CAPAL would like to welcome our new board member Alton Wang. Hear about his interest in the AAPI community and why he chose to be a part of CAPAL. We’re glad to have him on the team!
Why did you join the CAPAL board?
When I first began to get involved in Asian American activism, as well as when I first came to DC as an intern, navigating the existing spaces, organizations, and people was tremendously difficult—and I depended on those already within the community to give me a hand and guide me. That experience has always stuck with me—I believe CAPAL embodies, and fills, a critical need within the AAPI community, a focus solely dedicated to extending that hand to the next generation of AAPI leaders.
What do you hope to accomplish as a board member?
The Washington Leadership Program (WLP) was a core part of my experience early on as an intern in DC, and I hope that we can envision a program, particularly for 2016, that capitalizes on the energy of presidential elections to engage young AAPIs. I want to be able to ensure that interns and young professionals who participate in the WLP not only stay engaged throughout the length of the program, but also take the knowledge and passion back into their own communities and college campuses.
How does being a board member fit in with your professional goals?
I believe the experience I am able to build as a board member expands the breadth of work I have access to and get to learn from. Working within the Asian American community currently with attention towards youth civic engagement as well, CAPAL is a natural extension of my professional and personal work and activism.
What does public leadership mean to you?
Public leadership is an ever expanding, and I think perhaps inherently expansive, idea. It encompasses more than what people think of at first blush. For example, Members of Congress, presidential appointees, mayors, or state legislators are certainly exhibiting both a public service and leadership—but so are their aides, their staffs, and others in varying fields that work to improve our communities. To me in particular, public leadership means serving our communities and working to better our collective society.
What is the most interesting thing about you?
Either my obsession with YouTube cooking channels and watching people cook, or the fact that I was named after a street in Orange County, California.
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).
Posted by Nyana Quashie
Nyana recently graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.S. Geographical Sciences. While there she also pursued minors in Global Poverty, and Spanish. She is committed to engaging communities and creating social change both in the U.S. and abroad. In 2013, she consulted with local businesses in Nicaragua as an intern with the Social Entrepreneur Corps. She also recently completed a fellowship at the grassroots advocacy organization RESULTS, working to end poverty around the world. Nyana has previously volunteered with CAPAL, blogging on rising leaders in the APA community, and assisting with the Washington Leadership Program. Currently, Nyana serves as CAPAL’s Programs and Operations Intern and will be focusing on event planning, volunteer engagement and fundraising. In her free time, you can often find Nyana reading a book, catching up on shows, or attempting to cook.