KGA is located at 1355 Redondo Avenue, Suite 9 / Long Beach, CA 90804
Telephone: (562) 986-9415 / Fax: (562) 986-9416 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Lian Cheun is the Executive Director of Khmer Girls in Action. She is a 1.5 generation refugee from Cambodia. She grew up in the Bay Area and has spent 2 decades working in low-income communities of color. Lian started out as a youth organizer on the Kids First! Campaign and has since worked for funding for youth programs, fought for educational and health justice, volunteered and trained for numerous GOTV efforts with the Alameda County Labor Council, and fought for workers’ rights regionally and internationally. In 2007, Lian helped Migrant Forum in Asia organize the very first regional, migrant domestic workers’ assembly. Lian believes in fighting for our self-determination as women, as workers, and as creators of knowledge and culture in our communities. She was also the former director of the Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program (MAAP) at the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO). In 2014, Lian was appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Sophya Chum is a 2nd generation Cambodian American. Raised in Long Beach and is a founding member of Khmer Girls in Action. She brings over 15 years of experience working with Southeast Asian youth, refugees and low-income communities of color. Sophya was a youth organizer in the Sexual Harassment and Anti-deportation Campaigns which focused on reproductive justice and immigrant and refugee rights. As a staff member of KGA she has worked on campaigns for educational and health justice and has coordinated numerous GOTV efforts in Long Beach, particularly around young women’s reproductive health access. Sophya has developed and guided youth members in their transition into interns, staff and leaders for the organization. In 2005, she was selected by the National Women’s Health Network as one of the 30 women who have made a difference in the women’s health movement. In 2013, she received the young women leadership “30 under 30” award by Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal. Working directly with working class, Southeast Asian high school youth in Long Beach, Sophya helps KGA’s members foster positive self-images, feminist principles, health, well-being, and sisterhood. Sophya believes in empowering communities to lead and fight for social justice through community organizing work. She is a mommy of two and loves to sing and dance with her kids
Sheila (pronounced Shilla) is a daughter of Long Beach’s Cambodian community. Her commitment to building power in low-income communities of color led Sheila to direct the Khmer Outreach Retention and Education (KORE) program at UCLA, attain a master’s degree in urban planning from UCLA, engage in research on regional equity, support capacity building of homeless service agencies, and serve South Central LA through facilitating community control of land and housing before returning to Long Beach to serve at KGA. Her philosophy on economic justice can be summarized by this quote from (old) Kanye West: “Having money’s not everything, not having it is”. As Economic Justice Director, Sheila supports fundraising, as well as campaigns and programs that achieve economic empowerment. She envisions a future where all young people have access to opportunity and a cooperative economy that meets the needs of people of color and that facilitates investment in one’s self, community, and future.
Joy is a second generation Filipina- American who grew up in Los Angeles’ Koreatown. A high school outreach program led her to attend UC Santa Cruz where she obtained a B.A. in American Studies. Soon after, she completed an internship with the Center for Third World Organizing and has since been inspired to use media, culture and arts for community organizing, healing & empowerment. Joy has worked with KGA for over 5 years and in that time she has coordinated the Cultural Historical Arts Program, Young Women’s Empowerment Program, Yellow Lounge and electoral and civic engagement campaigns as well as media and communications. She seeks to amplify the voices and presence of SEA young women, youth of color, immigrant and refugee experiences. She aims to give students opportunities to love themselves, “Know History, Know Self!”, and use various art forms to engage community and build collective power.
Omar is the son of immigrant parents, and was born and raised on the East Side of Stockton, CA. His passion for social justice and youth organizing comes from his experience of being pushed-out of high school, losing friends and family to violence, and seeing other loved ones spend decades in prison. He started organizing in 2007 as a volunteer with Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, and the ESPINO (Escuelas Si! Pintas No!) Coalition. In 2009, he transferred to CSU Northridge to pursue his BA in Chicanx Studies. He has held positions as Lead Mentor and Case Manager serving system involved youth and their families in the San Fernando Valley and South Central LA. In 2013, he began organizing with young folks in Long Beach as the Youth Organizer with the Children’s Defense Fund-CA. Omar’s proudest achievement to date, however, is raising his young warrior son, Oceloeztli aka “Oce”!
Amy started off as a member in 2003-2004 and continued to participate and volunteer with KGA after graduation. She was born and raised in Long Beach and is an active member in the Khmer Community. She is the daughter of a first generation refugee from Cambodia who still faces struggles every day. The connection she has to her people is her relationships she builds with the youth. She believes that there is nothing more powerful than to be guided and set up for success. As a member, Khmer Girls in Action saw so much potential in her and believed that she could make a change and by setting her up with the right tools, she was able to be who she is today! Her journey continues and joined the team in August 2016 and am more excited to be able to give, teach, and build a bond with the youth as KGA has done for her.
