Los Angeles Honors Female Asian American Activists

To close out Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Los Angeles honored Tuesday a group of female activists and advocates whose portraits have hung in a gallery inside City Hall throughout the month of May.

Los Angeles is home to one of the nation’s largest Asian Pacific American populations. Under the theme #TogetherWeSpeak, the installation shone a light on the power of the Asian American female voice in pushing social change, from criminal justice system reform and LGBT rights to breaking racial barriers and promoting self-expression.

#TogetherWeSpeak Bridge Gallery inside Los Angeles City Hall (Jon Endow)
#TogetherWeSpeak Bridge Gallery inside Los Angeles City Hall (Jon Endow)

Honorees were Anna Akana, actress and filmmaker; Aquilina Soriano-Versoza, executive director of the Pilipino Workers Center; Cassey Ho, founder of the popular fitness brand Blogilates; Chanchanit Martorell, founder and executive director of Thai CDC; Doreena Wong, founder of API Equality-LA and Health Access Project director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice; Esther Lim, director of the ACLU’s Jails Project; Sgt. Janet Kim, the LAPD’s first Asian American female supervisor pilot; Jenny Yang, comedian and social advocate; Maisie Chin, executive director of CADRE; Mia Yamamoto, attorney and prominent civil rights activist; Milck, musician; Phung Huynh, artist and educator; Sahar Pirzada, co-founder of Vigilant Love and advocate at HEART Women & Girls; and Sonya Passi, founder of FreeFrom.

“I have been honored to have these women grace our bridge to City Hall, who inspire visitors and break down false perceptions given to Asian American women,” Ryu said. “For the month of May, they have literally and figuratively been the bridge — between cultures, perceptions, and our future — not just as an AAPI community, but as a city of activists, leaders, dreamers and doers.”

The bridge gallery was sponsored by Councilman Ryu, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Kore Asian Media, and also included contributed quotes on community and change from members of the API community and city council members. The evening’s programming featured a surprise musical performance by Judith Hill.