Together with NAACP Spokane, Muslims for Community Action and Support, and the Hispanic Business/Professional Association, we also founded the Spokane Coalition of Color in 2017.
APIC Washington is a statewide network of community organizations dedicated to promoting equitable access to culturally competent and linguistically accessible health and human services, economic development for small businesses, civil and human rights, equal access to education and other concerns of Asians and Pacific Islanders, including immigrants, refugees, and citizens in Washington State.
Ryann is a queer, trans, nonbinary Chinese American, and descendant of Chinese immigrants. Their dad’s side of the family established roots in the San Francisco Bay Area predating 1915 and has a deep history as business owners in SF’s Chinatown. Popo and Gung Gung, Ryann’s maternal grandmother and grandfather, emigrated from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in 1956. Born and raised in Redondo Beach, California, Ryann had quite a diverse and inclusive upbringing. From playing in both girls and boys sports leagues, to leagues that were predominantly Asian and those mostly comprised of the dominant narrative, Ryann experienced a world where they were embraced and felt like they belonged. But it wasn’t until discovering their nonbinary identity and, five years later, decided to transition, that they began to learn who they really could be. They went to architecture school at WSU, and their design philosophy, along with their activism, has always centered people and planet. As a visionary and social innovator, they founded Reimagine Spokane with the mission to empower people to create a new Spokane. Ryann is an older sibling, could eat ramen for the rest of their life, and is the proud parent of a nonbinary tuxedo cat named Fred.
April believes that achieving collective liberation will require reimagining systems and centering the inherent value and dignity of every person. Her goal is to put people first in her work and to lift up joy and resilience whenever possible. April is the mom of two kiddos and lives with them and her husband in Spokane Valley. She loves connecting with the natural world and is passionate about protecting the biosphere now and for future generations. She knows that the path to peace, justice, and a flourishing planet requires compassion and deeply connected communities, which is why she is so proud to be part of ACL Spokane. April enjoys hiking, running, reading, and gardening. She is currently pursuing learning more about her family’s Chinese cultural traditions through food, festivals, and qigong.
Margaret is a mother, school counselor, photographer, advocate and wife. She is a constant creative who often lives in her own head. In both her mental health outreach and in her photography, she aims to help people ask important questions of themselves to find clarity, meaning, and richer fuller lives. She likes cake and cats.
The challenges of being a mother, immigrant, and queer artist of color fuel her commitment to tell and center stories that examine intersectional truths, navigate intergenerational and diasporic identities, and inspire social justice. Presently, she splits her time between living with her family in the Pacific Northwest and pursuing her MFA at Bard College in New York.
Urvashi is a senior student at Whitworth University, majoring in Strategic Communications. With a multicultural background, fluency in multiple languages, and having grown up in Cameroon and India, she possesses a unique perspective and the ability to connect with people from diverse backgrounds. Urvashi has a strong interest in community outreach and has worked with several nonprofits in the Spokane area, demonstrating her commitment to service and community engagement. Urvashi has honed her skills in event planning and communications through a range of experiences, including organizing The West Central Abbey Farmers Market. She has served as the Communications Director for Associated Students of Whitworth University and works as an intern at Washington Trust Bank As a College Equity Ambassador at ACL Spokane, Urvashi is focusing on legislative work and building connections within Asian communities, further showcasing her dedication to community engagement and social justice,
Kira was born in Chongqing, China, and adopted when she was nine months old. She feels lucky to call Seattle, WA, home. She currently attends Gonzaga University where she studies Sociology and Communication Studies. For as long as Kira can remember she has been passionate about social justice. Her interest first started with women’s rights to education but has expanded to health equity, racial equality, and more. Recently her academic interests have been in trauma-informed care, adverse childhood experience education, as well as the experience of adoptees. Kira started working with youth in high school and entered paid mentoring roles when entering college but her primary experience comes from being an older sister. She works closely with Gonzaga University’s Center for Community Engagement during the school year. She is consistently inspired and energized through her work with kids and is excited about her new role with ACLS. In her free time, you can find her trying to spend time outdoors hiking or by the water, she also loves to read and craft. You will also find her making all kinds of things in the kitchen because she is a strong believer that food is one of the best ways to explore culture.
