Chapter Leaders

What is a Chapter Leader? Chapter Leaders pledge to bring our ONE DAY OF AAPI HISTORY into their classroom/student organization. They also join at least one event during the year (virtual or in person), attend our annual meeting, and sign up for public speaking, community organizing and event planning, legislative action, content creation or graphic art on social media, and/or art activism. Chapter Leaders have first access to speaking opportunities and be able to run for the AYR YOUTH BOARD at the Annual Meeting.

Click here to sign up as a Chapter Leader

Mahnoor Aetzaz

“Hi! My name is Mahnoor Aetzaz and I am currently a junior in high school. My favorite would have to be Mixed Up by ENHYPEN, while my favorite food is a nice, warm plate of biryani! In my free time, I love to cook, listen to music and go shopping. What I like the most about AAPI Youth Rising is how it centers around the experiences or perspectives of those that are young and provides a safe space for us to advocate on what we believe in. It is crucial for us youth to speak up since doing so will help benefit our current generation by strengthening our resolve to advocate for social change and challenge any detrimental conventions that are upheld in our society. Our voice has power, and that power can be used for the betterment of the world we live in today and a successful future for all!”

Niles West High School, Skokie, IL, Class of 2024

Bryan Zhao

“Hi, I’m Bryan, an 8th Grader currently attending Chapin School Princeton. I enjoy hobbies such as playing the violin, sports, writing, and Quiz Bowl. I love all sorts of foods, and also have a very scattered taste when it comes to music! My favorite aspect of AAPI Youth Rising is that it’s an organization founded and organized by young people. I believe that it is extremely important for us youth to speak up, as we are changing our future and trailblazing for future generations.”

Chapin School Princeton, Princeton, NJ, 8th grader

Colin Poon

“Hi! My name is Colin Poon, and from Central Florida! I am President of REACH of Central Florida, an Asian American Youth organization that works to promote Asian American Culture in my local area. I am President of of my High School’s ASA, work to include AAPI History in Florida’s K-12 Curriculum, and take part in my school’s Debate Club. I personally enjoy reading, learning Chinese, and doing yoga in my free time. To note, I best love that AAPI Youth Rising is a youth-led initiative, and can combat hate in the way that AAPI students see it on a possibly normal basis. I think it is important for youth to speak up because many young people don’t believe that their voice can have an impact, but I have learned from my experience with Make Us Visible FL that our elected officials are here to listen to our concerns, and they are more likely to listen to the many than the few.”

Apopka High School, Apopka, FL, Class of 2025

Iris Sihashath

“‘Hey everyone! My name is Iris, and I’m a current junior attending Paragon Science Academy in Chandler, Arizona. My interests include playing the drums (I’m in a band!), journaling, reading, watching old movies, and listening to music – especially conscious rap! My current favorite song is Rapp Snitch Knishes by MF DOOM, and my favorite movie is When Harry Met Sally! As an Asian American youth activist, I believe in the importance of amplifying the voices of those most marginalized and underrepresented. We must continue to work in solidarity within our communities to act against the systems that oppress our cultural communities to ultimately create positive, impactful change for all.”

Paragon Science Academy, Chandler, AZ, Class of 2024

Lauren Gonzalez

“Hello! I’m Lauren Gonzalez, a high school junior. For those wondering, I’m Latina, Filipina, and eager to improve both myself and my community from within. In my free time, you can find me running (hurdles are the best), reading anything I can get my hands on, hiking, drawing in a comic book kind of style, or reading an AP Biology textbook. My favorite foods include mole enchiladas, lava cake, and some good hot pot in the winter. I believe it’s important for youth to speak up because, as members of a new generation, we have a responsibility to continue the efforts the previous generations have made to improve our communities, countries, and the world as a whole (this includes addressing the harm or lack of progress that has been made as well, as that alone can be progress in itself).”

