Asian Allyship and Community Response
Friday, August 13, 2021
12:15 PM – 1:00 PM EDT
Paula Yoo is an award-winning author, TV writer/producer, and feature screenwriter. Her debut YA novel Good Enough (HarperCollins 2008) was a recipient of the Asian Pacific American Award for Youth Literature, and her books have won many awards including IRA Notables, Junior Guild Library Selections, and starred reviews from Kirkus. Her latest Young Adult narrative nonfiction book is FROM A WHISPER TO A RALLYING CRY: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement. Her TV credits include Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, The CW’s Supergirl, SyFy’s Defiance and Eureka, Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle, and NBC’s The West Wing. Paula is a former journalist with The Seattle Times, The Detroit News, and PEOPLE Magazine. She graduated with a B.A. in journalism from Columbia University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College, where she was the recipient of the Larry Levis Fellowship in Fiction.
>>> President of Solidarity Agaisnt Asian Hate
Bobby Ly is a passionate advocate for both API representation and a spokesperson for shifting the conversation on APIs to create communities built on respect and diversity. He is the president of Solidarity Against Asian Hate (SAAH), one of the co-presidents of the National Organization for Vietnamese American Leadership DC (NOVAL DC), the president of the Vietnamese-American Community of Great Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. During the height of Asian American animosity in the country, Bobby organized rallies at SAAH to raise awareness for racial tolerance; DC Mayor Muriel Bowser later declared May 31st to be the “Day of Solidarity Against AAPI Hate” in DC to celebrate “the cultural traditions, native languages, and tremendous contributions of more than 30 ethnic groups in our city from Asian and the Pacific Islands”. At NOVAL DC, Bobby works to build sustainable leadership in the Vietnamese American community and preserve the Vientamese cultural heritage.
>>> Director of the EEOC’s Washington Field Office
Ms. Mindy Weinstein is the Director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Washington Field office. The EEOC enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discrimiante against a job application on the basis of that person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. Ms. Weinstein oversees operations of the office, including investigations, mediations, federal sector hearings, and community outreach and education. In her previous roles at the EEOC, Ms. Weinstein developed a new strategic approach to identifying and eliminating classwide employment discrimiation and served as an attorney in two capacities: she was the Regional Attorney of the North Carolin office, overseeing litigation and also served as an attorney for the EEOC’s Systemic Litigation program in D.C.. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and the George Washington University School of Law.
>>> Co-Founder & COO of Hate is a Virus
“What you wear is what you represent.”
After a career ending injury in figure skating, Michelle K. Hanabusa pivoted and dived into design and contemporary fashion. Following her time in the corporate world, she endured trial and error venture-backed experiences pioneering her own entrepreneurial narrative in 2016. Now a leading female small business owner, she launched her community-driven streetwear brand, WEAREUPRISERS, after a social campaign in 2018 #AmericanMade that celebrates diversity throughout the USA. It curated over 3M+ organic impressions in one day. This modest display of multiculturalism was the beginning of UPRISERS.
“What you wear is what you represent.”
A guiding mantra coined by Michelle K. Hanabusa, a fiercely independent and driven fourth-generation Japanese American dreamer and entrepreneur. Michelle is the Founder and Creative Director of WEAREUPRISERS – a community-driven streetwear brand rooted in amplifying impactful and authentic stories of the underrepresented.
After a career ending injury in professional figure skating, Michelle pivoted and dived into design and contemporary fashion. Following her time in the corporate world, she endured trial and error venture-backed experiences pioneering her own entrepreneurial narrative in 2016. Michelle fueled a nationwide social campaign that celebrated diverse voices and backgrounds, which curated over 3 million impressions in one day. This was an eye-opening display of multiculturalism that inspired the beginning of UPRISERS.
In 2019, UPRISERS launched as a dynamic vehicle for advancing social change and elevating the stories of the underrepresented. Instead of following a seasonal collection schedule, the brand releases drops parallel with community issues happening in real time. Michelle and her passionate team value creating thoughtful and empowering educational content to accompany each capsule. Delivering on the core of UPRISERS, they have propelled campaigns such as #MagandangMorenx, coined by trendsetter Asia Jackson dedicated to challenging traditional beauty standards and colorism; #HATEISAVIRUS, a global movement to raise awareness around the increased racism and xenophobia during the pandemic; #SomebodysBeloved, with recording artist MILCK, focused on healing and building power around justice; and so much more. Now a leading Asian American woman owned small business, you can find UPRISERS in-store and online at PacSun and Complex SHOP.
Michelle is also the Co-Founder and COO of Hate Is A Virus – a nonprofit and community of mobilizers and amplifiers dedicated to dismantling hate and racism. The movement started in March 2020 to amplify, educate and activate APPI to stand for justice and equality in solidarity with other communities. Since then, it has evolved into an organization participating in local and national campaigns, creating safe spaces for dialogue and education, and providing actionable steps to fundraise in partnership with trusted community leaders and orgs.
>>> Documentary Filmmaker and Founder & President, Point Made Films
Barb Lee is the founder and President of both Point Made Films, a documentary film company that focuses on American identity, and Point Made Learning, a consulting company that, using the stories of Point Made Films, provides organizations with creative, story-based education regarding issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Lee is the director and producer of the feature length documentary film Adopted, which explores the grit rather than the glamour of international adoption. The film includes a companion DVD, Adopted: We Can Do Better, which she and her team created as an educational teaching guide for adoptive families. Today, the film and the companion videos are still used as standard training material in almost every adoption agency in the country. Point Made Films teamed up with filmmaker Andre Robert Lee for its second documentary, The Prep School Negro, which reveals how costly scholarships can be for young African American scholars who attend some of the most elite prep schools in the country. To date, the film has been screened in more than eight hundred prep schools across the country. Point Made Films latest film is I’m Not Racist… Am I? a documentary directed by Catherine Wigginton Greene that follows, verité style, twelve New York high school students who commit to completing a year of anti-racism training together. Throughout the course of the film, the teens and their parents learn how today’s racism is both different and much the same as the racism of thirty years ago. I’m Not Racist… Am I? is the principle resource for an innovative online anti-racism course developed by Point Made Learning, the sister company to Point Made Films. Point Made Learning creates and offers engaging anti-discrimination products and services based in storytelling. Point Made Learning’s goal is to the change the way organizations engage in equity issues such as racism, sexism, gender equity, classism, and physical ability differences.
Lee has served as a consultant on numerous documentary films, including Overburden, about systemic oppression and poverty in the Appalachian Mountains; Without a Fight, about the role of youth soccer in the Kenyan slum of Kibera; and Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo,which reports the heartbreaking aftermath of some five hundred infants who were secretly adopted during Argentina’s Dirty War. Point Made Films is also a producing partner for the independent feature film The Birth of a Nation written, produced, directed by, and starring, Nate Parker.
Prior to creating her own companies, Lee worked as a freelance video producer, a corporate event designer, a video production teacher at the North Carolina School of Science and Math (still her favorite job); she also worked in development at 20th Century Fox and Fox TV. Her first movie job was at Paramount Studios, where she was a writing intern for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
She has dual degrees in broadcast journalism and speech communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she has volunteered in numerous leadership roles including Chair of the UNC Board of Visitors, Vice-Chair of the UNC Performing Arts Board of Advisors, Chair of ACRED (Alumni Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity), and as a member of UNC’s School of Media and Journalism’s Board of Visitors. Lee is the 2015 recipient of UNC’s Alumni Diversity Award, the university’s highest honor for work in racial justice, and was the 2016 commencement speaker for the UNC School of Media and Journalism. She is also a trustee of the foundation board of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.