Launch Committee (2008-2011)

Dimple Abichandani
Amy Chan
Puja Dhawan
Veena B. Dubal
Satoko Kishi Hesp
Bill Ong Hing
Roger Hu
Karen Kai
Keith Kamisugi
Audee Kochiyama-Holman (Committee Secretary)
Karen Korematsu (Co-founder, Committee Chair)
Mina Titi Liu
Dale Minami
Christopher Punongbayan
Archana Sahgal (Committee Vice Chair)
Peggy Saika
Shirin Sinnar
Peter J. Swing
Dilawar Syed
Don Tamaki
Evan Tana
Shannon Wu


Dimple Abichandani is the National Security & Human Rights Program Officer at the Proteus Fund, where she manages a grants portfolio that includes a focus on capacity building for Muslim, Arab and South Asian organizations that work with communities impacted by national security policies and practices of racial profiling and surveillance. Previously, Dimple was the Director of Program Development at Legal Services NYC, where she developed impact-oriented advocacy projects to address the civil legal needs of low-income communities. There, she founded the Language Access Project and developed a low-wage workers rights project. Dimple earned a JD from Northeastern University in 2002, and a BA with Honors in English from the University of Texas at Austin.
Amy Chan

Puja Dhawan is the Initiative Manager at the NoVo Foundation, which supports ending violence against women and girls, and promoting gender equity worldwide. She was previously the Senior Program Officer for the U.S. Human Rights Fund at Public Interest Projects, where she carried out domestic human rights grantmaking and donor outreach. Puja has also done consulting work for the Asian Law Caucus and the International Human Rights Funders Group, and was a staff attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid. She earned her J.D. from NYU School of Law and a B.A.(honors) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Veena B. Dubal is a former staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus, where she focused on civil rights in the context of national security, including racial profiling at the border, local law enforcement profiling, and FBI surveillance. Veena received the Northern California South Asian Bar Association Public Interest Attorney of the Year Award in 2009, and she currently serves as the Co-Chair of Civil Rights for the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California. Prior to coming to the Caucus, Veena was a Fulbright scholar in India. Veena holds a joint J.D./PH.D. from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University.
Satoko Kishi Hesp

Bill Ong Hing is a Professor of Law and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis, King Hall School of Law. He teaches Judicial Process, Negotiations, Public Service Strategies, Asian American History, and directs the law school’s clinical program. Mr. Hing is the current Vice-Chair of the Asian Law Caucus’ Board of Directors. Mr. Hing has authored several books including the award-winning To Be An American, Cultural Pluralism and the Rhetoric of Assimilation. Mr. Hing earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco.

Roger Hu is an engineer in Silicon Valley. He was involved in the Wen Ho Lee case, both as a student organizer and as a tech volunteer helping to maintain the wenholee.org web site. He worked on the Obama 2008 campaign as the 14th Congressional District team coordinator and attended the Democratic National Convention (DNC) as an official delegate. He has an BS and MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Karen Kai
Karen Kai

Keith Kamisugi is the Director of Communications at the Equal Justice Society. He is a director on the boards of Chinese for Affirmative Action, San Francisco Japantown Foundation, APA for Progress and the Asian Law Caucus. Keith was previously president of the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce, the organizers of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Hawaii. He also served on the executive staffs of Hawai’i Governors John Waihee and Benjamin Cayetano. He founded the Young Business Roundtable, served as chairman of the Young Democrats of Hawai’i and was a member of Hawai’i’s delegation to the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

Audee Kochiyama-Holman (Committee Secretary) is the Director of Alumni Relations at the Asian Law Caucus. Audee is a Board member of the EastSide Arts Alliance, an organization dedicated to building bridges in the ethnically diverse communities of Oakland, CA. She has been a social justice activist since the 1960s and has worked for nonprofit organizations in New York and the Bay Area for over 35 years. In 2004, she co-edited Passing It On, a memoir by her mother Yuri Kochiyama. Audee has a Master’s Degree in Social Research from Hunter College in New York.

Karen Korematsu (Co-founder, Committee Chair) is the daughter of Fred and Kathryn Korematsu. Karen shares her father’s passion for social justice and continues to advance his legacy by advising the Institute and speaking at events around the country. She is also a board member of the Asian Law Caucus, the Institute’s parent organization, as well as the Asian American Justice Center.

Titi Liu is the Director of International Public Interest Initiatives at Stanford Law School. She develops and implements programs that support students who are pursuing a career path in international public interest lawyering and serves as a resource for leading practitioners in the field, with a focus on transitional societies.  Titi has a long career advancing social justice issues both domestically and internationally. She was the law and rights program officer for the Ford Foundation in Beijing, China and a State Department and USAID consultant. She has been extensively published in the US and in China on the relationship between litigation and social change. She was most recently the Executive Director of the Asian Law Caucus, the first organization in the country to promote, advance and represent the legal and civil rights of Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Prior to joining the Caucus, she was the Garvey Schubert Barer visiting professor in Asian Law at the University of Washington.