Burlingame High School, Burlingame, CA, Class of 2024

Sophie Chen

“Hi there! My name is Sophie Chen, a student at Woodside Priory School. I’m very fortunate to live in the Bay Area, where the community is incredibly diverse. However, I feel that there is so much opportunity for all races to learn from and better support each other. I love AAPI Youth Rising’s mission to rally our younger generation to become advocates for change.”

Woodside Priory School, Los Altos, CA, Class of 2025

Sapnik Movva

“Hi, I’m Sapnik! love sports, mainly basketball and football, and I enjoy hanging out with friends. My favorite food are Waffles and my favorite move is The Truman Show. What I like the most about AAPI Youth Uprising is how it gives a voice to underrepresented minorities. It makes it easier for them to be heard and helps the create a real impact for others.”

Independence High School, Frisco, TX, Class of 2025

Hanna Mored

“Hi, I’m Hannah! My interests include cooking, literature analysis, musical arts, trail biking, and coffee art. My favorite food is sinigang, a Filipino stew. What I appreciate the most about AAPI Youth Rising is how it brings more opportunity for students to make a change in their community surrounding Asian Americans as well as educates those around them about different cultures. I believe it is incredibly important for youth to speak up because it not only builds on their confidence and awareness, but also allows for a sense of connection and strength to themselves and those around them. Speaking up gives them an opinion in the world, whether it be in their family or community.”

Del Oro High School, Loomis, CA, Class of 2024

Kobi Thomas, Social Media Manager

“Hi. My name is Kobi Thomas. I attend College Preparatory School. I play baseball and enjoy hanging out with my friends in my free time. My favorite song is Venom by Eminem and favorite movie is A Civil Action. People close to me experienced racial discrimination throughout the past few years and it brought shame to my half-Korean side and culture. My mother empowered me to speak out as a youth but I couldn’t find a platform where people would listen. I really love AAPI Youth Rising’s potential as a big non profit organization and their goal of bringing power to youth voices, such as mine.”

College Preparatory School, Oakland, CA, Class of 2026

Hudson Lee

“My name is Hudson, I am full Korean and live in Pasadena. I am 11 and my interests lie in Computer Science and Microbiology. It’s important to speak up, because we need to disband all of the severe racist people like the KKK or Neo Nazis. We also need the next generation to know all cultures, not just to focus on one.”

Chandler School, Pasadena, CA, 5th Grader

Matthew Sugiyama

“Hi, my name is Matthew Sugiyama I really enjoy playing football, volunteering, working out, and problem solving. Currently, my favorite food would probably have to specifically be BBQ Chicken Pizza. AAPI Youth Rising encourages youth individuals to spread awareness about the continuous hate that Asian and Pacific Islanders face on a daily basis. I believe that it is incredibly important for youth to speak up especially in the present as our society needs to directly hear from the future generation. Empowering youth to speak out not only builds self-confidence for them, but also educates them to create a better society.”

Campolindo High School, Moraga, CA, Class of 2025

Claire Lesiw

“My interests are playing instruments (I currently play three), reading and playing on my phone. My favorite song is No Celestial by LE SSERAFIM. Favorite foods are bread, spaghetti or soup. I love that AAPI youth rising is inclusive to the younger generations so we can educate ourselves and our peers. It’s so important for youth to speak up so we can keep amazing traditions alive through memory and even through action!”

Del Oro High School, Loomis, CA, Class of 2025

Julian Pay

“I really like swimming in the summer, and I like to read when I have time. My favorite food is sushi because it tase super good and it is really fast to eat, I am usually a very slow eater. I don’t have a favorite song, but I do love the music artist Stevie Wonder, it has always amazed me how he was blind, and he could play/sing beautiful music. The thing I like most about AAPI youth rising is they give the youth a chance to speak up and give the youth a voice in AAPI hate crimes, Injustice and raciest acts. I think it is important to speak up because by speaking up you can change things that aren’t right.”

