Community in the Capital (CITC)

Over the last decade, we have convened more than 85 AAPI leaders from across our membership through our annual leadership development program.

Community in the Capital (CITC)

The foundation of National CAPACD's advocacy efforts is the grassroots leadership of our membership network. Over the last decade, we have convened more than 85 AAPI leaders from across our membership through an annual leadership development program called Community in the Capital (CITC) to do the following:

  • Support the development of emerging leadership from its base.
  • Provide opportunities to build strategic relationships with other community leaders.
  • Deepen their perspectives on critical issues and concerns impacting AAPI communities at the federal level.
  • Develop a coordinated national and local advocacy strategy around an identified AAPI policy agenda.
  • Study the legislative process, including experiential learning on conducting education and advocacy with congressional representatives, policymakers from federal agencies, and the Administration.
  • Build coalitions with allies and partners

Graduates of our CITC program have been promoted to executive directorships and other leadership roles within their organizations, hold roles as policymakers within federal agencies and the Administration, and continue to serve as key representatives on issues affecting low-income AAPIs.

CITC 2019-2020 Cohort

Aian Mendoza, Site Organizer, AYPAL (Oakland, CA)

Aian Mendoza is a Site Organizer with AYPAL. AYPAL seeks to empower and grow leadership of Asian / Asian American high school students in Oakland. Their role is to work directly with a team of nine interns to discuss social justice issues, develop leadership skills, learn about ethnic histories and cultures, and engage with arts activism projects.

Prior to their work with AYPAL, Aian organized throughout Southern CA with different non-profit social justice spaces such as API Equality LA, Pilipino Workers Center, and student organizations. They also spent time directly managing a campus food pantry as well as organizing programs and speakers on food justice topics.

Aian graduated from UC Riverside with a Bachelor’s in Ethnic Studies, and is a proud transfer student from Santa Ana College where they received an Associate’s in Business Administration. They enjoy reading queer graphic novels, hanging out with their dog (Amber) who comes to AYPAL twice a week, attempting to play soccer, and making vegetarian dishes.

Chrissy Sam, Executive Assistant, Khmer Girls in Action (Long Beach, CA)

Chrissy Sam is the Executive Assistant at Khmer Girls in Action. She works closely with the Executive Director around the financials of the organization. Khmer Girls in Action is a community-based organization whose mission is to build a progressive and sustainable Long Beach community that works for gender, racial and economic justice led by Southeast Asian young women.

Chrissy is involved with advocacy fellowships such as Long Beach Rising, a coalition that works to create a sustainable Long Beach and with the Cambodian Advocacy Collaborative a coalition of Southeast Asian organizations that leverage resources for marginalized community members.

Chrissy is a second generation Cambodian American living in Cambodia Town. As a high school youth, Chrissy got involved in KGA through their membership program where she recognized that there were lack of resources and different disparities and injustices that affected her and her community. She hopes to find better solutions for the Cambodian community and larger Southeast Asian and API communities as a whole through growing her skill sets around strategizing around advocacy work. When she is not organizing for collective power you can find Chrissy dancing to music and watching Korean dramas.

Farzana Linda, Advocacy & Organizing Manager, Chhaya CDC (Jackson Heights, NY)

Farzana Linda is an Advocacy and Organizing Manager at Chhaya Community Development Corporation. Chhaya CDC is a nonprofit organization that works to build the housing stability, economic well being and political power of the South Asian and Indo Caribbean community. Her current role is to oversee Chhaya’s civic engagement, economic justice work and building community power through various initiatives like GOTV and the 2020 Census campaign. Prior to her current role, she was a Public Allies Fellow where she helped lead the early stages of Chhaya’s housing organizing work against Zara Realty. Since then she has built out Shakti: Community Ambassadors, a leadership program for community members to learn about civic engagement and housing justice. Farzana is a long time resident of Queens and a strong believer in community power and recognizing that everyone's liberation is tied to each other.


Frances Huang, Policy Associate, Chinese-American Planning Council (New York, NY)

Frances Huang is the Policy Associate at Chinese American Planning Council (CPC). CPC is the nation’s largest Asian American social services agency, promoting social and economic empowerment for 60,000 New Yorkers through education, family support, community and economic empowerment each year. Their work involves educating community members about complex policy changes, such as immigration and healthcare that affect their daily lives, as well as elevating the work that staff on the ground are doing to elected officials and other state and local decision-makers. Previously, they were a Health Educator at CPC’s Community Health Services division, where they provided sex education and HIV prevention workshops for AAPI low-income, second generation high school students. They also created curriculum regarding advocacy, career mapping, consent and boundaries, healthy relationships, and financial literacy. Outside of CPC, they have been involved in many forms of community organizing around trans and gender justice, environmental, and racial justice issues. They are currently studying mental health counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University, and previously was interested in entering the film industry to become a health documentarian.

