On Friday, May 19, 2023 Assemblymember Alex Lee, the youngest Asian American ever elected to the State Legislature representing the most Asian majority district in the State, celebrated Asian American Heritage Month with Fremont Unified School District Board President Vivek Prasad at Hops and Beans Café to recognize four community members and two organizations:
Loreto Dimaandal: Loreto is an advocate for unhoused individuals and families and has been serving the unhoused community members in Milpitas for over 10 years. LoretoQD's Brigade – Silicon Valley, a grassroots organization led by Loreto, has been serving the unhoused community in Milpitas and all over the Bay Area by passing out food multiple days a week to unhoused and families in need, and advocating for them by hosting donation drives. With her efforts, many unhoused people have found jobs, housing, and transportation, as well as received medical help, social services support, and food because of her and her group of volunteers. She is always on the streets helping those in need and providing assistance, encouragement, and resources. Assemblymember Lee said, “One community member told me, she has literally saved many lives single-handedly. I have seen her work first-hand and volunteered with LoretoQD's Brigade and am very thankful for her and her volunteers who aid our most vulnerable community members.” She is also an active member of Agape Silicon Valley, the Coalition for the Unhoused of Silicon Valley, and volunteers with Hope for the Unhoused based in Milpitas.
Nina Chuang: Nina serves as the President & CEO of Associated Students and is an undergraduate student at San Jose State University. During her four years at SJSU, she has served in the role of Director of Student Resources Affairs and Vice President. Nina is a student activist and representative of the AAPI community at SJSU. She is the first Taiwanese American, first Malaysian American, and first Chinese American woman to serve as Associated Students Student Body President at SJSU. She has led community collaboration and partnerships through student advocacy. She has advocated for more institutional resources for Asian American youth and college students to have safe spaces to embrace their identities on campus. She played a key role in the implementation and creation of the Asian and Pacific Islander Student Success Center and cultivated an inclusive campus culture. She helped create two large SJSU traditions – the Lunar New Year Celebration to increase the visibility of the community and SJSU Day of Remembrance to recognize the Japanese American experience and the role of San Jose State University in Executive Order 9066. She also coordinated a two-month exhibit in partnership with the Asian American Studies department and local museum to increase knowledge about the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans in San Jose. She has helped in campus partnerships to bring additional mental health, job opportunities, and accessibility for over 34,000 students during the worldwide pandemic.
Fahria Khan: She currently works as Donor Engagement Manager at Maitri. Fahria Khan is a passionate education activist who believes in creating opportunities for all students to shine. She has deep roots in the Fremont community and has been serving and volunteering in Fremont for the last 20 years. She has held many leadership positions, including President of the Fremont Education Foundation, Commissioner on the Alameda County Human Relations Commission and the Commission on the Status of Women. She has also served as Development Officer for the Fremont American Association of University Women. She has organized numerous events, banquets, activities, and initiatives as a parent volunteer in the capacity of PTO President, Board Member, Administrator, Girl Scout Troop Leader, and many other leadership roles. In addition to the work she does in the community, she bakes birthday cakes for foster children with Cake4Kids and also volunteers a significant portion of her time to various other local non-profits. Fahria is married with five children, loves chocolate, spending time with her family and friends, and baking.
Mahesh Patel: Mahesh is a small business owner and Indian-American community activist. He is the owner of Suju’s Coffee and Tea and has donated his time and products – coffee, tea, sandwiches, and cookies – at many various events and meetings. He ensures that Suju’s Coffee is a welcoming place for everyone. He is also an active volunteer with the Gujarati Cultural Association and has served the association for many years. He is active with 15 non-profit organizations around the globe.
International Children Assistance Network (ICAN): International Children Assistance Network (ICAN) was founded in 2000 by three Vietnamese refugees to engage families to help children become successful and inspire Vietnamese Americans to raise the next generation of leaders. ICAN has worked with scores of county and city departments and partner agencies and has over 20 years of experience successfully delivering culturally competent community outreach messages and education programs to the Vietnamese community, especially on controversial issues such as child abuse/neglect, violence, and mental health. ICAN’s community outreach and education strategy is a two-prong approach: they aim at raising awareness and offering participants a safe space in which to share their historical journey to adopt more positive attitudes/behaviors to become more resilient. ICAN’s programs are prevention and early intervention in nature. Whenever possible, they foster discussions on the differences between the Vietnamese and American cultures to help parents understand the sources of trauma in the refugee’s life.
Hops and Beans Café: Junior Singh and Gurpreet Kaur have owned Hops and Beans Cafe for the past four years. They first opened the doors in March 2019 and have survived the COVID-19 pandemic to become a successful business in Fremont. One aspect they take great pride in is their partnership with Ritual Coffee, a San Francisco-based company that is woman-owned. Additionally, this cafe offers a selection of local craft beers sourced from various breweries in the Bay Area, with one of them conveniently located in Fremont itself. As a business, their primary objective is to establish their café as a welcoming space for the community, where people can gather, relax, and indulge in delicious coffee, beverages, and food. Once a month, a trivia night is hosted in this cafe for the students of the California School of the Deaf with the help of one of their baristas. Junior and Gurpreet aim to make their business a place where all are welcomed. They work in collaboration with local businesses and suppliers and working to transform this historic building into a central hub for the community in Fremont.