• "...to bring good news to the poor... proclaim release to the captives... let the oppressed go free..."
  • (Luke 4:18-19)

    Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month 2021

    American Baptist Women’s Ministries continues our “Iron Sharpens Iron” 70th birthday celebration by recognizing women throughout May for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. We invite you to celebrate, honor, and reflect on the many contributions Asians and Pacific Islanders women have made! Visit daily to join us in recognizing women.

    Honor a loved one or a woman who has helped sharpen you by giving a gift to American Baptist Women’s Ministries’ 70th birthday celebration. Give a gift of $70 or more to share her story (up to 100 characters) in the next issues of Leaders’ Reader. Click here to give now.

    May  23, 2021
    Amanda Koonjbeharry
    Amanda Koonjbeharry is the director of Public Policy at Citizens League. In this role, she leads all efforts related to developing and advancing policy recommendations with the Citizens League’s members and partners. Amanda previously served as the Director of No Wrong Door, Hennepin County’s anti-sex trafficking initiative. She oversaw the implementation of the county-wide six-point plan to end and prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth. She co-led the state-wide anti-sex trafficking committee for Super Bowl LII, advocated for funding from county leadership and the board to secure positions in multiple departments to address the issue, and managed multiple stakeholder groups to advance policy and programmatic changes. 
         Previously, Amanda worked as a Senior Planning Analyst at Hennepin County, a Program Coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s Office for Business and Community Economic Development, a School Based Family Support Worker for 360 Communities (Partners for Success), and an Employment Counselor for Avivo (formerly known as Resource Inc.). Amanda has a bachelor’s degree in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s of Social Work from the U of M’s School of Social Work, and a Master’s of Public Policy from the U of M’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. In 2018, she was a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal 40 Under 40 Honoree.

    May  22, 2021
    Yuna Kim

    Yuna Kim is a retired South Korean competitive figure skater. She is the 2010 Olympic champion and 2014 silver medalist in ladies' singles; the 2009 & 2013 World champion; the 2009 Four Continents champion; a three-time Grand Prix Final champion; the 2006 World Junior champion; the 2005 Junior Grand Prix Final champion; and a six-time (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2013, 2014) South Korean national champion.
         Kim is the first South Korean figure skater to win a medal at an ISU Junior Grand Prix or ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating event, the ISU Figure Skating Championships, and the Olympic Games. She is the first female skater ever to win every major international competition, namely, the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the Four Continents Championships, and the Grand Prix Final. She is also the first figure skater ever to complete a Career Super Grand Slam by also winning the Junior Grand Prix Final and the Junior World Championships. She is one of the most highly recognized athletes and media figures in South Korea.
         She is the former record holder for ladies in the short program, free skate and combined total under the ISU Judging System. She has broken world record scores 11 times under the ISU Judging System since 2007, eight of which being records she herself set. She is also the first female skater to surpass the 140-point and 150-point free skating mark and the 200-point, 210-point and 220-point total mark under the ISU Judging System. Throughout her entire career (novice, junior and senior), Kim had never finished a competition off the podium. Due to her strong artistry and musicality, skating skills, exceptional speed and fluidity, consistency, textbook jump technique, ability to compete with barely any competition, mental strength in delivering results in high pressure competitions, and a solid competitive record, she is regarded as one of the greatest ladies singles skaters of all time. She is also noted for her great rivalry with three-time World champion Mao Asada from Japan.

    May  21, 2021
    Pahoua Yang Hoffman

    Pahoua Yang Hoffman is the Senior Vice President of Community Impact at Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. Prior to this role, Pahoua was the seventh executive director of the nonpartisan nonprofit, the Citizens League, and was the first woman and the first person of color to hold the position since the organization’s founding in 1952. Her current board service includes Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, where she serves as Chair of the advocacy committee and a member of the executive committee, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, the Constellation Fund, Girl Friday Theatre Productions, and as advisory board member with the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of St. Thomas. Pahoua holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas. In her free time, she enjoys baseball, cooking, live music and travel. She lives on Eat Street in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis with her husband, Brian.

