shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Asian Pacific American Conference 2014

Page address:

“Be-You-Ti-Full: Unleashing Your Inner Potential”


About the Conference:

Each year the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Affairs program partners with recognized AAPI student organizations to put on Asian Pacific American Conference (APAC) to promote Asian and Pacific Islander heritage and current issues facing the community. In 2005, APAC transform from a symposium format to a full conference and since changed its name from the Asian American Symposium to Asian Pacific American Conference while its goals and objectives remain the same – to create a forum where practitioners and professionals can come together to identify ideas and best practices to better serve current AAPI college students and to provide leadership and networking opportunities for them to serve their community.

Keynote Speaker: Blong Yang and Chris Tashima

Blong Yang

Blong Yang is the first Hmong-American to be elected to the Minneapolis City Council. He was born in a refugee camp in Thailand as his family fled political persecution for aligning with U.S. forces during the Vietnam War. The Yang family immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 when Blong was three years old. They struggled to establish a new life for a growing family away from the ravages of war. For most of his childhood, Blong’s family received public assistance as his parents struggled to keep food on the table and the children out of trouble. His parents taught their six children that the American Dream is achievable through hard work and education.

Blong holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. Shortly after graduating from law school, he moved into the Jordan neighborhood of North Minneapolis and has lived there for over a decade. In his professional life, Blong most recently served as an investigator with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). Prior to joining the MDCR, he owned a solo practice in Minneapolis for eight years focusing on family law and other civil matters. While in private practice, Blong also served on the Commitment Defense Panel of the Hennepin County Bar Association where he represented people in danger of being committed for mental illness and/or chemical dependency. Before hanging out his shingle, he worked for the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis as a staff attorney / Equal Justice Works Fellow advocating for limited English proficiency speakers in the areas of housing and social services.

Chris Tashima

Chris Tashima is an award-winning actor and director from Los Angeles, with a career in theatre, film and television spanning 30 years. He recently finished shooting the screen adaptation of Graham Salisbury’s WWII novel, UNDER THE BLOOD-RED SUN, in which he plays “Papa.” Other feature film roles include the alcoholic father in Lily Mariye's indie drama, MODEL MINORITY, and the romantic lead in Eric Byler's AMERICANESE, opposite Joan Chen (SXSW Special Jury Prize, Outstanding Ensemble Cast), soon to be released on DVD. He has also had roles in many notable shorts, including his portrayal of early Civil Rights activist Sei Fujii in Jeffrey Gee Chin's historical drama, LIL TOKYO REPORTER, but may be best known for his Academy Award® winning short film, VISAS AND VIRTUE, which he directed, co-wrote and starred in, as Holocaust rescuer Chiune Sugihara.

Follow Chris on twitter: