Dr. Kevin Nadal and Dave Lu Receive CACF’s 2022 Catalyst for Change Awards at Annual Gala Benefit Celebrating The Growing Leadership Of The AAPI Community

Awards, Benefits, Performances, Photography, Television, Theater

CACF’s Catalyst for Change Awards Gala attracted a full house on November 14, 2022. Photo credit: Lia Chang

275 advocates, civic leaders, and supporters gathered at Manhattan’s Edison Ballroom on Monday night for the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF)’s annual Catalyst for Change Awards Gala. The organization’s Catalyst for Change Award celebrates leaders in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community that exemplify CACF’s commitment to the nation’s children and families.

Honorees Dr. Kevin Nadal and Dave Lu with their awards at CACF’s Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

This year’s Catalyst for Change honorees were entrepreneur and community advocate Dave Lu and distinguished professor and writer Dr. Kevin Nadal.

2022 Catalyst for Change Award recipients Dave Lu and Dr. Kevin Nadal with Community advocate Kalaya’an Mendoza. Photo by Lia Chang

A veteran in the technology industry, Dave Lu is also an executive producer of the acclaimed documentary “38 At The Garden,” which chronicles the impact of Jeremy Lin’s iconic Linsanity run in 2012. He most recently started a movement with his letter condemning hate crimes against Asians that was later signed by over 8,000 prominent business leaders and influencers. The letter was published as a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal and has led to the launch of Stand with Asian Americans, a non-profit organization committed to fighting discrimination against Asian Americans.

2022 Catalyst for Change Award recipient Dr. Kevin Nadal. Photo by Lia Chang

Dr. Kevin Nadal is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at both John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Graduate Center at the City University of New York. He has published over 100 works on multicultural issues in the fields of psychology and education and is the author of ten books including Filipino American Psychology; That’s So Gay: Microaggressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community; Microaggressions and Traumatic Stress; and Queering Law and Order.

CACF’s Co-Executive Directors Vanessa Leung (left) and Anita Gundanna. Photo credit: Lia Chang

“Seeing so many of our community members and supporters in person once again was incredibly inspiring – especially as we celebrated the growing leadership within the AAPI community. The support and funds raised from our gala attendees will allow CACF to continue to build collective power and advocate on behalf of AAPI New Yorkers. CACF is committed to ensuring that New York’s budget reflects the diverse and growing needs of our community, particularly when it comes to strengthening mental health and providing access to culturally accessible health care,” said CACF’s Co-Executive Directors Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung. “We are also so grateful for this year’s Catalyst for Change honorees, Dave Lu and Dr. Kevin Nadal, whose support and advocacy for our community make all of us stronger.”

CACF’s 2022 Catalyst for Change Awards honorees Dave Lu (left) and Professor Kevin Nadal. Photo credit: Lia Chang

In their remarks accepting their awards, both Lu and Nadal took a moment to celebrate the power of community and the importance of creating spaces where AAPI voices can be heard.

Director Frank Chi, whose latest film “38 At The Garden” chronicles former New York Knicks star legendary “Linsanity” run, virtually introduced and welcomed Dave Lu onto the stage at CACF’s Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. In his remarks, Chi spoke of why he decided to serve as the film’s executive director and why representation matters.  Photo by Lia Chang

Honoree Dave Lu accepted his award at CACF’s Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. In his remarks, he emphasized the importance of speaking up, taking up the space the AAPI community deserves, and creating spaces where AAPI voices can be heard. Photo by Lia Chang

“Thank you CACF for this tremendous honor tonight. I only wished I had CACF growing up – to teach me in getting the tools, to use my voice effectively, to be a leader, to be an activist,” said Dave Lu. “Just to know that CACF is fighting for Asian Americans to be seen and included is a really big deal, especially for the youth, because I hope that the next generation has it a lot easier than we had it, and I hope that we can invest in them and raise them up to be leaders.”

CACF Co-Executive Director Anita Gundanna, Honoree Dave Lu, and CACF Co-Executive Director Vanessa Leung at CACF’s Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

Queer, Hard of Hearing, Filipino American activist Kalaya’an Mendoza introduced honoree Dr. Kevin Nadal and welcomed him onto the stage at CACF’s Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

Honoree Dr. Kevin Nadal accepted his award at CACF’s Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. He noted that he has been aligned with CACF’s policy positions for years, especially regarding the Coalition’s Invisible No More campaign and its advocacy for New York State’s new data disaggregation law. Photo by Lia Chang

Dr. Kevin Nadal noted that he has been aligned with CACF’s policy positions for years, especially regarding the Coalition’s Invisible No More campaign and its advocacy for New York State’s new data disaggregation law. “Thank you so much for recognizing not just my work, but recognizing all who I am and who I stand for. It’s not just me receiving this award. Oftentimes when I am recognized, I think to myself, ‘how amazing is this organization for recognizing not just me as an individual but who I represent?’ – I’m a queer, brown Asian, y’all, and in a lot of spaces, even Asian American spaces, we don’t get a lot of recognition.”

