Emeritus Assistant Vice Chancellor Student Diversity, University of Hawai'i
Amefil (Amy) Agbayani was born in the Philippines and came to Hawai’i as an East-West Center scholar to attend the University of Hawai’i. Amy co-founded Operation Manong, a UH program for college students to tutor Filipino and other immigrant children. Her work at UH Manoa expanded to serve Native Hawaiians, African Americans, Pacific Islanders, women, the LGBT community, students with disabilities, senior citizens, pre-school children, immigrants and other groups underrepresented in higher education. She is a UH Emeritus Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Diversity and Director of the Office of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED).
Amy received alumni awards from the University of the Philippines (BA), the East West Center and the University of Hawaii (Phd). Her research interests are Filipinos in Hawai’i, immigration, and Asian Americans and Pacific islanders in higher education. She was appointed by the Governor to the Hawai’i Judicial Selection Commission and the inaugural chair of the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission. She has received awards from the Patsy T. Mink PAC, the Filipino Community Center, Honpa Hongwanji Mission and the YWCA. In 2008, she served as a Hawai’i elector for President Barack Obama and in 2020 announced the Hawai’i vote at the National Democratic Convention. She is a board member of the Patsy T. Mink PAC and The Legal Clinic for immigrant justice
Ben de Guzman
Director of the Washington, DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs
Ben de Guzman is the Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (MOAPIA). The agency is the largest one of its kind in the country, centering AAPI residents of the nation’s capital and serving as a liaison to city government. He comes to MOAPIA from the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, where he served as the Community Outreach Specialist. During his tenure there, he helped the agency assume the lead role in presenting the 32nd Annual 17th Street High Heel Race, a time-honored institution of the District’s LGBTQ community.
He has been a leading voice at the local and national level on issues of racial equity, immigrants’ rights, veterans affairs, and LGBT justice for twenty years. As an advocate for equity and recognition for Filipino veterans of World War II, he played a key role in two of the most significant legislative victories on behalf of these soldiers. He led communications and outreach strategies for the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project that led to the passage of the Filipino Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal Act in 2016. He also served as the National Coordinator for the National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity, where he organized a national legislative campaign that created the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund in 2009.
For almost ten years, he was principal staff at the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), where he managed the policy and programmatic work for NQAPIA and its federation of 40 Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander LGBT groups around the country. As the public face of the organization, he spearheaded efforts to promote both national LGBT campaigns around comprehensive immigration reform and a national LGBT Pride Month campaign from Asian American/ Pacific Islander advocacy organizations.
His work in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities has spanned across the age spectrum. As a trainer for OCA: Asian Pacific American Advocates APIAU Leadership 101 program, he has trained over 1,000 youth and college students. As the National Managing Coordinator for the Diverse Elders Coalition, he led a national program to coordinate cross-sectoral work to bring together elders of color, LGBT elders, and Native American/ Indian American elders to engage the 2015 White House Conference on Aging.
He has authored articles and op-eds that have appeared in mainstream and special interest media, anthologies, and academic publications,including the Encyclopedia of Asian American Issues Today. In 2015, he received a Community Service Award from Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and is pleased to come to MOAPIA and help recognize exciting new leaders moving forward.
Ben is the son of Filipino immigrants and was born and raised in New Jersey. He first moved to the District in 1997 and is a proud resident of Ward 1.
Nurse Practitioner, palliative & hospice care
Caitanya Min, NP-C, ACHPN, is a board-certified palliative care/hospice nurse practitioner in San Francisco, California. She is dedicated to bringing quality of life and ease to physical/mental suffering of all patients, particularly for those with chronic/terminal illnesses and at end of life. Caitanya currently serves on the Executive Board of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Hospice Palliative Nurses Association.
