Past Event

Asian and Pacific Islander Women

Making the Invisible Visible

12:00 AM - 11:59 PM EST

Asian and Pacific Islander Women: Making the Invisible Visible

Featured Speakers:

Muneer Ahmad, Associate Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law
Courtney Chappell, Policy Director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
Sujatha Jesudason, Program Director on Gender, Justice and Human Genetics, Center for Genetics and Society
Gabriela Villareal, Coordinator of National Training and Technical Assistance, Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program

Moderated by:

Jessica Arons, Director of the Women’s Health Project, Center for American Progress

Whether seen as model minorities, dragon ladies, or submissive concubines, Asian and Pacific Islander women confront numerous stereotypes that mask their real-life problems. One issue in particular that is often overlooked by policymakers, the media, and the public is their reproductive health. Issues as varied as immigration status, human trafficking, sex selection, employment conditions, domestic violence, environmental toxins, and globalization impact the health care they receive and the reproductive decisions they make. Please join us for a panel discussion of some of these issues in an effort to draw attention to the unmet needs of this diverse community.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Program: 11:00am – 12:30pm
Admission is free.

Center for American Progress
1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Map and Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center



Note: All video provided in QuickTime (MPEG-4) format.

Event Transcript


Muneer Ahmad is Associate Professor of law at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC. There, he teaches in an international human rights law clinic, and also teaches immigration law. His practice and scholarship focus on immigrants’ rights, labor, and gender. He is currently engaged in research on transnational advocacy among exploited women workers in the garment industries of Los Angeles, California and Ahmedabad, India. Prior to teaching, he was a staff attorney at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles, where he worked on a range of immigrants’ rights matters, including exploitation of Latina/o and Asian immigrant workers in the L.A. garment industry, language rights, and the impact of welfare reform on immigrant communities. He clerked for the Honorable William K. Sessions of the U.S. District Court in Vermont, and is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Courtney Chappell is the Policy Director and New Voices Fellow at the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). At NAPAWF, Courtney develops policy positions and performs legislative advocacy at the national level in the area of reproductive health care. Prior to her position as Policy Director, Courtney served as a legislative staff attorney and Georgetown Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow with NAPAWF. Courtney graduated magna cum laude from the American University Washington College of Law, where she was a student attorney in the domestic violence clinic and clerked for the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the ACLU. She was also a staff member of the American University Law Review and volunteer intake counselor at the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center and the Domestic Violence Intake Center. Prior to law school, Courtney worked at the American Association of University Women Legal Advocacy Fund.

Sujatha Jesudason has been active as an organizer, advocate and researcher in communities of color and on women’s liberation issues for more than 15 years. She currently directs the program on Gender, Justice and Human Genetics at the Center for Genetics and Society where she is highlighting the feminist, eugenic and social justice concerns with the new reproductive and genetic technologies. Her recent projects include developing a national collaborative campaign against sex selection, making the connections between past, present and future eugenic technologies, and framing genetic justice as a human right. She is on the Board of Directors of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and on the Management Circle of SisterSong. She comes to this work with a background in immigration issues, community organizing, domestic violence prevention, particularly in the South Asian community, and reproductive rights in communities of color. In addition, she is working on her Ph.D. dissertation at the University of California at Berkeley in sociology where she is studying martial arts as an embodied practice of freedom from violence against women.

Gabriela Villareal joined Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program as the Coordinator of National Training and Technical Assistance in 2003. In this capacity, she provides technical assistance and organizes training sessions on human trafficking and modern-day slavery issues to social and legal service providers, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations across the country. Previously, she organized grassroots educational conferences in Seattle about human trafficking and was a member of the Washington State Anti-Trafficking Task Force. Gabriela is a board member of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and has served as a steering committee member of Amnesty International’s NYC Women’s Human Rights Action Team. In 2002, she was a recipient of the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence “Take Action” Award. Gabriela graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Women Studies. She is currently a United Way Junior Fellow.

Jessica Arons is the Director of the Women’s Health Project at the Center for American Progress. Most recently, Jessica served as a staff attorney fellow with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. Prior to working at the ACLU, she practiced labor and employment law at James & Hoffman, P.C. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Elizabeth B. Lacy on the Supreme Court of Virginia. She also worked at the White House and on the 1996 Pennsylvania Democratic Coordinated Campaign prior to law school. Jessica is an honors graduate of Brown University and William and Mary School of Law. At William and Mary, Jessica was an Associate Editor of the William & Mary Law Review, Managing Editor of the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law , and a Board Member of the William & Mary Public Service Fund.