Dale Minami is a partner with Minami Tamaki LLP, where he specializes in personal injury and entertainment law. He has been involved in significant litigation involving the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other minorities, including: Korematsu v. United States, a lawsuit to overturn a 40-year-old conviction for refusal to obey exclusion orders aimed at Japanese Americans during World War II, originally upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in landmark decisions. He was a co-founder of the Asian Law Caucus, Inc., a community-interest law firm, a co-founder of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the first Asian American Bar Association in the United States, the Asian Pacific Bar of California and the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, a registered political action committee.

Christopher Punongbayan is the Deputy Director of the Asian Law Caucus. In 2004, he was a recipient of the Ford Foundation New Voices Fellowship, serving as Advocacy Director for Filipinos for Affirmative Action. He is currently chair of the board of directors for the South of Market Community Action Network, and has provided non-profit management oversight to a number of other LGBT, youth, and API advocacy organizations in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Christopher is a graduate of Brown University and UCLA Law School, Critical Race Studies Concentration and Public Interest Law and Policy Program.

Archana Sahgal (Committee Vice Chair) is a program officer for the Equality and Opportunity Fund-U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations. Sahgal also co-founded the Civic Engagement Fund at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), a philanthropic collaborative focused on strengthening the civic participation of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities in the wake of September 11. She directed the Color of Democracy Fund, a collaboration of some of California’s leading donors supporting progressive infrastructure. At The San Francisco Foundation, she served as a Social Justice Fellow, managing the Civic Participation/Voter Mobilization Grant Program. More recently, she worked as a consultant to the Rosenberg Foundation and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Sahgal is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College and University of California at Davis School of Law and is a member of the California State Bar.

Peggy Saika is the President and Executive Director of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP). Ms. Saika was also the executive director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network from 1993 to 2000 as well as the executive director of the Asian Law Caucus from 1983 to 1991. She was the first Asian American to be appointed to the Alameda County Commission on the Stauts of Women, and in 1994, President Clinton appointed her to the National Environmental Advisory Council (NEJAC). Ms. Saika was also selected as a fellow of Kellogg International Leadership Program and as a recipient of the LEAD (Leadership, Equity, and Diversity) Award by Women & Philanthropy.

Shirin Sinnar is a Stanford Law Fellow. She previously served as a public interest attorney with the Asian Law Caucus and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco, where she represented individuals facing discrimination based on government national security policies and unlawful employment practices. Sinnar served as a law clerk to the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School (J.D. 2003), Cambridge University (M. Phil. International Relations 1999), and Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges (A.B. History 1998). Besides the Korematsu Institute, Sinnar also serves on the steering committee of the board of Asuda-USA, a developing nonprofit targeting domestic violence.

Peter J. Swing is the former Director of Communications and Donor Relations at the Asian Law Caucus. He previously worked as a reporter in ethnic media, as well as a community organizer for numerous Bay Area events and campaigns. He has delivered guest lectures on race, multiculturalism, Asian-American studies and ethnic studies at UC Berkeley, University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and San Diego City College. A veteran of the US Marine Corps, Peter also holds a degree in ethnic studies from UC Berkeley, where he was mentored by the late Ronald Takaki.

Dilawar Syed is President & CEO of Yonja Media Group, a leading emerging markets internet media company. Prior to Yonja, Dilawar was with Yahoo!, where he was head of strategy and business operations for the Platform Division. He started his career as a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting and Ernst & Young and spent several years at Siebel Systems and SAP. Dilawar joined the National Finance Committee for the Obama Campaign in 2008 and was appointed National Co-Chair for South Asian American Leadership Council by Gov. Howard Dean. He is immediate past president of the Organization of Pakistani American Entrepreneurs (OPEN) in Silicon Valley and holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In Sept. 2010, Dilawar was appointed as a member of President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Don Tamaki is a partner with Minami Tamaki LLP, where he focuses on Corporate and Business, Non-profit Corporations, Contracts and Entertainment Law. Northern California Super Lawyers magazine has also recognized Mr. Tamaki as among the top attorneys in corporate law for six consecutive years from 2004 through 2009. In an effort that started the firm’s tradition and commitment to public service, Mr. Tamaki served as a member of the pro bono legal team that successfully reopened the landmark Supreme Court cases of Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui and overturned their convictions for refusing to be interned during World War II. He continues to be a lecturer at UC Berkeley in connection with these historic legal events.

Evan Tana is the Director of Product Management at shopkick, a Kleiner Perkins and Reid Hoffman-backed mobile startup in Palo Alto. Before shopkick, Evan led product at Loopt, a ground-breaking social mapping service funded by Sequoia Capital and New Enterprise Associates. Evan got his start in mobile as a product manager at Digital Chocolate, one of the world’s largest publishers of mobile games. Prior to working in Silicon Valley, Evan spent time at a Beijing-based private equity firm and Goldman Sachs. Evan serves on the advisory board of the Asia Pacific Student Entrepreneurship Society, a global student-run organization focused on fostering entrepreneurship in the Asia-Pacific region. Evan earned his BS and MS in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University.

Shannon Wu has been working as an human resources executive for different multinational corporations for over a decade. She also worked at the World Bank Group, where she helped build diversity in the work force. Shannon currently provides HR consulting services for several Chinese companies. She is originally from Beijing, and now lives in New York City with her family.