CAPAA Bids Farewell to
Three Commissioners

At CAPAA, we are truly fortunate to work with 12 incredible appointees who are fearless advocates for their communities. With hearts full of gratitude, we bid farewell to three tremendous public servants with large footprints and bigger hearts. On July 1, CAPAA Chair Lisa Dickinson, Commissioner Sina Sam and Commissioner Mohan Gurung each bid farewell as they passed their torches to new Commissioners.


Judge Lisa Dickinson of Spokane County retires from the Commission after three full terms and nine years as a CAPAA Commissioner, including one year as Chair and four years as Vice Chair. Her sound judgement, generosity of spirit, and commitment to social justice is largely the reason CAPAA is the strong and respected institution it is today. She is an endless advocate for the API community and always pushed CAPAA to better understand and serve Eastern Washington communities.

“It has been an honor to serve on this Commission for so many years and to advocate for an equal seat at the table for our API communities in business, government, higher education and in professional groups. I know the Commission is in good hands and am proud of the work that CAPAA does to make our State government accessible to API communities and to have our voices heard.” – Chair Lisa Dickinson, Spokane County

Commissioner Sina Sam of Whitman County departs the Commission after her first term, leaving Washington State with a deeper understanding of the complex issues facing some of our most marginalized and persecuted community members. As Chair of CAPAA’s Civil Rights and Immigration Committee, she spearheaded urgent issues, including the school to prison to deportation pipeline, ICE raids and the unconstitutional indefinite detention of immigrants and refugees, police brutality and injustice in the carceral system. Throughout her term, she channeled her deep love for the Southeast Asian community into community activism and ardent advocacy at the State of Washington.

“I am incredibly proud of my work with CAPAA, especially as the first female Cambodian Commissioner. We’ve mobilized against deportations of our families, advocated for equity and accessibility for LEP communities, and fought to make sure that every person in every corner of the state counts in the Census and in the eyes of decision makers. Together, we’ll continue to fight and build, ensuring all future generations have an opportunity to thrive.” – Commissioner Sina Sam, Civil Rights & Immigration Committee Chair, Whitman County

Commissioner Mohan Gurung of King County leaves the Commission imparting a deep appreciation for the rich culture, vast diversity, and deep spirituality of the South Asian communities in Washington State. A renowned and respected member of the Nepalese community, Commissioner Gurung used his platform to bring visibility to the vitality of his community and advocate for its needs. He implored us all to act as members of a global community, and brought tremendous value to his role as Commissioner by unifying us around our common humanity and collective resilience.

“As a Commissioner, I was closely involved with community issues relating to vocational and public education, public health, access to democracy, Census 2020, and small business support. Being the First Nepali American to serve on behalf of CAPAA, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all Commissioners and staff for the many milestones.”  – Commissioner Mohan Gurung, King County

We are forever grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside these tremendous leaders, and are honored to call them our own. Help us thank them for their service – you may e-mail staff and we’ll be sure to forward on your well-wishes.

Join us in welcoming the new team!

We are happy to announce that on July 1st, we welcomed 3 new CAPAA Commissioners: Julio Diaz of Thurston County, Ping Ping of Spokane County, and Va’eomatoka Valu of King County. We also welcomed a new Project Coordinator, Brenda O’Brien! Information on the full board and staff can be found online at:


Commissioner Va’eomatoka “Toka” Valu joins us from South King County with a wealth of community experience working within the PI community. He is a member of the Pacific Islander Health Board and the Pacific Islander Community Association, and plans to channel his knowledge and energy into fighting for systemic change and justice for PI communities.

“I look forward to advocating for continued systemic accountability to our community’s voices, and especially to uplifting and centering our communities’ autonomy. This puts great importance on process and action which allow, in my opinion, opportunity for greater engagement and participation.” – Commissioner Toka Valu, King County, <>

Commissioner Ping Ping joins us from Spokane County, and brings passion and experience advocating for AAPI communities as an educator.

“I am so excited to join CAPAA! As a Commissioner, I will dedicate my efforts to assisting and uniting API communities in Eastern Washington. I especially hope to be a part of the collective effort to change harmful stereotypes about Asians.” – Commissioner Ping Ping, Spokane County, <>

Commissioner Julio Diaz is from Thurston County, and is ready to tackle issues to promote social justice. He currently chairs the City of Federal Way’s Civil Service Commission and plans to concentrate on advancing civil rights for API’s, immigrants, and refugees.

“CAPAA gives me the opportunity to help others in our community by advocating for what is right.” – Commissioner Julio Diaz, Thurston County, <>

Brenda O’Brien has been hired to serve as CAPAA’s Project Coordinator! Brenda is Korean American with Korean language proficiency. She is from Pierce County, and joins us from Washington State’s Department of Social and Health Services with extensive experience in office management.

“I’m excited to directly serve and learn from the community, and to push to improve the lives of APA’s throughout our state.” – Brenda O’Brien, CAPAA Project Coordinator, <>

Asian Community Statewide Listening Forum

In light of COVID-19, ensuring that Asian community members have access to social support services is essential in planning the recovery efforts. In support of the Governor’s Social Support Advisory Group, the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs (CAPAA) and Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of Washington (APIC) invite you to participate in a Statewide Asian Community Listening Forum to share your community’s experiences, concerns and needs relating to social supports during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Washington State continues to move through this recovery period.

