"Power to the People": 50 Years of Bridging Research with Community
A research, policy, and community conference

As the UCLA Asian American Studies Center celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Center, along with the Asian American Studies Department and the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), presents "Power to the People": 50 Years of Bridging Research with Community Conference on Friday, November 1st and Saturday, November 2nd.


Join us as we bring together diverse and intergenerational communities to appreciate the legacies, genealogies, and futures of Asian American studies and communities. With community engagement at the heart of the field, we strive to strengthen the connection between the university and community-based organizations: that faculty will engage in dialogue with community organizers about future research needs, and that students will be inspired to fulfill community research needs.


Come explore current issues in relation to Asian American and Pacific Islanders and discover how to connect research with community, as well as how to find ways to engage with community, service, and activist organizations.


This event is free and open to the public; however, registration is required. Recordings of the plenaries will be made available after the event.

about conference schedule Participant Bios location information resources










Plenary 1 (9:45am - 10:30am)

Building Power - Room 2355 (Overflow: 2343)       ▾

2020 is a monumental year for Asian Americans and Pacific Islander communities. With the Census, state primary and national presidential elections and critical ballot measures all in play, it is imperative that AAPIs vote and engage civically. We need all hands on deck to ensure that we are all counted, that our voices are heard and American democracy represents our interests. This plenary will explain how students, faculty, advocates and others can get involved.

Manjusha Kulkarni, Esq., Executive Director, A3PCON
Natalie Masuoka, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and Political Science, UCLA

Workshops Session 1 (10:45am - 12:00pm)

APIs and the Green New Deal Movement - Room 2343       ▾

The Green New Deal proposes to attack the climate change crisis and the crisis of economic and social inequality simultaneously. Addressing the climate crisis requires a massive, rapid transformation the economy, which also means hiring millions of people to do the work. Social and environmental justice call for prioritizing jobs for the people and places that need them the most. APIs, extending their longstanding struggles for justice, are supporting the GND as both national leaders and as grassroots activists. Workshop speakers panelists represent organizations active in the movement. Join us!

Kiara Lee, Progressive Asian Network for Action
Lisa Lei, President, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, Los Angeles Chapter; UNITE HERE Local 11
Emily Reyes, APALA and United Teachers of Los Angeles
Dean Toji, Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council, Environmental Justice Committee
Lynn Wang, Sunrise Movement, Los Angeles Hub

Caring Across Generations - Room 2355       ▾

Whether it be a memory of a warmhearted auntie watching over you as a child or, from the other side of the table, you, as an adult, navigating care for an aging parent, everyone has a "care story." Together, these "care stories" constitute a larger "care infrastructure." At a systemic level, policymakers and community advocates work to strengthen systems intended to support family members and workers that make up this infrastructure. However, people taking caregiving for granted paired with the sentiment that "Asian Americans take care of their own" make caregiving in the Asian American community no easy topic to discuss. To begin the conversation, this workshop will explore experiences of and initiatives for formal and informal caregivers; examine elderly care programs from an organizational standpoint; and formulate ways that we can uplift our intergenerational community.

Barbara Kim, Professor of Asian & Asian American Studies, CSU Long Beach
Amy Phillips, Director of Senior Services, Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC)
Aquilina Soriano-Verzosa, Executive Director, Pilipino Workers Center

Census 2020 I - Room 2317       ▾

Every ten years, the Constitution requires the U.S. Census Bureau to count America's population. With the upcoming 2020 Census, this workshop will provide Census basic definitions, myths, and an overview of the process. The census provides vital information for you and your community. Each year, the federal government distributes more than $675 billion to states and communities based on Census Bureau data. In 2020, for the first time, new technology will allow you to respond online, as well as by phone and by mail. The workshop will also demo the U.S. Census Bureau's Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM) tool developed to make it easier to identify hard-to-survey areas and California's Hard-to-count interactive map.

Ivy Daulo, Partnerships Specialist, U.S. Census Bureau
Melany De La Cruz-Viesca, Associate Director, UCLA Asian American Studies Center (AASC)
Lily Anne Welty Tamai, Ph.D., Lecturer of Asian American Studies, UCLA; U.S. Census Bureau National Advisory Committee

DisEDvantage: Barriers to AAPI Equity and Access - Room 4371       ▾

This workshop seeks to name key issues for AANHPI AMEMSA students in education and how community organizations work to create equity and access for all.

Hammad Alam, Attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow, Advancing Justice - LA's Impact Litigation Unit
Evyn Le Espiritu Gandhi, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, UCLA*
Susana Sngiem, Executive Director, United Cambodian Community
Donna Tang, Education Equity Coordinator, Advancing Justice-LA's Higher Education *
Dr. Victor Thompson, Executive Director, National Pacific Islander Education Network (NPIEN)

Introducing a Multi-Generational Domestic Violence Prevention Framework
- Room 2319       ▾

Domestic violence has been a significant issue for Asian American Pacific Islander communities; Forty to sixty percent of API immigrant women have experienced domestic violence from an intimate partner during their lifetime. Beyond offering direct services for survivors of violence, a coalition of Los Angeles Asian American Pacific Islander organizations has sought to prevent future incidence of violence in our communities by identifying a multi-generational domestic violence prevention framework based upon a community assessment process and asset mapping project. Panelists will share findings and conclusions from the study and explain the next steps toward implementation of the prevention framework.