Head-Royce School, Oakland, CA, 6th grader

Miles Pay

“My name is Miles, I am 12 years old and in 6th grade. My favorite food is and my one of my favorite songs is What’s Going on by: Marvin Gaye. I enjoy reading, playing video games, and playing sports. I think the idea of promoting Asian youths is fantastic and it’s important to get involved with the community.”

Head-Royce School, Oakland, CA, 6th grader

Ramira Mittal

“Hi, I’m Ramira! I’m really interested in music as I am apart of my schools marching and concert band, and play the clarinet for both! I also participate in winter guard which includes doing tosses with flags and learning intricate choreography! I think it’s so important for youth to speak up as we are a rising generation that will be taking on new leadership roles in every aspect of life including politics, science, English, etc… Speaking up and gaining representation for everyone is extremely important to me as the foundation of change stems from speaking out on unjust experiences in life. I am so grateful to be able to spread my culture and experiences as an Asian American and I hope I am able to grow a community of people who feel safe and loved!”

Del Oro High School, Loomis, CA, Class of 2024

Siyona Lin

“Hi, I’m Siyona! I love music and play piano, flute, and bassoon. My favorite musical artist is the Beatles, and I love to read (my favorite childhood book is the Phantom Tollbooth) and spend time with my family. I was drawn to AAPI Youth Rising because the unique, student-driven action that has been taken by AYR (ONE/180, organizing rallies, etc.) really stood out to me as something I wanted to be a part of. It is especially necessary for the youth of today to speak out against injustice because we are the future of the world and are responsible for creating a more equal and just society.”

Del Oro High School, Loomis, CA, Class of 2024

Milan Lin

“In my spare time, I like to play the piano and marimba. My favorite food is my grandma’s and I love to drink boba tea. I believe it is important for youth to speak up because of the empowering nature of activism. Many kids may not relate to adults preaching ideals at them, so who better then another person their age to give them a voice. Especially as we are the future, speaking out against social injustice is essential.”

Del Oro High School, Loomis, CA, Class of 2024

Mei Hallett

“I’m a high school junior planning and preparing to attend university for psychology. I’ve always been very interested in social work and therapy, especially within our community. My favorite song is Sad Disco by Mxmtoon, my favorite food is umeboshi onigiri, and my favorite color is yellow. AYR’s mission to share untold and ignored AAPI stories in very important to me. It’s cardinal for AAPI youth can see their history in schools, and for Non-AAPI people to see the roots of Asian Americans to lessen perpetual foreigner myths.”

Portage Central High School, Portage, MI, Class of 2024

Max Prost

“Hey Everyone, my name is Maxwell Prost and I am a biracial Chinese-American student from Albany High School. I believe in AAPI Youth Rising’s mission and wish to help be a part of their advocacy for change. I am an aspiring politican and I trust that the voices of the younger generation will leave the biggest impact on our society. I’ll use any medium or platform to help make that change, and some ways I do that already are through my writing and drawings. I’m also a runner!”

Albany High School, Albany, CA, Class of 2026

Grace Chiu

“I love to draw (usually digital art). I usually enjoy watching shows including Pretty Little Liars and B99. I love listening to Taylor Swift and Mitski (my favorite being Mirrorball and Your Best American Girl). I love to eat sushi and pasta. I think what’s important for next gen immigrant to talk about struggles that their parents had to go through getting through America.”

Las Lomas High School, Walnut Creek, CA, Class of 2026

Charlize Chung

“My name is Charlize Chung! In my free time I love crocheting, doing my makeup, and eating everything in sight. I love listening to music and going to concerts- my favorite song of all time is TT by Twice.”

Niles West High School, Skokie, IL, Class of 2024

Xiaowen Z

“Hi my name is Xiaowen Z. and I am a sophmore this year in High School. I have always wanted form local organization in Columbus that allow for others to learn more about Chinese cultural background. I found your website and wanted to sort of ask about what I can do to learn more about my Chinese American culture and let others around start to learn more about the importance of embracing the diversity. How can start a local teen organization that really inform others about the importance of Asian American and Chinese American heritage.”