Jennefer is a second generation Cambodian-American from Long Beach, California. She is an alumni of Khmer Girls in Action and was a member from 2005-2008. Her politicization and leadership development began with KGA where she soon took on the role of a Youth Organizer, the first of its kind in KGA. She later obtained her degree in International Relations with a minor in Africana Studies from San Francisco State University. After nearly ten years in the Bay Area, she felt it was only right for her to return and invest back in the city that raised her. She continues to learn and practice radical love and healing and is committed in bringing forward the stories, the struggles, and voices of today’s youth of color. Her experiences have always pointed her back to her values: community, culture, and justice. Dedicating her life to social change is her form of resistance and she hopes to continue working in various capacities centered around helping marginalized communities.
Alisha is a second generation Cambodian-American who was born and raised in the city of Long Beach. Her family’s roots in this city traces back to 1989, when eleven of her family members resettled in Long Beach seeking refuge from war and genocide in their homeland. The hardships and experiences of being raised by immigrant refugees inspires Alisha to be the voice that brings justice and healing back to her family and community. As an alumn of KGA, Alisha worked on Youth at the CORE, GOTV and Keep Families Together campaigns which demanded for a school- based wellness center, positive school climate, reproductive justice, civic engagement and immigrant and refugee rights. In her process of transitioning from youth member to staff. Alisha interned with Cambodian Advocacy Collaborative (CAC) as well as Seeding Change. With her experience she hopes to educate, mentor and motivate young SEA women to learn more about themselves, their history and meaningful issues that they are passionate about.
Maggie is a second-generation Chinese-Vietnamese American from Northeast Los Angeles. She graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in Human Development and a minor in Ethnic Studies. As a student leader, she worked to increase access to higher education for Southeast Asian youth in San Diego, as well as organized to demand the increased support of culturally responsive mental health services, the creation of a Critical Asian American Studies Minor and an API/Middle Eastern/Desi American Research Center (all still in the works), and co-founded Asian American Womxn Time, a space for Asian American women to reclaim space and time together. Maggie is passionate about building community power towards social justice, and believes that youth organizing is critical to the movement. Through challenge, support, healing and love, she hopes to let herself and the folks she works with know that they are enough.
Johnny is a third-generation Chicano/Mexican-American. His family’s ancestry traces back to Texas long before it became part of the United States. During a large wave of migration, his family moved to California to work in the agricultural industry as farm workers. Johnny has long history of community organizing, from organizing the LGBTQ community in the San Francisco/Daly City area to indigenous people’s struggles in California and the Philippines. He first came to Khmer Girls in Action as a volunteer in 2012 where he helped develop the Young Men’s Empowerment Program (YMEP), which created a much-needed space for young Southeast Asian men to participate in movement building and in 2017 he returned as the program coordinator. During his time with KGA he has participated in statewide efforts to increase opportunities for boys and men of color. Johnny is currently working towards a Master’s in Social Work at CSULB with an emphasis on children, adolescence and gender issues and is looking forward to continuing to build the leadership of young people, so they can create positive change in their communities.
Nupur is a second generation Oriya-American from Cerritos, CA. Despite spending most of her childhood distracting students in her mother’s classical Indian dance classroom, she officially began working with youth during her sophomore year of high school through local after school programs. Nupur is a graduate of UC Berkeley and has continued serving as a youth advocate through various groups in California, NYC, and abroad. Nupur believes in the care and healing of youth of color through listening, storytelling, and youth-led activism. She is eager to find ways to combine art, social justice, and community care.
Chrissy is a second generation Cambodian- American, born and raised in the city of Long Beach in the heart of Cambodia Town. Living in such a diverse city has exposed Chrissy to different disparities and injustices at a young age. It was not until she got involved with Khmer Girls in Action at age 14 that she was able to understand the issues and challenges her community faces and how to create change. Chrissy learned how to build community power, to have a voice, and to share her experiences in the movement for social justice. She hopes to strengthen her political analysis around race, class, and gender so that she can better find solutions for the Cambodian community and larger Southeast Asian and API communities.
Corleone has been a member of Khmer Girls in Action since 2011, when he was a student at Wilson High School. As a youth leader, he helped start the Every Student Matters Campaign in Long Beach and Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition in Los Angeles County. He helped in the passing of the School Climate Bill of Rights in Los Angeles Unified School District, a historic win for urban schools in California and the passing of the School Board Resolution in Long Beach. Corleone graduated from Long Beach City College with an Associates in Social Science with Honors, an achievement he owes to the support and strength of KGA and his community. Corleone is currently completing his Bachelors in International Studies, at UC Irvine. He used to be KGA’s YMEP Program Coordinator, working with high school male identified youth to help develop their critical and cultural lens and worked to help create strong foundations for young men to reach their full potential and succeed in school and life and has transitioned. He currently is a Khmer Justice Fellow for KGA and hopes to continue to share his passion for education, art, and social justice through his passion of Film and Cinematography.
Preeti Sharma, MA
Eric Wat, MA