Evolving Ethnic Enclaves: Changing Neighborhoods and Community Advocacy
Bill Watanabe is the Executive Director of the Little Tokyo Service Center
(LTSC), a multipurpose social welfare agency in the Little Tokyo district in
downtown Los Angeles.Bill received his BS degree in Mechanical
Engineering from Cal State Northridge. In 1972, he made a career
change and received his Masters in Social Work from UCLA and has since
been an active member of the Asian Pacific community in Los Angeles.
Bill has been President of the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council
(A3PCON), the largest social service network in the Asian community,
and is the founder of the Asian Pacific Community Fund which has
awarded over $1.5 million in grants. He has also been President of the
Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, and has served on the Board of the California Association of Nonprofits and chaired the statewide Nonprofit Policy Council of California. Bill has served eight years on the board of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, and serves on the Advisory Board of the UCLA Center for Civil Society, and has concluded a term on the Union Bank Advisory Board for community reinvestment. He is also a co-founder and former Board member of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. He has also served on the national Board of Amnesty International USA, a worldwide human rights advocacy organization.
Locally, he has served for many years as the Board Chairman of the Evergreen Baptist Church of San Gabriel Valley, one of the largest Asian American Christian churches in the southland. Bill and his wife have a daughter, and they live in Silver lake near downtown Los Angeles. He enjoys trout fishing, trivia, and Star Trek.
Chancee Martorell was born in Thailand and raised in Los Angeles, studied political science and public law at UCLA where she received her B.A. and her M.A. in Urban Planning with a specialization in Urban Regional Development/Third World Development. She also studied Humanities at Chiang Mai University in Northern Thailand in 1988. Engaged in social activism for the past 28 years, Chancee is currently Executive Director of the Thai Community Development Center, a non-profit organization she founded in 1994 in an effort to improve the lives of Thai immigrants through services that promote cultural adjustment and economic self-sufficiency. She is known most notably for her work on over a half dozen major human rights cases involving over 400 Thai victims of human trafficking who were discovered working in conditions of slavery in the United States. Because of her deep commitment to creating positive change, she has also become a leading practitioner in the field of community development engaged in ongoing affordable housing development, small business promotion and neighborhood revitalization projects. In 1999, under her leadership, Thai CDC played a pivotal role in the eight-year long community organizing campaign which raised community consciousness and led to the designation of the first Thai Town in the nation in East Hollywood. For Chancee, the designation of Thai Town was the first step of a multi-faceted, economic development strategy to revitalize a depressed section of Hollywood while enriching the City’s cultural and social fiber.
Daniel Huynh is a member and co-founder of Chinatown Community
for Equitable Development (CCED). A multi-ethnic, intergenerational
organization based in Los Angeles Chinatown with over 100 members,
CCED was founded in March 2012 in the wake of the pending development
of Wal-Mart in Los Angeles Chinatown as a volunteer organization
composed of community activists, residents, small business owners,
workers, and youth in Los Angeles Chinatown. Its mission is to
build grassroots power with low-income and immigrant communities
through organizing, education and mutual help. Currently, Daniel works
with CCED to address the rapid gentrification and displacement of
working class families as well as fight for workers’ rights in Chinatown. For the past decade, he has participated in various grassroots, cultural arts and social service organizations based in Chinatown including Chinatown Service Center, mentee + Mentor Project and Chinatown Kung Fu & Lion Dance Troupe. Daniel is an affordable housing project manager for a nationally recognized nonprofit housing developer. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Daniel received his Master’s in Urban Planning and Bachelor’s in Economics at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Alexandra Suh, a supporter of Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) since she moved to Los Angeles in 2002, Alexandra joined its staff in 2009 and became Executive Director in 2011. Alexandra has 20 years of experience in social justice work and is a co-founder of the Korea Policy Institute. She holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and lives in Koreatown with her partner and two young children. She seeks to bring ecological awareness together with organizing and advocacy for social and economic justice to create a livable Koreatown, Los Angeles, and world.