OCA Announces New Executive Director, Rita Pin Ahrens

29 April 2019


Contact: Thu Nguyen | Communications Manager

202.223.5500 | tnguyen@ocanational.org

Washington, DC – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is honored to announce that Rita Pin Ahrens has been selected to lead OCA as the new Executive Director.

Rita Headshot.jpg

Rita joins OCA from the APIA Scholars team, most recently as the Director of Research and Policy. There, she led the organization’s efforts to create a collective impact model for AANAPISI stakeholders to collaboratively advance a research, policy, and public awareness agenda.  Before APIA Scholars, Rita was Director of Education Policy at the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), where she championed the #AllStudentsCount campaign for AAPI data disaggregation in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and served as a negotiator representing parents and families on regulations for assessments across the country.  She currently serves as co-chair of the Education Committee for the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA). 

Her passion for social justice stems from her lived experience as a Khmer-American refugee, her involvement with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines while a college student at Yale, and her experience observing inequities as a public school teacher in both urban and suburban settings.  Throughout her career, Rita has advocated for policies that improve the social and economic well-being of underserved communities.  In addition, she is actively engaged in the local community and has worked for several years in the AAPI community, as well as with OCA National staff.  Her background and expertise in education research, technology, and policy will strengthen OCA’s presence as a civil rights organization and advance OCA’s scope and structure of programs and advocacy.

“Through our interactions with Rita, it is clear that she has the breadth of knowledge and experience needed to lead our organization with its diverse membership and policy and programming portfolios,” said Sharon M. Wong, OCA National President. “We are confident in Rita’s abilities and excited to see her lead OCA towards our vision in the coming years.”

 OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).