    May  20, 2021
    Junko Tabei
    Junko Tabei was a Japanese mountaineer, author, and teacher. She was the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest and the first woman to ascend the Seven Summits, climbing the highest peak on every continent.
    Tabei wrote seven books, organized environmental projects to clean up rubbish left behind by climbers on Everest, and led annual climbs up Mount Fuji for youth affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
         Learn more about Tabei at http://www.theheroinecollective.com/junko-tabei/

    May 19, 2021
    Connie Chung

    Connie Chung has been an anchor and reporter for the U.S. television news networks NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and MSNBC. Some of her more famous interview subjects include Claus von Bülow and U.S. Representative Gary Condit, whom Chung interviewed first after the Chandra Levy disappearance, and basketball legend Magic Johnson after he went public about being HIV-positive. In 1993, she became only the second woman to co-anchor a network newscast as part of CBS Evening News. 
         Learn more about Connie at https://www.iamwomankind.org/2019/10/07/connie-chung-bio/

    May 18, 2021
    Maya Lin
    Maya Ying Lin is an American designer and sculptor. In 1981, while an undergraduate at Yale University, she achieved national recognition when she won a national design competition for the planned Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
         Lin has designed numerous memorials, public and private buildings, landscapes, and sculptures. Although she is best known for historical memorials, she is also known for environmentally themed works, which often address environmental decline. According to Lin, she draws inspiration from the architecture of nature but believes that nothing she creates can match its beauty.
         Learn more about Maya at https://www.mayalinstudio.com/about

    May 17, 2021

    Rev. Lauren Lisa Ng


    An ordained minister with the American Baptist Churches, USA, Lauren Ng serves as Director of Leadership Empowerment at the American Baptist Home Mission Societies. Lauren has a distinct passion for fresh, alternative, and entrepreneurial models of ministry and the emerging leaders who pursue them. 

    Rev. Ng is currently completing a Doctor of Ministry in Creative Leadership at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. She earned her Masters of Divinity from the American Baptist Seminary of the West/Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, and was ordained in 2005. Rev. Ng earned her B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Oberlin College.

    May 16, 2021

    Janet Wu


    Janet is a multi-media journalist and adjunct professor at Emerson College.

         An Op-Ed contributor to The Boston Globe, her work has also been published in The New York Times and the upcoming 2018 "Norton Sampler of Essays."

         She graduated from Yale with a dual major in Philosophy and Psychology and earned a master's degree in Journalism and International Affairs at Columbia University.

         She is a founding member of SheGives, a philanthropic organization of women. She sits on boards for the New England Conservatory of Music, Franciscan Children's Hospital, The American Heart Association of Boston, Homestart, and The Max Warburg Courage Curriculum.

         She was named the 2015 New England Girls Scouts "Leading Woman of the Year" and delivered a 2016 TEDX Cambridge Talk at the Boston Opera House.

         Read learn more about Janet Wu at https://www.janetwu.com/

    May 15, 2021
    Yuri Kochiyama
    Yuri Kochiyama was born and raised in San Pedro, California. In 1943, under President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, Kochiyama and her family were sent to a concentration camp in Jerome, Arkansas, for two years. After being released, she moved to New York and married Bill Kochiyama, a veteran of the all-Japanese American 442nd combat unit of the U.S. Army.
         Kochiyama's activism started in Harlem in the early 1960s. She participated in the Asian American, Black, and Third World movements for civil and human rights, ethnic studies, and against the war in Vietnam. She was a fixture in support movements involving organizations. As founder of Asian Americans for Action, she also sought to build a more political Asian American movement that would link itself to the struggle for Black liberation. "Racism has placed all ethnic peoples in similar positions of oppression, poverty, and marginalization." In 1963, she met Malcolm X. Their friendship and political alliance changed her life and outlook. She joined his group, the Organization for Afro-American Unity, to work for racial justice and human rights. 
         In the 1980s, Kochiyama worked in the redress and reparations movement for Japanese-Americans along with her husband, Bill. Support for political prisoners—African American, Puerto Rican, Native American, Asian American, and progressive whites—has been a consistent thread in her work.
         Read her full bio at https://www.zinnedproject.org/news/tdih/yuri-kochiyama-was-born/#:~:text=Yuri%20Kochiyama%20(May%2019%2C%201921,raised%20in%20San%20Pedro%2C%20California.

    May 14, 2021
    Amy Tan


    Born in the U.S. to immigrant parents from China, Amy Tan grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her B.A. with a double major in English and Linguistics, followed by her M.A. in Linguistics. She worked as a language development specialist, freelance business writer, Co-producer, and Co-screenwriter. 

         In 1985, Amy began writing fiction as an incentive to cut back on her heavy freelance workload. Her first story was published in 1986 in a small literary magazine, F.M. Five, which was then reprinted in Seventeen and Grazia. Her novels include The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter, Saving Fish from Drowning, and The Valley of Amazement (2013). She is also the author of a memoir, The Opposite of Fate, two children's books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat, and numerous articles for magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper's Bazaar, and National Geographic. She is also the author of the short story "Rules for Virgins," published in e-book format (Byliner Original). Her work has been translated into 35 languages. Amy Tan's latest book, Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir, will be published by ECCO/HarperCollins in October 2017. She is at work on another novel, The Memory of Desire.

