What I appreciate most about AAJIL is the community of people it has attracted-- curious, generous, talented folks who share our values of justice, love, and emergence. These are people who really believe that we can change the world through collective action. It’s so inspiring.
Dr. Sandra So Hee Chi Kim (she/her) is AAJIL’s founder and Co-Executive Director. She is an adjunct professor of race and ethnic studies at Cal State LA and a Visiting Scholar in USC’s Department of American Studies and Ethnicity. Her research explores the intersections of race, global coloniality, migration, and culture. Her articles have appeared in Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, Positions: Asia Critique, Korean Studies, Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, and Occasion: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled The Kinship of Empires: Transpacific Coloniality and Korean Historical Trauma.
Alex Cena (he/him) is AAJIL’s Co-Executive Director. He is a diversity and inclusion professional with 11 years of experience specializing in leadership development and community organizing. His background in leadership comes from his experience in student organizing, youth development, higher education, and diversity & inclusion consulting. He also serves as the Director of Leadership Development for LEAP (Leadership Education Asian Pacifics), where he is responsible for the efficient, cost-effective, and timely delivery and coordination of community and corporate leadership development programs, workshops, and events.
As someone, who recently moved from Virginia to California, AAJIL has been vital in helping me develop community and giving me space to continue my work. I am excited about growing with members of this organization as we aim to create spaces for people to connect, learn, and grow as effective community leaders!
I appreciate the space and support AAJIL has given me to explore my own identity as a Chinese American and to also be a part of a community of people who are dedicated to social and racial justice work. I’ve been deeply moved by the stories and experiences of the individuals in AAJIL and grateful for the opportunity to be on this journey with them.
Elaine Chiu (she/her) is AAJIL’s Director of Community. She is a born and raised New Yorker but moved to California in 2018 to pursue a second masters degree in Intercultural Studies with a focus on Asian American Contexts at Fuller Theological Seminary. Although Elaine started out with an early childhood special education background, she is now a 6th grade teacher at St. James Episcopal School. She’s excited to integrate her studies in graduate school with her work in education and as a classroom teacher to rethink curriculum that can expose and engage students to think more deeply and compassionately about the world.
Jean Park (she/her) is AAJIL's Director of Operations and a member of the Artists Lab, Lotus Art Collective. She is a Community Engagement Coordinator at API Forward Movement, a nonprofit working to cultivate healthy and active API communities through grassroots organizing. She is currently working on the CleanAirSGV Campaign and participating in the Nature For All coalition. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jean is inspired by advocacy organizations and coalitions fighting to end homelessness.
I’m so appreciative of the resources and guidance AAJIL has given me to develop collaborative projects, such as the Lotus Art Collective, and regularly engage in community-building dialogue. It’s been inspiring to envision a more just and loving world with my AAJIL family.