Alberto J. Rodríguez
City of Seattle
Originally from Honduras, Alberto moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2010 after getting his degree in Biology and working on several environmental conservation and research projects in Honduras and Guatemala. In the U.S., his work has focused on community-led environmental conservation, with an emphasis in advancing environmental justice and racial equity. From 2011-2016, Alberto was the Environmental and Community Health Programs Manager for the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition / Technical Advisory Group (DRCC/TAG), a non-profit that works to engage and build power for the environmental justice communities affected by the Duwamish River Superfund site in Seattle. In this capacity, Alberto was appointed by Seattle’s Mayor Edward Murray to a 16-person committee that developed the nation’s first municipal Equity & Environment Agenda. In June 2016, he joined the City of Seattle to lead the new Duwamish Valley Program, a placed-based effort to advance environmental justice, address racial and neighborhood-level disparities, reduce health inequities, and create stronger economic pathways.
Locally, Alberto’s work has been recognized with awards from the South Park Neighborhood Association (2012) and Sustainable Path Foundation (2013). In 2014, he was recognized as one of three finalists for the first-ever Emerging River Professional Award, an international award sponsored by the International River Foundation and the International Water Centre Alumni Network.
Alberto was a member of the Leadership Team of the Seattle Chapter of the Environmental Professionals of Color from 2012-2016, and an Executive Committee member of the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club from 2015-2016. On his spare time, Alberto enjoys traveling, scuba diving, paragliding, hiking, reading, dancing, independent movies, and live music.
Deputy District Director and Constituent Services Director for U.S. House of Representatives
Immigration Lawyer, Sound Immigration
Minal is an Immigration Attorney, Community Organizer and Mother of 3. She was born and raised in Washington. Minal received her Bachelor’s in Business from the University of Washington and her Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University. At the University of Washington she interned with Congressman Jim McDermott. In law school she interned at the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Federal Defender’s Office and World Relief. For the last 12 years she has focused her practice on immigration law and provides pro-bono services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. Minal is a member of the Washington State Bar, South Asian Bar Association of Washington, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and manages her own law firm, MG Law. For seven years, Minal was part of and Chaired the Board of API Chaya, a non-profit organization that provides services and support to survivors of violence. Minal currently sits on the Board of OneAmerica and the King County Immigrant and Refugee Commission. She is also Co-President of her childrens’ elementary school PTSA. Minal is deeply committed to OneAmerica’s mission to serve and advocate for Immigrant and Refugee communities.
Dr. Mudit Kakar
Choi Capital Law
Dr. Mudit Kakar practices intellectual property law, at Choi Capital Law, PLLC, with a focus in IP litigation, technology transactions, licensing, privacy and regulatory compliance. He represents clients in industry sectors ranging from tech companies to pharmaceuticals and life science companies. Dr. Kakar uses his first-hand experience in developing new technologies to help clients achieve their business goals by leveraging their intellectual property. Through the combination of science education and training, and legal skills, he helps companies evaluate, implement, protect and monetize intellectual property.
Dr. Kakar grew up in New Delhi, India, and moved to the United States in 2003 to pursue graduate studies. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where he focused his research on the use of gene therapy for treatment of leukemia and other cancers. Dr. Kakar moved to Seattle after completing his Ph.D. to attend law school at the University of Washington. He was actively involved with the student body leadership as the vice-president of the Moot Court Honor Board, and the president of the Technology Law Society. He was also an active member of OutLaws (LGBT law student’s association). He continued his community involvement after law school by joining the board of the South Asian Bar Association of Washington (SABAW), and served as the president of SABAW in 2016. Currently, he also serves on the board of Washington Initiative for Diversity to promote an inclusive work environment and diverse workforce in the legal profession.
An immigrant himself, Dr. Kakar, relates to some of the issues faced by the immigrant community. He has been in the United States for 14 years, first on a student visa, and then work visa. He understands the restrictive nature of our immigration system. Apart from his intellectual property work, Dr. Kakar maintains an active pro bono practice helping victims of persecution seeking asylum in the United States.
Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
April Sims was elected Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO by its affiliated unions in December 2018, beginning her four-year term on Jan. 5, 2019. She is the first woman of color and the first Black person to be elected as a WSLC executive officer.
Prior to her election, Sims had served as the WSLC’s Political and Strategic Campaign Director since November 2017, working to develop shared agendas with labor and community partners, to advance strategic organizing campaigns, and to recruit, train and elect political champions for working people. She first joined the WSLC in September 2015 as Field Mobilization Director, working with WSLC-affiliated unions and community partners to support and encourage the participation of individual members with many different political, legislative and community programs.
Sims joined the WSLC staff, after serving as the Legislative and Political Action Field Coordinator for the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE), where she was responsible for member education, communication, and mobilization around legislative issues and political campaigns. She was a WFSE member, shop steward, elected union officer, and union staffer from 2002-15.
Sims firmly believes in the power of working people organizing together, and has dedicated her working life to affirming that power. For her, the importance of union membership is personal; it was her mother’s union position as a psychiatric security attendant at Western State Hospital that allowed her family to move off welfare and build a sense of financial security. A life-long resident of Tacoma, April lives with her husband, two daughters, and 100-pound chocolate lab in the gritty city she’s proud to call home.
Associate Vice President, United Way of King County
Theresa is a life-long resident of Southeast Seattle. The daughter and granddaughter of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II, she has been committed to race and social justice throughout her career. She currently is Associate Vice President at United Way of King County where she supports the planning and allocations of grantmaking and investments.
Theresa formerly served as the Site Director for the Annie E. Casey Foundation Making Connections Initiative. She was responsible for the design, leadership, and oversight of the foundation’s 10-year community change initiative aimed at improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families living in White Center, particularly from immigrant and refugee communities. Prior to becoming the Site Director in 2000, Theresa served as Special Assistant for Health and Human Services for Mayor Paul Schell and Regional Government Relations Coordinator for Mayor Norman Rice. From 1974 – 1993, she also was a founding member and executive director of Asian Counseling and Referral Service, a nonprofit human services organization that serves the Asian and Pacific Islander communities of King County.
Theresa has served on a variety of boards and commissions including: The Seattle Public Library, Got Green, Nonprofit Assistance Center (now Communities Rise), United Way of King County, Refugee Women’s Alliance, Interim, Japanese American Citizens League, Minority Executive Directors Coalition, Mayor’s Housing Levy Oversight Committee, and the Children’s Alliance.
A native of Seattle, Theresa received her Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Washington. She also received a fellowship to study at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.