Mahina Paishon Duarte
CEO of Waiwai Collective
Mahina Paishon-Duarte is co-founder and chief executive officer of Waiwai Collective, a regenerative urban oasis, a kīpuka, for creatively growing community, culture, and commerce. As a social entrepreneur who has also led several educational and cultural organizations, her vision and mission are one and the same––to catalyze positive, lasting change for Hawaii in one generation. Most notably, Mahina is the founding executive director of Paepae o Heʻeia, the first modern Hawaiian fishpond that created ground-breaking ʻāina-based education programming for students from preschool through post-doctoral levels. She gained public sector experience as a policy program manager with NOAAs Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, as well as head of school for both Hālau Kū Māna and Kanu o ka ʻĀina public charter schools. Additionally, Mahina is deeply committed to honing her cultural practice and does so at various traditional schools and wahi pana including Nā Kālai Waʻa, Hālau o ke ʻAʻaliʻi Kū Makani and at Heʻeia fishpond. Mahina holds degrees from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, and Hawaiʻi Pacific University; and serves on a number of not for profit boards in the areas of education, living culture and arts, and economic development.
Monona Yin is a family caregiver who teamed with her mother, Fay Hoh Yin, to advocate for the option of medical aid in dying. As a professional, Monona is a thirty-year veteran of social justice philanthropy, holding senior positions at Borealis Philanthropy, Four Freedoms Fund, F.B. Heron Foundation, and the North Star Fund. She is also a co-founder and former staff member of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities. In 2017 she edited and published her mother’s memoirs: Riding With The Wind: Three Generations of My Family in China. Since Fay’s death from lymphoma in July 2020, Monona has continued to advocate for medical aid in dying in her home state of New York.
Dr. Mitsuo Tomita
UCSD School of Medicine assistant clinical professor & retired family physician
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Dr. Tomita attended UCLA before attending medical school at UCSF. After completing his internship and residency in Fresno in family medicine, he joined Kaiser Permanente in San Diego in 1975. He retired from full-time family practice at Kaiser in 2008 and then did some part-time work in community health centers in the San Joaquin Valley as well as in Washington state. He splits his time between San Diego and Seattle. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor on the voluntary faculty of the UCSD School of Medicine.
Author, scholar & retired economics professor
Semoon, a Korean-American, is a retired professor of economics. Based on his experience as a sole care giver of his late wife, he has been writing articles on the issue of compassion on hospice patients and retirement of the elderly. His recent articles include: “Desperate Needs for Compassion from Oncologists,” Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine (2018); “Do Oncologists Care about Their Dying Patients?” Annals of Palliative Care & Medicine (2019), and “Can Dance Be in Every Woman’s Retirement Plan?” Acta Scientific Women’s Health (2019, with D. Anne Martin). Semoon also published a book on the subject of compassion: Desperate Needs for Compassion from Oncologists (Mauritius: Scholar’s Press, 2019). Currently, Semoon resides at the Leisure World of Maryland, and an active member of the Compassion and Choices Club of the Leisure World.
End-of-life doula & community organizer
Tida Beattie trained with Doulagivers as an eldercare consultant and end-of life doula in 2020 in reaction to the overwhelming and traumatic deaths of her parents. She is the American-born daughter of Thai immigrants. She hopes to guide immigrants and their families to culturally intelligent resources and support so they can make informed care decisions around end of life in line with their values and wishes. She is a co-founder of MESO, an organization providing community education focused on immigrant and next generation experiences with heritage, wellness, death, and grief. She lives in Northern California, loves to eat dumplings, and enjoys exploring farmers markets.
Government affairs professional & policy advocate
Vincent Wiraatmadja is an experienced policy advocate working at the intersection of climate policy and technology. Before joining the Climate Center, a climate non-profit, in 2021 as its first Government Affairs Manager, Wiraatmadja worked for more than half a decade at the Weideman Group, where he represented Compassion and Choices in its successful effort to enact California’s End of Life Option Act in 2015. Wiraatmadja’s portfolio also encompassed representation of numerous clean energy and clean transportation companies before the Legislature and regulatory agencies. During the course of that work, Wiraatmadja was at the center of numerous efforts to enact policy frameworks that enabled the development and adoption of the climate-focused technologies California needs to achieve its ambitious goals, ranging from heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles to resilient distributed energy systems. Wiraatmadja now uses this robust combination of policy knowledge, legislative strategy, and understanding of the business environment to support the Climate Center and its focus on accelerating climate action timelines in California through legislation and other policy mechanisms.