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Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans in News, Theatre, and Cinema

“Mentoring and Elevating the Next Generation of APIDAs in News, Theatre, and Cinema”

Friday, September 17, 2021

The goal of this event is to offer a rare glimpse into the work and lives of successful Asian American leaders in these industries. The target audience will be middle/high school and university students, their families, faculty, staff, the greater Sacramento, and higher education campus communities across California State University.

Event at a Glance Report

Mentoring and Elevating the Next Generation of APIDAs

Event's Schedule

Time Topic
9:30 am       Opening
Pacific Islander/Samoan Lotu by Frances Palu
CSU Welcome by Chancellor Joseph I. Castro
University Welcome by President Robert S. Nelsen
Student Welcome by ASI President Samantha Elizalde
National Youth Poet Laureate, Alexandra Huynh
Program Remarks by Associate Vice President Marcellene Watson-Derbigny
10:00 am Opening Remarks by CSU Trustee, TV Producer, and Creative Executive, Wenda Fong
10:15 -10:40 am Keynote Remarks by Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt:  TV Writers, Co-Executive Producers of the Netflix series, Sweet Tooth
10:45 -11:45 am “API’s in the News” with Journalist and News anchor for MSNBC and NBC News, Richard Lui
11:50 am -12:50 pm “API’s in the Cinema/Theatre” with Playwright, Librettist, TV and Screenwriter, David Henry Hwang
12:55 -1:00 pm Closing


  • CSU, The California State University
  • CSU, The California State University Entertainment Alliance
  • Student Affairs, Student Academic Success & Educational Equity Programs


  • Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Faculty/Staff Association
  • Associated Students, Inc.
  • Full Circle Project
  • Project HMONG
  • Student Organization and Leadership
  • Theatre and Dance Department
  • Asian American Journalists Association, Sacramento
  • Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs
  • Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus
  • Asian Resource, Inc.
  • Council of Asian Pacific Islander Together for Advocacy and Leadership
  • Crossings TV
  • Hmong Youth and Parent United
  • OCA-Asian Pacific Advocates, Sacramento
  • Philippine National Day Association
  • Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce
  • TOFA (To’utupu’o e ‘Otu Felenite Association) Inc.


Wenda Fong

Wenda Fong is a well-respected producer and director of television and live events with a remarkable track record as an executive and community force. She can claim credit on hundreds of television programs ranging from all-star variety specials, award shows, live spectaculars, sitcoms, talk shows to documentaries and PSAs. Wenda has launched productions across the United States and around the world, including China, Canada, Europe, and Africa. She holds the duel distinction of being the only woman and the first person of color to have produced The Emmy Awards. Wenda joined Fox as its first Vice President of Creative Diversity Development in 2001. In 2002, she was appointed to oversee American Idol, which became the historical groundbreaking and ratings phenomenon. In 2003, Wenda was promoted to Vice President of Alternative Entertainment. While at Fox for more than 13 years, she supervised all reality series and specials representing thousands of hours of programming including American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef and The X Factor to name just a few.

As a community leader, Wenda was co-founder of Asian Americans for Fair Media, a board member of the Association of Asian Pacific American Artists, was president of East West Players, the oldest Asian American theatre in the nation, and is the co-founder of The ACTION Project. She is co-founder and chairperson emeritus of CAPE, the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, the longest-running, largest and most influential organization for AAPIs in the entertainment industry. Wenda is a member of the Directors Guild of America and is founding co-chair and chairperson emeritus of the DGA Asian-American Committee, a member of the Producers Guild of America, the Television Academy and is a board member of California Humanities and was co-chair of the Leaders Forum. She was appointed in 2018 by Governor Brown as a trustee to the California State University for its 23 campuses and currently serves as its vice chair.

Richard Lui

Richard Lui is a veteran, award-winning journalist. Since 2010, he’s been a news anchor at MSNBC and NBC News. While at CNN Worldwide, he became the first Asian American male in U.S. history to anchor a daily national news program. He is a Peabody and Emmy team award winner. Lui is the director of the Oscar-qualifying film, Sky Blossom, released in DVD, streaming, and cable in Summer 2021. He is the author of Enough About Me (HarperCollins Zondervan, 2021) a book on the Asian American experience and giving to others. Before journalism, Richard spent 15 years in business, launching six brands over three tech cycles, patenting a fintech model in 2003.

David Henry Hwang

David Henry Hwang’s stage works include the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song(2002 revival) and Disney’s Tarzan. Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner, and a three-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also the most-produced living American opera librettist, whose works have been honored with two Grammy Awards, co-wrote the Gold Record Solo with the late pop icon Prince, and worked from 2015-2019 as a Writer/Consulting Producer for the Golden Globe-winning television series The Affair. He is currently writing the live-action musical feature film The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Disney Studios and a movie to star actress Gemma Chan. Hwang serves on the Board of the Lark Play Development Center, as Head of Playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts, and as Chair of the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. M. Butterfly recently returned to Broadway in a revival directed by Julie Taymor, which marked Mr. Hwang’s eighth Broadway production. His newest work, Soft Power, a collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home), premiered at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre, where it won six Ovation Awards. Its subsequent run at the Public Theatre in NYC received four Outer Critics Honors, eleven Drama Desk Nominations, a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theatre Album, and was a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt

As a self-proclaimed international nomad, Bo Yeon Kim was born in South Korea but grew up in Portugal, Brazil, Japan, and Vietnam before her desire to write guided her to Los Angeles, where she received her MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA film school. Erika Lippoldt was raised just outside of Paris, France by American parents. She moved to the United States to pursue science education, and completed a Ph.D. in neurobiology at USC, after which she swapped out the pipette for the pen.

Their credits include REIGN, STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, and HALO, as well as feature projects for Paramount Pictures and Mythos Studios. They recently developed STAR TREK: SECTION 31 for CBS All Access, and are now serving as Co-Executive Producers on Netflix’s SWEET TOOTH.

Planning Committee, Production Team, and Support Staff

Sacramento State
Anne Cheng, Kevin Nguyen, Jeannie Wong, and Gervin Tuazon
Student Affairs and SASEEP IT, Media and Communications Team and University Communications

California State University
Wenda Fong, James Markoski, Justin Curtin, Tom Dellner, Mark Woodland, Dina Ibrahim, and Haley Seppa