Connie Chong Joe, Executive Director, Korean American Family Services (KFAM)
Brian Hui, Special Service for Groups (SSG) Research and Evaluation
Debra Suh, Executive Director, Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF)
Lee Ann Wang, Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies and Social Welfare, UCLA*

Migration, Resettlement, and Deportation - Room 4320       ▾

AAPI experiences with migration and community formation provide vital and needed perspectives on the ever contentious issue of immigration. This workshop will consider migration, resettlement, and deportation, with a particular emphasis on refugee communities. We will likely consider the relationship between geopolitical conditions and the lived experiences of migrants, refugees, and communities. From law and policy to trauma, resilience, and resistance, we plan to address diverse ways in which histories, experiences, conditions, and mobilizations are better understood through diverse forms of research to reframe entrenched debates and effectively serve communities.

Victor Bascara, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, UCLA*
Dr. Jolie Chea, UC President's Postdoc (UCR); Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, UCLA (2020)
June Kuoch, Asian American Studies MA Student, UCLA
Hiroshi Motomura, Professor of Law, UCLA
Cindy Sangalang, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and Social Welfare, UCLA

Navigating Gentrification through the Intersection of Communities, Governance, and Research (Part I): What is Gentrification? - Room 4357       ▾

California is in a struggle for control over how to shape its landscape, which will have reverberating consequences for decades to come. This panel's discussion centers on understanding ways that gentrification is defined and experienced by various communities, local governance, and research, contextualizing the conversation through recently discussed/proposed state senate bills that could impact everyday Asian American communities.

Emma Howard, Policy and Planning, Congressional District 4
Chanchanit Martorell, Founder and Executive Director, Thai Community Development Center
Paul Ong, UCLA Urban Planning, Social Welfare, Asian American Studies, Institute on the Environment and Sustainability, and Center for Neighborhood Knowledge (CNK). Professor and Director of CNK.
Sissy Trinh, Founder and Executive Director, Southeast Asian Community Alliance

Complimentary lunch will be provided in Room 2343 (12:00-1:00 pm)

Plenary 2 (1:00pm - 1:45pm)

Elevating Voices and Building Solidarities - Room 2355 (Overflow: 2343)       ▾

This panel will explore ways that Asian American Studies scholars, community-based organizations and policy makers can work collaboratively to elevate voices of API community members and marginalized groups more generally through research, advocacy on policy-making. We will discuss strategies to raise everyday voices, leverage research, build solidarities and create policy changes to address the most pressing needs of our communities and make people's lives better.

Diane Fujino, Professor of Asian American Studies, UC Santa Barbara
Chanchanit Martorell, Founder and Executive Director, Thai Community Development Center
Karen Umemoto, Helen and Morgan Chu Endowed Director's Chair, Asian American Studies Center; Professor of Urban Planning and Asian American Studies, UCLA

Workshops Session 2 (2:00pm - 3:15pm)

APIs and Mental Health: Why Don't We Ask For Help? - Room 2355       ▾

This workshop will engage mental health experts from across the API community to discuss strategies for improving our communities' access to care. Topics will include general strategies for outreach and engagement, working with specific populations, and the university experience.

Mihae Jung, California Panethnic Health Network
Saeromi Kim, Assistant Clinical Director, UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Mariko Kahn, Executive Director, Pacific Asian Counseling Services

Census 2020 II - Room 4320       ▾

How do we ensure an inclusive and complete count of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders? This session will discuss how efforts are being coordinated between the statewide AAPI Complete Count Committee led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, the local AAPI Compete Count Committee led by the Asian Pacific Policy Planning Council (A3PCON), UCLA Asian American Studies, and other stakeholders. We will discuss how to reach undercounted and diverse communities, practice various scenarios, and craft messaging around the Census to develop targeted outreach for the AAPI community. If time permits, we can discuss plans, ramping up communication channels, and setting goals for building our community base and doing public outreach that will be critical in preparing for the upcoming 2020 census.

