May 9, 2022 — In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month we shine a light on Priya Dhanani, Senior Program Officer at the Asia Foundation

Monday Morning Magic, May 9, 2022This week, we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with a special episode of the Inkandescent Radio series — the Margaritas with Marguerita Cheng Show — as our host interviews Priya Dhanani, Senior Program Officer on the Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality team at The Asia Foundation.

Their topic: The economic and financial abuse that Priya has witnessed with the women and girls she has worked with worldwide. The conversation includes thoughtful insights into the role of gender inequality as an underlying cause of gender-based violence and the different types of violence, as well as the types of economic and financial violence, “which don’t get talked about enough,” Priya insists. She also shares details of what the Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality team is currently working on and how it is moving forward.

In the news: Shockingly, ​74% of Asian American and Pacific Islander women report having personally experienced racism or discrimination in the past year. Community members are pushing leaders to do more to address public safety. But without a clear, identifiable pattern to the attacks, advocates, elected officials, and citizens are divided about the root of the problem — and what’s needed to solve it.

Marguerita Cheng, CFP® Pro

Rita explains: “Racism and sexism against Asian American women intensified with the start of the pandemic as the community was scapegoated. When former President Donald Trump referred to Covid-19 as the “China virus” or “Kung flu,” it seemed many felt emboldened to act on anti-Asian sentiments. I am an avid runner and feel afraid to go out for a jog by myself. If there is anything I can do to raise awareness about this terrifying situation, I am more than eager to do it. That makes it even more of a pleasure and honor to feature Priya on my show. I believe that we can make significant changes in the years to come about how Asian Americans are perceived and what we can do to protect ourselves.”

About Priya Dhanani: From Bangladesh to Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Nepal, Pakistan, South Sudan, and Thailand, Priya has worked with women and girls on numerous human trafficking prevention programs. She incorporates the theory of feminist oppression and how to decolonize international development, and currently serves on the board of a DC-based NGO called the Asian Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project. Priya holds a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Women Studies from Georgia State University and a master’s degree in Sociology from George Washington University, where she was also a part-time sociology professor. Click here to read an article in The George Washington University magazine featuring this truly amazing woman: The Dark Truths of Human Trafficking: How teens and adults can overcome myths about child sex trafficking and take a hard look at their own biases.

That’s not all: Click here for our interview with Taynia Vakapuna of Everspire, a Pacific Islander who is making a difference as a financial planner.

“I chose to work with Everspire after declining other offers for a number of reasons — primarily I like this company’s focus on family and absolute commitment to financial planning,” explains Taynia, who distinguished herself at the University of Utah where she received a TD Ameritrade scholarship while pursuing coursework in the Consumer and Community Studies track. In the years since, Taynia has proven herself in technical and analytical fields, having worked in research facilities at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Don’t miss Rita’s interview with Taynia.

Join us every Friday at 5 pm Eastern Time on Facebook Live for a new episode of Margaritas with Marguerita Cheng, CFP® Pro: