Recognizing Champions for Change – CPAF Gala 2017

Honorees - Gala 2017

CPAF Gala – 2017 Champion for Change Honorees

Each year at our gala fundraising event, we recognize organizations and individuals who share our mission of building healthier and safer communities by naming them a “Champion for Change”.  Read more about our 2017 honorees below.

A Story of Volunteerism

Susan Hirasuna, award-winning broadcast journalist and FOX11 news anchor, has served as CPAF’s Culinary Chair since 2014. She single-handedly recruited executive chefs from dozens of premier restaurants to donate their talent, time and food during the annual fundraisers. This year-round labor of love resulted in elevating CPAF’s Gala to an exquisite food tasting event. We are so thankful to Susan for her commitment and dedication.

A Story of Integration

In March 2017, after more than 17 years of partnering to serve survivors of domestic violence, Asian Pacific Women’s Center (APWC) and Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF) integrated to enhance our capacity to serve the diverse Asian and Pacific Islander communities in Los Angeles. This integration was possible because community service-minded law firms Kirkland and Ellis LLP and Nixon and Peabody LLP donated their legal work. We are grateful for their countless hours of pro bono service.

We thank our honorees for their contributions to CPAF and for making a difference in the lives of the families we serve.

Please join us on September 22 in honoring our Champions for Change and celebrating our community’s stories!

CPAF’s Gala for Change on 9/22 Brings Together Food, Fun in Support of Building Healthy, Safer Communities Free of Family and Partner Violence

Together We Rise - Gala 2017

PRESS RELEASE:  CPAF’s Gala for Change on 9/22 Brings Together Food, Fun in Support of Building Healthy, Safer Communities Free of Family and Partner Violence

Chefs from Several of LA’s Finest Restaurants Share Their Talents for the Cause
General Admission Tickets at Early Bird Rate of $150, Available Through Aug. 22 While Supplies Last – Click Here to Purchase Tickets


August 11, 2017 (LOS ANGELES, Calif.) – Tickets are now available for the Center for the Pacific Asian Family’s (CPAF’s) 39th Anniversary Gala for Change on Friday, September 22, 2017 at the Los Angeles River Center & Gardens.

The evening features a food tasting reception hosted by premier local culinary partners, a silent auction, and a program and award ceremony, followed by live music entertainment from “The Inspiration”. Proceeds benefit Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF), a nonprofit whose mission is to build healthy and safe communities by addressing the root causes and the consequences of family violence and violence against women. CPAF is committed to meeting the specific cultural and language needs of Asian Pacific Islander (API) women and their families. The event’s Leadership Sponsors include Anthony Caminiti, Cathay Bank, East West Bank and Nossaman LLP.

More than 10 of Southern California’s finest restaurants serve as Culinary Partners by donating their time and talent to prepare special dishes for the reception. Returning Culinary Partners include Barbara Jean LA, Chicas Tacos, The Guild, House of An, Osteria Vicario, Phorage, TikiFish, with Peking Tavern serving cocktails and Café Dulce providing desserts. New Culinary Partners include Bone Kettle, Commerson, and Emporium Thai.

General Admission ticket prices begin at $150 (Early Bird rate through August 22, while supplies last). Reserved seating tickets are available at $500. To purchase tickets for this year’s event, visit the CPAF ticket page. A complete list of sponsors and culinary partners is on the gala event page.

The gala’s theme, “Together We Rise”, celebrates the integration this year of CPAF and Asian Pacific Women’s Center (APWC), a nonprofit dedicated to providing a safe haven and support services for women and children who are survivors of domestic violence. CPAF and APWC share the same vision of an Asian and Pacific Islander community that is free from violence and both organizations provide services that are sensitive to the cultural and language needs of Asian and Pacific Islander survivors of violence and their families.

“The integration enhances our capacity to serve the diverse Asian & Pacific Islander communities in Los Angeles. At the gala, we will celebrate our united efforts and pay tribute to APWC’s legacy,” said Debra Suh, CPAF’s executive director.

The gala will be emceed by award-winning news anchor, David Ono, and CPAF will present its “Champion for Change” awards to:

  • Susan Hirasuna, a volunteer who has worked tirelessly on behalf of CPAF
  • Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Nixon & Peabody LLP for their pro-bono legal services

For information on how to become a sponsor, contact CPAF’s development team at or (323) 653-4045, ext. 334.

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About Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF)

Founded in 1978, CPAF established the first multi-lingual and multi-cultural hotline, emergency shelter, and transitional housing in the United States to specialize in serving Asian and Pacific Islander (API) survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Today, CPAF responds to thousands of crisis calls on its 24-hour hotline in 30 API languages and shelters hundreds of survivors and children, in addition to providing community prevention programs. For more information about CPAF, visit or call 1-800-339-3940.


Stay Connected with Center for the Pacific Asian Family on social media.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @CPAForg

CPAF Congratulates Project by Project on 20 Years of Service

One of CPAF’s community partners, Project by Project, is celebrating its 20th anniversary by hosting a Plate by Plate Tasting Benefit on August 5, 2017.

Project by Project’s annual Plate by Plate Tasting Benefit will mark the organization’s 20th anniversary.


The event will be held at the Wallis Annenberg Building at the California Science Center in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles.


In honor of its 20th anniversary, Project by Project is inviting all past beneficiary partners to join their organization in continuing to advance awareness of important social issues in the Los Angeles Asian and Pacific Islander community.


Approximately 50 restaurants and beverage purveyors from around Southern California will be in attendance and supporting the cause. A full list of vendors can be found on the event page.


Past Plate by Plate events have featured a non-profit organization based on a theme or issue that addresses current needs in the Asian American community. CPAF was selected as a partner in 2015 to address housing.


CPAF congratulates Project by Project on 20 years of developing leaders through innovative philanthropy and looks forward to attending the event in August.

What If This Happened To You?

Domestic violence can be a difficult subject to talk about when you don’t know the audience very well. But what if I showed you a story of someone who looks like you or someone you love?

Visual storytelling can be a powerful way to break through some barriers that currently exist in many communities and in particular API communities when it comes to talking about domestic violence or sexual assault (DV/SA).

CPAF’s hope is to produce a collection of stories featuring survivors from various Asian and Pacific Islander (API) backgrounds. We plan to share these stories with the hope that the audience can identify with the survivor and develop a stronger personal conviction to help end DV/SA in their community. We also hope the videos will serve as empowering tools for other survivors, leading them to seek help or to share their personal journeys as well.

We are currently seeking API survivors to be featured for the upcoming Survivor Series episodes. Please contact us if you feel led to share your story with others in this way.

-Christine Lee

CPAF Thanks Bank of America for Support in Helping Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

CPAF is thankful for Bank of America’s partnership to help us meet the critical needs of the individuals and families we serve.

Leaders from Bank of America’s Asian Leadership Network – Southern California visited CPAF this summer as part of a continued partnership with the organization.

This summer, Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF) received a $10,000 economic mobility grant from Bank of America to sustain and enhance our services for low-income, homeless survivors of domestic and sexual violence. CPAF is thankful for Bank of America’s partnership to help us meet the critical needs of the individuals and families we serve. This support helps CPAF respond to the needs of survivors who have difficulty obtaining jobs due to limited English, or lack of résumé writing skills or community connections due to years of isolation and abuse:

• More than 1.4 million Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) reside in Los Angeles County. 1 out of 2 API immigrant women have been physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abused, and they are the least likely to report abuse or access services, facing multiple barriers.
• At CPAF, we help survivors increase their economic resources and establish safer homes for themselves and their children.
• Our staff and volunteers provide coaching for financial literacy, budgeting and job seeking in languages such as Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese.

We look forward to partnering further with Bank of America to build healthy and safe communities and nurture change together.

CPAF is here to help those seeking refuge from domestic violence and sexual assault through our 24-hour confidential hotline: 1-800-339-3940. CPAF’s mission is to build healthy and safe communities by addressing the root causes and consequences of family violence and violence against women. CPAF is committed to meeting the specific cultural and language needs of Asian and Pacific Islander women and their children.

