APA Spotlight: Curtis Chin, Board Member, Asian Pacific Americans for Progress

APA Spotlight is a weekly interview of Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) community leaders. It is a spotlight on individuals who have dedicated their careers to issues surrounding the APIA community with the goal of bringing much deserved recognition to their work and cause(s).

Curtis Chin is an award-winning writer and producer who has written for ABC, the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and more. As a community activist, he co-founded the Asian American Writers Workshop and Asian Pacific Americans for Progress. He has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, NPR, Newsweek and other media outlet.

Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (APAP) is a national network of progressive Asian Americans and allies, united for grassroots activities and political action. The organization is made up of every day citizens, including students, filmmakers, scientists, academics, community organizers, lawyers and others, as well as elected officials staffers and campaign workers.

What is the mission statement of your life?

To be happy and helpful.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing?

Working as a writer/producer in film and TV, I actually have a lot of flexibility with my time and schedule. Politics is my other passion, so whenever I can, I try to stay involved, mainly through serving on the board of Asian Pacific Americans for Progress. It’s a progressive political organization that tries to bring new people into the political process. I was actually able to combine both loves in my most recent project, the documentary, “Vincent Who?”

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?

Harry Shum or Philip Wang (Wong Fu Productions), but chances are it would be Noah Ringer.

How can people find out more about your organization or get involved?

Go to apaforprogress.org. We’re always looking for people to get involved organizing events or blogging.

If you had a crystal ball, what do you see for the future of the Asian Pacific Islander American community?

It’s hard to say since the community is in such a state of flux. What I would like to see happen is for the community to become more progressive, working on such issues as civil rights, the environment, immigration reform and education. It would also be nice if they came out in favor of marriage equality.

Bonus Question: What advice do you have for young professionals? Would you give different advice for young Asian Pacific Islander American professionals?

Go and follow your bliss, whether that’s in the arts, business, sciences, whatever. But when your community needs you, please give back in whatever small way you can.

Bonus Question: What are your comfort foods and what memories do you have associated with them?

I grew up in a restaurant so I have too many to list. I just know I love to do everything family style. I have to try everything on the table and it’s a sign of love to be able to share your food.

Bonus Question: What’s your guilty pleasure?

I don’t believe in guilt.

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About Koji Steven Sakai

Writer/Producer Koji Steven Sakai is the founder of Little Nalu Pictures LLC and the CEO of CHOPSO (www.CHOPSO.com), the first Asian English streaming video service. He has written five feature films that have been produced, including the indie hit, The People I’ve Slept With. He also produced three feature films, a one hour comedy special currently on Netflix, and Comedy InvAsian, a live and filmed series featuring the nation’s top Asian American comedians. Koji’s debut novel, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies, was released in paperback in 2015 and in audiobook in 2016 and his graphic novel, 442, was released in 2017. In addition, he is currently an adjunct professor in screenwriting at International Technological University in San Jose.
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