the 15 apa women leader spotlights: lisa chen

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:

Lisa Chen
Nominated by Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights Through Education.

The mission of ASPIRE is to provide support for immigrant youth and allow them to reach their dreams through education. We are committed to working towards a more inclusive, equal society and protecting our rights as human beings.

Describe your name.
Lisa Chen. For some reason, my friends like to call me by my full name.

How do you identify?
Daughter of single immigrant mama. Womyn of color organizer. Food lover. Wannabe avid runner. And, cookie monster.

Your passion issues?
Growing up, I would sometimes go with my mom to work when she couldn't find a sitter. All my life, she's been a waitress. I'd bring my coloring books and when she had a "break" she'd sit with me and make dumplings for that evening. When I got older, she'd take English classes saying it would get her a better job. But it wasn't until I was politicized in college, did I realize that she probably will always be a waitress. Our society only value immigrant women like my mom for their labor. For folks on the working class grind, upward mobility is nearly impossible if not explicitly discouraged. I can't separate the personal from the political. It's through my childhood experiences that drive me to want to work at the intersections of working class issues and immigrant struggles.

Best advice someone has ever given you?
Stop being so hard on yourself. And bring tupperware!

Who's your hero?
DREAMers and everyday fierce womyn of color, especially DREAMers that are fierce womyn of color :)

Biggest lesson you've learned as an APA Woman?
Call people out on their -isms because most likely no one else will.

What advice would you give to other Asian Pacific American women?
We have so many beautiful and painful stories to share that I just hope we find the spaces and outlets to share them.

Why support NAPAWF?
They are amazingly fierce sisters! Being in a room full of fierce APA womyn is an empowering experience.

Favorite guilty pleasure?
Right now? Probably eating pumpkin pie goodness and catching up on episodes of How I Met Your Mother. I don't feel guilty about it though so not sure if that counts.

ASPIRE says:
Lisa has been a great facilitator, a spectacular organizer, a well informed activist and she has been very supportive of all of the members which in turn has helped make ASPIRE more vocal and active. She has been a great leader and community advocate to the immigrant community. We believe that she is the perfect embodiment of a fierce Asian woman. Not only does she work tirelessly helping us organize events and rallies but she also acts as a great role model for aspiring activists.

Donate in honor of Lisa and ASPIRE:
Click here to donate for Team Lisa Chen + ASPIRE.

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

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