The Invisible Among the Invisible

Lianne was 17 years-old when her parents sent her off to live with her uncle in California. They hoped that the Korean teenager could have a chance at a better future by immigrating to the United States

A tragic car crash one night killed Lianne’s uncle suddenly, leaving the then 18-year-old alone and afraid. Lianne became undocumented and resorted to working at a Los Angeles-area restaurant for less than the minimum wage.

According to the American Community Survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2014, an estimated 1 million undocumented immigrants reside in Los Angeles County

Seeking company, she took to online dating and met Ashley. Lianne did not tell her family that she identified as queer, and this was the first time she openly sought a same-sex relationship online.

A 2013 study by The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law shows that more than 40,000 adult API immigrants identify as LGBTQ

Lianne moved in with Ashley after three months of dating. Soon after, she noticed that Ashley became controlling. Ashley constantly asked Lianne where she was going and often accused her of cheating. Ashley proceeded to pinch and slap Lianne when she became upset. When Lianne attempted to leave, Ashley threatened to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to deport her. Lianne sought help from her friends, but they dismissed her by saying that it was no big deal. Lianne felt discouraged and decided that there was no other choice but to stay in this abusive relationship.

Lianne, whose name has been changed to preserve her anonymity, is an example of a domestic violence survivor who is caught in the unique intersection of being both an immigrant and a queer individual. As we wrap up Immigrant Heritage Month and Pride Month in June, CPAF recognizes this special and unique population who may not have the privilege of speak out freely and safely when it comes to domestic violence and sexual assault (DV/SA). The more intersecting identities a person has, the more vulnerable they become.

Our sister agency Asian Women’s Shelter (AWS) in San Francisco has a Queer Asian Women and Transgender Support (QAWTS) program that provides comprehensive services for queer survivors of violence

Immigrant survivors of domestic violence (DV) and sexual assault (SA) make up the majority of the clientele at the Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF). Last year, CPAF received more than 3800 hotline calls in 18 different languages. Additionally, CPAF housed more than 100 survivors and their children in our shelters. Although CPAF has not seen many clients identifying as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ), CPAF is here to help everyone seeking refuge from domestic violence and sexual assault via its 24-hour confidential hotline: 1-800-339-3940.




CPAF attends “Engaging Boys and Men Conference” featuring Dr. Jackson Katz

On Tuesday June 20th, CPAF staff attended the “Engaging Boys and Men Conference” hosted by House of Ruth and featuring author, filmmaker, and educator Dr. Jackson Katz. The goal of the conference was to address the need to engage men and boys in the fight to end domestic and other forms of violence.

Katz’ main point was that men’s violence against women not only hurts women, but also hurts men – including boys who grow up in households with domestic violence. While men are more often the perpetrators of gender violence, they are also the victims – however, men are often absent when addressing the issue of intimate partner violence.

Katz posed the need to hold individuals accountable for their actions while simultaneously confronting the attitudes that underpin social systems excusing men’s use of violence against women.

The conference provided interesting learning points for CPAF as we continue working with boys and men in our prevention and intervention work.

Interactive Art featuring CPAF Survivors – Opening Reception, June 11

A collaborative mural created by survivors of 11 agencies in Los Angeles. (Click here for a closer look at CPAF’s panel.)

Over the many years, CPAF has been fortunate to partner with A Window Between Worlds (AWBW), a local agency committed to helping empower survivors through artistic expression.  This partnership has provided our clients countless opportunities to process the trauma they experience and help them on the journey to transitioning into a life free from intimate partner violence and sexual assault.