Journey Chen, Youth Programs Manager, Asian Community Development Corporation (Boston, MA)

Journey Chen is the Youth Programs Manager at Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC). ACDC is a nonprofit located in Boston Chinatown that builds affordable housing, and supports residents and community members in the Greater Boston area through resident, civic engagement, and youth programming. In her role, Journey oversees ACDC’s youth programs department through strategic visioning for the department, managing the youth programs staff, and directly running a school year youth program.

In her previous role, Journey served at ACDC as the Massachusetts Promise Fellow and Youth Programs Associate through AmeriCorps. Her task as the MPF Fellow was to create and spearhead a pilot year of ACDC’s youth leadership program in the city of Malden, and to co-facilitate a pilot year of ACDC’s financial literacy and matched savings youth program in Chinatown.

Journey graduated from Bentley University in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a Liberal Studies Major focused in Diversity and Society.


Kristina Doan, Civic Engagement Manager, CAPI USA (Brooklyn Center, MN)

Kristina Doan is the Human Services and Civic Engagement Manager at CAPI USA. CAPI USA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Minnesota’s newest refugees, immigrants, and people of color gain access to employment, food, benefits, and senior social services in order to promote economic independence, self-determination and social equality. Kristina oversees CAPI’s basic needs programs including a client-choice food shelf, healthcare enrollment, a benefits enrollment center, and senior programs. She also leads CAPI’s civic engagement work integrating voter engagement at the agency and through a non-partisan campaign to reach Minnesota’s AAPI communities through outreach, canvass, and phonebank efforts.

Before joining CAPI USA, Kristina was a program evaluator for the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor, a financial services consultant for local county and state government at MAXIMUS Inc, and worked as a paralegal at Crowell and Moring in Washington D.C.
She graduated with a Master’s Degree in Public Policy with an emphasis on Global Policy-U.S. Foreign and International Security Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Macalester College.

Lamei Zhang, Projects Manager, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (Philadelphia, PA)

Lamei Zhang is the Projects Manager at the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC). Lamei first joined PCDC as a college intern, and after graduating, she found herself working full-time at PCDC. As Projects Manager, Lamei is responsible for various short-term and long-term projects, including real estate development, PCDC’s street cleaning program, and event coordination. During her time at PCDC, she has also managed and initiated civic engagement activities, such as voter registration and voter education. The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation is a grassroots, community-based nonprofit organization with a mission preserve, protect, and promote Philadelphia’s Chinatown as a viable ethnic, residential, and business community.

Prior to PCDC, Lamei spent much of her undergraduate career working with youth and children. She volunteered with local schools and acted as residential advisor in summer camp programs.

Lamei received her BA in Growth and Structure of Cities and a minor in Chinese from Bryn Mawr College. During her free time, she enjoys playing badminton and board games.

Nikki Sutton, Director of Fund Development and Communications, Little Tokyo Service Center (Los Angeles, CA)

Nikki Kealalio Sutton is the Director of Fund Development & Communications for Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) where she focuses on generating support of the organization’s work. Driven by LTSC’s mission and goals, Nikki, along with her team, focus on storytelling, fundraising and support building in order to help ensure long-term organizational sustainability.

Nikki was fortunate enough to attend Kamehameha Schools Kapālama on a full financial aid scholarship. Attending Kamehameha pushed her to become a first-generation college student, earning her B.A. in Communications from Whitworth University, and left her with the realization that opportunities and resources can have a significant impact on the trajectory of ones life. Her time spent as a board member for Young Variety, an arm of Variety - the Children’s Charity of Southern California, furthered her interest in creating opportunities for youth residing in under-resourced communities.

Outside of LTSC, Nikki is a member of hula hālau Kaulana Ka Hale Kula `O Na Pua `O KaʻĀina. Her involvement allows her to learn more about Hawaiian history, culture and indigenous practices which has in turn informed her work related to gentrification, displacement and racial equity.

