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About OCAPIA

Read OCAPIA's Response to Anti-Asian Hate 03-18-21

Our Vision:

We serve the people of Oregon to empower and support Asian and Pacific Islanders through our special roles as policy advisors to Oregon state policy makers and leaders. The OCAPIA is a catalyst that empowers partnerships between state government and our communities in rural and urban areas to ensure success for all Asian and Pacific Islander Oregonians by addressing issues at the policy level.   

Our Mission: 

The mission of the OCAPIA is to work for the implementation and establishment of economic, social, legal, and political equality for Asian and Pacific Islanders in Oregon and to maintain a continuing assessment of the issues and needs confronting Asian and Pacific Islanders. 

Our Principles and Values:

  • Equity for Asian and Pacific Islander Oregonians in jobs and the economy, education, health, safety, family stability, environment, and civic engagement.
  • Equal treatment and protection against discrimination.
  • Access to helpful information on services and available resources.
  • Working in partnership on research and policy analysis of longstanding issues and barriers to success within the API community statewide.
  • Inclusion of Asian and Pacific Islanders’ viewpoints in policy making at the state level.
  • Celebration of and education about the contributions and achievements of Asian and Pacific Islanders in Oregon.

Our Statutory Goals and Strategic Priorities

  • Advocate for equitable policies assuring the success of Asian and Pacific Islander Oregonians at the state level.
  • Engage community and state partners to promote equity for Asian and Pacific Islanders across Oregon.
  • Study and analyze issues affecting the Asian and Pacific Islander community statewide and recommend policy remedies to state policy makers.
  • Grow and develop leaders among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at the state level in all branches.
  • Increase the viability and visibility of the contributions and achievements of Asian and Pacific Islanders in Oregon.

OCAPIA is actively engaged in its statutory work focused on 7 Strategic Priorities each biennium:
  1. Education
  2. Jobs and the economy
  3. Healthcare
  4. Justice, safety and policing
  5. Stable families and housing
  6. Environmental Justice/Equity
  7. Civic engagement

Meet the Commissioners

Portland
Mohamed Alyajouri is currently a healthcare administrator, managing two Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) Primary Care clinics. Mohamed serves on the leadership team of OHSU’s growing primary care team, which has expanded to Washington County over the past two years. With over 15 years in the Healthcare field, his experience includes Program Development work for Oregon’s Community Health Centers, Project Management for Multnomah County Health dept. and other Quality Improvement work. Additionally, Mohamed has international experience working with the World Health Organization.
 
Mohamed has always had a passion for positive civic engagement and to better the community.  For most of his adult life, his professional and community involvement has been around community building, social justice initiatives, interfaith outreach and partnerships and public health promotion. As a proud Oregonian, a Yemeni-American, and a first-generation Muslim immigrant, he decided to run for local public office. In the Spring of 2017, Mohamed was elected to the 7-member Portland Community College Board of Directors, serving residents of Washington and Yamhill counties. Mohamed was the first and only Muslim-immigrant to be elected to any public office in Oregon.
 
Mohamed grew up in Oregon, as a proud first-generation immigrant. He is an OSU Beaver Believer, through and through. He completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies at Oregon State University, receiving his Bachelors in Healthcare Administration and his Masters in Public Health. Mohamed lives in Beaverton Oregon with his wife and 3 children. 
 
In addition to being an elected official, Mohamed also serves on World Oregon's Advisory Board and the Muslim Educational Trust's Outreach Committee.

Portland
Jessica Asai is yonsei, a fourth generation Japanese American; and was raised in Hood River, Oregon where her family has farmed for four generations.  After receiving a B.A. in Politics (minor in Women’s Studies) from Willamette University, Jessica moved to Honolulu and worked in marketing and government relations.  She later obtained a J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School and practiced corporate and employment law.  In 2010, Jessica left the practice of law and joined the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Department (AAEO).  At OHSU, she conducts internal civil rights investigations, facilitates the reasonable accommodation interactive process, and provides advice and training to administrators, faculty, staff, and students on civil rights, equity, and Title IX issues.  

Jessica has mentored law students; served on boards, including the Oregon State Bar House of Delegates; and is a founding board member of the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association (OAPABA).  Jessica’s past community service has included a focus on the Japanese American community and she was a contributor to the team effort that successfully nominated attorney and civil rights activist Minoru Yasui for a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the nation’s highest civilian honor.  More recently, she was the Minidoka Civil Liberties Symposium speaker for 2020.​


Salem

​Jackie moved to Salem, Oregon in 2011.  She speaks Chinese, Spanish, and learning to speak Chuukese.  She has a Masters of Science in Public Health from the University of Iowa and a Juris Doctorate from Willamette University College of Law.  She is a PhD student at Oregon State University. She is an advocate for domestic violence survivors, examining legislative issues affecting the Asian and Pacific Islander community, cultural competency training programs, and organizes social justice oriented programs within the community.  Jackie currently works as a Community Organizer and Community Health Worker Supervisor and assists Micronesian Islanders including COFA citizens on health issues.

Portland

Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie has over 20 years of experience working with and advocating for refugees and immigrants. As a 1.5 generation refugee, she brings a unique perspective for understanding the strengths and complexities of working with refugees and immigrants. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology/Sociology from Eastern Oregon University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Both her undergraduate and graduate research comprised of the use of participatory action framework to explore and address the disparities in meaningful language access for limited English proficient individuals in healthcare and the U.S. Naturalization process.

 
Ms. Soneoulay-Gillespie has substantial experience advocating for systemic change related to the needs of refugees and immigrants in both direct practice, program management capacities, policy, and community advocacy. Having served as an interpreter, consultant, and trainer, she is also passionate about the development and professionalism of the interpreting field. In partnership with the Alaska State Refugee Coordinator, she developed a 16-hour curriculum that trains providers and interpreters on the fundamentals of interpreting to ensure they are working from the same platform of expectations and ethics. The curriculum was initially implemented in a refugee resettlement setting and later expanded to social service agencies, universities, new employee orientations, volunteer trainings, primary care clinics, and advocacy groups. It has been implemented for over 15 years in Alaska, Northern California, and Oregon. Her previous role as Director of Refugee Resettlement at Catholic Charities gave her a invaluable platform for elevating this training on a county level. In her current role as the Social Services Manager for Population Health at CareOregon, she continues to be a fierce advocate, raising awareness in the healthcare network on the role of interpreters, the role of service providers, and how to work alongside one another to ultimately honor the strong and compelling voices that often go unheard.
She credits her deep commitment to language access from the courage and sacrifices made by her refugee parents Soulideth and Phouvong, and the limited English proficient community who is continuously overlooked, misunderstood, and left out of conversations.
 
She speaks often of her privilege of meeting incredible people who have taken the time to offer wisdom and guidance and through that, she has a profound appreciation for those who came before her and is committed to giving back in ways that let others know they matter, and in ways that keep her grounded. When she’s not working, she finds joy and rejuvenation from spending time with her husband Virgil, nine year old daughter Sanaa, and seven year old son Myles.
Eugene, adopted from Korea in 1956

​Susan is Vice President Policy & External Affairs at Holt International and is an internationally recognized expert and presenter on child welfare and adoption. She testifies regularly before Congress on these issues and has attended numerous White House briefings on public policy regarding adoption and child welfare; was instrumental in passing legislation providing automatic citizenship for children adopted abroad and to ratify the Hague Convention on Intercountry adoption in the U.S.

 
Ms. Cox has published numerous articles and papers; is editor of the anthologies, Voices from Another Place; More Voices; and founder of the Gathering for Korean Adoptees in 1999 in Washington D.C. and the Reunion of Vietnamese Adoptees.
 
Ms. Cox is a member of the Hague Special Commission on Intercountry Adoption; and was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Asian and Pacific Islanders. She was invited as a special guest to attend South Korea’s 60th Anniversary Celebration; and was awarded an Honorary Citizen of Seoul in 2005 by President elect Lee Myung-bak.

 
In 2013, Susan was appointed as Honorary Consul for the State of Oregon in Eugene, by the Republic of Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Portland

​Bio coming soon.

Portland, District 23
Michael Dembrow is the state senator for District 23, covering portions of NE and SE Portland and the city of Maywood Park. First elected by voters in 2008 to the state house, he is serving his first term in the senate after being appointed to the seat in November 2013.  Voters re-elected Michael to the senate in November 2014.
No stranger to public service, Michael is an English instructor at Portland Community College's Cascade campus in North Portland. He has been teaching writing and film studies at the college since 1981, and served as the President of the PCC faculty union for 16 years.  He continues to teach one or two classes per term when the legislature is not in session.
 
Michael earned his undergraduate degree in English from the University of Connecticut and his Master's degree in Comparative Literature from Indiana University. Michael and his wife Kiki have lived in District 23 for over 30 years. They have a son, Nikolai and a daughter, Tatyana and two grandchildren.  Michael is an avid runner and has completed the Portland Marathon multiple times.  He and Kiki are proud parents of two whippets.
Portland, District 46

Khanh Pham is the State Representative for Oregon House District 46 (Jade District, SE/NE Portland). She was first elected in 2020 and is the first Vietnamese American legislator in the State Legislature, and currently the only elected Asian Pacific Islander in Oregon State Government. 

Khanh was a founding leader of and spokesperson for the groundbreaking Portland Clean Energy Fund Initiative, which successfully passed in November 2018. 

Prior to the legislature, she served as the Interim Alliance Director at the Oregon Just Transition Alliance, leading efforts to develop a frontline-led vision and platform for an Oregon Green New Deal. Prior to that, she was a Environmental Justice Manager at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO).  Khanh brings years of experience in community organizing and a deep commitment to Environmental and Climate Justice. Khanh has a BA from Lewis & Clark College and a Masters in Urban Studies from Portland State University, where she specialized in urban planning, climate change adaptation, and equity planning.



 

Public Records Requests (PRR)

The Oregon Advocacy Commissions Office (OACO) responds to requests for public records in the general way described in the Oregon Department of Administrative Services' (DAS) Public Records Requests policy (pdf).

The DAS Public Records Requests Fees and Charges policy outlines the fees the department charges for records, and the process the agency uses to fulfill requests.

Please choose one of the following methods to request public records from OACO:
1. Email your request to Albert Lee, Executive Director of the OACO, with "PRR" included in the subject line.

OR

2. Mail a written request to this address:

Oregon Advocacy Commissions Office
421 SW Oak St., Suite 770
Portland, OR 97204


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