Our Mission

We cultivate healthy, long-lasting, and vibrant Asian and Pacific Islander communities through grassroots organizing.

Our Vision

We want a world where Asian and Pacific Islander communities – and all communities of color – have full power to access good health and a healthy environment.

Our Story

API Forward Movement (APIFM) was founded as the Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance, or APIOPA, in 2007. The founders were a group of community advocates who saw that Asians and Pacific Islanders were being left out of public health efforts to address the obesity epidemic, which is why our organization’s name centered obesity prevention at the time.

Since then, the organization’s focus has broadened to ensure APIs are served and represented in efforts to address a range of community health and environmental justice issues. This work has included collaboration with local Asian American farmers and other small farmers of color, building a local food hub to distribute produce from these farmers to small corner stores in LA’s low-income neighborhoods and to the general public via Community Supported Agriculture, as well as environmental justice leadership development with high school youth in San Gabriel Valley. Over the years, we’ve also offered dynamic active living programs, like monthly hiking groups and community bike rides that integrate physical activity with education about the cultural history of LA’s Asian enclaves. More recently, we have also been working on transportation and parks, to ensure that discussions on these key issues include API faces, voices, cultures, and languages. With the support of LA County Department of Public Health’s Champions for Change grant, we’ve also rolled out culturally responsive nutrition education and neighborhood-based advocacy for healthy food access for immigrant communities in Little Tokyo, Koreatown, Historic Filipinotown, and Chinatown.

Our team is passionate about amplifying and addressing the needs of our communities, and moving API community-based leadership forward. That’s why, in 2017, we changed our name from APIOPA to API Forward Movement, and unveiled our new mission statement: to cultivate healthy, long-lasting, and vibrant Asian and Pacific Islander communities through grassroots organizing.

Our Team

API Forward Movement is driven by advocates who are passionate about health equity, the environment, food access, and social justice. Our core staff collaborates closely with community members, organizational partners, youth activists, researchers, and other local leaders on a daily basis. We believe in doing the work collectively!

Clarissa

Clarissa Choy (she/her)

Clarissa is a Community Engagement Coordinator for APIFM’s Tobacco Control and Prevention team. Based in Alhambra, Clarissa is a cheerful and enthusiastic individual who is passionate about creating healthier local communities through education, engagement, and empowerment. She recently graduated from Cal State LA with a B.S. in Public Health—PRAISE THE LORD!—and is so grateful that she now gets to spend time working with amazing people who are zealous about tackling public health and environmental justice issues. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, playing the piano, reading, watching anime, checking out cafes, and spending precious time with friends…...Read more.

duke poster

Duke Choi (he/him)

As the Program Manager for the Tobacco Control and Prevention team, Duke works to ensure a healthier community through advocacy, community engagement, and service. In the future, Duke hopes to eliminate chronic diseases that continue to burden the population. Prior to joining APIFM, Duke worked in corporate wellness as a team lead, where he managed a diverse team of healthcare professionals to implement wellness programs for companies and underserved communities. He also has extensive experience overseeing on-site health screenings, health coaching, and educational programs. Duke is a proud alumnus of USC where he received a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology…...Read more.

Corina Penaia

Corina Penaia (she/her)

Corina is passionate about working with the AAPI community, improving healthy equity, and simply helping folks in any capacity. She is interested in finding innovative ways to increase access to quality health care for underserved communities through education, advocacy, and community outreach. Corina holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Pitzer College and Master’s degree in Public Health from CSUF. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, traveling to new places, and learning more about new cultures and traditions....Read more.

Miko Jao

Michelouis “Miko” Jao (he/him)

In addition to working as the Project Specialist for APIFM’s HEAL Program, Michelouis “Miko” Jao is an artist who writes poetry, film, and music. A graduate of Houston Baptist University with a B.A. in Government and a minor in Latin, he has worked with various Filipino-American organizations to educate, empower, and unite Filipino-American communities nationwide. He is currently a mentor to the Southern Intercollegiate Filipino Alliance (SIFA), involved with the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) as an EPYC Coach, and serves as an adviser of UniPro Texas. In his free time, he enjoys listening to hip-hop music, watching anime, and…...Read more.

lisa

Lisa Thong (she/her)

Lisa Thong leads the policy work for APIFM’s clean air efforts in the San Gabriel Valley where she was born and raised. With more than ten years of experience in government, nonprofit and private sectors, Lisa has extensive experience collaborating with and building coalitions alongside communities. The daughter of Chinese refugees from Vietnam, Lisa believes in building access to systems and institutions that often leave behind communities of color. In addition to her role with APIFM, Lisa consults for nonprofit organizations and companies on strategic marketing, communications, and public affairs. In a volunteer capacity, Lisa currently serves as Vice President…...Read more.

Mark Vega

Mark Vega (he/him)

Mark is a dynamic community advocate from El Sereno, Los Angeles. As a project specialist for Food Roots, Mark ensures that produce grown by our local network of small farms makes it to corner stores, community centers, offices and restaurants across Los Angeles. In past years, he also played a key role on the HEAL team, providing Spanish language interpretation, outreach, and education to community members in our nutrition education workshops. Mark is also a talented musician and avid cyclist who likes long treks on the road with friends....Read more.

Nola Rodriguez

Finola Rodriguez (she/her)

Finola, aka Nola, works as our Project Specialist for the Tobacco Control and Prevention team. She strives to uplift and empower those unjustifiably denied adequate health resources by delivering lessons that inspire self-care, mindfulness, and small, sustainable changes that last a lifetime. She is fueled by the reality that there are still cunning and powerful marketing techniques behind the Tobacco Industry, unfortunately targeting youth and people of color living in low-income neighborhoods. At APIFM she leverages her spunky, upbeat attitude to help community members feel heard and important. It is her hope to see other members discover the power in…...Read more.

