Candice Custodio-Tan, a community organizer for nearly 25 years, is a "People's Hip Hop DJ Scholar" who was born and raised in Queens, NY. She is a disabled Filipinx-Pin[a/x]y-American Queer, Writer, Poet, Theater Performer, Educator, Hip Hop Feminist, and Community Organizer. She is also known as DJ Kuttin Kandi and is widely regarded as one of the most legendary and accomplished womxn DJs in the world. In addition, she is a known Pop-Culture Political Essayist and has written for several anthologies and blogs including as a Guest Contributing Writer for Colorlines, Racialicious, etc. Kandi is the Co-Editor of the book "Empire of Funk: Hip Hop & Representation in Filipino/a America" and is currently co-editing the new anthology on Pin[a/x]y Activism, releasing in Fall 2021. Furthermore, Kandi is a well-known public speaker and lecturer and has spoken at over 150 colleges/universities across the United States. More recently, DJ Kuttin Kandi received an Honorary Doctorate in Pinayism for her endless dedication to radical sisterhood, critical praxis, and transformative solidarity.
When Kandi is not performing, she is 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. She’s Co-Founder of the newly formed People’s Collective for Justice and Liberation and the University for Justice and Liberation (UJL). She is involved with the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Intersectional Feminist Collective, Pillars of the Community, We All We Got SD and organizes with various other organizations and coalitions throughout San Diego and across the United States.
In 2018, DJ Kuttin Kandi was titled 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. She currently serves as a Site Manager for Next Level. Today, DJ Kuttin Kandi continues to do community organizing work and provides various lectures on diversity, gender & sexuality, race, disability justice, organizational leadership & development trainings, coaching for liberation and Hip Hop Feminism.
Kandi has been a founding core member of ASC since its inception in October 2016.
Miss Piggy Rock is an artist, educator, and organizer. She believes the essence of community is within the ways we intersect x connect between the diversity of the people, cultures, stories, generations, the visions and aspirations.
Her life purpose is rooted in serving the community to build, learn, heal, grow, express, share and organize - To continuously work towards individual growth x collective liberation.
Co-Founder, Core Member/Board
Trinh Le is one of five children from a Vietnamese refugee family and grew up in a low-income, immigrant, single-parent household. She holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Asian American Studies from UCLA. She has organized in many diverse communities in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast before coming back to San Diego. She has worked for the Little Saigon Foundation, Pacific Arts Movement, ACLU, and the Center on Policy Initiatives before joining Mid-City CAN as the new Organizing Director.
Trinh has been on the board of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) San Diego chapter, Mid-City CAN in City Heights, and the San Diego Leadership Alliance. She is currently on the board of Asian Solidarity Collective and Viet Vote. She received “Most Valuable Organizer of the Year,” award in 2013 by the New Organizing Institute, a commendation by the City of San Diego Human Relations Commission in 2015, and was one of the eight recognized “Present Day San Diego Women Civil Rights Leaders” by Rise San Diego in 2017. She recently earned her Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego. When she has free time, she is either spending it with her family and friends, at the dog beach, tending to her succulent garden, doing yoga, or catching Pokemon
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.
Joseph Allen Ruanto-Ramirez
Core Member /Board
Joseph Allen Ruanto-Ramirez is a Katutubo American scholar-activist who came as a refugee in 1991 to the United States. As an Indigenous person from the Philippines, Joseph's research project looks at how Indigenous diasporas complicate nation-state identities, US constructed ethnicities, and how postcolonial subjects imagine and perform decolonization and indigenization. Joseph received their BA in Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego, their MA in Sociological Practice from CSU San Marcos, their Certificate in World Religion & Literature from Harvard University, and is currently pursuing an inter-field PhD in Cultural Studies - American Studies from Claremont Graduate University. They co-edited Nexus: Complicating Community and Centering the Self (2015) and recently co-published in Verge: Studies in Global Asia on the displacements of Aetas as a means to support Vietnamese refugees under the Marcos presidency. Their forthcoming book is co-edited by Kirin Amiling Macapugay on Igorot Americans in California. Currently, Joseph is the Access Programs Advisor for UCSD SPACES, a graduate student affiliate of UC Davis' Carlos Bulosan Center, a fellow of the University of California's Critical Refugee Studies Program, a member of the Association for Asian American Studies and Critical Ethnic Studies, a lecturer in Asian - Pacific Studies at CSU Dominguez Hills, and will be an upcoming lecturer in Ethnic Studies at UCSD. He serves in an advisory role for Lao San Diego and works closely with the Karen community of San Diego.