Note: Some ASC Staff , Core and Members have requested that their photos and names to not be mentioned nor displayed on any of our social media or public platforms due to safety purposes which is why they will not be featured on this page or on other materials at their request.
Dr. DJ Kuttin Kandi
Co-Founder / Executive Director
Candice Custodio-Tan also known as Dr. DJ Kuttin Kandi, is internationally known as a legendary "People's Hip Hop DJ Scholar" who was born and raised in Queens, NY. Kandi is a disabled queer gender-fluid femme Filipinx-Pin[a/x]y-American Writer, Poet, Theater Performer, Educator, Hip Hop Feminist, and Community Organizer for over 25 years. DJ Kuttin Kandi is a Global Hip Hop and Cultural Ambassador by Next Level's Meridian International Center, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs where Kandi served as a Site Manager for the diplomacy program Next Level. Kandi is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of Asian Solidarity Collective (ASC) and its newly launched center, The Asian Advocacy, Community & Action Center (The Action Center). Likewise, Kandi has co-founded several other local grassroots organizations such as Families for Justice in Education San Diego, the Dede McClure Community Bail Fund, We All We Got San Diego and so much more. Further, Kandi is the Co-Founder of national organizations People’s Collective for Justice and Liberation and the University for Justice and Liberation (UJL). Appointed by San Diego County Board of Supervisor Nora Vargas, Kandi serves on the Committee for Persons with Disabilities since 2021. Previously, Kandi served as a Human Relations Commissioner of Chula Vista. In 2020, DJ Kuttin Kandi received an Honorary Doctorate in Pinayism for their endless dedication to radical sisterhood, critical praxis, and transformative solidarity.
Kandi first gained global reverence by competing in over 30 DJ competitions which eventually led them to being the first femme DJ to compete in the 1998 DMC USA Finals and winning the 1998 Source Magazine DJ Championships. Moreover, Kandi is the Co-Editor of the books "Empire of Funk: Hip Hop & Representation in Filipino/a America" and newly released anthology, "Closer to Liberation: Pin[a/x]y Activism on Theory and Practice." When Kandi is not performing, they are community organizing, speaking, writing or lecturing. Kandi worked at UC San Diego Women’s Center for seven years and at Diablo Valley College in Student Life specializing in social justice & diversity programming for two years. Kandi is involved with the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance - San Diego, the Intersectional Feminist Collective, the F.I.E.R.C.E Coalition, Filipino American Educators Association of California, and organizes with various other organizations and coalitions throughout San Diego and across the United States. In addition, Kandi is a strong Disability Justice and Special Education advocate with a Dis/Crit practice as they also serve on the Chula Vista School District's Special Education Parent Committee. Today, DJ Kuttin Kandi continues to do community organizing work and provides various lectures on diversity, gender & sexuality, race, disability justice, organizational leadership & development, coaching for liberation and Hip Hop Feminism.
Kandi has been a founding core member of ASC since its inception in October 2016.
Kandi's pronouns are they/she
Director of Alternative to Incarcerations & Reentry Initiatives
Machinist, Formerly Incarcerated
Lon Chhay is the son of refugee parents who fled Cambodia during the Pol Pot regime. He grew up in City Heights where he found himself caught up in the wide net of injustices of the legal system where he has spent 22 years in its revolving doors. Chhay has an Associates Degree in Sociology, Social & Behavioral sciences, and Communications & Media Languages. During his studies he was awarded the Student of Distinction Award.
From his lived experiences in gangs and incarceration he brings an all too common perspective to the challenges and divisions that poverty has brought upon our communities. His goal is to bring unity and hope through education of our communities and family members.
Lon is our newest full-time Organizer who will be responsible for organizing ASC’s campaigns related to the criminal legal system and alternatives to incarceration including providing programming and staff support as well as building relationships within and outside of the Asian American community and moving them to action.
Coza Joy "CJ" Mendoza
Organizer, Base Builder
Coza Joy “CJ” Mendoza is an Independent Filmmaker, Youth Activist and Artist. Majority of her experience in all of said fields has been in Southeast San Diego (Skyline Hills, Paradise Hills, National City, etc) with growing and improving skills such as public speaking, community involvement and other calls to action.
Still learning and illuminating along her activist journey from a young age up, she’s driven by her mission of giving accessibility to Activist & Artist resources to the youth community. She believes the two can be incorporated into a result of passion & conversation-starting work as practices that in her projects and art work.
Robin "Rob" Tan
Office & Facilities Coordinator
Robin has been a youth coordinator for over ten years. He has worked for the City of Chula Vista, in both the D.A.S.H. and S.T.R.E.T.CH after school programs as a site supervisor. Rob has worked for El Puente Academy For Peace & Justice running their after school basketball program for young adults in Brooklyn, New York. He has been a site supervisor for Kaplan’s after school program in Washington Heights, New York. In 2007, Robin was the Program Director for the after school program for houseless youth at Monarch School for three years. Robin is a devoted father to two children as he is dedicated to social justice with his past experience in organizing events, programs, and rallies. In addition, Robin has experience in the print industry and has worked for Fedex Office and UC San Diego in the production field. In 2020, Rob worked in the policy and records department at UC San Diego.
With all of his experience, he is excited to start and see everything come full circle, which has brought him back to his roots with working with community. He not only believes that it takes a village to raise children, but he also knows that it will be the collective efforts of community that has and will lead to systemic change.
Jacqueline is pursuing her Masters in Social Work at San Diego State University and will be working with Lon Chhay supporting ASC's Alternatives to Incarceration and Reentry programs, facilitating mental health support groups, and building out ASC's direct services infrastructure.
Grace Shinhae Jun
Co-Founder, Core Member/Board
Dr. grace shinhae jun is a mother, wife, artist, scholar, organizer, and mover who creates and educates on the traditional and unceded territory of the Kumeyaay Nation. A child of Hip Hop culture, she values a movement practice that is infused with historical and contextual education and focuses on community, compassion, and empowerment to encourage rhythm and expression. grace founded and directs bkSOUL, an award-winning performance company that merges together movement, poetry, and live music to center issues of social justice and communities of color through a Hip Hop framework. She has presented her work in Trolley Dances, Live Arts Festival, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Dumbo Arts Festival, San Diego International Fringe Festival, and at Link’s Hall. grace has choreographed for numerous staged plays, most notably for Will Power's "The Seven" at Occidental College. grace graduated with honors from UCSD with a BA in History and a BA in Choreography & Dance, received a MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College, and completed her PhD in Drama and Theatre through the joint doctoral program at UCSD/UCI. She continues to research and present her scholarly work on Hip Hop Dance and Culture and teaches at UCSD, San Diego City College, SDSU, and with transcenDANCE Youth Arts Project.
Miss Piggy Rock
Core Member/Board / Interim Associate Director