All staff can be reached by phone at 703-256-2208. Click on each picture to learn more about them!
Caitlin Huynh (Huỳnh Nhất Phương) is the Vietnamese Outreach Specialist at Hamkae Center. She is a 1st-generation Vietnamese American based in Northern Virginia who was born in Tiểu Cần, Việt Nam. She is fluent in French, Vietnamese, and English.
As a former researcher with the East-West Center in Washington DC, she supported U.S.- Indo-Pacific public diplomatic efforts. At her previous employment, she coordinated and processed life sciences translation requests for clinical trials. It was here where she rediscovered a passion for language justice as it relates to healthcare access and information. Her other passions for worker’s rights and universal healthcare coverage stem from her immigrant experience of helping her parents navigate multiple government bureaucracies to receive unemployment assistance and healthcare.
In Caitlin’s free time, you can find her spoiling her cat, hiking, working out, and doing photo walks.
Jasmine Leu (翁翠莉) is the Civic Engagement Manager at Hamkae Center and oversees all voter education, mobilization, and protection projects. She believes that every Asian American voter is integral to amplifying Asian American voices, electing candidates who will prioritize our communities, and bringing us closer to a truly representative democracy.
Jasmine is a 2nd-generation Taiwanese American born and raised in the DMV area, with educational background in Computer Science, Sociology, and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. Her previous academic and professional experience includes leading a peer-education group on LGBTQ+ issues and allyship, facilitating discussions on the intersectionality of Asian American women, hosting workshops to raise awareness about the wage gap, researching housing inequity in the Czech Republic, and canvassing for Pennsylvania’s 2018 midterm elections.
Some of her favorite things in life are stuffed animals, cows, watching TikToks, bucatini, and baking and eating desserts.
Mitch Chan is the Organizing Team Lead at Hamkae Center. Born in Flushing, New York, she is the daughter of Chinese-Malaysian immigrants. As being Asian is not a monolithic experience, Mitch seeks to celebrate the differences in our backgrounds and experiences so that we can uplift Asian voices, while ensuring that we fight and win the tangible changes that our communities need.
She has a strong background in community and labor organizing. Prior to joining Hamkae Center, Mitch was the Lead Organizer at ACE Collaborative and New Virginia Majority. She organized Asian community members around housing and COVID-19 justice in Arlington, Virginia. She was also a staunch union organizer with her own graduate student union (Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO) in Champaign, Illinois.
In addition to her work at Hamkae Center, she organizes with Asian LGBTQIA+ community groups in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area. In her spare time, she is attempting to perfect her culinary skills. She can be found in the kitchen, figuring out how to make Malaysian dishes and kuihs. Her dream is to open an underground queer Chinese-Malaysian cat cafe and bookstore.
Sami Watson is Hamkae Center’s Field Coordinator. They are a queer, second-generation Indian American who was born and raised in rural Central Virginia.
Sami is interested in social justice and promoting civic engagement, especially in underrepresented communities. She has experience in community organizing and politics, including managing political campaigns.
In her free time, Sami enjoys gardening, trying new food, and playing games with their friends, family, and cats.
Sejung Park (박세정) is a Legal Services Coordinator who is fluent in Korean and English. She was born in South Korea. She majored in broadcasting and reporting in college. Before joining Hamkae Center, she helped small businesses at a Korean radio station in Northern Virginia. This is her first time working in the nonprofit field. She wants to help make a change in the community for the better.
In her free time, she likes working out, listening to music, walking, and hanging out with her family.
Ha Tang (Tăng Hoàng Hà) is a 1.5 generation Vietnamese/Chinese (aka: người Hoa, specifically, Teochew) American with a degree in Social Work. As a Community Organizer, she focuses on strengthening leadership and building power with community members who are impacted by challenges such as language barriers, racism, immigration status, and lack of healthcare access.
She found her passion for social justice, advocacy, and education as a participant in the Southeast Asian Action Resource Center Leadership & Advocacy Training (SEARAC LAT), where she advocated for increased funding for college access, completion programs, and ethnic data disaggregation. She later went on to serve as a mentor at Asian American Youth Leadership Empowerment & Development (AALEAD) and worked at a school. She was also an active civic engagement volunteer at Hamkae Center.
She enjoys playing video games, watching Asian dramas, eating, and spending time with friends and family.
Maggie Chu is the Youth Leadership Coordinator at Hamkae Center, who oversees the New Leaders Collective (NLC). They have a strong passion for community building in minoritized communities and supporting the next generation of leaders in our movements for liberation.
Maggie is mixed-race Chinese-American born and raised in rural Virginia with an educational background in Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies and History. Previously, she worked in youth programming and development for under-served Asian American high school youth in Montgomery County, MD at Asian American LEAD. Maggie has experience with student organizing, coalition building, and the fight for ethnic studies in higher education. They believe that community care and relationship building as a foundation for the work we do.
Some of Maggie’s favorite things to do include going to concerts, making personalized playlists, and sharing food with friends!
Patrick Canteros is Hamkae Center’s Growth and Operations Team Lead. They are a 1st-generation queer Filipino from Richmond, VA with an educational background in Asian American Studies and Finance.
Patrick’s prior professional experiences include project management in health care tech, community building and organizing with queer, AAPI, and student communities, and academic research in histories of nationalism and imperialism. They fully believe in the power of care and revolutionary optimism to sustain movements and achieve collective liberation.
Outside of work, Patrick enjoys being out in nature – either reading, writing, or going on a hike.
Sarah Choi (최산성) is a Community Organizer, focused on organizing Asian Americans who are facing injustice to win social, racial, and economic equity policy changes. She was born in South Korea and spent her childhood living in nine different countries including South Africa, Australia, and the United States.
