Rakashi Chand

Rakashi Chand

Commissioner

Rakashi follows in the footsteps of her grandfather, a community leader and advocate for the Indian community of Massachusetts. As a community leader, speaker and cultural advocate, Rakashi has organized numerous community focused and educational events to promote culture and advocate for Indians in America, create community connections, inspire our youth, and bring greater unity and strength to the Indian diaspora in New England. Rakashi has served as the President of the United India Association of New England, is a Trustee of the Jackson Homestead and Historic Newton, she is also a Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Newton and she serves on the Attorney General’s Immigrant Advisory Council.

Rakashi is the Reading Room Supervisor at the Massachusetts Historical Society where she guides scholars in their research, hosts school groups and curates exhibits. Established in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society is the nation’s first Historical Society and home to both local and national treasures including the Papers of John Adams and John Quincy Adams as well as Thomas Jefferson’s Private Papers. Ms. Chand’s areas of research include, the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and parallel with the Covid19 Pandemic, and the historic connections between Asian cultures, communities and individuals with Massachusetts as illustrated through letters, diaries and artifacts housed in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Emma Chen-Banas

Emma Chen-Banas

Commissioner

Emma Chen-Banas is a Fortune 100 Global Leader, NGO Leader, Entrepreneur, and TEDx Speaker. Currently, she serves as the United Nations Representative & Chief Administrative Officer at the Changier Education Foundation, an NGO with special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council. Additionally, Emma holds the position of Honorary Chairwoman of the American Chinese United Association Massachusetts Chapter, is a member of the Board of Trustees for Bement School (K-9), serves as a Corporator for Greenfield Savings Bank, and as co-founder for small businesses.

With a career spanning over 30 years in regional and global leadership roles, Emma has an extensive international background, she has lived and worked in North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe with esteemed organizations across various sectors, including healthcare, NGOs, technology, financial services, and manufacturing. Her international career is highlighted by key roles including Head of IT at GE Healthcare Southeast Asia in Singapore, Head of IT at Honeywell Europe, Middle East & Africa in London, and Assistant Vice President at MassMutual Financial Group. Emma has demonstrated strong expertise in leadership, strategy formulation, innovation, technology integration, lean methodologies, program/project oversight, strategic procurement, vendor relations, and operations management.

Since 2015, Emma has been dedicated to philanthropic endeavors, supporting various NGOs and advocating for the AAPI community while championing initiatives that foster cultural awareness and empowerment. She’s deeply committed to social justice and driven to create a more equitable society for local and at global platform, like UN. Additionally, during the pandemic, she voluntarily undertook the translation of a best-selling mental health self-help book from English to Chinese, demonstrating her commitment to spreading valuable information across languages and cultures. In recognition of her efforts, she was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Lifetime
Achievement Award.

Emma holds an MBA from the University of South Australia and a Master of Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. As a sought-after speaker, she spoke at TEDx, global conferences like the American Society for Quality Global Innovation Conference and the Global Business Process Excellence Conference.

Gary Yu

Gary Yu

Commissioner

Gary Yu is a senior media personality and political activist. In 2016, he founded Boston International Media Consulting Inc. Four years later, he established Boston Asian Radio and TV, a station dedicated to the lives and interests of Asians. Gary Yu is a senior media personality. He also served as a producer and host of ATV, BNN TV, and Quincy Access Television (QATV), and a reporter for World Journal, World Journal Weekly, and other publications.

In addition, he contributed to the election campaigns of Boston Mayor Michele Wu and Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey. He is currently the President of New England Chinese American Alliance, Co-President of the
Massachusetts Chapter of United Chinese Americans, and President of the Boston Chapter of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association. He also is Transition Team Member of State Auditor Diana
Dizoglio and Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden. In February 2023, He brought the community together to promote for unanimous approval Resolution in support of designating Lunar New Year as an official holiday in the City of Boston by the Boston City Council. In May 2023, He brought the community together to promote for the Governor of Massachusetts to sign the Proclamation designating May as AAPI Heritage Month in Massachusetts.

Ekta Srinivasa

Ekta Srinivasa

Commissioner

Ms. Ekta Srinivasa was born in Nepal and immigrated to the U.S. when she was ten. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and her Master of Science in Nursing from Curry College. She obtained her Nursing Ph.D. in Health Policy and Population Health at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Ms. Srinivasa is the Founder of Improving Healthcare Culture, Inc. This nonprofit organization is established to provide resources to healthcare workers and healthcare organizations seeking strategies to mitigate the effects of workplace violence. Ms. Srinivasa is thrilled to be selected to serve in the Asian American and Pacific Islanders Commission. She hopes to contribute to the Commission’s goals meaningfully.

Karen Chen

Karen Chen

Commissioner

A photo of Moana Bentin, a Samoan-American woman, smiling. She is wearing glasses, maroon lipstick, an orange shirt, and blue jacket.

Moana Bentin

Moana Bentin

Commissioner

Moana Bentin is Senior Associate Director of Identity-Based alumni communities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A proud Samoan tamaitai, she is an advocate for underserved and underrepresented communities. Her Cambridge home serves as a base for Pacific Island students studying in Greater Boston.