New Albany High School, New Albany, OH, Class of 2025

Kylie Montigney

“I love getting to join events for organizations such as AAPI Youth Rising to learn more about making a difference in my community. On my free time I love to travel, hang with friends and family, and going to sporting events.”

PA Cyber School, Midland, PA, Class of 2025

Pritam Misri

Pritam Misri is a student at The Athenian School and lives in Berkeley. He enjoys debating, podcasts on history, and discussing current events with his family. Pritam also loves to read political autobiographies and jam with his friends on the flute and sax. He believes he can make a tangible change in his community through AAPI Youth Rising.

The Athenian School, Danville, CA, Class of 2026

Johanna Villanueva

“Mabuhay! My name is Johanna Villanueva and I am currently a Filipina Sophomore in Tempe, Arizona! I am passionate about Musical Theatre, Journalism, and God, and I love a good Halo-Halo every once in a while. I think it’s important for youth to speak up because without that voice, I’m not sure how youth are supposed to be heard.”

Marcos De Niza High School, Tempe, AZ, Class of 2025

Olivia Oberliesen

“In my spare time, I enjoy reading, art, playing the piano, and learning more about politics. I love AAPI Youth Rising and its mission because the organization makes it easier for young people to become involved in their communities and have their voices be heard on important issues, which I believe is extremely important.”

NJ, Class of 2024

Athena Alexander

“Hey, I’m Athena! Being apart of the AAPI community has been such a great experience. I enjoy horseback riding and spending time with my friends. I think it’s incredibly important for youth to speak up because we are the next generation, and change is all at our fingertips!”

Redwood Day School, Oakland, CA, 8th Grader

Tenzing Gyamokhang

“Hey y’all I’m Tenzing! Okay so my favorite song as of this moment would have to be Sleepwalking by Modest Mouse. My favorite food basically a compilation of a lot of different foods based on what I’m feeling. I love salmon sashimi, Indian food food, 20 PIECE CHICKEN NUGGETS, and the list goes on! I really admire how AAPI Youth Rising’s goal is to create change within schools and youth!”

Albany High School, Albany, CA, Class of 2026

Isabel Shen

“My name is Isabel Chia-Ai Shen, and I attend the Head-Royce school in Oakland, California. I’m a Chinese-American feminist and debater and have won several awards as a member of the HRS debate team. I aspire to be a journalist, and I value social change and reform. AAPI Youth Rising has amplified the voices of our most revolutionary youth and allows our dreams and ambitions to come into fruition. By empowering our youth, we are giving the next leaders of our generation a say in the mechanisms of our world. As Gandhi once said, ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.'”

Head-Royce School, Oakland, CA, 8th Grader


Alexis is so proud to be a Chapter Leader for AAPI Youth Rising! She has South East Asian and American Asian heritage and values the importance of culture. Outside of speaking up, Alexis plays club volleyball as a libero and is a loud and key player on the court! She doesn’t have any favorite songs, but is always up for classical/pop music. Alexis’ favorite food is ramen, and she will gladly talk to you about the best types. Her favorite thing about AAPI Youth Rising is the environment it fosters to encourage us to speak up for what we want and deserve. She believes that it’s important for youth to speak up because we have great ideas and we need to advocate for our rights!

Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School, Saratoga, CA, 8th grader

Mimi Tuden

Mimi is really into art and advocating for what is right. Mimi shares: “I was adopted from Taiwan when I was younger so I really find it important to stay in touch with the culture. I presented at the national restorative justice conference on mental health for adoptees and foster youth. I really enjoy advocating for things I find important and that is why I want to join AAPI Youth Rising. It sounds like a great organization and I would love to be a part of it. I do crew as my sport and I love anything art related!

Skyline High School, Oakland, CA, Class of 2026

Mia Fung

Mia is really into art, graphic design. She enjoys learning more about the community and other people, hearing other’s perspectives, making new friends, and meeting new people!

