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10.27.2011

the 15 apa women leader spotlights: caroline fan

15 Days. 15 APA Women. 15th Anniversary. To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, we're partnering up with NAPAWF and Hyphen to spotlight 15 Women Warriors for 15 days, sponsored by 15 hosts. Meet today's spotlight:

Caroline Fan
Nominated by Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance.

Founded in 1992, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO, is the first and only national organization of Asian Pacific American (APA) union members. Since its founding, APALA has played a unique role in addressing the civil, immigrant, and workers’ rights of
660,000 APA union members. Serving as a bridge between labor and community groups, APALA has 13 chapters and a national office in Washington, D.C.


Describe your name.
My parents named me for the state I was born in.

How do you identify?
Proud daughter of immigrants and loyal friend. Activist, political geek and foodie.

Your passion issues?
I've always been for the underdog. Immigration, labor, health care, environmental justice, transportation, voting rights, women's rights, LGBT, civil rights & liberties - you name a hot button wedge issue and I've worked on it. I'm inspired by the DREAM Activists, Occupy Wall Street movement, and frontline health care providers who still give patients their all despite reduced staffing and hospital budgets. I'm revved up by our members!

Best advice someone has ever given you?
If you don't ask, you don't get. Props to Gloria Caoile, who is one of the best askers I know.

Who's your hero?
My mom, who works as a dietitian to educate patients about how to take care of themselves, and still serves as president of our local Chinese school, more than a decade after I graduated.

Biggest lesson you've learned as an APA Woman?
It's ok to be a troublemaker. Without instigators, change doesn't happen.

What advice would you give to other Asian Pacific American women?
Find mentors and be a mentor to others. I have been lucky to have folks invest in me, and I try to pay it forward.

Why support NAPAWF?
NAPAWF brings a gender analysis to the work that we do and creates strong networks of fierce sisters.

Favorite guilty pleasure?
Angry Birds.

APALA says:
As a communications maven and organizer, she works tirelessly to advance immigrant and worker rights. In 2008-2009, her work ensured that no significant anti-immigrant bills passed in the states, passing anti-child labor law in Iowa and defeating regressive legislation in
states like Arizona, Georgia and Kansas. A prolific writer and feminist, at the age of 19 she was published in Yell-Oh Girls, an Asian American women’s anthology.


Caroline firmly believes that leadership includes bringing others up and mentors other young women through CAPAL and the National Urban Fellows. She serves as Endorsements Chair of the Asian American Action Fund, where she has increased the numbers of endorsed women candidates and helped 10 APA women get elected. She established its Campaign Fellows program which puts young APAs on hot campaigns to develop a new generation of political leaders, and started the award winning AAAFund blog.

Donate in honor of Team Caroline and APALA:
Sustain the work of fierce APA sisters like Caroline by donating to their team here.

To see the rest of the 15 APA Women Leader Spotlights, go here.