         Read her full bio at http://www.amytan.net.

    May 13, 2021
    Rev. Karen Yee

    Rev. Karen Yee, former Bible Study Leader for ABWM's 2011 National Women's Conference, serves as the Associate Pastor at New Life Christian Fellowship, Castro Valley, and is the English-speaking pastor at Iu-Mienh Friendship Baptist Church in Richmond.  Rev. Yee serves on the Executive Board of Directors for the American Baptist Home Mission Society (ABHMS), as a liaison to the Office of the General Secretary, a Trustee for Rainbow Acres, the Treasurer of the Executive Council of the Ministers Council of the Greater Bay Area, and as the Convener of the Missionary Partnership Team for Ingrid Roldan-Roman.
         Rev. Yee created a Summer Day Camp program that incorporated neighborhood outreach and leadership development and has written for Bread for the World, Judson Press, and other curriculum projects for all ages.  Yee has served 15 years as the Associate Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Alameda, an American Baptist church, serving a multi-ethnic, intergenerational congregation of Christ-followers. Before this, she was a public-school teacher and mentor teacher in the Millbrae School District. She also served as an active lay leader at the First Chinese Baptist Church of San Francisco. 

    May 12, 2021
    Akiko Fujimoto  

    Born in Japan, Akiko Fujimoto moved to the United States at age 14. She attended Stanford University, where she studied music and psychology and holds master's degrees in conducting from the Eastman School of Music and Boston University. 
          Fujimoto is the Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, where she conducts education, community, and summer concerts.  She also serves as the Music Director of the Mid-Texas Symphony.
         As guest conductor, Fujimoto has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Houston Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, Corpus Christi Symphony, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. 
         Before arriving in Minnesota, Fujimoto served as the San Antonio Symphony Associate Conductor for five seasons and as the conducting associate for the Virginia Symphony.
    Fujimoto is a strong advocate for young musicians. She held positions at Harvard University, where she directed the Mozart Society Orchestra, and at Stanford University, where she served as the interim music director of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. While in Virginia, she also served as Director of Orchestras at the College of William & Mary and the Williamsburg Youth Orchestras music director.

    May 11, 2021
    Chien-Shiung Wu
    Born in the small town of Liu He (Ho), located near Shanghai, China. She attended one of the first elementary schools that admitted girls, Mingde Women's Vocational Continuing School, founded by her father. She left to attend the boarding school, the Soochow (Suzhou) School for Girls, and enrolled in the Normal School teaching program. Wu enrolled in one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning in China, Nanjing (or Nanking) University, also known as National Central University, where she first pursued mathematics but quickly switched her major to physics.
    After graduation, she taught for a year at the National Chekiang (Zhejiang) University in Hangzhou and worked in a physics laboratory at the Academia Sinica, where she conducted her first experimental research in X-ray crystallography (1935-1936) under the mentorship of Jing-Wei Gu, a female professor. Dr. Gu encouraged her to pursue graduate studies in the United States, and in 1936, she visited the University of California at Berkeley.
         After completing her Ph.D. Wu worked at Smith College and then accepted an offer from Princeton University as the first female instructor ever hired to join the faculty. In 1944, she joined the Manhattan Project at Columbia University, where she helped answer a problem that physicist Enrico Fermi couldn't ascertain. She also discovered a way "to enrich uranium ore that produced large quantities of uranium as fuel for the bomb." After leaving the Manhattan Project in 1945, Wu spent the rest of her career in the Department of Physics at Columbia as the undisputed leading experimentalist in beta decay and weak interaction physics.
         During her career, she earned many accolades, including the Comstock Prize in Physics (1964), the Bonner Prize (1975), the National Medal of Science (1975), and the Wolf Prize in Physics (inaugural award, 1978). Her book Beta Decay (1965) is still a standard reference for nuclear physicists.
         Read her full bio at https://www.biography.com/scientist/chien-shiung-wu.

    May 10, 2021
    Audrey Fong
    Audrey Fong an American Baptist woman who has served American Baptist Women's Ministries of the West for 50+ years as president on the region/state, association, and local level. Currently, Audrey serves as the region's Mission & Service/White Cross Coordinator.
         Audrey is a fourth-generation Chinese American who was born in California. Audrey was baptized in her late 30s and has been worshipping at Park Vista Christian Church (formerly First Chinese Baptist Church) for over 55 years, where she serves on the Diaconate Board and is the volunteer church secretary.

