On September 3rd, 2019, I had the tremendous honor of becoming President and CEO of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP). I am deeply grateful to follow a distinguished line of AAPIP’s leaders on whose shoulders I now stand, determined to leverage the legacies gifted to us by many generations of leaders across movements that have led the arc toward justice. I take on this role, inspired by the extended AAPIP community past, present, and future, ready and eager to roll up our collective sleeves, together with our many allies, at this very moment in time.
While racial equity is at the forefront of national angst, AAPIs and Native Americans are often sidelined or erased, leaving conversations incomplete and policy solutions ineffective. AAPIs are the fastest growing racial group in the U.S., but you wouldn’t know it from national discourse. Despite the fact that income inequality in the U.S. is greatest among Asians, with the starkest gap between Asians near the top and the bottom of the income ladder than any other group, AAPIs are perpetually labeled as “the model minority.” This dangerous narrative has often been used to weaponize us as a wedge, willingly and unwillingly, between communities of color and white-dominated institutions and society, from issues of affirmative action to police brutality.
This is a critical moment for AAPIs in philanthropy to show up as a progressive force for change. This holds great responsibility and offers profound opportunity. AAPIP has an important role to play in advancing a democracy, putting our country’s darkest days behind rather than in front of us. This is not just a noble pursuit; it is an imperative. Now is the time to put a bold stake in the ground focused on harnessing the power of the philanthropic sector to advance equity. We must re-affirm the dignity of all people to live and love in a country and a world that loves them back.
In the coming months, AAPIP sets course as the progressive compass for AAPIs in philanthropy, activating a new cultural narrative that works through aligned movements toward racial equity and gender justice, fostering a new generation of AAPI change makers driving change in philanthropy. We look forward to building these movements with those who are also interested in advancing equity in philanthropy and would like to thank our institutional members, supporters, staff, and Board for joining us in this important work.
As President and CEO, I am excited to begin working alongside you as co-creators toward racial and gender equity. I will look for you through AAPIP’s regional activities, CHANGE Philanthropy’s 2019 Unity Summit in Seattle, and at AAPIP’s 30th Anniversary Celebration next year. Together, we are AAPIP. We are CHANGE.