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May 22, 2009
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Vietnamese Federation of San Diego – Vietnamese Federation of San
Community Service
Diego (VFSD) has been serving the Vietnamese community for 25 years.
Originally founded in 1984 as a mutual assistance association for
refugees, providing social services and other assistance, it grew into the
Jhampa Kalsang – When the Chinese began their pre-Olympic crack- largest Vietnamese American umbrella organization in San Diego. VFSD
down in Tibet last year, the tiny Tibetan community in California spoke consists of 38 association members, such as elders, veterans, student, reli-
out. Aided by non-Tibetan sympathizers, human rights advocates and gious, youth, and professional associations as well as individual represen-
Buddhists among them, they helped alert the world to the suffering in their tatives of the Vietnamese community. VFSD continues to cater to the cul-
homeland. In San Diego the protest was spearheaded by Jhampa Kalsang. tural and social needs of the growing Vietnamese American community in San Diego. Among
Eight years ago he opened Tibet Gift House, a small shop in the Normal activities, it sponsors three annual events – the Tet Festival, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
Heights section of San Diego. Along with Tibetan crafts and books, it has and the Black April Commemoration, an observance of the fall of Saigon April 30, 1975.
become a center for Tibetan culture in San Diego, where Kalsang devotes
himself to preserving his culture and giving voice to his countrymen. Korean American Coalition, San Diego
Chapter – The Korean American Coalition is a
Jeffrey Caballero – As the Executive Director of the Association of civil rights and advocacy organization. It was
Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), Jeffrey founded in 1983, but it took the Rodney King
Caballero works tirelessly to improve the health of Asian Americans and riots to put it on the map. The riots spilled into
Pacific Islanders. He has advocated for policies and programs to improve Koreatown from South Central Los Angeles. Not one politician spoke up for the community.
the quality of health care in the community that is linguistically and cul- Business owners finally realized the need for a strong voice to advocate for Korean American
turally appropriate. He is also a member of numerous national committees issues. The coalition now numbers 21 chapters and affiliates throughout the United States. It
addressing scourges affecting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders such has become the principle advocate for communities concerns and interest and is dedicated to
as tuberculosis, hepatitis B, diabetes, and cancer. He brings not only a developing leadership within the community and forging alliances with other ethnic groups.
commitment to the community, but the training to effectively advocate
from reform, having earned a BA in Biochemistry/Cell Biology from UCSD and a Masters in Suji Kim – Suji Kim is an accomplished business consultant and
Public Health from UCLA. award-winning marketing communications executive. She has devoted her
energy and talent to building bridges across cultures and communities. In
Brian Tom – When Brian Tom started California Educational Centers 2006, she organized the Korean Festival and the Korean Gala Dinner
Inc. in 1991 it had a homework lab, a used van, and a staff of 5 employees. Fashion Show, providing a window for Americans and others to experience
Today it boast contracts with dozens of school districts, community partner- the diversity of Korean culture. In 2008, Kim launched America's first
ships, and a staff of more than 30. Seventeen years ago, he couldn’t have Korean Food Week to promote Korean food and restaurants to mainstream
fathomed such a brilliant future for himself. He had been diagnosed with consumers. She also worked with the Padres to distribute 1,000 tickets to
glaucoma, a disease that affects the optic nerve and, left untreated, leads to the Korean community so they could support their country’s team in the
blindness. He serves on the Board of Directors for Cerritos Chamber of world baseball championship. Kim volunteers on an ongoing basis as the VP of Development
Commerce and the Girl Scout Council of Greater Long Beach, ABC for the Pacific Rim Parks Project. Her motto is to contribute anywhere, anytime for anything,
Unified School District, and The Braille Institute. In the past he has opened up his company to so long as it’s creating connections across Korean, Asian, and other communities.
two of the Foundation for the Junior Blind’s STEP internship participants, allowing them to
shadow staff members and gain better insight into the careers they are considering. Kim-Yen Huynh – Kim Yen Huynh, senior vice president for First
Vietnamese Bank, is one of the most influential females in Orange County.
Robin Tarr – Through sheer determination, a gentle spirit of aloha Founder of the Asian American Business Women’s Association, she was
and countless uncompensated hours, Robin Tarr nudged, cajoled and also the first female to become president of the Vietnamese-American
welcomed hundreds of individuals and members of community organiza- Chamber of Commerce in OC. In 2002, she was a founder of the OC
tions, as she established the Jonathan Tarr Foundation (JTF). The founda- Presidents Council, a non-profit dedicated to achieving success by reaching
tion was named in honor her son Jonathan who died in a car accident 11 beyond individual cultures. As a result of her community efforts, in 2007,
years ago. Robin turned this tragedy into triumph, by establishing schol- she received the Outstanding Role Model Award from the ABA of OC. She has organized
arships for under-served, minority students. Starting with $25 in seed monthly seminars and workshops to help business owners, spearheaded BizCon, the highly
money she raised more than $194,000 to fund 243 scholarships for 59 successful annual business conference in Orange County, and organized tennis tournaments to
high schools in San Diego County. help patients with eye problems, orphanages and senior citizens in Vietnam.