    May 9, 2021
    Anandi Gopal Joshi
    At the age of 9, Anandi Gopal Joshi married Gopalrao, who supported education for women and engaged Anandi to study medicine.
         At 18, Anandi Gopal Joshi left her home in western India to study at Philadelphia's Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania as a member of the class of 1886. Once in the United States, Joshi often gave talks on the need for more women doctors in India and the effects of events like early marriage and early childbirth on women's health and told audiences about her dream of one day opening a medical college for women in India.
         Read her full bio at https://scientificwomen.net/women/joshi-anandi-112.

    May 8, 2021
    Kalpana Chawla
    Born in Karnal, India, Chawla was the youngest of four children. Chawla obtained a degree in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College before immigrating to the United States and becoming a naturalized citizen in the 1980s. She earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado in 1988, having previously obtained her master's degree from the University of Texas. She began working at NASA's Ames Research Center the same year, working on power-lift computational fluid dynamics.
         In 1994, Chawla was selected as an astronaut candidate. After a year of training, she became a crew representative for the Astronaut Office EVA/Robotics and Computer Branches, where she worked with Robotic Situational Awareness Displays and tested software for the space shuttles.
         Chawla's first opportunity to fly in space came in 1997, aboard the space shuttle Columbia, which made 252 orbits of the Earth in just over two weeks. Chawla was the first woman of Indian origin to go to space.
         In 2000, Chawla was selected for her second voyage into space which was delayed several times and finally launched in 2003. Throughout the 16-day flight, the crew completed more than 80 experiments. Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
         Read her full bio at https://www.space.com/17056-kalpana-chawla-biography.html

    May 7, 2021
    Josefa Madamba Llanes-Escoda
    1898 -1945
    Josefa Llanes Escoda is the eldest of seven children. She had significant responsibilities to her Christian life as well as to her family and herself. She prioritized education greatly and attended the Philippine Normal School in Manila to earn her teaching degree. In 1922, she earned her high school teacher's certificate from the University of the Philippines.
         She became a social worker for the Philippine Chapter of the American Red Cross, earning a scholarship to attend Columbia University in the U.S. in 1925 with a major in Sociology. She unapologetically presented her Philippine heritage to other students, hoping to educate them about her country.
         She not only was an incredible advocate for education, but she also was active in promoting Women’s Rights. She attended the Women’s International League for Peace in 1925. Continuing her activism in women’s rights, Josefa returned to the Philippines in 1940 and worked hard to organize a Girl Scouts chapter in the Philippines, where she became the chapter’s first National Executive. She also founded the Boys’ Town in Manila for underprivileged boys and the National Federation of Women’s Clubs.
         During World War II, Japanese forces invaded the Philippines. By 1944, news has reached far and wide of Josefa and her husband Antonio's underground activities, supplying medicines, foods, clothes, and messages to Filipino war prisoners and American internees in concentration camps.
        Read her full bio at https://www.hercampus.com/school/cal-lutheran/josefa-llanes-escoda-filipina-leader-resistance

    May 6, 2021
    Evelyn Yoshimura
    Evelyn Yoshimura attended Cal State Long Beach, where she helped to develop its fledgling Asian American Studies program. She was one of the founders of Amerasia Bookstore, a cultural institution in Little Tokyo, for two decades. She was a staff member of Gidra, the innovative Asian American publication that featured a provocative mix of journalism, graphic art, and social, cultural, and political commentary.
    Evelyn was active in the Redress campaign and served as a key community organizer for the Los Angeles Hearings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in 1981. She is currently the Community Organizing Director at LTSC (Little Tokyo Service Center). She has worked on many projects, including building connections with Arab American and Muslim communities after September 11, 2001.
        Read her full bio at http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/profiles/145/.