Manjusha Kulkarni, Esq., Executive Director, A3PCON
An Le, Esq., 2020 Census Advisor, A3PCON
Natalie Masuoka, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and Political Science, UCLA

Evolution of Asian American LGBTQ+ Community-Based Research: Exploring Capacity-Building and Collaboration - Room 4371       ▾

This workshop will discuss the historical context for Asian American LGBTQ+ community-based research, its relationship to Asian American Studies, and how to envision the future of researcher and community collaborations. Panelists will discuss the research and evaluation needs of Asian American LGBTQ+ CBOs through the topics of: community needs assessments, mental health issues, youth development, teaching pedagogy, and perspectives of graduate students and academic researchers. In envisioning the future of community-based research with Asian American LGBTQ+ communities, panelists and workshop participants will discuss how researchers can offer collaboration, resources, and technical assistance to CBOs and grassroots groups seeking to further an Asian American LGBTQ+ community research agenda.

James Huynh, PhD Student, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences Dept; Board Member, Vietnamese Rainbow of Orange County (VROC)
Kay Lam, Volunteer, API Equality-LA; Master's Student, UCLA School of Education
Gina Masequesmay, Professor of Asian American Studies, CSU Northridge*
Rashmi Choksey, Founding Member and Advisor, Satrang

Housing and Homelessnes in the AAPI Community - Room 2343       ▾

The housing crisis in the Los Angeles region will certainly have a disproportionate impact on AAPI communities. People in these already vulnerable communities are facing displacement due to rapidly rising rents. Furthermore, the pressures created by the hot real estate market are also contributing to a homelessness crisis in our neighborhoods. This panel will look beyond supply-side "build our way out of it" solutions and explore policy issues and strategies that can promote the construction of more affordable housing while also discussing how communities can approach homelessness compassionately. We will explore research, policy issues, strategies, solutions, and a local case study related to AAPI homelessness and housing.

Daniel Huynh, Vice President, Real Estate - LA Family Housing
Jane Nguyen, Founder, Ktown for All; Board Member, Invisible People
Grant Sunoo, Director of Planning, Little Tokyo Service Center*
Ananya Roy, Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography at UCLA; Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA.

API HTTF: Fighting Human Trafficking Through Collaboration - Room 2317       ▾

The Asian Pacific Islander Human Trafficking Task Force (API HTTF) was formed in 2016 in response to increasing numbers of victimization among API foreign nationals in the United States. As the first API task force in the nation, our organizations support victims of human trafficking, as defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Identified victims receive free social, legal, and mental health services from linguistically and culturally competent organizations based in the greater Los Angeles area. This panel will discuss trends in human trafficking and case studies from Pilipino Worker Center and Thai Community Development Center to highlight what the fight against human trafficking looks like today.

Lucy Burns, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, UCLA*
Panida Musikawong Rzonca, Directing Attorney, Thai Community Development Center
Aurora Andalajao, Anti-Human Trafficking Program Coordinator & Community Organizer, Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California
Brenton Inouye, Managing Attorney of the API unit at Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA)

Labor Organizing - Room 2319       ▾

Labor organizing has long been a crucial and formative means through which AAPI communities have cohered and acted to bring about meaningful change. This workshop addresses the challenges and opportunities of current, past, and future conditions of labor organizing. Drawing on the experiences and expertise of the panelists and the group, our discussion will likely consider emerging forms of precarity, protest, and policy in the strategies facing workers and organizers. A particular focus will be on the role of diverse forms of research in effective and innovative labor organizing, from the local to the national to the global/transnational.

Victor Bascara, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, UCLA*
Jennifer Chun, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, UCLA
Betty Hung, Staff Director, UCLA Labor Center
Lisa Fu, Director, California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative

Navigating Gentrification through the Intersection of Communities, Governance, and Research (Part II): Current and Future Movements - Room 4357       ▾

Recent proposed state senate bills and local measures reveal ruptures between various bodies of power, as well as diverse sets of communities. This panel centers on how CBOs, local government, and researchers have been approaching gentrification and its effects on various communities, as well as how each envision plans to navigate gentrification respectively and collectively.

Kristin Fukushima, Managing Director, Little Tokyo Community Council
Kris Chan, Community Organizer, Chinatown Community for Equitable Development
Nick Greif, Chief of Staff, Office of Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu
Frances Huynh, Community Organizer, Chinatown Community for Equitable Development*
Steve S. Kang, Director of External Affairs, Koreatown Youth and Community Center
Soo Mee Kim, Lecturer of Sociology, California State University, Los Angeles*

Plenary 3 (3:30pm - 4:30pm)

Alternative Imaginaries and Futures - Room 2355 (Overflow: 2343)       ▾

What does liberation look, feel, and sound like? Panelists will explore themes of economic solidarity, interdependence, memory, and language. This plenary is an invitation to imagine what revolution means beyond the struggle. By exploring solidarity, relationships, and storytelling rooted in Asian and Pacific Islander ancestral, historical, and embodied traditions and their diasporas, we hope to inspire conference attendees to enact a post-revolutionary world, today.

Meenadchi, Trauma-Informed Nonviolent Communication
Yvonne Yen Liu, Cofounder and Research Director, Solidarity Research Center
Tavae Samuelu, Executive Director, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)
Tracy Zhao, API Equality-LA