Vietnamese American Youth Alliance – The Vietnamese American American Coalition for Filipino Veterans – Since December 1995, the coalition's pri-
Youth Alliance (VAYA) promotes leadership, cultural awareness, social mary mission is to restore full U.S. government recognition and to win equitable VA benefits
activism and community development. Founded less than five years ago, for veterans by passing the bill: "Filipino Veterans
VAYA plays an important role in the community by fostering wholesome Equity Act," thus amending the discriminatory effects
values in young people. It teaches them to be open and respectful, honest of the "1946 Rescission Act." Filipinos fought under
and accountable, not to shy away from the big challenges but to embrace the U.S. flag during WWII under the military order
them and see them through. One of the principle ways it works to achieve its goals is through issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt when the
community projects, such as the VAYA Tet Festival that unites young people with established Philippines was a U.S. territory. The coalition fights
community organizations. for the rights of Filipino American veterans who
proudly served the United States.
Maria Gee – Known by her
Chinese name LI Xian, Maria is a
professor and documentarian. Born and
Media & Film
his BA in Fine Arts, Rubio entered an
internship with Jim Lee at Homage
Studios (Image Comics), and eventually
raised in China, she worked as a writer and went on to work for Walt Disney Feature
editor in TV for 11 years before immigrat-
passion for cooking at an early age. He founded the Yan Can
Animation in Burbank, California,
ing to the U.S. in 1992. Her documentary
Cooking School in California in 1985, and in 2007 started the
where, in the course of nine years, he
film "Adrift Without Roots," which
Martin Yan Culinary Arts Center, a unique international culi-
completed several films as a traditional
explores how immigrants adapted to their
nary academy for professional chefs in Shenzhen, China. Also
animator and as a storyboard artist.
new lives in a new country, has been shown on the
a restaurateur, his Yan Can and SensAsian Restaurants offer
Rubio then worked as an Assitant Director/Storyboard Artist
Educational Channel for two years and has been used in sev-
inventive pan-Asian menus.
for Nickelodeon on the series "Avatar: The Last Airbender"
eral university Asian Study programs. Gee has since pub- for 2 1/2 years. Currently, he is a story artist for Pixar
lished four books and numerous articles and teaches Chinese
Vannasone Joy Keodara – Vannasone Joy Keodara is a
Animation Studios, and the creator and owner of the comic
language and literature at the University of San Diego,
contributor for the Lao Diaspora for Voice
“Alcatraz High.”
Thomas Jefferson School of Law and San Diego Mesa
of America (VOA), a multimedia interna-
College. She also serves on the board of theAmerican
tional broadcasting service funded by the
Andrea Nakano – She was the first
Chinese Culture and Education Foundation of San Diego.
U.S. Government through the
female Asian sports anchor to hit the air-
Broadcasting Board of Governors. She
waves in San Diego. But because of her
Martin Yan – A certified Master Chef,
reports live news and current affairs
versatility, Andrea has covered both sports
celebrated host of over 3,000 cooking
around the globe, and translates the news
and news in our community. Most recent-
shows, broadcast worldwide, a highly
from English to Laotian to be broadcast.
ly, she was the weekend sports anchor and
respected food consultant, a cooking
In 2003, she attended the US-ASEAN
reporter at CW 6, where she reported on
instructor and a prolific author, Yan’s
Film and Photography Festival in D.C. for her documentary
the Chargers, Padres, Aztecs, Toreros and
diverse talents have found expression in
film, “The Leaf, Not Yet Fallen,” and discovered the Laotian
many other local sporting events. Prior to
30 cookbooks, including the award-win-
community. Before she knew it, she was working for VOA-
making the switch to sports, she was at the CBS affiliate for
ning Martin Yan’s Feast, and his latest,
Lao Service.
31/2 years as a news reporter. In 2003 she was on the front
Martin Yan’s China (a cookbook that documents his travels lines of the Cedar fire and during the 2007 wildfires, she
throughout the far reaches of China, and his culinary discov-
Bobby Rubio – Bobby Rubio was born and raised in San
stepped off the sports beat and went back to the news desk to
eries). Born in Guangzhou, China, to a restaurateur father and
Diego, California, and has been drawing since he was a child.
keep the community informed. Just last year, she won her
a mother who operated a grocery store, Chef Yan possessed a
His artistic abilities developed further at the California
first Emmy award for a sports series.
Institute of the Arts, founded by Walt Disney. After earning
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