    May 5, 2021
    Chef Anita Lo
    Anita Lo, a world-renowned chef, is a first-generation Chinese-American, who grew up with her family in Birmingham, Michigan, and fostered an interest in food at a young age. While earning a degree in French language at Columbia University, she studied at Reid Hall—Columbia's French language institute in Paris.  She fell in love with the food culture and returned to Paris, where she enrolled in Ecole Ritz-Escoffier, a revered culinary institution, where she received her degree, graduating first in her class with honors.
         In 2000, Lo opened Annisa (which means ''women'' in Arabic), an intimate, upscale restaurant in Greenwich Village serving Contemporary American cuisine. It was an instant hit, earning a two-star review from The New York Times. Food & Wine magazine named her one of ten “Best New Chefs in America” in 2001. In October 2011, Lo released her first cookbook, "Cooking Without Borders," highlighting her passion for bringing multicultural flavors to her American kitchen. Her recipes celebrate the best flavors and ingredients from around the world at a time when access to international ingredients is greater than ever before. In 2015, Anita Lo was the first female guest chef to cook for a State Dinner at the White House under the Obama administration.
         Read Chef Anita Lo’s full bio at https://www.chefanitalo.com/.

    May 4, 2021
    Patsy Mink
     A 1948 graduate of the University of Hawaii trained in chemistry and zoology and graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1951. She and her husband, John Mink, returned to Hawaii, where she started her own law practice, becoming the first woman of Japanese-American ancestry to practice law in Hawaii.
         In 1956, Mink was elected to Hawaii’s House of Representatives. In 1964, she made history when she was elected to the United States House of Representatives, becoming the first woman of color elected to the national legislature and the first Asian-American congresswoman.
         For over four decades, Mink championed the rights of immigrants, minorities, women, and children and worked to eradicate the kind of discrimination she had faced in her life. She is recognized as the major mover of Title IX, which brought academic and athletic equity to American educational institutions.
         Read Patsy's full bio at https://www.womenofthehall.org/inductee/patsy-takemoto-mink/.

    May 3, 2021
    Tammy Duckworth
    In 2004, Duckworth was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard. On November 12, 2004, her helicopter was hit by an RPG, and she lost her legs and partial use of her right arm. After she recovered, she became Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
         In 2009, President Obama appointed Duckworth as an Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. She addressed the unique challenges faced by females and Native American Veterans and created the Office of Online Communications to improve the V.A.'s accessibility, especially among young Veterans.
         Duckworth served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2014. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after representing Illinois’s Eighth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms.
         Read Tammy Duckworth’s full bio at https://www.duckworth.senate.gov/about-tammy/biography.

    May 2, 2021
    Grace Lee Boggs
    Grace Lee Boggs was an American author, social activist, philosopher, and feminist. She is known for her political collaboration with C. L. R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya in the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s, she and her husband, James Boggs, took their own political direction. By 1998, she had written four books, including an autobiography. In 2011, still active at the age of 95, she wrote a fifth book, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, with Scott Kurashige.
         Read Grace Lee Boggs’ full bio at https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/grace-lee-boggs

    May 1, 2021
    Anna May Wong

    Anna May Wong’s family was originally from Taishan, China, but her grandfather emigrated to the United States in the 1850s. Her birth name was Wong Liu Tsong which means "Frosted Yellow Willows." She was given the English name Anna May by her family. Growing up, she lived in a diverse neighborhood, and the children attended California Street public elementary school. However, Wong and her older sister were teased and bullied because of their race. Wong's parents later moved them to the Chinese Mission School in Chinatown, where they were welcomed.
         When film production moved from New York to California in the 1910s, Wong started visiting movie sets. She would often skip school and use her lunch money to go to the movies.  In 1919, Wong was cast as an extra and carried a lantern in one of the scenes in The Red Lantern. Wong continued to work as an extra in many movies while still attending school. In 1921, Wong dropped out of high school to become an actress full-time and landed a role as Toy Ling’s wife in the film Bits of Life
         At age seventeen, Wong landed her first leading role in The Toll of the Sea (1922). She continued to try out for lead roles, but she was always cast as a supporting character or as typical “Asian characters.” Anti-miscegenation laws in the United States at the time prevented interracial marriages and even prevented interracial actors from kissing on-screen. This prevented Wong from landing some leading roles in romantic movies. 
         In 1924, she created her own production company called Anna May Wong Productions to make her own films about her culture. However, the company closed after her business partner was caught using bad business practices.
         Wong left Hollywood due to the constant discrimination and moved to Europe, where she starred in many plays and films. In the 1930s, Paramount Studios in the United States contacted Wong and promised her leading roles upon her return. Wong returned to the United States and starred in the Broadway production of On the Spot
         Wong later accepted another stereotypical role in Daughter of the Dragon because she was promised that she would appear in a Josef von Sternberg film. She later appeared in one of her most famous films, Shanghai Express. Wong became the first Asian American to lead a U.S. television show for her work on The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong.
         Read Anna May Wong’s full bio at https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/anna-may-wong

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