At the second session of our Washington Leadership Program, Election 2016, we will aim to address the importance of participating in the political process. We will highlight the current state of AAPI participation within politics and its affects on our communities as well as attempt to broaden the concept of political participation by challenging popular perceptions. This session will provide attendees with methods to sustain, cultivate, and grow civic engagement within their own communities as well as connect them with leaders with experience working in civic engagement from diverse and less conventional angles.
As Elections Program Manager, Coco Pannell works to sculpt Google’s advertising business in the DC market, for both Republican and Democratic campaigns, committees, digital agencies, and outside groups. In this role, she serves as an organizational linchpin within Google, managing elections sales efforts within marketing, PR, events, HR, product, and support.
Previously, Pannell was AdWords Community & Social Lead at Google, coordinating one-to-many education initiatives for SMB advertisers, as well as social content strategy across AdWords’ social channels.
She graduated from Yale University as a Yale Journalism Scholar with a B.A. in political science and an interdisciplinary concentration in media studies.
Alton Wang is currently the Communications and Development Associate at Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), working to mobilize and engage AAPIs in electoral and civic participation. Alton is originally from the San Gabriel Valley in the Los Angeles area, only moving to the East Coast when he attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut where he received a B.A. in Government and Sociology. At Wesleyan, he chaired the Asian American Student Collective and pushed for increased visibility of Asian Americans in the curriculum, as well as taught a for-credit course on Asian American history. First coming to Washington, D.C. as an intern through the APAICS Summer Internship Program, Alton is passionate about advancing AAPIs politically and building capacity for the AAPI community. He blogs regularly about AAPI issues and current events at unhyphenate.me and considers Twitter his virtual home (@altonwang).
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.
Alissa Ko serves as Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, working primarily with Attorneys General and state legislators. Before joining the White House, Alissa served as Deputy Director for Ready for Hillary, where she managed the day to day operations of the organization. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Alissa worked on the Obama Biden 2012 campaign as the National Asian American and Pacific Islander Vote Director and Western Operation Vote Director. Following the election, Alissa joined the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee as the Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement. She is a native Californian and graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.
Janelle Wong is Director of the Asian American Studies Program and Resource Center at the University of Maryland. She received her PhD from the Department of Political Science at Yale University. She is also Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland. Prior to joining the University of Maryland in 2012, she was at the University of Southern California in the Departments of Political Science and American Studies and Ethnicity. Wong is author of Democracy’s Promise: Immigrants and American Civic Institutions (2006, University of Michigan Press) and co-author of two books on Asian American politics. The most recent is Asian American Political Participation: Emerging Constituents and their Political Identities (2011, Russell Sage Foundation), based on the first nationally representative survey of Asian Americans’ political attitudes and behavior. This groundbreaking study of Asian Americans was conducted in eight different languages with six different Asian national origin groups. Wong has received research funding from the Russell Sage Foundation, Irvine Foundation, and Carnegie Foundation. She was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC, in 2006-2007.
Justin Trinidad is currently the Civil Rights Fellow at OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership driven organization dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans. Born in the Philippines and raised in Richmond, VA, Justin Trinidad graduated from the University of Virginia in May 2015 with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs. At UVA, Justin served as President of the Organization of Young Filipino Americans and on the board and councils of the Asian Student Union, Madison House Medical Services, and the Multicultural Student Center Initiative. During the summer of 2014, Justin interned at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). Through his work at the Initiative, he cultivated a passion for Asian Pacific American Issues and developed the skills necessary to advocate and provide a voice for the community. Recently, Justin interned with the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) through the Department of State. His experiences with international and domestic issues have sparked his drive in continuing public service.
Support for the Elections 2016 session is sponsored by Google
More About The Washington Leadership Program
The Washington Leadership Program (WLP) provides a space for young AAPI students interning in Washington, D.C. to come together, build community, and explore their heritage within the context of public service. Through eight weekly sessions over the summer, WLP introduces students to AAPI public service leaders who can inform and inspire students’ own civic engagement. The overarching theme for WLP 2016 is Redefining Public Service, and each session will challenge the conventional image of public service through its content, its speakers, or its activities.
2016 Washington Leadership Program Planning Committee Soo Koo • Amy Wantanabe • Krystal Ka’Ai • Irene Lin • Rebecca Lee • Gita Ram • Daniel Jung • YLan Nguyen • Shiv Rawal • Justin Trinidad • Mai Ichihara • Tiffany Hsieh • Sam Cho • Carrie Kagawa • Christian Edlagan • Alton Wang • Elizabeth Thompson
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By registering for CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program, you give permission to be recorded or photographed during the session.