Asian Community Statewide Listening Forum
Monday, July 27, 2020
12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

Please register by 5:00 PM PST on Friday, July 24th, 2020. Once registered, you will receive a separate email on or before July 27, 2020 with the listening forum information to log in.
Register here:

If you’re unable to attend but would like to submit your input to the State, you may do so here. Testimonials will be accepted through 5:00 PM PST on Monday, July 27, 2020:

Due to time constraints, a limited number of slots are available to share during the Listening Forum. Slots will be filled based upon diverse, cross-sectional representation:
·       Geographic areas rural and urban
·       Frontline / essential workers
·       Youth
·       Older adults
·       Immigrants/Refugees
·       LGBTQIA+
·       Social services providers who address social support needs (food, housing/shelter, employment assistance, mental health, family support)
·       Other uniquely impacted segments of our community

Those selected to speak during the Forum will be sent an e-mail with additional information prior to the event.

Information gathered at the Listening Forum will be collected and summarized with recommendations on what are needed to successfully move through this recovery period. The summary document and recommendations will be presented to the Governor’s Office and state agencies.

This is a barrier-free event, and requests for accommodations, including translation or interpreter services, should be made on the registration form provided above by Monday, July 20th, 5:00 PM

To learn more about the Governor’s Safe Start Advisory Group, please visit:

Pacific Islander COVID-19 Townhall Meeting

NHPI communities have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and deserve to have their voices heard and needs met.

The Washington State Pacific Islander COVID-19 Response Task Force is holding a listening session for Pasifika communities to help inform COVID-19 response policy and funding priorities. These town hall discussions will be translated into recommendations to our elected leaders on how we would like support during this crisis.

Pacific Islander COVID-19 Townhall Meeting
Friday, July 31, 2020
5 PM – 7 PM

RSVP here:

For more information, e-mail Joseph Seia at

COVID-19 Testing

Washington counties have been pushing for more COVID-19 testing to properly treat those who have it and to help prevent the spread of the disease. Please consider getting tested if:

  • You are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
  • You might have contacted a person who has COVID-19.
  • You could not maintain safe physical distance from others at a gathering.
  • You are a member of the hardest hit communities—Black, Latinx, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Island, American Indian, Alaska Native.

Testing dates, locations, and details:

King County: Free COVID-19 testing available regardless of immigration status or insurance, open to anyone who cannot access a test through their regular healthcare provider. Interpretation services available.

Pierce County: Contact your healthcare provider to get tested. Most health insurance plans cover testing and treatment for services necessary for COVID-19. List includes both permanent and mobile testing sites.

Snohomish County: Testing available by appointment only. Available to individuals to are exhibiting symptoms, came into contact with a someone who has COVID-19, or have testing required for health care, employment, or travel.

Spokane County: Individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 may be eligible for testing. Individuals without symptoms who have been exposed to COVID-19 will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Yakima County: If you are experiencing symptoms, call your primary care provider for testing. If you don’t have a primary care provider you can call 2-1-1 or call the locations below for screening and possible COVID-19 testing.

Final Office of Equity Task Force Meeting

The Office of Equity Task Force will have their final meeting on Wednesday, July 29th, to discuss their recommendations to be sent to the Governor and Legislature. The Zoom information for the meeting will be made available closer to the date.

The Task Force wants to hear directly from the community about what they want to see from the final Office of Equity. What are your hopes for the Office of Equity? How do ensure that every person has full access to the opportunities, power, and resources they need to flourish and achieve their full potential?

For more information on the Office of Equity Task Force:

2020 Census Updates

Washington state has recently hit a major milestone regarding the Census: we’ve passed our 2010 self-response rate! We have one of the highest response rates in the country at 67.3%, but we still have a long ways to go to ensure that everyone in every corner of the state is counted by the October 31st.

The Census count helps inform everything from representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, to local funding for infrastructure projects, to funding allocations for programs like CHIP, school lunch, and Medicare/Medicaid. It also helps determine emergency aid, like we’re seeing today with the coronavirus pandemic.

It is vitally important that every person is counted in the U.S. Census, but a 2019 report from the Census Bureau shows that AAPIs are the demographic least likely to fill out the Census, and the most concerned with their information being used against, and face additional barriers like language access.

Let’s make sure that our communities count in the Census. Fill out your Census today, and encourage others to fill out theirs as well. You can access resources to help with your Census outreach on our 2020 Census Resources page.

Opportunities for July 2020

Washington State Healthcare Authority Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery Fellowship

The Washington State Healthcare Authority (HCA) has opened applications to join its next cohort of the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR)’s Prevention Fellowship Program.

The DBHR Prevention Fellowship is a paid 10-month experience that offers unparalleled access to Washington State’s leaders in behavioral health prevention, treatment, and recovery. Fellows dive into hands-on problem-based learning alongside the state’s behavioral health prevention, treatment, and recovery leaders. At the end of the experience, fellows are uniquely positioned to enter the prevention workforce, walking away with newfound leadership and communication skills and a deep understanding of multi-level prevention work.

Prevention science experience is not necessary, and students of all majors are encouraged to apply. For any questions please contact:

Learn more about the fellowship here:

Applications are due 11:59 PM PST on July 17th, 2020.

OMWBE Certification Compliance and Training Analyst

The Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprise (OMWBE) is looking for a flexible, hard-working and proactive professional to serve as a Certification Compliance and Training Analyst (Management Analyst 5).  This position supports the mission of the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) by providing expert level analysis, research, consultation, and interpretation related to complex regulations and rules necessary to train, support, and guide the Certification Unit.

You will work with the Certification and Compliance Administrator to coordinate implementation of strategic and long-range planning activities associated with the Certification Unit. The position is essential to ensuring the certification process is consistent and fair for small businesses owned and controlled by minorities, women, and disadvantaged persons.

Apply here. Applications are due by Tuesday, July 21st.