A descendant of the Seuamuli family in Fagamalo Savaii and Sa Aiono from Fasitoouta, Moana’s journey started from the village of Magiagi, through the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, and eventually settled in Cambridge, MA.

Moana is currently serving as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC) and Moderator of the Executive Council of First Church in Cambridge. She is the mother of two Samoan-Irish-Americans and human to two cats; Tama and Toa.

Tuyet Tran

Tuyet Tran

Treasurer

Tuyet Tran, LICSW, a refugee from Vietnam, holds a master’s degree in social work from Boston College and an undergraduate degree in psychology from Emmanuel College. She brings 30 years of progressive leadership in the design and delivery of public health and social services, including serving as Director of Integrated Care at Community Healthlink for 18 years during which she was recognized by the Worcester Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 “rising star” in the Worcester community. For the past 5 years, Ms. Tran led the Community Partner Program at the Behavioral Health Partners of Metrowest (BHPMW) where she helped to design a multiregional integrated care coordination program as part of the MA Executive Office of Health and Human Service’s DSRIP Demonstration Project.

Ms. Tran has lived in Worcester since June of 2000. At that time, she and a small group of community members came together to advocate for social and health care access for members of the Southeast Asian community. Ms. Tran served as SEACMA Board Chair and Acting Director for the first few years of its founding and continued to support the organization as a board member and supporter for many years after. She was instrumental in steering SEACMA from its inception into a viable community organization and has recently returned as Executive Director to once again lead the organization into the next chapter.

Marilyn Park

Marilyn Park

Commissioner

Dr. Marilyn Park is a queer Korean-American who is passionate about anti-racism work in the field of mental health. They are serving the United States as a Lieutenant Commander in the Public Health Service. Currently, they are stationed in the Boston Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) working as a clinical psychologist treating Veterans with addictions. Prior to the VA, Dr. Park was a program supervisor in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for over 18 years, serving the vulnerable and marginalized population of incarcerated adults. Dr. Park strives to be a change agent in their sphere of influence. While in the BOP, they created and implemented anti-racist trainings for clinicians and trainees to recognize inequities, assess the impact of structural racism, and promote anti-racist practices in treating a significantly marginalized and vulnerable population.

Dr. Park proudly served on the town of Natick’s Equity Task Force. Their work specifically involved assessing multiple municipal DEI-related committees, which led to the creation of a Chief Diversity Officer position for the town of Natick. Dr. Park took specific interest in elevating the voice of the AAPI community in Natick, which is the largest racial minority group in town, yet has the least involvement in town government. Dr. Park strives to ensure AAPI folks feel empowered to engage in government and leadership in community spaces, and advocates tirelessly for AAPI community members to have seats around decision-making tables.

Heashot of Bethany Li, wearing a navy blue shirt, standing in front of some trees and a brick building.

Bethany Li

Bethany Li

Commissioner

Bethany Li has used a movement lawyering model to fight for social justice in Asian American communities and advance racial equity. Using an innovative and multi-faceted approach in collaboration with community organizers, Bethany has litigated cases and led advocacy work on a range of civil rights issues, including housing and displacement, workers’ rights, immigration, education equity, language access, and hate crimes. Bethany represented Southeast Asian communities fighting against deportation, including the first Cambodian American to return to the East Coast after deportation. In collaboration with community organizers, she co-produced the documentary “Keep Saray Home” about Southeast Asian families fighting deportations. She served as co-counsel to a multi-racial coalition of organizations and families intervening in a lawsuit in support of Boston Public Schools’ shift in exam policy. Bethany has won millions in back wages for low-wage workers along the Northeast corridor. She has led a variety of initiatives to increase low-income and limited- English proficient Asian Americans’ access to resources. She also published a report documenting the gentrification of Chinatowns on the East Coast and guided the launch of RAISE, the first undocumented Asian American youth group on the East Coast. Bethany started her legal career at AALDEF as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and staff attorney. She then taught and supervised cases in Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic as the Robert M. Cover Fellow. Bethany was also the Director of the Asian Outreach Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services. Bethany taught as an adjunct professor at Hunter College on Asian American civil rights and the law. Bethany graduated from Georgetown University Law Center and Amherst College. She serves on Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Well Being and the Massachusetts Governor’s Task Force for Hate Crimes.

Headshot of Saatvik Ahluwalia. He is wearing a blue collared shirt, blue tie, and maroon suit jacket.

Saatvik Ahluwalia

Saatvik Ahluwalia

Vice Chair

Saatvik Ahluwalia is an award-winning digital marketer who is a Senior Campaign Manager at Zebra Technologies and Digital & Communications Director at Asian Texans for Justice. He is a Public Voices Fellow of The OpEd Project and a New Leadership Council Fellow. His work has been covered in the Boston Globe, Austin American-Statesman, Austin NPR, Ms. Magazine, and more. He has won a Platinum MarCom Award, received public-speaking awards through Toastmasters International, competed in multiple Bollywood dance championships, and was profiled in the book “Those Immigrants!: Indians in America: A Psychological Exploration of Achievement” by journalist Scott Haas.