Introducting our new Communications Coordinator

Introducing our new Communications Coordinator, Tina Helmstreit.


Interview by Samantha Howell

NAPAWF-SD’s new Communications Coordinator, Tina, shared in this interview her passion for social justice and equity. She presently is working on her Bachelors in Sociology at California State University, Fullerton. Her so-cal roots, love for cats, and commitment to education are just a few qualities that she brings to NAPAWF.

1) Intro section: Name, where are you from? Neighborhood, how do you self identify? Where do you work?

My name is Tina and I am from Carlsbad, CA. I am a queer, yon-sei generation, Japanese American, hapa, cis-woman. My preferred pronouns are she, her, and hers. I work for MiraCosta College as the Administrative Secretary for the Counseling Department and also serve as a Classified Representative for the Student Equity Department.

2) Why did you become a NAPAWF member?

NAPAWF-SD offers the opportunity for personal and professional development, while also providing a strong foundation for social justice and equity efforts across San Diego County. I wanted to serve our local API community and help with solving problems, addressing issues, and advocating for change.

3) Why did you want to join the board as Communications Coordinator?

I have worked in higher education for over 5 years and have held administrative and management roles that developed a set of skills that are aligned with the functions of the Communications Coordinator position. I am passionate about equity as a sociologist, and my interest in community organizing and grass-root efforts for change led me to this role. I also have a critical lens as a bisexual, Japanese American hapa that provides me with personal experiences that I believe will translate well to the current efforts of NAPAWF-SD and our political climate.

4) You’re first NAPAWF event will be at the bi-visibility workshop. What do you look forward most about the event?

This event will highlight a topic deeply personal for me. As a bisexual woman, who is happily married to a wonderful man, I am incredibly thankful that NAPAWF-SD is facilitating an event like this. This event is important to deconstruct our gender, sexual orientation, and social constructs from a sociological perspective, but I am most looking forward to the dialogue on how bisexuals are received by the LGBT+ and straight communities. I believe that this event will humanize the real misconceptions and prejudices that bisexuals experience today.

NAPAWF San Diego Presents “Bi-Visibility Workshop

Join NAPAWF-SD on Saturday, May 28 from 6-8pm (location TBD) for our Annual Membership Drive & APAHM event!

With over 9 million LGBT people in the United States, more than half identify as bisexual. However, the high poverty, discrimination, and poor physical and mental health outcomes within the bisexual population—often at rates higher than their lesbian and gay peers—point toward an urgent need to provide services and support for this segment of the community. “Understanding Issues Facing Bisexual Americans.” Report, 2014.

As an interactive session for members and allies of the API LGBT Community, this workshop will involve a guided discussion around aspects of being non-monosexual within API spaces. Come prepared to see what our sexualities and identities look like on the Spectrum. an interactive session for members and allies of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender (LGBT) Community, this workshop will involve a guided discussion around aspects of being non-monosexual within API spaces. Come prepared to see what our sexualities and identities look like on the Spectrum. Please contact Samantha at for more information or visit the event page on Facebook to RSVP. Look forward to seeing you there!

Upcoming Elections for NAPAWF San Diego Officers

NAPAWF-SD Board application 2014

Deadline to turn in the application (link above) is Friday November 7th. Elections will take place on Thursday, November 13th, from 6-7pm at the Center on Policy Initiatives. Address is 3727 Camino del Rio South in Mission Valley. ALL members are invited to attend and elect their new board for 2015! The election will be followed by a short meeting to transition the new and old board (members are of course welcome to stay for this portion).

For more info contact Trinh Le:

Membership Spotlight: Helen Leung

April Membership Spotlight: Helen Leung


Interview by Janice Tang

Helen is the workaholic Social Justice nut that commands Pride’s unrepentantly geeky Nerd-Herd with an iron fist. Translation: Helen Leung is the Operations Manager at San Diego LGBT Pride. She graduated from UC San Diego in 2012. She enjoys cheese, Star Trek, and making the world a better place. It’s the simple things, really. Helen was born and raised in San Diego, and has lived here for the vast majority of her life.

1) Helen, can you please tell us why you decided to stay connected and involved in the San Diego community and NAPAWF-SD?

I stay because I want to engage with like-minded people who nurtured my desire to continue doing social justice work after graduating college. It’s tough to find similar API spaces in this city, so NAPAWF is a breath of fresh air.

2) Self-care is very important and oftentimes we forget to practice it when life gets busy. How do you practice self-care while balancing your job, your membership in NAPAWF, and your other community activities?