Farrah Su

Farrah Su (she/her)

Born in Taiwan, raised in New York, and now based in Los Angeles, Farrah Su finds joy in meaningful relationships, expressive storytelling, and a good cup of tea. As Project Specialist for Food Roots, she looks forward to connecting with small local Asian American farmers and to building more opportunities to bring fresh, sustainably grown, and culturally relevant produce to the various communities of Los Angeles. Inspired by her experiences in working with non-profits and filmmaking, Farrah works to use various forms of art to uplift the stories and voices of disenfranchised communities and to create visual language to empower…...Read more.

Courtney

Courtney Shojinaga (she/her)

Courtney Shojinaga is a Health Educator for a preschool in Koreatown, who helps the students engage with the school garden and learn to be brave with their eating habits through classroom food demonstrations. She is currently a fourth-year at the University of California, Los Angeles and is pursuing a Geography/Environmental Studies Major and a Food Studies Minor. Her desire to increase access to fresh foods and educate young palates stems from her classes at UCLA and a mission trip she took to Chicago. In both LA and Chicago, she volunteered at community gardens and worked with local residents to foster…...Read more.

Nare Park

Nare Park (they/them)

Nare Park (they/them pronouns) is an outreach specialist for the amazing HEAL team at API Forward Movement (APIFM). They provide community outreach, develop gardening curriculum, and facilitate collaborative, fun, and culturally rooted nutrition / cooking and gardening workshops alongside co-facilitator Charleston Daulo. They provide English – Korean, Korean – English translation and consecutive interpretation support at APIFM workshops and in partnership with various community groups. Prior to working at APIFM, Nare was a Program Associate at the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network (HNMN) of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. There, they worked with small market and corner store owners who want to…...Read more.

kevin

Kevin Liao (he/him)

Kevin has been a supporter of APIFM since 2013 as a participant of the Bike to China program. The following summer, he was hired as a project specialist and assisted in coordinating Bike to Japan. Since then, Kevin has volunteered for nearly all of APIFM’s bike rides as a bike marshal to provide a safe buffer between riders and cars on the road as well as repair and fix any bicycle issues encountered on the road. In 2017 Kevin was brought back as a Project Specialist to work on the Oral Health Equity Project to connect the needs and wants…...Read more.

Linda Huynh

Linda Huynh (she/her)

Linda’s involvement with APIFM started years ago, when she supported the organization’s environmental justice leadership development work with the students of Mark Keppel High School. With those youth leaders, she promoted safer bike routes and cleaner air in Monterey Park, especially around the classrooms of Mark Keppel (which is right next to the 10 freeway). Now as a full-time staff member, Linda leads outreach, engagement, and nutrition education for the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) project in Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Historic Filipinotown. In her free time, Linda loves traveling, taking pictures, visiting museums and gardens, and eating…...Read more.

Kyle Tsukahira

Kyle Tsukahira (he/him)

Kyle Tsukahira is currently an interim co-director of API Forward Movement. Previously, as an APIFM program manager, Kyle led Food Roots, a program that partners with small local Asian American farmers to distribute fresh, sustainably grown, and culturally relevant produce to the community through a Community Support Agriculture (CSA) program and wholesale distribution to local corner stores, restaurants, and other community partners. Kyle was born in Los Angeles and raised Temple City, CA. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Asian and Asian American Studies from California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State L.A.). Outside of work he enjoys biking, snowboarding,…...Read more.

Diyana Mendoza-Price

Diyana Mendoza-Price (she/her)

Diyana first got fired up about health equity and social justice through her involvement in reproductive rights and anti-violence work in college. Since then, she has spent almost a decade coordinating nonprofit programs, communications, and advocacy. Diyana has also nurtured a skill set in workshop facilitation and popular education, and has a special interest in community leadership development and movement-building. She is a proud alumna of UCLA’s Asian American Studies master’s degree program (’12) and Barnard College, Columbia University (’06). Her favorite self-care rituals include reading sci-fi/fantasy, drawing, hiking, walking her dog, and cathartic karaoke....Read more.

Advisory Board

Our highly active advisory board provides vision and fundraising support across our work. Their energy and dedication help drive us!

  • Viet Bui, Chair
  • Sisi Zhang, Vice Chair
  • Henry Ngo, Secretary
  • Brian Kim
  • Jennie Ta
  • Naomi Iwasaki
  • Joanna Lee
  • Carol Lee
  • Connie Lee
  • Ralph Degala
  • Eddie Ramos

Donors & Supporters

We want to thank the following donors and supporters for their generosity, and for helping make our work possible.

Foundations

  • Aetna Foundation
  • Annenberg Foundation
  • California Community Foundation
  • Chinatown Firecracker Run
  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • Dignity Health Community Benefits – Long Beach
  • First 5 Los Angeles
  • FreshWorks Fund
  • Kaiser Permanente – Los Angeles
  • Kaiser Permanente – South Bay
  • Nissan Foundation
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • SoCalGas Foundation
  • St. Joseph’s Foundation
  • The California Endowment

Government

  • Board of Supervisors – Hilda Solis
  • California Environmental Protection Agency
  • Center for Disease Control
  • Metro
  • North American Association for Environmental Education
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • US Department of Agriculture
  • Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Education

  • California State University, Fullerton
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • Pepperdine University
  • Pitzer College
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Southern California

Business

  • Dahon
  • Elite Graphics
  • HealthFit
  • Metro
  • Timbuk2

Funder Groups

  • Circle of Change
  • Asian Pacific Community Fund