations and issues of executive clemency. In the Office of Legislative Affairs, Kang advocated for the Obama Administration’s initiatives in Congress. He led the legislative outreach and strategy for the confirmations of Supreme Court Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, the Senate’s successful effort to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the reduction of the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses. He also played a supporting role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

For seven years, Kang worked for U.S. Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Richard Durbin, of Illinois. As Director of Floor Operations, he strategized Senate floor consideration of legislation, including counting votes and developing parliamentary tactics; as Judiciary Committee Counsel, he handled constitutional and criminal justice issues, and he was Counsel for labor issues.

In 2011, the National Law Journal named Kang one of the top 40 minority lawyers in the nation under the age of 40, and in 2015, it named him a Rising Star, recognizing Washington, D.C.’s 40 most promising lawyers under the age of 40. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has awarded him with its President’s Award, for outstanding service to NAPABA and the legal community (2012), and its Best Lawyers Under 40 Award (2013). Kang also has been recognized by the Capitol Hill publications Roll Call and The Hill for his work for Senator Durbin.

He earned his J.D. from the Duke University School of Law, where he was Co-President of the Public Interest Law Foundation and Executive Editor of the Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law, and his B.A., with honors, from the University of Chicago.


More About CAPALtalks

CAPALtalks are a platform for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to address and share stories, ideas, or issues within the AAPI community. We aim to tell the story of Asian Pacific America through the voices of our own leaders, activists, and organizers, discussing various topics in dynamic and engaging ways.

Support for our series is sponsored by AARP.

We encourage you to join our mailing listlike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.



Online registration is now closed. Please contact Andrew Lo (andrew.lo@capal.org) with any questions.



April 26, 2016 6:00 pm
April 26, 2016 8:00 pm


601 E Street Northwest Washington, DC 20049 United States