MEET OUR COLLEGE CONNECT TEAM
COLLEGE CONNECT COORDINATOR, Gonzaga University (she/her)
Mayssa was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. She is a second-generation immigrant, her parents immigrated to the U.S. from Laos in the 1980s -1990s. Growing up in a multi-generational household she learned to fluently speak her parents native tongue. She is a current junior at Gonzaga University studying Psychology and Criminology with a minor in Economics. Mayssa has a passion for wanting to advocate and help people in the community, with her studies at Gonzaga, she has worked towards internships that deal with mental health, neurodevelopmental disorders and delinquency in adolescents. When she entered her freshman year at Gonzaga, she was given the opportunity to intern at Gonzaga’s school of Law, this is where her skills in event planning, outreach, and informative work were discovered. As she enters her junior year at Gonzaga, she is excited about the opportunities and experiences that ACLS Spokane has opened up for her. She is also excited to help build the connections in the community as a College Connect Coordinator
Aaliyah Mae Maniego Lewis
COLLEGE CONNECT COORDINATOR, Gonzaga University (she/they)
Aaliyah was born in Daly City, CA. and raised in Tacoma, Washington after her Nanay immigrated to the United States from the Philippines. She is a current senior at Gonzaga University studying Communication with Minors in Promotion & Public Relations. A majority of their work at Gonzaga has revolved around Mentorship, Community Engagement/Community Building, Social Justice, and Cultural Awareness. Aaliyah is most passionate in work that is related to decolonizing the Western mindset, breaking generational trauma, and reclaiming identity. While living in Spokane, her love and passions for Spoken Word, Photography, Video Editing, Designing, and Event Coordinating has grown. Giving her the opportunity to perform in Diversity Monologues, Publish Work on SpokaneFavs, Work as a Photographer for Departments on Campus, and be one of the two organizers for the Filipino-American Student Union Signature Event BARRIO and the Unity Multicultural Education Centers BRIDGE Program. As she heads into her Senior year at Gonzaga she is excited to help build the presence of ACLS as a Campus Connect Coordinator while also building programs with the Social Justice Programming Pillar in UMEC.
COLLEGE CONNECT COORDINATOR, Eastern Washington University (she/they)
Jaden was born in New York and moved around quite a bit growing up before settling in Spokane with her family in 2007. As a first generation Asian-American, Jaden grew up in a multi-generational household, learning the ins and outs of Laotian culture as well as how to speak her family’s native language. Through navigation of school, work and home life Jaden developed a sense of connection to the Spokane Community and started working towards this through her Junior and Senior year of high school at North Central. With aiding to start a mental health campaign that would give students resources and a safe space to be, her love for her community continued to grow. Since then Jaden has been active in her community through her job at MOD Pizza and other aspects of Spokane, with hopes to be able to continue throughout medical school.
COLLEGE CONNECT COORDINATOR, Spokane Falls Community College (they/them)
Pascal Bostic’s passion for art and activism guides their day-to-day life. As a strong believer in the power of narratives, storytelling, and political education, they hope to share their experiences as a queer and nonbinary Filipino-American through film and photography. Drawing inspiration from films such as Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Sorry to Bother You (2018), and Nope (2022), Pascal’s goal is to create meaningful films that lead to critical and reflective societal conversations. Currently a student in Spokane Falls Community College’s Digital Filmmaking program, Pascal continues to expand their knowledge of the practical and creative aspects of filmmaking. After they graduate from SFCC, their plan is to transfer to a four-year university to further explore film. In their spare time, Pascal enjoys going on hikes, spending time with their two cats, and cooking meals for others. However, don’t ask them about their first time making sinigang. (It was a disaster.
MEET OUR BOARD
BOARD PRESIDENT (she/her)
Sarah was born and raised in Pasadena, California, to her parents Augustin and Sheela who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s from India. Growing up in an immigrant household provided a lot of opportunities to find her unique voice amidst the vastly different cultures. In 2014, Sarah moved up to Spokane, Washington, to attend Whitworth University, where she majored in Sociology, with minors in Psychology and Spanish. It was during her college career that Sarah caught the bug for organizing after seeing a lot of misinformation and ugliness surrounding the 2016 presidential election. She and a group of friends advocated for a reproductive rights campus group (Generation Action) to represent a different voice on the campus, but faced a lot of pushback from the school administration. After a two-year long fight, they were victorious in their effort and Sarah was offered an opportunity to organize full-time for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho (PPGWNI) when she graduated in 2018. Soon she got connected with ACL Spokane, and finally felt like Spokane could be home. Sarah has continued her work in social justice by becoming the Public Affairs Manager for PPGWNI and the Co-Chair for ACL Spokane, both avenues in which she focuses on making Spokane and the larger community a better and more inclusive place. In 2022, Sarah was one of the YWCA Women of Achievement Honorees and took the Young Woman of Achievement Award.