Does eating an entire order of carne asada fries count? #kiddingbutnotreally. Up until a year ago, I wasn’t aware that self-care is actually a thing. Needless to say, I’m working on it. For me, creating a few non-work-related blocks of time throughout the week helps me push through busy season at Pride. I take yoga classes to calm myself down. I also cook for myself on the weekends. After Pride is over, I take a weekend off to catch up on sleep.

3) NAPAWF-SD’s first fundraiser of the year is a comedy showing of “18 Mighty Warriors.” Why do you think it is important to bring Asian and Pacific American issues to the mainstream, particularly in the entertainment field?

I could go into an incredibly verbose explanation of why media representation has the power to shape dominant narratives about oppressed groups of people in ways that have material impact on marginalized communities, but in the end, it’s really simple. If all of our stories aren’t told, how can we expect others to see our humanity?

Want to share a fellow NAPAWF member’s story and passion here?
Contact us at


Want to share a fellow NAPAWF member’s story and passion here?
Contact us at

Membership Spotlight: Amy Chang

March Membership Spotlinght: Amy Chang



Interview by Janice Tang

Amy Chang is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist working at her private practice, Amy Chang Therapy. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UCLA and a Masters in Counseling, MFT from SDSU. She enjoys playing board games, photography, being out in nature, and being around fun, energizing positive people.

1) Amy, you were a Board member of NAPAWF SD in 2013. Can you please tell us what influenced that decision and why you decided to stay connected?

When I attended UCLA as an undergraduate student, I actively participated in amazing student organizations that raised my awareness on the issues affecting the Asian Pacific American (APA) communities. When I returned to San Diego, I went seeking for a supportive, nurturing, like-minded space. However it was difficult for me to find a space that felt comfortable. I felt loss in a sea of organizations and groups that didn’t fit my personality, desires, and hopes. As NAPAWF began to form, I felt the passion of the other folks in the space to create a nurturing, collaborative space to advocate for social justice and equality for the APA community. I fell in love and continued to be involved in the space ever since.

2) What are some events that affected you personally and drives you to stay involved in your community?

Having a sense of community is so important to my own emotional well-being. When I transitioned to LA for school, I had a really difficult time adjusting to the new fast-paced city and the people. The busy environment didn’t align with my calm temperament. Adjusting to new places became a challenge for me and developing a community at school helped me flourished in LA. Being around people with shared common interests and purpose helps me feel nurtured. Thus, it is important for me to continue be involved with my community.

3) You gave an amazing workshop during the NAPAWF February Social on wellness and positive self-image, can you please explain why this was important?

As an Asian American woman, there are specific challenges to my gender and ethnicity that makes it more difficult to have a positive self-image. For example, in a male dominated world, women are often made to feel inferior to their male counterparts. Even in our modern society, the U.S. Census reported women continue to earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. According to Catalyst women CEO only occupy 4.6 % of Fortune 500 companies. There has yet to be a female US president. Also, in certain countries, there are explicit messages that male are more valuable than female. Additionally, when we examine print ads, media, and movies, Asian Pacific Americans are practically invisible. How many APA actress/models/leaders can you identify? Asian American women are underrepresented in the media. Having a lack of role models in the community impacts one’s self esteem. Therefore, it is important to focus on creating a positive self-image for ourselves as Asian Pacific Americans and also take care of our own well-being. This is especially important for NAPAWF members that are constantly advocating for a healthier community and a better future.

4) What do you hope to personally accomplish this year?

It is important for me to experience and be aware of the joy, happiness, and the simple pleasures in my life amidst our high stress society. One thing that I find great pleasure in is exploring new places, people, and food. I love to experience new cultures and neighborhoods. Thus, I hope to be able to take trips to a new location each year to learn and discover the existing beauty of our world. Another thing I hope for is to write a book to help people find more inner peace and happiness. I want to learn the ins and out of what it takes to write a book and be able to offer people what I have learned as a therapist. I see a lot of people experience distress due to external triggers and societal pressure that can be alleviated. Thus, I wish to be able to share my knowledge with the work I have done to help people cultivate happiness.

5) What is the direction you see San Diego heading in, and how will NAPAWF SD fit into that?

Historically, San Diego is a conservative city though there are amazing organizations and groups working hard to educate and advocate for equality for all. SD appears to be slowly transitioning to more progressive values. NAPAWF SD is helping with the transition and is also bringing attention to the needs of the marginalized APA community. NAPAWF has been able to gain momentum with the membership growth, visibility at community events, and also hosting informative workshops to raise awareness on issues that have impacted the APA community. NAPAWF SD is part of the collective voice in San Diego as the city continues its transition to more progressive values.

Want to share a fellow NAPAWF member’s story and passion here?
Contact us at