Charity Nadal, 2022 Catalyst for Change Award Honoree Dr. Kevin Nadal, and his partner Kaleo Nadal at CACF Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. Dr. Kevin Nadal dedicated his award to his mom Charity Nadal. Photo by Lia Chang

Charity Nadal with her son, 2022 Catalyst for Change Award recipient Dr. Kevin Nadal. Photo by Lia Chang

One of the highlights for CACF this year has been our burgeoning partnership with former New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin and the Jeremy Lin Foundation. In January, CACF’s Asian American Student Advocacy Project became the first New York City nonprofit chosen as the beneficiary of Lin’s “3 for Hope” campaign, in which the star’s foundation donated $500 to ASAP for every 3-pointer he hit with the Beijing Ducks that season. Lin and his team also visited our ASAP Youth Leaders in June, an event that is still excitedly discussed by our students to this day.

Former New York Knick star Jeremy Lin is a strong supporter of CACF and its Asian American Student Advocacy Project (ASAP) and recorded video remarks about his connection to the organization. In January, CACF’s Asian American Student Advocacy Project became the first New York City nonprofit chosen as the beneficiary of Lin’s “3 for Hope” campaign, in which the star’s foundation donated $500 to ASAP for every 3-pointer he hit with the Beijing Ducks that season. Photo by Lia Chang

“When I visited ASAP’s youth leaders earlier this year, I was instantly impressed by their pride in their AAPI identity – which was so unlike what I experienced as a teen myself. Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, it never felt cool to be an Asian American and I never felt seen either by pop culture or at school,” said Lin. “That’s why talking with the Youth Leaders about their experiences and goals was inspiring and made me think about how important it is to have spaces where AAPIs can come together and work towards our shared goals.”

Emmy Award winning reporter Ernabel Demillo and Emmy Award winning actor, director, and producer Alan Muraoka served as co-emcees for CACF Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

The ceremony was emceed by two longtime friends of CACF, journalist Ernabel Demillo and “Sesame Street” star Alan Muraoka.

Emmy Award winning reporter Ernabel Demillo and Emmy Award winning actor, director, and producer Alan Muraoka served as co-emcees for CACF Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

Featured performer Shoba Narayan, who currently stars as Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin, dazzled the audience with a two song performance that included a rendition of “Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton and the uplifting anthem “Rise Up” by Andra Day. Before her performance, Narayan spoke about how her own advocacy in the theater world led her to feel a personal connection to CACF.

Featured performer Shoba Narayan, who currently stars as Princess Jasmine in Disney’s “Aladdin,” dazzled the audience with a two song performance that included a rendition of “Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton and the uplifting anthem “Rise Up” by Andra Day at CACF’s Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

“As the child of Indian immigrants myself, I know how important it is for the needs of AAPI children and families to be understood and seen. And as an Asian American actor working in an industry that still has far to go in terms of diversity, I know firsthand how powerful it is to have spaces where our community can come together and raise our voices and share our stories,” she told the audience after her performance. “CACF has shown time and again that we are stronger when we come together to push for meaningful change and I am thrilled to be here to support CACF as they continue that journey.”

The evening’s benefit auction was led by auctioneer Christine DeCastro of Marquam Auction Agency. DeCastro is one of the only female Asian American auctioneers in the United States working today. Photo by Lia Chang

The night’s live auction served as both a major highlight of the gala and as a showcase of the talent of our community. Led by auctioneer Christine DeCastro, items up for bid included a personal chef experience by ‘Iron Chef’ star Jehangir Mehta, tickets to Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway and a meet and greet with star Shoba Narayan, and a Saks 5th Avenue shopping spree and consultation with a personal stylist.