Presidio Knolls School, San Francisco, CA, 8th Grader

Maile Koidin

“AAPI Youth Rising is important because it represents a new generation sharing new ideas and impacting the world. In my free time, I enjoy drawing and designing art for my sticker shop and reading YA novels set in post-apocalyptic America.”

Presidio Knolls School, San Francisco, CA, 8th Grader

Madison Guan

“I love drawing and painting because it’s my way of expressing myself. I find it really interesting and amazing that this program was created for young teenagers who want to speak out, and I think it is really impressive that this whole organization is run by teenagers. Speaking out is important to me because it allows me to express my opinions.”

Albany High School, Albany, CA, Class of 2026

Magdalena Sambajon Mercado

“I enjoy singing as while inspiring young, striving women through musical expression, building brother/sisterhood with the people that surround me, and making use of my voice to educate our common populace on societal topics that I, and others, are greatly concerned about, in hopes they’ll gain acknowledgement within our world, create stronger communities, and make change.”

Phillips Academy Andover, Boston, MA, Class of 2026

Ashanna Garcia

Ashanna is interested in speaking out and having conversations, meeting new people, dance and music, jewelry making, crochet.

Raleigh Charter School, Raleigh, NC, Class of 2024

Mihika Deshpande

“Hi! My name is Mihika and I enjoy creating art, debating, programming, and dancing (specifically Kathak, an Indian classical dance) among other things. I also love traveling to different places and learning about the cultures and traditions that originated there. I believe it’s important for youth to speak up because today’s youth will someday lead this world and it’s important that they have an opportunity to speak out, help drive changes that are key to reducing hate, and understand and appreciate various cultures.”

Irvington High School, Freemont, CA, Class of 2026

Angely Xiong

“I love traveling, badminton, reading, and video games! I’m passionate about public speaking and writing and I also enjoy gardening and volunteer work. I believe it’s extremely important for youth to speak up so our voices can be heard, especially during a time where it may seem like our voices are insignificant. I founded the Asian Pacific Islander Students Association at my school and would love to continue to get myself and my community more involved to create social impact as AAPI Youth Rising has done.”

Nicolet High School, Milwaukee WI, Class of 2023

Annie Huynh

“I’ve been keeping up with AAPI Youth Rising for a couple of months now and I love the dedication that goes into their work. I want to learn more about my community and how we can combat certain global issues. I also am trying to push myself this year to get out of my comfort zone.”

Impact Academy of the Arts and Technology, Hayward, CA, Class of 2025

Arpita Guha

Arpita Guha is a youth activist who is motivated and passionate about helping the AAPI community. She shares that as a Bengali-Hindu she has seen firsthand what my community has gone through first hand and the hate crimes and she shared news articles about protests at her temple. Arpita serves on the Shelby Township youth advisory board and has held numerous leadership positions. She loves public speaking and is the President of her Model UN Club.

International Academy East, Troy, MI, Class of 2023

Kristie To

“In my free time, I enjoy playing percussion, volunteering, traveling, and spending time with family! I was immediately drawn to AAPI Youth Rising for the organization’s mission to make positive change in our communities by their various accomplishments such as establishing the ONE/180 pledge and organizing a Stop Asian Hate rally of over 1,200 people.”

Irvine, CA, Class of 2024


“I like listening to music, reading, talking to his bird and hanging out with his family. I hopes that through AYR, multiple young voices will be able to spread diversity in the world and make it a better place.”

Montessori School of El Cerrito, El Cerrito, CA, Class of 2027


Johann is passionate about AAPI Youth Rising activities. In his free time, he enjoys participating in Robotics competitions and building Legos.

Stanford Online High School, Class of 2026


As our youngest contributor, Nahla created a video presentation for her class about speaking up and standing up for what you believe in. We are inspired by you Nahla!

Black Pine Circle School, Berkeley CA, 6th grader

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