Lavender Phoenix is powered by queer and trans Asian and Pacific Islander people. We are led primarily by young, trans and non-binary folks, for the entire QTAPI community. Our work is powered by volunteer members who directly understand how our lives have been shaped by different oppressions and legacies of resistance. Programs are led by leaders in volunteer committees, strategy is created by our Core Committee, and staff help to guide and facilitate our collective learning.
Yuan Wang, Executive Director
Image description: Yuan is outdoors speaking into a mic while extending her hand out. (photograph by Brook Anderson)
Yuan (she/they) is a transgender, non-binary Chinese-American organizer. She was born on Ohlone land in Fremont, California and raised on Lenape land in New Jersey. Yuan was shaped by organizing in New York City, where she supported housing justice campaigns at CAAAV, coordinated volunteer organizers at the Laundry Workers Center, and provided language justice support to the Sex Worker’s Project and local campaigns. She brings experience developing the leadership of young people, from leading queer-inclusive sex-ed at the Masakhane Center and organizing after-school programs for Asian immigrant youth at the Teen Resource Center. After starting at Lavender Phoenix as a Summer Organizer apprentice, Yuan served as Lavender Phoenix’s Trans Justice Community Organizer, and became Lavender Phoenix’s Executive Director in December, 2021. Their role as Director involves supporting Lavender Phoenix’s staff team, sustaining abundant resources for our organizing, and rooting Lavender Phoenix’s long-term culture and strategy in our evergreen values. Her community at Lavender Phoenix has taught her what interdependence looks like in practice, and reminds her everyday to lead with care and vulnerability. Outside of her organizing work, Yuan finds joy in playing guitar, climbing rocks, and cooking for her friends.
Jasmin Hoo, Community Organizer
Image description: Jasmin is smiling and looking up. Visible on her right ear is an earring with a drawing of Yuri Kochiyama.
Jasmin is a mixed race, queer, cisgender woman raised outside of Boston and re-located to San Francisco in 2005. Jasmin’s work has ranged from training theater artists in social justice pedagogies as the American Conservatory Theater’s Associate Director of Education & Community Programs to leading workshops on creating liberating and affirming spaces for youth as co-founder of The Remix Cultural Consulting Collective. Currently, Jasmin brings her experience and drive to Lavender Phoenix, alongside organizations such as Asians4BlackLives and the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective. She continually works to heal her own wounds, transform old patterns, and vision new ways of being, and to bring this same opportunity for growth and change to the community. Outside of her organizing endeavors, Jasmin delights in the culinary (both cooking and eating), astrology, watching and creating live theater, moving herself through dance or a good hike, and laughing with friends.
Leo Hegde, Community Organizer
Image description: Leo is outdoors and smiling while looking slightly away from the camera.
Leo is a trans, second generation, Indian-American who was raised in Edison, New Jersey. While attending school in Nashville, Tennessee he studied engineering and music, and since 2019 has been living and learning in Oakland/Ohlone Land. Leo started their work with Lavender Phoenix as an active member of the Trans Justice and Core Committees, and he is an alumni of Parivar’s Advisory Committee and ASATA’s Bay Area Solidarity Summer. Previously, as an acoustics consultant at Arup, Leo leveraged their technical skills and network to support community engagement in the built environment, partnering with organizations such as Designing Justice+Designing Spaces, Chinatown Community Development Center, and the Community Arts Stabilization Trust. In all of his work, relationships, and community, Leo strives to bring compassion and care. Now, as one of Lavender Phoenix’s Community Organizers, Leo’s role focuses on building systems for true community safety by supporting our members to develop alternatives to harmful institutions such as police and prisons. Alongside organizing, Leo loves listening to, playing and writing music. They are a multi-instrumentalist; playing the trumpet/flugelhorn, tabla, ukulele, guitar and a sprinkling of bass and keys. He also likes to beatbox!
Shivani Chanillo, Leadership Development Coordinator
Image description: Shivani is outdoors smiling at the camera. There is bright and warm foliage in the distance behind them.