The evening’s benefit auction was led by auctioneer Christine DeCastro of Marquam Auction Agency. DeCastro is one of the only female Asian American auctioneers in the United States working today. Photo by Lia Chang

Chef and former ‘Iron Chef’ star Jehangir Mehta (left) and Bharat Chopra. The Catalyst for Change Awards Gala live auction included a private dining experience to be prepared by Chef Mehta himself. Photo by Lia Chang

Founder of Kinding Sindaw Potri Ranka Manis opened the CACF Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 with a Land Acknowledgement at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. Here, she and Director of Contracts Ambrosia Kaui posed for a photo. Photo by Lia Chang

2022 Catalyst for Change Award recipient Dr. Kevin Nadal with his husband, Kaleo Nadal. Photo by Lia Chang

2022 Catalyst for Change Award recipient Dr. Kevin Nadal and Community advocate Kalaya’an Mendoza. Photo by Lia Chang

2022 Catalyst for Change Award recipient Dr. Kevin Nadal and Community advocate Kalaya’an Mendoza. Photo by Lia Chang

2022 Catalyst for Change Award recipient Dave Lu and Sesame Street’s Alan Muraoka. Photo by Lia Chang

Alan Muraoka, Barbara Turvett and her husband, Board Member Edward Pauly, with Ernabel DeMillo. Photo by Lia Chang

CACF Co-Executive Director Anita Gundanna, Alan Muraoka, CACF Co-Executive Director Vanessa Leung and Ernabel DeMillo. Photo credit: Lia Chang

Sesame Street Producer Janet S. Kim and Alan Muraoka. Photo by Lia Chang

Sesame Street Producer Janet S. Kim, Alan Muraoka, Ernabel DeMillo, Asian American Life Producer Maria Yip Lord. Photo by Lia Chang

Charity Nadal, Maria Yip Lord, 2022 Catalyst for Change Award recipient Dr. Kevin Nadal, Ernabel DeMillo, Alan Muraoka, Janet S. Kim, Kaleo Nadal. Photo by Lia Chang

CACF Co-Executive Director Vanessa Leung, Honoree Dr. Kevin Nadal, CACF Co-Executive Director Anita Gundanna, and Community advocate Kalaya’an Mendoza at CACF Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

CACF Co-Executive Director Anita Gundanna, Epicenter-NYC Founder and Publisher S. Mitra Kalita, 2022 Catalyst for Change Award honoree Dave Lu, and Farah Khan posed at the Catalyst for Change Awards Gala on November 14, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

Members of the CACF Board of Directors pose at the Catalyst for Change Gala on November 14, 2022. From left to right, Angela Tolosa, Board Treasurer Kanika Priya Sethi, Board Secretary Willing Irene Chin-Ma, Board President Larry Lee, Dr. Edward Pauly, Cynthia Solis Yi, Dr, Vanessa Li, and Dr. Navneet Kathuria. Photo by Lia Chang

Educator Toby Wu shared his experience about being a part of the first ASAP cohort (2004-2005) and how it shaped his career at CACF Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

CACF Board President Larry Lee and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou at CACF Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

Entrepreneur, former NYC Mayoral Candidate and current CACF Board member Art Chang (left) poses with CACF’s Co-Executive Director Anita Gundanna. Photo by Lia Chang

CACF Board Member and New York State Insurance Fund Commissioner Dr. Navneet Kathuria, CACF’s Co-Executive Director Anita Gundanna (middle), and Vandana Kurma pose for a photo at the Catalyst for Change Awards Gala on November 14, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

CPC’s Mitch Wu, AAARI-CUNY Interim Executive Director Soniya Munshi, and CACF co-executive directors Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung pose for a photo at Monday’s Catalyst for Change Awards Gala. Photo by Lia Chang

Ernabel DeMillo, Sibyl Santiago, Kaleo Nadal, a guest, Charity Nadal, Community advocate Kalaya’an Mendoza, 2022 Catalyst for Change Award recipient Dr. Kevin Nadal, Isabella Villacampa, Michelle Camaya Julian, Alan Muraoka. Photo by Lia Chang

2022 CACF Catalyst for Change Award recipient Dave Lu and his entourage. Photo by Lia Chang

CACF’s Co-Executive Directors Anita Gundanna (left) and Vanessa Leung. Photo credit: Lia Chang

Alan Muraoka, Ernabel DeMillo and CACF Board President Larry Lee. Photo by Lia Chang

The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) staff posed ahead of their Catalyst for Change Awards Gala 2022 at Edison Ballroom on November 14, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang, Honoree Dr. Kevin Nadal, Kalaya’an Mendoza, Sibyl Santiago, and ‘Iron Chef’ star Jehangir Mehta attend the CACF Catalyst for Change.

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, activist, documentarian and an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia is also the host and Executive Producer of BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG, an Arts and Entertainment and Lifestyle program that airs on Sundays at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996.

Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. Her short film, When the World Was Young garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

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