Fifteen incredible Asian American women were honored as Champions of Change at a White House ceremony yesterday.
In a continuing quest to bring you their inspiring stories, today we profile three Japanese Americans and an educator from this esteemed group of people.
Atsuko Toko Fish hails from Tokyo and became an American citizen in 2008. According to the Global Post.
She’s dedicated her life to preparing Japanese women to run non-profits and recently raised 1 million dollars for recovery efforts after the 2011 Japan tsunami and earthquake.
“Through my program and all the efforts Japanese women are finally breaking through the bamboo ceiling,” said told the Global Post.. Fish is the former advisor to the governor of Massachusetts on tourism and trade.
Natalie Nakase works for the Los Angeles Clippers as a video coordinator and hopes to one day to become the first women coach in the National Basketball Association.
There’s no reason to doubt her either. She’s already been the first women’s coach in the Japanese men’s basketball league and the first Asian American to play in the professional women’s basketball league in the United States.
“I want to represent the idea that the most unattainable goals can be achieved. I want women to believe that the opportunity is there. I believe it takes a lot of courage to do something our society hasn’t seen before.” Nakase said.
Karen Suyemoto has helped to improve mental health in the Asian American community. She sees a connection between racism and mental health.
“My parents’ experience with racism and disability and the cultural variations in my family really shaped my history, my sense of being Asian American and my commitment to social justice,” she said.
You can read about all three women above in the Global Post.
Finally Van Ton-Quinlivan is the vice chancellor for workforce and economic development for California Community Colleges.
She’s is doing her part to train students for tomorrow’s work force.
“We are delighted that the White House has recognized Vice Chancellor Ton-Quinlivan as a Champion for Change,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “She is leading our system’s drive to work more collaboratively on a regional basis to address California’s workforce needs. Our economy needs a nimble and highly strategic approach to labor market changes, and Vice Chancellor Ton-Quinlivan is steering us in the right direction.”
You can read more about Ton-Quinlivan in the Daily Journal.