BOARD VICE-PRESIDENT (she/her)
Pui-Yan has lived in Spokane for about 20 years. Besides the executive board of ACL-Spokane, she serves as a board member of Greater Spokane Progress (GSP) and a co-chair of its Office of Civil Rights, Equity and Inclusion Work Group. In addition, she serves on the steering committee of Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR). For her day job, Pui-Yan works in higher education as a professor of Sociology at Eastern Washington University.
BOARD SECRETARY (she/her)
Naomi is a mixed Filipina woman, public health research scientist and nerd. Naomi’s migratory upbringing in different places, Arizona, Colorado and the Bay Area to name a few, paralleled her experience as a mixed person and the way she feels that she walks between different worlds. Her experience is what drew her to ACL Spokane in 2018, with the desire to be an active part of creating a city where people experience community and belonging. Naomi currently serves as the Secretary for ACL Spokane’s Executive Board. Naomi’s understanding of health and wellness was redefined and expanded throughout her undergraduate studies and graduate studies, learning about how systems, environments, and communities impact health. Naomi’s work is rooted in the belief that communities deserve every opportunity to achieve their best health. You will find this plant mom spending time outside biking, dancing salsa, weightlifting, cooking and spending time with friends.
BOARD TREASURER (they/them)
Sam is a trans non-binary person white Asian that was born and raised in Spokane, Washington by Korean immigrant parents. They are passionate about studying social justice movements and frameworks to help dismantle all the “-isms” within themselves. Although their goal is to become a licensed therapist to serve queer Asian people in their own healing journeys, they know that healing isn’t holistically possible without an end to white supremacist ableist imperialist capitalist cis-hetero patriarchy (bell hooks). This means there is still plenty of work to do and Sam is excited to be in community with other Asian folks that want to reimagine a world that centers social equity and justice. Sam is inspired by storytelling in all its various forms. Singing, writing, drawing, and makeup are mediums for their creative expression.
BOARD MEMBER (she/her)
Originally from Japan, Rie (Leeay) moved to Washington in 2010 after living in Michigan for a number of years where she worked as a healthcare social worker for over 10 years. She is a professor of Social Work at Eastern Washington University.
Emiko Van Wie
BOARD MEMBER (she/her)
Emiko was born and raised in the Seattle, WA. She is a fourth-generation Japanese American whose great grandparents immigrated to the United States. Emiko earned her undergraduate degree from Washington State University in neuroscience and earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from WSU as well. In 2018, Emiko and her family moved to Spokane Valley from Seattle. She has found it hard to find a place of belonging living in a predominantly white area and it pushed her to find a community of safety and like-mindedness through ACL Spokane. Emiko is also a mom of two and is passionate about pushing against the standards of white supremacy culture in education, extra-curriculars and beyond. She is excited to be on the board and support ACLS in building communities in Spokane and Spokane Valley where minority groups can thrive. In their spare time Emiko and her husband love to find the best places to eat in Spokane.
BOARD MEMBER (he/him)
Mark is currently a therapist intern studying at Whitworth University’s Marriage & Family Therapy program. A part of his passion as a therapist is to be a person of representation in the mental health field to provide therapy services for the Asian/Asian-American community. He hopes to one day open a private practice to provide affordable mental health services for this community along with the broader BIPOC population. After serving the community for a handful of years, he plans to take the next step and earn his PhD to be able to teach/supervise the next generations of clinicians and conduct research that fills gaps in knowledge for Asian/Asian-American psychology and mental health. Apart from his work and studies as a therapist, Mark served the Asian/Asian-American community with ACLS in his final year of his undergraduate degree and grew in his knowledge and experience of advocacy work. He hopes to continue to serve the Asian/Asian-American community to the fullest extent while also growing in his knowledge of and connection to the community. Outside of work and his studies, Mark is a proud dog parent, a proud partner of someone who inspires him daily, and someone who enjoys a good coffee or tea with fruitful conversation.
BOARD MEMBER (she/her)
Katrina (she/her) has lived in Spokane since 2013. She received a B.A. in Political Science, with Cross-Cultural Studies & Environmental Studies emphases. Katrina currently serves as the Program Manager at From Here, Terrain’s latest and widest-reaching arts program; providing 125+ artists a collaborative retail experience with unique professional development opportunities. Outside of her work with Terrain, Katrina is a textile artist that creates fiber pieces which explore our relationship to the natural world. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Main Market Co-op.
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