November 5, 2017

An Update to Our Community

Dear APANO Community

APANO is serious about how we work toward a just and equitable world through institutions and systems, culture change, and interpersonal relationships, and we are committed to working for social justice for all people. We know our Asian and Pacific Islander communities are reflective of the larger world, and at APANO, like every other organization, we struggle with the same issues of power and oppression, including those of patriarchy, heterosexism and transphobia, that impact society.

Over the years we have listened to concerns, done our best to put those lessons into practice, and grown as an organization. We have been in a deep and proactive space of both reflection and action with a board-staff retreat last weekend, supporting the issues coming to light in the world around us, and in our own internal learning. Recently, there have been questions in the community about how issues of patriarchy and heterosexism have shown up at APANO. In light of those questions, we wanted to share the latest in our ongoing work internally and externally.

APANO strives to be a learning organization. Our stance is to be open and transparent when dealing with difficult issues, while preserving confidentiality around personnel matters. We seek out concrete opportunities to amend our mistakes, apologize when we have caused harm, and move forward in the work stronger than we were before. We recognize we are not perfect, and we make every effort to hear and address any concerns that are raised in order to continually improve. Some of the steps we’ve taken to improve our approach to building a healthy and equitable organization, driven and led by staff, include:

  • All staff collectively developing and adopting Staff Commitments to a Healthy Work Culture, a document that sets the foundation for our culture and how we interact and support each other. These staff commitments support the development and implementation of policies, practices and trainings led by our Organizational Development and Gender Justice teams, which are comprised of staff at all levels of the organization.
  • Board and staff regularly review and update our personnel policies, including developing a new grievance policy that supports staff in raising and resolving issues proactively with clear goals and timelines, including the option of a restorative justice process convened by a third-party facilitator.
  • Learning from staff feedback, taking time especially in this challenging political climate to support one another, addressing work-life balance with improved PTO and sabbatical policies, and modeling practices that value staff members’ whole selves.
  • Investing in the leadership development of female and LGBTQ staff, and ongoing all-staff learning on healing and movement through Generative Somatics, Forward Stance and Stepping into Power programs with gender justice partners.
  • Updating our training and best practices education of board and staff, including a new supervision guide supported by regular and ongoing management, gender justice and non-violent communication trainings.
  • Supporting women and LGBTQ leadership across APANO staff and board.

We also re-dedicate ourselves to these issues in our community every day. This includes work we’ve been doing over the last several years on incorporating APANO’s Strong Families and Gender Justice Framework into our Strategic Plan, and programs including our cultural work, leadership development, and policy advocacy around issues like the landmark Reproductive Health Equity Act that ensures everyone across Oregon, regardless of income, citizenship status, gender identity or type of insurance, has access to the full range of reproductive health services.

We are going to continue these conversations and we want to do that together with you to build a stronger organization and a stronger community. We know we are not finished. If you have questions or specific feedback you’d like to share with us, please let us know. If you’d like to be part of a community conversation around these issues, we’d love to have you participate, and ask that you let us know. You can reach us at or call 971-340-4861.


APANO and APANO Communities United Fund
Executive Committee and Staff Directors

Raahi Reddy, c4 Chair
Thach Nguyen, c4 Treasurer
Huy Ong, c4 Secretary

Simon Tam, c3 Chair
Toni Tabora-Roberts, c3 Vice Chair
Jean Yamamoto, c3 Treasurer
Mary Li, c3 Secretary

Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, Executive Director
Duncan Hwang, Associate Director
Kara Carmosino, Program Director
Kathy Wai, Field Director