APIENC is powered by queer and trans Asian and Pacific Islander people. We are led primarily by young, trans and non-binary folks, for the entire QTAPI community. Our work is powered by volunteer members who directly understand how our lives have been shaped by different oppressions and legacies of resistance. Programs are led by leaders in volunteer committees, strategy is created by our Core Committee, and staff help to guide and facilitate our collective learning.
Sammie Ablaza Wills, Co-Director
Photo from Brooke Anderson Photography [Image Description: Sammie, wearing overalls, stands in front of a line of marching people. They hold a megaphone up to their mouth, while looking to the side.]
Sammie is an enthusiastic, queer, non-binary Pilipinx organizer and death doula passionate about supporting people in reclaiming their inherent power and dignity. Their political journey started with witnessing xenophobia against their family, fighting budget cuts in public schools, and learning about trans Pilipinos fighting colonization. It’s from these knowledges that Sammie has worked to trained hundreds of young, trans, queer, Asian people to lead from values of abundance and interdependence. Originally starting at APIENC as a Summer Organizer, Sammie has served as the Program Assistant, Community Organizer, and now Director. Their current role of Director involves supporting all those at APIENC, ensuring the organization stays a stable one rooted in abundance, and uplifting the next generation of organizers through APIENC’s Leadership Development program. Sammie has served as a fellow for the Trans Justice Funding Project, was honored by the Mario Savio Young Activist Award, and sits on the board of Movement Generation: Justice & Ecology Project. Outside of their organizing work, Sammie enjoys looking at community archives, telling stories, making song parodies, and lifting weights. They believe that anything can be turned into a chant and brought onto the streets (literally and emotionally).
Yuan Wang, Co-Director
Image description: Yuan is sitting outdoors amongst green and orange plants and smiling at the camera.
Yuan (she/they) is a transgender, non-binary Chinese-American organizer. She was born on Ohlone land in Fremont, California and raised on Lenape land in New Jersey. Yuan was shaped by organizing in New York City, where she supported housing justice campaigns at CAAAV, coordinated volunteer organizers at the Laundry Workers Center, and provided language justice support to the Sex Worker’s Project and local campaigns. She brings experience developing the leadership of young people, from leading queer-inclusive sex-ed at the Masakhane Center and organizing after-school programs for Asian immigrant youth at the Teen Resource Center. After starting at APIENC as a Summer Organizer apprentice, Yuan served as APIENC’s Trans Justice Community Organizer, and will become APIENC’s Executive Director in December, 2021. Their role as Director involves supporting APIENC’s staff team, sustaining abundant resources for our organizing, and rooting APIENC’s long-term culture and strategy in our evergreen values. Her community at APIENC has taught her what interdependence looks like in practice, and reminds her everyday to lead with care and vulnerability. Outside of her organizing work, Yuan finds joy in playing guitar, climbing rocks, and cooking for her friends.
Jasmin Hoo, Community Organizer
Image description: Jasmin is smiling and looking up. Visible on her right ear is an earring with a drawing of Yuri Kochiyama.
Jasmin is a mixed race, queer, cisgender woman raised outside of Boston and re-located to San Francisco in 2005. Jasmin’s work has ranged from training theater artists in social justice pedagogies as the American Conservatory Theater’s Associate Director of Education & Community Programs to leading workshops on creating liberating and affirming spaces for youth as co-founder of The Remix Cultural Consulting Collective. Currently, Jasmin brings her experience and drive to APIENC, alongside organizations such as Asians4BlackLives and the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective. She continually works to heal her own wounds, transform old patterns, and vision new ways of being, and to bring this same opportunity for growth and change to the community. Outside of her organizing endeavors, Jasmin delights in the culinary (both cooking and eating), astrology, watching and creating live theater, moving herself through dance or a good hike, and laughing with friends.
Leo Hegde, Community Organizer
Image description: Leo is outdoors and smiling while looking slightly away from the camera.
Leo is a trans, second generation, Indian-American who was raised in Edison, New Jersey. While attending school in Nashville, Tennessee he studied engineering and music, and since 2019 has been living and learning in Oakland/Ohlone Land. Leo started their work with APIENC as an active member of the Trans Justice and Core Committees, and he is an alumni of Parivar’s Advisory Committee and ASATA’s Bay Area Solidarity Summer. Previously, as an acoustics consultant at Arup, Leo leveraged their technical skills and network to support community engagement in the built environment, partnering with organizations such as Designing Justice+Designing Spaces, Chinatown Community Development Center, and the Community Arts Stabilization Trust. In all of his work, relationships, and community, Leo strives to bring compassion and care. Now, as one of APIENC’s Community Organizers, Leo’s role focuses on building systems for true community safety by supporting our members to develop alternatives to harmful institutions such as police and prisons. Alongside organizing, Leo loves listening to, playing and writing music. They are a multi-instrumentalist; playing the trumpet/flugelhorn, tabla, ukulele, guitar and a sprinkling of bass and keys. He also likes to beatbox!
Paige Chung, Program Assistant
Image Description: Paige wearing a tie-dye blue jumpsuit, smiling at the camera with teeth, makeup, and hair gently falling over face.
Paige is writer, poet, skater and turntablist-in-training. She’s from Los Angeles but rolls everywhere. Growing up, Paige moved around the U.S. met all walks of life and discovered her superpower is building friendships wherever she goes. Afterschool, she’d go to the nail salon where her parents worked. There she witnessed relationships between customers and technicians but also the class, gender, and racial nuances of the space. Eventually, this space became a deep inspiration for her writing and organizing. Paige keeps coming back to APIENC. As a freshman in college, they arrived as a POP participant when they were still Q for Questioning (the Q is no longer in question). Returned as a Wintern in 2017, a SOP in 2018, and stayed as a volunteer. During her Kalamazoo College years,the trifecta of majoring in Critical Ethnic Studies and English Literature, working at the Writing Center, and organizing at APIENC grew their political consciousness. Now, Paige is the Program Assistant at APIENC and Program Advocate at AACRE. You can catch her crate digging or hunting down the best party.
Connie Hsu Gem Datuin Huanvy Phan Jessica Mitchell Junior Claros
Leo Hegde Michelle Wang Mika Hernandez Mioi Hanaoka Ralph Leano-Atanacio
Image description: APIENC Core (including staff) and Wildfire Facilitator Michael, pose in a group photo outdoors, smiling at the camera.
Andy Wong Anirvan Chatterjee Chay Tadeo Desiree Thompson Dipti Ghosh Elliott Fukui Jenna Rapues
Rai Dang Sine Hwang Jensen Steve Lew Total Nguyen Tracy Nguyen Vince Crisostomo
Fundraising Dragon Fruit SKATE Crew (Leadership Development) Trans Justice Ecological Justice League (fka “TTAC”, Think and Take Action Cohort)