White House names 4 local ‘Champions of Change’

Four Bay Area residents are among 15 Asian-American and Pacific Islander women nationwide who’ll be honored by the White House next week as “Champions of Change.”

The Champions of Change program is the White House’s effort to feature groups of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. This batch was chosen in honor of AAPI Heritage Month.

“These fifteen women represent the strength and diversity of the AAPI community. These leaders – in business, advocacy, philanthropy, sports, the arts, and academia – are wonderful examples for young women across the country,” Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, said in a news release.

The 15 honorees will attend a White House ceremony at 10 a.m. Pacific Time on Monday, May 6, streamed live at www.whitehouse.gov/live. Here are the four Bay Area honorees, as described in the White House’s news releases today:

Minh DangMinh Dang, Berkeley
Minh Dang currently serves as the Executive Director for Don’t Sell Bodies, which advocates on behalf of survivors of modern day slavery. By sharing her own story of child abuse and slavery worldwide, Minh has worked to combat child abuse and human trafficking in the United States through direct service, community organizing, and political advocacy. Minh also provides technical assistance and organizational consulting to local, state, and national service providers and government agencies. Recently, Minh helped launch the U.S. Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking.

Catherine EusebioCatherine Eusebio, Fremont
Catherine Eusebio is a Social Justice Fellow at Asian American/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, where she manages API Dream Summer, a component of a national internship program that engages partners in community and philanthropy to support the leadership development of immigrant youth. Catherine also serves on the Board of Directors of United We Dream, the largest network of immigrant youth-led organizations. In her words, she “she strives to promote change that starts with empowering the most impacted people to lead.”

Mia MingusMia Mingus, Oakland
Mia Mingus is a writer and organizer working for disability justice and transformative justice to end child sexual abuse. She describes herself as a queer physically disabled Korean woman transracial and transnational adoptee who is dedicated to communities and movements working for social justice. She travels nationally, giving talks and trainings, and is a member of the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collaborative, a local collective working to build and support community responses to end child sexual abuse. In Mia’s words, she “longs for a world where disabled children can live free of violence, with dignity and love.”

Van Ton-QuinlivanVan Ton-Quinlivan, Burlingame
As vice chancellor of workforce and economic development of California’s system of 112 community colleges, Van Ton-Quinlivan is working to transform the country’s largest higher education system through Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and Economy™. Van previously worked in the energy and utility industry, where she architected the best-practice model PowerPathway™, which demonstrated the type of collaboration between industry, the public workforce system, education, and organized labor that effectively transitions military veterans and members of underserved communities into energy sector jobs.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR Senile Columnist

    None of these honorees could be justly described as doing “extraordinary” things. All of them are duplicating efforts by non-East Asians.

  • JohnW

    Or, conversely, you could say that “non-East Asians” are duplicating the efforts of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

    I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunity to recognize the good efforts of others when NEA (non-East Asians) Month comes.

    The WH Champions of Change program recognizes men and women from all kinds of categories for good works in their communities. This just happens to be in conjunction with AAPI month. But they’ve recognized people from such groupings as Rotary International, Lions Club, Kiwanis, 4H and FFA, Vietnam Vets etc. Gosh, that seems almost Republican. Good stuff, in my humble opinion.

  • MichaelB

    Any of this sound familiar?

    “Community organizing”, a “social justice fellow”, working for “transformative justice”, “getting members of underserved communities into energy sector jobs”, etc. You get the idea. Apparently, you can only be a “champion” if you embrace/promote left wing/pro big government causes.

    Really “inspirational”,isn’t it? Not.

    I can hardly wait to hear about “honoring” the next person who signed up the most people for entitlement/welfare programs to promote so called “economic justice”.

  • JohnW


    Indeed it does have the ring of community organizing, as did the efforts of previous Champions of Change winners from other groups, like Kiwanis, 4H and Vietnam Vets. In previous, Republican administrations, they called similar recognition programs “A thousand points of light” and “Faith-based initiative.”

  • Elwood
  • Elwood

    Five dead, 40 missing, town destroyed, streams polluted by crude oil tanker train crash:

    Keystone pipeline, anyone?


  • JohnW


    I have to admit that this incident and stats you have previously posted support your argument about the safety of pipelines compared with trains or trucks.

    There is a case to made for rail that does not have anything to do with safety. A pipeline goes point A to point B. You can’t move it if distribution routes need to change. It’s relatively inexpensive to build a new rail line spur to create new routes into new markets.

    Of course, the real issue is not about mode of transport. It’s about the debate between people concerned about the environmental impact of harvesting and using heavy crude and people on the other side of the issue. If the pipeline was to distribute green energy, environmentalists would be for it and Republicans would be against it.

  • Elwood

    Strained, John.

    ” It’s relatively inexpensive to build a new rail line spur to create new routes into new markets.”

    Pipelines have spurs too.

    The same words used by our illustrious Lite Governor in support of gay marriage can be used in support of heavy crude:

    “It’s coming, whether you like it or not!”

  • JohnW

    Not strained at all. I originally read about this in the left-wing Wall Street Journal, but found a summary on the ElectricityPolicy.com dated 4 Jun 2013.

    Quoting: “The Wall Street Journal reports that refiners are beginning to favor rail shipments as being more flexible and offering greater supply diversity than large pipelines. Refiners say they can ship crude from North Dakota’s Bakken field for about the same cost as the $5/barrel tariff that the Kinder Morgan line (pipeline) would have charged and would not be tied to long-term contracts.”

    This refers to Kinder Morgan scrapping a $2 billion pipeline due to competition from rail. The long-term contract requirement is apparently a significant consideration in going rail rather than pipeline.

    I don’t disagree with your “like it or not” prediction. And, reluctantly, I concede that you may have the stronger argument on the safety issue. But then we all remember Kinder Morgan as the outfit that killed five and almost blew up Walnut Creek with a gas pipeline explosion.

  • Elwood

    John, you’re trying too hard.

    ” we all remember Kinder Morgan as the outfit that killed five and almost blew up Walnut Creek with a gas pipeline explosion.”

    That explosion (on a gasoline pipeline by the way) was caused by a contractor on an EBMUD project digging into Kinder Morgan’s pipeline.

  • JohnW

    Who caused the accident is irrelevant. Point is, bad things can and do happen to fuel pipelines — whether crude, refined product or natural gas — just like bad things can and do happen to trains and trucks carrying the same stuff.

    That said, you’ll recall that it was determined that the reason for the contractor breaching the pipeline with the backhoe was that Kinder Morgan’s subsidiary, KMGP Services, failed to accurately mark the location of the pipeline.

    KMGP plead out to six felony counts.