Shivani (they/them) is a trans, non-binary, second generation Indian-American person. Born and raised in Lenape land in New Jersey, Shivani has slowly traversed their way across Turtle Island before settling in Ohlone land in Oakland in 2021. Despite studying film and television in college, they have spent most of their career working in education — first as a high school English teacher and later as a post-secondary pathways counselor. Shivani brings a passion for building relationships, developing youth leadership, supporting others in telling their stories, and creating spaces for collective learning and growth. They first joined Lavender Phoenix as a volunteer supporting the Asking for Help workshops for TGNC South Asian folks and later co-founded the Community Safety Committee. Now, as Lavender Phoenix’s Leadership Development Coordinator, Shivani is excited to facilitate opportunities for members to learn the skills, knowledges, and attitudes to lead in a values-based way. Shivani cultivates joy through long walks (preferably to get bubble tea), cooking with friends, camping, and playing with their cat, Remy.
Bisma Farzansyed, Cultural Strategy Organizer
Image description: Bisma, a South Asian person, is outdoors wearing a green hat and smiling at the camera.
Bisma (they/them) is a non-binary South Asian Muslim organizer. Bisma is a soap and candlemaker, a dreamer, a dirt-lover, and a budding herbalist. They are a spiritual way-finder and a heart-centered community medicine maker who is always ready to serve the people. Bisma grew up on Potawatomi lands in Chicago and continued to organize on Tongva lands while pursuing a degree in Human Biology at Pitzer College. They have been part of Nobody Fails at Pitzer, an initiative to make grading policies equitable in the wake of the pandemic. After settling on Ohlone lands, Bisma organized with disabled and elder folks for free wifi and offered free digital advocacy courses to address the digital divide. They believe in the power of accessibility, education, and giving people the tools to cultivate wellness themselves. Now, as Lavender Phoenix’s Cultural Strategy Organizer, Bisma is dedicated to making sure trans and queer Asian & Pacific Islander comrades continue to spread their wings of joy, love, and self-determination.
Sammie Ablaza Wills, Staff Emeritus
Image description: Sammie is in an outdoor garden setting smiling at the camera. They have curly hair and are wearing a tank top.
Sammie is an enthusiastic organizer passionate about supporting people in reclaiming their inherent power and dignity. Growing up in a hustling class immigrant household in the 818 and Las Vegas, their political journey started with witnessing xenophobia against their family, fighting budget cuts in public schools, and learning about trans Pilipinos fighting colonization. First moving to Ohlone lands in 2012, Sammie joined Lavender Phoenix as a Summer Organizer in 2013. Most recently, Sammie served as Executive Director from 2016 to 2021. During their time as Director, Sammie worked alongside members to publish “Up to Us,” a groundbreaking report and strategy brief on the needs of transgender and non-binary API people in the Bay Area.
In 2022, Sammie began an independent research project on the role of belonging in grassroots organizing and social movement organizations. They hope to combat cultures of individualism and alienation, while supporting LavNix and other organizations to build sustainable cultures of care. Currently Sammie is an active board member with Movement Generation and the Lyon Martin Community Health Center. Alongside their organizing work, Sammie is a death doula, community archivist, and student of hilot.
Connie Hsu Gem Datuin Jessica Mitchell Junior Claros
Max Hlava Mika Hernandez Mioi Hanaoka
Image description: 17 trans and queer folks stand and squat with colorful clothes under a large tree, a white house and truck and a cloudy sky in the distance. They raise their left hands in fists.
Andy Wong Anirvan Chatterjee Chay Tadeo Desiree Thompson Dipti Ghosh Elliott Fukui Jenna Rapues
Rai Dang Sine Hwang Jensen Steve Lew Total Nguyen Tracy Nguyen Vince Crisostomo
Fundraising Healing Justice SKATE Crew (Leadership Development) Community Safety Ecological Justice League (fka “TTAC”, Think and Take Action Cohort)