Seema Choudhary, Young Women's Leadership Program Manager, South Asian Youth Action (Queens, NY)

Seema Choudhary currently serves as the Young Women’s Leadership Program Manager at South Asian Youth Action (SAYA), based in Queens, New York. Through her role, Seema works with high school-aged young women in their leadership development using a social-emotional framework in her curriculum design. She additionally manages an external site at a high school for immigrant youth where she develops and facilitates a co-ed leadership curriculum. Her organization, SAYA, aims to foster a strong sense of belonging in youth and provide them with tools to thrive academically, professionally and personally.

Seema has over ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector, with a focus in the education and youth development space working at organizations like The School District of Philadelphia, The Ministry of Education in Spain, and Queens Library. Some of her other past experiences include conducting community outreach in partnership with New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and volunteering for community-centered organizations during her free time.

Seema is a graduate of the prestigious National Urban Fellows program, a rigorous fourteen-month leadership development fellowship. And, she completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the City University of New York. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Queens College and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College. Seema is passionate about providing youth with the resources that they need to holistically thrive and drive change in their respective communities. Although born and raised in New York City, Seema is a traveler at heart. Having been to over thirty countries in five continents, her favorite part of travelling is connecting with the soul of a place through the locals who call it home.

William Oh, Youth Organizer,  HANA Center (Chicago, IL)

William Oh is a Youth Organizer at HANA Center in Chicago, IL. He spends his time working with young people to advance social, racial, and economic justice and facilitating youth-led organizing, youths’ leadership development, and empowerment. HANA Center’s mission is to empower Korean, immigrant, and multiethnic communities through social services, culture, education, and community organizing to advance human rights. With a background as a peer educator, counselor, and organizer during his time as a student, William comes to this work excited to be part of a compassionate social justice that heals and restores. His life’s mission is to fight for a just world where everyone can claim full citizenship and grow up with health, love, and dignity. He is an optimist who believes that a future of liberation where all of us are free is within reach if we reach for it together. He is in this job because he fundamentally believes in the power of the people and believes that the youth are our future and showing us the way. William studied Social Anthropology and Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights with a focus on Asian American studies at Harvard.

2018-2019 Cohort

An Huynh, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation & Development Authority (Seattle, WA)
Carro Hua, Vietnamese American Initiative for Development (Dorchester, MA)
Jeena Hah,  Asian Community Development Corporation (Boston, MA)
Manisha Lance, Raksha, Inc. (Atlanta, GA)
Seema Ahesan,  Muslim Women Resource Center (Chicago, IL)
Sophanarot Sam, Southeast Asian Community Alliance (Los Angeles, CA)
Tong Thao, Asian Economic Development Association (Saint Paul, MN)
Vicki-Ann Paresa, Hawaiian Community Assets (Honolulu, HI)

2017-2018 Cohort

Jordyn Danner, Program Manager, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (Kapolei, HI)
Lily Hu, Resident Services Manager, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (Oakland, CA)
Lehua I, Asset Building and Youth Program Coordinator, Hawaiian Community Assets (Honolulu, HI)
Matthew Ides, Director of Economic and Community Development, Hmong American Partnership (Saint Paul, MN)
Debbie Liu, Community Development Coordinator, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (Chicago, IL)
Quynh Pham, Executive Director, Friends of Little Saigon (Seattle, WA)
Will Spisak, Director of Programs, Chhaya CDC (Jackson Heights, NY)
Vong Thao, Loan and Business Development Manager, Asian Economic Development Association (Saint Paul, MN)
Heidi Tso, Program Coordinator, Chinese Community Center (Houston, TX)
Samantha Vang, Community Engagement Coordinator, CAPI USA (Minneapolis, MN)

2016-2017 Cohort

Aly Arnold, Chinese Community Center (Houston, TX)
Debbie Chen, Asian Community Development Corporation (Boston, MA) 
Yihong Dong, Asian American Community Services (Columbus, OH)
Raúl Fernández-Berriozába, Chinatown Community Development Center (San Francisco, CA)
Erika Gee, Chinatown Community Development Center (San Francisco, CA)
Andrea Giese, Pacific Consortium in Employment (Los Angeles, CA) 
Jagpreet Khakh, Chhaya CDC (Jackson Heights, NY)
Jamie Lee, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority, (Seattle, WA)
Lei Reidel, Hawaiian Community Assets (Honolulu, HI) 
Yaomee Xiong, CAPI USA (Minneapolis, MN) 

