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2023 Washington Leadership Program Session II: Food Sovereignty & Culture// Politics of Food

June 14, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

This session will focus on food access and security on AANHPI communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as weaving in the effects of mental health and food. Topics of discussion include the politics of food distribution and the impacts of food on culture and community.  



Mayura Iyer | Senior Consultant, Alvarez & Marsal; Treasurer, CAPAL Board of Directors
🎓 S&I alumni

Mayura (she/her) is the proud daughter of Indian immigrants, and was raised in the DC metropolitan area. As a 2015 CAPAL Scholar, she is thrilled to be giving back to the AANHPI community and CAPAL by returning as a board member and Treasurer. Currently, she is a Senior Consultant for Alvarez & Marsal in Washington, D.C., specializing in education strategy & transformation. As a former public school teacher, she has a deep appreciation for the importance of food security & access to whole person health and economic mobility for students and families. She is excited to be moderating this conversation on ways to address food insecurity within AANHPI communities, particularly through the lens of the pandemic and mental health.

Prior to consulting, Mayura was a Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Senate working on health, education, and labor policy. She is also a Teach for America alum and former Fulbright scholar to Mexico. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and checking off restaurants from her D.C. dining bucket list. Mayura holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Virginia and a Master’s degree in Education from Southern Methodist University.


Dr. Noa Kekuewa Lincoln | Principle Investigator, Indigenous Cropping Systems Laboratory, University of Hawaii

Noa Kekuewa Lincoln is kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiian) and kama’aina (native born) to Kealakekua on Hawai’i Island. He has worked with and studied traditional agriculture and land management around the Pacific Rim, including with native peoples of present-day United States, Costa Rica, Brazil, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Samoa, among other places. Dr. Lincoln completed his formal trainings at Yale University (BS, 2003) in Environmental Engineering and Stanford University (PhD, 2013) in Biogeochemistry and Social Ecology, and is currently a research professor at the University of Hawai’i where his Indigenous Cropping Systems laboratory researches a spectrum of areas, including forest ecology and management, restoration ecology, archaeology, personal values and sense of place, ecosystem services, and terrestrial biogeochemistry within both natural and human dominated systems (i.e. agriculture). His primary focus, however, is on indigenous cropping systems and their interaction with human societies in both the past and the present. His work in contemporary food systems encompasses both research and application, and Noa serves on a number of working groups, non-profit organizations, and agricultural associations to support more sustainable and just food systems.


LaMonika N. Jones | Interim Director, D.C. Hunger Solutions

LaMonika joined D.C. Hunger Solutions, an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) in September 2021 as the Anti-Hunger Program Analyst – Child Nutrition Programs. In this role, she was responsible for working to increase participation in and improve benefits of the federal child nutrition programs. LaMonika currently serves as the Interim Director of D.C. Hunger Solutions overseeing the daily operations of ending hunger in the Nation’s capital by developing strategies that marry policy with practice while providing support and outreach to the District’s most vulnerable populations.

Previously, LaMonika served as the Procurement and Purchasing Compliance Officer with Georgia Dept. of Early Care and Learning working within the Nutrition Services Division providing technical assistance and monitoring oversight for child nutrition program providers participating in Child and Adult Food Care Program and Summer Food Service Program.

LaMonika has a B.A. in Political Science and Communication from Oakland University, and a M.Ed. in Urban Teacher Leadership from Georgia State University. She is currently a 2021-2022 Equity Leaders Action Network (ELAN) Fellow working diligently to advance policies, practices, programs, and initiatives that intentionally redress racial marginalization and create racial equity in early childhood systems. In addition, LaMonika serves as Co-Chair for both the Fair Budget Coalition Food Access Issue Group and FRAC Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) Committee as well as Advisory Board Member for National Farm to School Network.


More About The Washington Leadership Program

The Washington Leadership Program (WLP) provides a space for young AANHPI students interning in Washington, D.C. to come together, build community, and explore their heritage within the context of public service. Through six sessions over the summer, WLP introduces students to AANHPI public service leaders who can inform and inspire students’ own civic engagement.

The Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) seeks to empower Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) youth by increasing access to public service opportunities and building a strong AANHPI public service pipeline. We envisions a future with equitable AANHPI representation throughout all levels of government and public service.

By registering for CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program, you give permission to be recorded or photographed during the session. Food provided at this event may contain nuts, dairy, gluten, and other allergens. Vegetarian options will be available. We ask for all guests to follow our mask-required policy and masks will be provided to those without one. If you do not agree, we look forward to your virtual attendance.




June 14, 2023
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL)