Electronic Press Kit
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About AAPI Equity Alliance
AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity) is a coalition of over 40 community based organizations serving the diverse needs of the 1.6 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in Los Angeles County and beyond. We are dedicated to improving the lives of AAPIs through civic engagement, capacity building, and policy advocacy.
Fifty years ago, we started as the “Asian Lunch Bunch”, a small group of passionate AAPI activists united in the fight for community power. That network of support was the glue that contributed to our impact as an AAPI coalition back then and that continues today.
In 2020, AAPI Equity, Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University co-launched Stop AAPI Hate, the largest center tracking acts of hate reported by AAPIs nationwide, in response to the escalation of anti-AAPI hate. 11,000+ reports have been shared, including over 4,000 in California. Our stories provide proof of the pervasive racism that targets AAPIs and serve as a powerful tool to advocate for increased investment. Together, we are shifting attitudes and narratives by monitoring the climate of hate and advocating for protective solutions.
Manjusha (Manju) P. Kulkarni, Esq. - Executive Director
Areas of Expertise: Racial Equity, Health Equity, Civic Engagement, Los Angeles County, Rapid Response, Domestic Violence
Manjusha P. Kulkarni (Manju) is the Executive Director of AAPI Equity Alliance, which serves and represents the 1.6 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County. In March 2020, Manju co-founded Stop AAPI Hate, the nation’s leading aggregator of COVID-19-related hate incidents against AAPIs.
Alongside fellow Stop AAPI Hate co-founders Cynthia Choi and Russell Jeung, Manju has been recognized as an honoree of the prestigious TIME100 Most Influential People and Bloomberg 50 lists, and as a recipient of the 2021 Webby Social Movement of the Year award. More recently, she was awarded a spot on the 2022 Forbes 50 Over 50 list for her leadership in advancing the Stop AAPI Hate movement.
Manju’s work has been featured in the New York Times, NPR and CNN, as well as in numerous local and ethnic media outlets. As part of her advocacy work on behalf of AAPI communities, Manju has shared her expertise with countless individuals and entities including the Aspen Institute, the World Bank and the United Nations.
Manju serves on the Board of Directors of LA Voice and is a member of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission and the California Racial and Identify Profiling Advisory Board. Manju holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law.
Norbert K. Tan - Deputy Director
Areas of Expertise: Nonprofit Management, Leadership Development, Capacity Building, Membership Services, Executive Coaching
Norbert K. Tan is the Deputy Director at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). He is also a certified executive coach, consultant, and certified interim leader who works with senior leaders and their nonprofit organizations to optimize peak performance.
Norbert brings over 25-years of leadership and management experience from diverse fields such as non-profits, the performing arts, higher education, entertainment, advertising, new media, and legal. He recently served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at Antioch University, Executive Director for the Ventura College Foundation, and the Managing Director of Rubicon Theatre Company. Norbert has been directly involved in raising over $30M over his career with regional non-profit organizations. He has volunteered on boards of directors including East West Players, Ventura County Ballet, and the Ventura County Leadership Academy.
Norbert earned his MBA in Non-Profit and Arts Management from The Anderson School at UCLA and his BS in Business Administration from the Haas School at UC Berkeley. He was selected as one of six Americans to join the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in D.C. as an Arts Management Fellow.
Candice Cho - Managing Director of Policy and Counsel
Areas of Expertise: Racial Equity, Civic Engagement, Policy Advocacy
Candice Cho is the Managing Director of Policy and Counsel at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). Candice brings over a decade of experience leading collaborative policy efforts at the federal and local levels. As Deputy Chief of Staff at the New York City Law Department, one of the largest public law offices in the country, she served as the city’s chief legal advisor on immigration and sanctuary city policies protecting immigrant New Yorkers during the Trump Administration. She also served as Chief of Staff to a New York City Charter Revision Commission whose proposals to increase democratic participation in local government were approved by the voters. Candice began her career as a legislative staffer for U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL).
Candice received a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University, and a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School. She is admitted to practice law in New York and California. She was born in San Francisco and raised in Los Angeles.
Hoang Nguyen - Director of External Affairs
Areas of Expertise: Racial Equity, Civic Engagement, Policy Advocacy, Los Angeles County
Languages Spoken: English, Vietnamese
Hoang Nguyen is the Director of External Affairs at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). Prior to joining AAPI Equity, Hoang served as a policy deputy at the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, which has governing jurisdiction over more than 2 million residents within 20 cities and 23 unincorporated communities in LA County and 25 neighborhoods in LA City. While there, he oversaw a variety of policy and community issues such as immigration, AAPI affairs, older adults, redistricting, Census, and board operations. He was also the district’s representative and liaison for the areas of Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Historic Filipinotown and Thaitown.
Hoang received a BA in Political Science from UCLA.
Godfrey Plata - Civic Engagement Consultant
Areas of Expertise: Civic Engagement, Policy Advocacy, Racial Equity
Godfrey Santos Plata (he/him) is a queer Filipino immigrant whose north star is racial justice, and whose tools of choice are political education and building people power. He unapologetically works toward a world in which Black Lives Matter. Plata was born in Marikina, Philippines, and is a teacher-turned-organizer currently living in LA’s Koreatown. His career has led him to support campaigns for equity in over 25 states, working with youth and adults to make their communities better places to live, learn, and work.
Locally, Plata has supported multiple LA-based organizing groups, having worked on issues of Sheriff’s Department accountability alongside Black Lives Matter; immigrant supports and services at LA Unified School District; and, as part of LAUSD’s inaugural AANHPI AMEMSA steering committee, protections for Asian Americans in light of recent waves of anti-Asian violence. He is currently juggling work with LA-based groups API RISE, which organizes formerly incarcerated and detained members of the API community, and AAPI Equity Alliance, a coalition of 40+ local community organizations, with whom he is helping to build an AAPI Civic Engagement Task Force for LA County. Nationally, he is also working with the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper efforts in the western half of the United States, as well as
#VOTEPROCHOICE’s movement to support pro-choice candidates to run campaigns in states where reproductive justice is most at threat.
In his civic life, Plata sits on the boards of LA Forward, Pilipino American LA Democrats, and serves as Regional Vice Chair of Filipino-American Democratic Caucus of California. He represents almost half a million LA residents as a member of the LA County Democratic Party’s Central Committee. In 2020, Plata ran for California’s State Assembly and won 50,000 votes (44% of the vote) as a first-time political candidate running against a 3-term incumbent, without taking any corporate PAC money and with 7 times less funding than his opponent. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter: @godfreyplata.
2024 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards honor leaders for effective solutions to pressing, high profile challenges facing the state