2015-2016 Cohort

Christina Baggao, Pacific Consortium in Employment (Los Angeles, CA)
Ching Chan, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (Seattle, WA)
Wai-Ling Chin, Pacific Consortium in Employment (Los Angeles, CA)
Rosalyn Epstein, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (Oakland, CA)
Sarah Fajardo, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (New York, NY)
Duncan Hwang, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (Portland, Oregon)
Theresa Imperial, Veteran's Equity Center (San Francisco, CA)
Lucy Pyeatt, Chinese Community Center (Houston, TX)
Alisi Tulua, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (Los Angeles, CA)
Choua Vang, Hmong American Partnership (St. Paul, MN)
Lahela Williams, Hawaiian Community Assets (Honolulu, HI)
Sarah Yeung, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (Philadelphia, PA)

2013-2014 Cohort

Desiree Vea, Hawaiian Community Assets (Honolulu, HI)
Grace Shim, Minkwon Center for Community Action (New York, NY)
Imtiaz Hossain, Chhaya CDC (Jackson Heights, NY)
Kim Train, Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (Los Angeles, CA)
Kimberly Tang, Chinese Community Center (Houston, TX)
Michael Yee, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (Seattle, WA) 
Mike Murase, Little Tokyo Service Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Mindy Au InterIm Community Development Association (Seattle, WA)
Sarah Teater, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (Oakland, CA)
Stephen Lee, Center for Pan Asian Community Services, Inc. (Atlanta, GA)
Yunie Hong, Hmong National Development, Inc. (Washington, D.C.)

2011 Cohort

Richard Chang, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (Los Angeles, CA)
Carol Wu, Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (Los Angeles, CA)
Linda Yang, Lao Family Community of Stockton (Stockton, CA)
Hieu Lam, Union of Pan Asian Communities (San Diego, CA)
Michael Byun, Asian Service in Action (Akron, OH)
Chi Mei Lin, Chinese Community Center (Houston, TX)
Rosalee Puaoi, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (Kapolei, HI)
Geraldine Mendiola, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (Kapolei, HI)
Jun Yang, Faith Action for Community Equity (Honolulu, HI)
Nam Pham, Vietnamese American Initiative for Development (Dorchester, MA)
Charles Vang, Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce (Milwaukee, WI)
Theresa Mah, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (Chicago, IL)
Noelle Desaki, Hawaiian Community Assets (Honolulu, HI)
Tony Chung, Center for Pan Asian Community Services (Chamblee, GA)
Mamta Gurung, Chhaya CDC (Jackson Heights, NY)
Riamsalio Kao Phetchareun, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (Washington, DC)
Nancy Pomplun, Asian Economic Development Association (St. Paul, MN)
Dae Joong Yoon, Korean Resource Center (Los Angeles, CA)

2010 Cohort

Genna Byrd, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (Kapolei, HI)
Janelle Chan, Asian Community Development Corportation (Boston, MA)
John Chin, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (Philadelphia, PA)
Phuong Do, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (Washington, D.C.)
Karoleen Feng, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (Oakland, CA)
Jeff Gilbreath, Hawaiian Community Assets (Honolulu, HI)
Hyeok Kim, InterIm Community Development Association (Seattle, WA)
Jeremy Liu, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (Oakland, CA)
Kei Nagao, Little Tokyo Services Center (Los Angeles, CA) 
Rosalee Puaoi, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (Kapolei, HI) 
Shan Rehman, Chhaya CDC (Jackson Heights, NY)
Nenick Vu, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (Washington, D.C.) 
Malcolm Yeung, Chinatown Community Development Center (San Francisco, CA)
Cindy Wu, Chinatown Community Development Center (San Francisco, CA)

2009 Cohort

Evelyn Bruce, National Alliance to Nurture the Aged and the Youth (North Miami, FL)
Shannon Toriki, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (Kapolei, HI)
Lilia Kapuniai, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (Kapolei, HI)
Laura Matsuoka, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (Kapolei, HI)
Shan Rehman, Chhaya CDC (Jackson Heights, NY)
Margaret Iwanaga-Penrose, Union of Pan Asian Communities (San Diego, CA)
Pany Siharath, Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)
Mark Masaoka, Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (Los Angeles, CA)
Sheng Lee, Hmong Asian Partnership (Saint Paul, MN)
Jeong Yeon Hong, National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (Annandale, VA)
Keh Rachanit Trikandha, Thai Community Development Corporation (Los Angeles, CA)
Bruce Blaisdell, VietAID (Boston, MA)
Richard Lee, Asian Americans for Equality (New York, NY)
Joel Jacinto, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (Los Angeles, CA)