Sarah had exclusive experiences in her youth as a key member of her church, reaching out and understanding the current issues and challenges affecting Korean Americans and the greater community living in southern Virginia. Her experiences living among such a diversity of cultures and races, as well as her studies in Communications & Broadcasting, showed her the importance of justice and the human rights movement. She witnessed the changes that happened when Nelson Mandela ran for office, and when the former president of South Korea was impeached in 2017 after the Sewol Ferry disaster. She participated in numerous film projects and documentaries that addressed racial discrimination and the importance of human rights during her studies in Virginia to work as a film producer.
Sarah is bilingual in Korean and English. She is a complete film geek and also enjoys listening to her vinyl collection in her free time.
Sookyung Oh (오수경) joined Hamkae Center as its first Director in January 2017. Her role is to lead an awesome team and build a strong organization to realize the mission of organizing Asian Americans to achieve racial, economic, and social justice. Previously, she coordinated national immigrant rights campaigns for NAKASEC National.
Sookyung has worked at the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) as a Public Policy Analyst and The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis in Richmond, VA as a State Policy Fellow. She started organizing in Asian American communities at the Jaisohn Center and at Asian Americans United in Philadelphia. Currently, she is on the boards of the Virginia Civic Engagement Table, Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights, and the Alliance for Human Services of Fairfax County.
She is a 2nd-generation Korean American who enjoys comic books and the D.C. blues scene.
Zowee Aquino is a queer, 2nd generation Filipino American from Hampton Roads, VA interested in intersectional health equity. As the Policy & Communications Team Lead, Zowee pursues opportunities to advance a grassroots policy advocacy agenda to elected officials, media, and other stakeholders. In her previous role as the Community Health Organizer, she advanced health equity for Asian American communities, statewide health access policy, and COVID equity for AAPI and other immigrant communities in Virginia. She believes that everyone has dignity and worth, and that amplifying lived experiences and building relationships are critical to changing power dynamics to create lasting change.
In her spare time, she likes to sew, sing, weightlift, and spend time with friends and family.
Jade Feng Lee is the Special Projects Coordinator at Hamkae Center, developing programming and workshops examining anti-violence through a creative lens. Jade is a queer, non-binary, second-generation Chinese/Taiwanese-American born and raised in Maryland.
From their experience as an artist and youth educator, Jade has nurtured a strong belief in visual arts as pathways for learning, healing, and building community. Through creative catharsis and collaboration, they hope to develop projects that raise awareness and open discussion about the different forms of violence experienced by AAPI.
In their spare time, Jade is learning to code to make weird poetic video games. They also enjoy cooking for friends, treasure hunting at flea markets, and playing volleyball. They collect owl figurines and will disregard the notion that they might have too many hoots.
Miae Bok (복미애) works with a multilingual team to strengthen, grow, and support Hamkae Center’s Community Services & Outreach program. They are a 2nd-generation Korean American from Northern Virginia.
Believing that true sustainable social change must center the community, Miae joined Hamkae Center in 2018 as a Resource Organizer before moving into their current position. While completing their MSW, they interned with the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, providing data analysis and research support to foster more inclusive programs. They also interned with Diversity Richmond, kickstarting the organization’s first Bisexual+ support group.
In their spare time, Miae enjoys playing JRPGs, dreaming about big dogs, and planning their next cosplay.
Quynh Nguyen (Nguyễn Quỳnh-Vân) is a queer 2nd-generation Vietnamese american rooted in Northern Virginia. As the Digital Organizer, they amplify our work online by creating and maintaining content for our newsletter, website, and social media accounts. They started first as Hamkae Center’s Membership & Communications Associate to pursue their passion for exploring and helping flourish the potentials of a progressive AAPI collective in NoVA.
In their journey of understanding what it meant to be LGBT, Asian, and american at the same time, they found a love for learning the radical histories/movements of oppressed people here and everywhere, abandoning the pre-medical career track to instead explore what influences health from a societal perspective. They’ve done research on health inequities of marginalized populations at the national level as an NIH intern, as well as at the local level with Appalachian communities as a student researcher, and they’re excited to do work that helps Vietnamese and other Asian americans realize and change the greater forces that impact our health and well-being, beyond the individual.
They enjoy eggplant, trying local immigrant-owned restaurants, finding ways to get things for free, and taking the stairs.
Sarah Liu is Hamkae Center’s Public Health Program Coordinator. Born in Tokyo, Japan to Japanese and Taiwanese parents, she is bilingual in Japanese and English. She has an educational background in Global Maternal & Child Health.
Sarah strives to create more equitable health structures for Asian Americans in her role through public health education, connections to services, and advocacy. Her passions in violence prevention and reproductive health equity stem from her experiences in El Salvador, where she worked with organizations to combat malnutrition in children, tackle violence against women, and advocate for more reproductive health education. Her other previous health experiences include investigating the accessibility of menstrual products for communities of color in Colorado and working alongside Postpartum Support Virginia, advocating for support groups for mothers experiencing PMADs. Most recently, she worked as a public health consultant for Community Organizing Radical Empathy.
In her spare time, Sarah enjoys playing volleyball, traveling, singing karaoke, cooking, spending quality time with friends and family (including her adorable dog), being a foodie, and writing reviews on Yelp.
Soyoung Yoon (윤소영) was born in Seoul, Korea. Before she joined Hamkae Center, where she focuses on providing immigrant legal services and other community support, she served immigrant-owned small businesses in Northern Virginia at several accounting firms and was a freelance graphic designer. She believes that every human being has equal rights and a duty to protect those rights, as well as fulfill their civic responsibilities.
In her free time, she likes drawing, reading, and walking.