In the past year, CPAF was invited to join in a 2-year AWBW art initiative entitled “At the Core: Transforming Trauma Together”.  The first year consisted of creating a collaborative mural created by clients of 11 LA County agencies, and was led by AWBW Artist-in-Residence Fabian Debora, who conceptualized and created the design of the overall piece. Each of the 11 agencies was given a section of the mural to paint and decorate around a central theme that each agency generated for its community. For CPAF’s Transitional Shelter residents who participated in this project, the central theme was “What does healing look like in the context of our culture?” The process of creating the art piece served as an invaluable opportunity to share their struggles and to deepen understanding and connection among the shelter’s families.  The resulting artwork became a dynamic expression of their persevering hope and optimism. We at CPAF are so honored and proud to provide our contribution to AWBW’s art initiative. We would like to invite you to come view the final artwork which will be displayed at the San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center. Details are below:

At The Core: Transforming Trauma Together
Opening Reception: Sunday, June 11th  2-5pm
Exhibition runs from June 7th through June 24th.

San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center
18312 Oxnard St.
Tarzana, CA 91356
For information on parking, click here.

Statewide Training Held on How to Be Culturally Responsive

The Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF) helped launch a pilot training series to help strengthen cultural responsiveness practices across California. As an organization that has been dedicated to helping Asian and Pacific Islander survivors facing cultural and linguistic barriers, it was a fitting task for CPAF to partner with other agencies in a joint mission to eliminate all forms of violence.

MYLAR Training in Petaluma, CA
Photos Courtesy of Everyday Impact Consulting

Six organizations met in January 2017 to collaborate on an unprecedented model of learning. Since then, the group has been traveling across the state to bring together service providers in an effort to increase access to victim services. This project, known as the MYLAR (Multi-Year Language Access Resources) Collaborative, is being led by My Sister’s House and Everyday Impact Consulting. Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (API-GBV), Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF), Korean American Family Services (KFAM) and Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) round out the group.

This exercise is called Blanketed By Blame and is designed to help participants see the structures that can cause harm and how they can be different

The training location alternates each month from NorCal to SoCal to cities in between. Adopting a diversity framework, enhancing leadership/budget strategies, and increasing language access at each workplace are examples of what participants learn in reference to serving victims of crime more effectively throughout the state.

The MYLAR training includes many styles of learning. Session three is a panel discussion on budgeting and staffing for cultural responsiveness

The training is free and open to any organization or government/social service agency that is willing to reflect on its current practices and be open to making necessary improvements to better serve its population. Post-training technical assistance can also be provided. 

Here is the current list for upcoming dates and regions:

8/24/2017 (Thursday) – Alameda / Contra Costa

8/25/2017 (Friday) – San Jose

9/14/2017 (Thursday) – Bakersfield

9/15/2017 (Friday) – Fresno

11/2/2017 (Thursday) – Ontario / Riverside

12/8/2017 (Friday) – San Diego

1/25/2018 (Thursday) – Chico

1/26/2018 (Friday) – Sacramento

To RSVP, please email Sherrie Calibo at

This project is made possible by the California Office of Emergency Services and the Office for Victims of Crime.

This blog was written by Christine Lee, CPAF’s Community Engagement Manager

Why I Love Mom – Special Blog for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Throughout the month of May, we are encouraging readers to take a moment to reflect on the mothers or mother-like figures in their lives. May also happens to be a special month celebrating Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States, so we thought it was the perfect opportunity to share a few stories from the CPAF staff to get you started in thinking about your own relationships. Here are a few prompts that you can think about as you get started on your journey of gratitude.

Anna Lee, Development Coordinator

Anna Lee and her mom, Jane Lee

Why I Love My Mom:

“My mom is my rock, though I haven’t always seen it that way. I am truly blessed with the family I have, and a strong mother whom I choose to turn to when I need guidance or solid, foundational advice.

Mama Lee is smart – she’s quick to calculate, and it’s hard to get anything past her. In that way, I guess she ingrained in me the horrible feeling of lying and why I avoid it today.

Mrs. Lee is hands on – before calling a technician, she’ll troubleshoot the problem herself, and if she needs a professional to do it, she’ll call them, but she’ll know the problem and solution better than they do 80% of the time. Again, nothing gets past this woman. She’s taught me to take initiative.

She’s definitely more firm than gentle. When I sought sympathy, she’d call me out on the real problem instead – keeping me in check, and being real always. She taught me not to pity myself or seek pity from others; she taught me to admit my wrongs and be stronger for it.

