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A Panel Discussion featuring

Kristen Sze
Jose Antonio Vargas
Congressman Ro Khanna
Moderated by
Ralph Wales, Head of School
St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School


A Panel Discussion on the Asian American Experience
and Anti-Asian Racism and Violence

A Common Ground Pop-Up Event in Collaboration with

St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School

Tues. Apr 27, 6:00pm-7:15pm PDT

Free for ALL attendees.

The heightened number of incidents of violence directed toward Asian American/Pacific Islander communities in the past year has elevated awareness of the long history of discrimination, bigotry, and hurt that has been a persistent part of these communities’ American experience.


We have assembled a diverse panel of key voices who are leading the charge to effectuate a change in these disturbing patterns through education and civic action. We invite you to join the conversation and help bring the Asian American/Pacific Islander experience – historic and current – to a point of focus in all our schools and in all our homes. The panelists will discuss how they found their voice, and have helped others find their activist spirit, in a culture traditionally not known to do so. 


This event is a collaboration between St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day School and Common Ground Speaker Series with a view and commitment to taking action to help confront racial injustice.


About Our Panel Speakers


News journalist Kristen Sze has been with ABC7 News since 1998. She has received two Emmy Awards for her work, first in 1999 for best children and youth segment for "Spin-Out School," about a unique driving school targeting teenagers and again in 2002 as host of ABC7's "Profiles of Excellence," recognizing Asian-Americans who have served their community in an exemplary fashion. She was voted 'Best News Anchor' in 2011 by San Francisco BayList. Sze currently anchors ABC7 News at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays and her reports can be seen on ABC7 News at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sze volunteers with a number of community organizations as emcee, mentor or advisory board member. She works most closely with Kids and Art Foundation, Help a Mother Out, My New Red Shoes, Wender-Weis Foundation for Children and the Professional Businesswomen's Conference.

Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, acclaimed filmmaker and theatrical producer. As a leading voice for the human rights of immigrants, he founded the non-profit media and culture organization Define American. He is the author of a best-selling memoir, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen and co-produced Heidi Schreck’s acclaimed Broadway play What the Constitution Means to Me. His groundbreaking work chronicling his life in America as an undocumented immigrant has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and TIME magazine. He produced and directed Documented, an award-winning autobiographical CNN documentary, and White People, an Emmy-nominated MTV television special on what it means to be young and white in a demographically-changing America. Vargas has received the Freedom to Write Award from PEN Center USA and honorary degrees from Colby College and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and serves on the advisory board of TheDream.US, a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant students. An elementary school named after Vargas is now open in his hometown of Mountain View, California.

Congressman Ro Khanna represents Silicon Valley in California’s 17th Congressional District, and is serving his third term. Representative Khanna sits on the House Committees on Agriculture, Armed Services, and Oversight and Reform, where he chairs the Environmental Subcommittee. Additionally, he is the Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; serves as an Assistant Whip for the Democratic Caucus and is the Democratic Vice Chair of the House Caucus on India and Indian Americans. A dedicated political reformer, he is one of just six elected officials to refuse contributions from PACs and lobbyists and he is working to spur creation of new tech jobs, particularly for Americans left behind, and investment in science and technology and other priorities at home like Medicare for All, Debt Free College, and a new 21st Century infrastructure. Prior to serving in Congress, Rep. Khanna taught economics at Stanford University, law at Santa Clara University, and American Jurisprudence at San Francisco State University. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce in President Obama’s administration, worked as a lawyer specializing in intellectual property law and wrote the book Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future.


Ralph Wales is the Head of St. Matthew’s Episcopal School. He has worked as an educator, administrator, and Head of School for independent schools for over 40 years, including 24 years as Head of the Gordon School in East Providence, Rhode Island where he positioned the school as a leader in early childhood to middle school education and strengthened school culture and diversity. Wales also served a term as President of the Association of Independent Schools in New England and has had recent Interim Head positions at St. George’s Episcopal School in New Orleans and The Benchmark School in Pennsylvania.

Photo Credit: AP (Nam Y. Huh)

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