Growing Leadership for Asian and Pacific Islander Oregonians
The OCAPIA works to grow the number and influence of Asian and Pacific Islander Oregonians within all branches of state government, its key initiatives, departmental leadership and policy work. To do this, the OCAPIA reaches out to API communities statewide to inspire the desire to lead, access training and mentoring opportunities, and to create pathways to lifelong leadership, including in elected roles.
OCAPIA Commissioner Chanpone Sinlapasai-Okamura selected as a 2016 OCFW Woman of Achievement
The Oregon Commission for Women (OCFW) hosts its annual Women of Achievement Awards with Governor Kate Brown each year. Friends and family members of those honored join Oregon Advocacy Commissioners, legislators, community leaders, and students from area community colleges and universities to honor some of Oregon’s most inspiring women.
In 2017, OCAPIA announced that its nominee, Chanpone Sinlapasai-Okamura, is being honored as a Woman of Achievement at a March 8th ceremony in the Governor’s Ceremonial Room in the Capitol. Ms. Sinlapasai-Okamura, who began life with her family in a Laotian refugee camp and has risen to prominence as an Oregon civil rights and immigration attorney, will share her story of challenge and leadership with the attendees. The Women of Achievement are individuals who have led in civic rights and social justice in Oregon, serving Oregon as leadership models for the next generation of women and girls from diverse communities and walks of life across Oregon.
Establishing the OCAPIA Peggy Nagae & Jaime Lim Leadership Scholarships
Celebrating the Journey, Telling Our Stories, on August 23, 2016, saw OCAPIA gather with community leadership, honorees Peggy Nagae and Jaime Lim, the Honorable Lynn Nakamoto, elected and business leaders, families and friends for a night of celebration and fundraising to establish their new API Leadership Scholarships, and naming them in honor of Peggy Nagae and Jaime Lim. Actor Reggie Lee, who plays Sergeant Drew Wu in Grimm, served as keynote speaker to the sold out event, sharing his own journey as a kid from the Philippines with a dream to act, and onward to success in Hollywood.
The celebration, hosted by Platinum Sponsor NW Natural and esteemed business and community sponsors, raised funds for OCAPIA’s newly established leadership scholarships, named for Peggy Nagae and Jaime Lim. The OCAPIA annually provides Asian and Pacific Islander youth and emerging leaders with scholarships to attend leadership conferences and other training hosted by APANO, the Asian American Youth Leadership Conference and others.
• In 2017, 2018, and 2019, OCAPIA awarded 5 leadership development scholarships to emerging leaders and youth in the API community statewide to attend culturally specific training.
• In 2020 the OCAPIA supported, with its leadership development funds, Asian American Youth Leadership Conference’s (AAYLC) first virtual Asian conference using Zoom, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Internships for OCAPIA’s public policy research
The OCAPIA provides undergraduate honors, Masters, PhD, and Law students interested in public policy with high-level for-credit internships researching strategic public policy issues of importance to the Commission and the Asian and Pacific Islander community statewide. Individual Commissioners and OAC legislators serve as champions for the research and as mentors for the students on the public policy implications of their work. In fall 2016, Ennada Lagouit, a Fulbright scholar from Morocco studying at the OSU graduate school for public policy, was selected by OCAPIA and its research partners as the primary researcher to help the Commission, Partners in Diversity, and Oregon Workforce Investment Board study ways to increase success for immigrants who have advanced degrees from international schools to become credentialed and work in their field in Oregon. The resulting research report, released in June 2017, serves as a policy guide for legislators, policymakers, licensing boards and business working to integrate immigrant skills into Oregon’s workforce. The research internships of the OCAPIA and other Advocacy Commissions provide diverse students who wish to work in policy fields of importance to API, Black, and Hispanic communities statewide with high-level, relevant policy work usually unavailable to graduate students, providing leadership training and entre into their professions early in their careers.
OCAPIA’s API Community Forums in partnership with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) in Portland and Eugene, and APAICS (Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies) in Portland
OCAPIA partners with the national WHIAAPI to bring the Oregon API community together with leaders of Federal Agencies serving Oregon to learn about the programs and services helpful to Asian and Pacific Islanders. OCAPIA organized the WHIAAPI community gatherings in Portland and Eugene over the summer of 2015 and with APAICS in 2018 for training for elected leaders and those aspiring to public office. Over 300 API attendees and elected officials gathered in Oregon for discussion and breakout sessions.