Oh, and she’s 5 feet. That just makes all the above that much more entertaining. What’s not to love?”

What I Learned from Mom on Being Asian American:

“Growing up, being Asian was never directly pointed out or discussed in my family. I grew up in a predominantly Caucasian community, and never really thought too much about being Asian. Even when I brought purple rice to school for lunch in 5th grade, questions were asked, but I wasn’t phased. I maybe felt weird a couple times when I would wear shoes INSIDE the house of some of my friends.

I think the more impressionable discussions come from very recent times, when my mom talks about her mom and family – about how they were impacted by the Korean War, and the hardships that stem from a patriarchal society where the man is respected and the woman isn’t, especially the daughter-in-laws of families. My grandmother has lived a tough life with a lot of unfortunate and scarring events, to say the least. When I asked my mom how she and her siblings all turned out to be fairly healthy and “okay” even with such a traumatic past between their parents, she responded, “‘It’s because of your grandmother. Her strength. Her love. That is why the mother is so important.'”

Christine Lee, Community Engagement Manager

Christine Lee and her mother Kyong Lee. Courtesy Pat Shannahan, The Arizona Republic

Why I Love My Mom:

“My mom brought me up with a lot of love in a country that was foreign to her.

She was a single mother, and she raised me without a dad but gave me a loving family atmosphere despite that with three aunts and a pair of grandparents.

My mom sacrificed a lot of things in life, like her career, to make sure that I have the best chance of success living in America.”

What I Learned from Mom on Being Asian American:

“My mom taught me about hard work and perseverance.

She made sure I was well-rounded (playing piano and violin; taking ice skating and swimming lessons; going to Kumon and other tutoring services) so that I can get into a good college and live a life she couldn’t live.

My mom told me that she gave up being a nurse when she immigrated to America during the 1970s. The language barrier was too difficult for her to overcome, so she started a small business then made her way into becoming a government employee.

My mom wanted me to be a doctor or engineer like many other Asian moms, but she compromised when she learned that I really wanted to become a storyteller. She believed in my desire to do something other than what she had hoped for and has been supporting me ever since.”

Michelle Esperanza, Development Director

Michelle Esperanza, Development Director at CPAF

Why I Love My Mom:

“My mom is pure love. She is kind, thoughtful and caring about her family and community. She is an inspiration.”

What I Learned from Mom on Being Asian American:

“Mom came here as a child when her father, who served in the U.S. Navy, moved his family here. She lived in Florida in the late 1950s – where people stared at them openly, came out of their shops to ask where they were from – and California in the 1960s. She continues to lives her life with grace each day and celebrates Filipino family traditions while incorporating elements from her life as an American.”

Ellen Hong, Community Program Director

Ellen Hong, Her Two Daughters, and Her Mother Li-Shun Huang Hong

Why I Love My Mom:

“My mom is one of the most humorous, compassionate, nurturing and humble people I know.  As a Taiwanese immigrant, she and my father pastored a small Taiwanese church.  When my mom wasn’t working or taking care of our family, she spent a lot of time visiting parishioners, particularly those who were ill or elderly.  I recall a particular woman named Peggy who was diagnosed with cancer whom my mom visited on a weekly basis.  As busy as my mom was, she would cook for Peggy and bring her chicken soup with special Taiwanese herbs.  Not realizing it at the time, these visits gave me a window into my mom’s love and compassion as an outward expression of her faith, which has left a lasting impact on me.

As a mom of two girls now, I also hope to instill values of love and compassion in my children the same way that my mom instilled that in me, through her actions and her words.”

What I Learned from Mom on Being Asian American:

“My mom has always taken pride in being Taiwanese, but she is also incredibly open when it comes to those who hold differing world views.  Her humility is evinced in the way that she actively gleans and learns from others’ perspectives.  While she has faced the struggles common to many immigrants, she also doesn’t see herself as a victim.  Rather, she boldly engages and looks for opportunities to exchange ideas and experiences. She is the lifelong learner that I hope to be.”