Meet the Workgroup

An Huynh

An Huynh is the Public Space & Community Coordinator at the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda). She facilitates community engagement and outreach for public space projects in the Chinatown International District. An interfaces with local businesses, residents, and property owners as well as municipal departments, funders, and design firms to find consensus around the design of various public art, park design, and alley revitalization projects. In her free time, An likes to discover new foods, takes dance classes, and volunteers with the Seattle Asian American Film Festival. 

Reason for Membership: I joined the TEW to lift up the experiences of folks living in the Chinatown International District. Given that 72% of households in the CID speak a language other than English and 19.1% are elders, our community members are often left out of transportation equity conversations. It is also a neighborhood that has historically been adversely impacted by transportation projects. I hope to share these experiences as well as learn from other communities. 

Cesar Garcia

Cesar Garcia has called the Seattle area home for the last 17 years, where he lives with his spouse, community organizer Peggy Hernandez, their three children and their Chihuahua-mix. He has lived in different neighborhoods in Seattle and the Eastside but settled for NE Seattle / SE Shoreline during the last 10 years. An Spanish interpreter by trade he has been the bridge of communication in a wide array of fields, including medical, social and legal. He has also been a Community Liaison working independently for the Dept of Neighborhoods for almost 5 years, an experience he considers his community advocacy school where he has helped build a bridge of communication between the city government and the community.Witnessing thousands of life experiences that impact immigrants and refugees is what led him to join Peggy Hernandez in founding Lake City Collective, to advocate and address infrastructure and livability issues that mainly affect BIPOC families in the North end.His family enjoy the outdoors and have the goal of visiting every state park in WA; they have visited more than half of them so far. 

Reason for membership: Having lived in South, Central and North Seattle gives me the perspective of knowing where the CIty of Seattle has invested more in transportation infrastructure and where it has not.I also want to bring the living experience of an immigrant with kids, usually renting in a dense environment very near a busy road, surrounded by pollution and depending on streets that usually lack the infrastructure to be safe for pedestrians, people with strollers, on wheelchairs and elders walking with canes. I also want to understand why single family housing neighborhoods around, where much less BIPOC families, have a much better speed mitigation infrastructure (traffic circles, speed humps, signs) than the very dense neighborhoods with lots of cars where POC kids abound. My goal is to contribute in breaking that form of oppression, and improve safety in neighborhoods where families like mine live.

Ellany Kayce 

Ellany Kayce is an enrolled tribal member of the Tlingit Nation, Raven Clan. Throughout her career she's worked as a racial and social justice educator and program developer, cultural consultant, event planner, coordinator, facilitator, trainer, curriculum developer and fundraiser.  Ellany has life-long experience working with Alaska Native, Native American, First Nations communities, and is a trainer, traditional drummer, singer, and dancer, and activist.  She is representing the Duwamish Tribe for the TEW. 

Phyllis Porter

Phyllis Porter is a community organizer, advocate, and activist for safe streets. She is involved in various services throughout her community with a great emphasis in transportation, cycling, and policing and enforcement.   Prior to her advocacy and activism in public safety her role has played an important part in education, and management.  For the past eight years she has devoted her time in advocating for safe street infrastructure in community of colors, and non-profit organizations. She organized, rallied and was successful at street infrastructure change through the Rainier Ave S Street Improvement Project that led to a street re-channelization to help reduce car collisions, injuries, and deaths where street infrastructure repair and modifications were needed. She is an elected Precinct Committee Officer and Council Representative for King County Democrats and a former candidate for Seattle City Council. Phyllis is co-chair of Whose Streets? Our Streets!, board member of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and founder of Black Girls Do Bike Seattle chapter. She served on the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board and the Seattle Levy Oversight Committee and has a small transportation communication consulting business. 

Reason for Membership: I joined TEW to be part of a group that will speak to the discrepancies of a transportation system that is not equally just for ALL people who rely on the system for daily or occasional use. I am here to share and listen to lived experiences, present for others that are not able to be at the table and have a dialogue with the City on how to make Seattle's transportation system more equitable for those most often underrepresented. I am here to not waste time but to make recommendations with respect as a group and have the City consider our time and recommendations seriously when implementing initiatives and not waste time by pushing all the work we have done aside.

Rizwan Rizwi,  Workgroup Co-Chair 

Rizwan is the Executive Director of Muslim Housing Services (MHS) and President & CEO of SAR Wealth Management. He was born and grew in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and graduated from Newcastle University with a BA with honors in Business Management and later a MA in Business Administration.  He has extensive experience in the Investment industry and spent a number of years managing an Equity Portfolio at SMITH BARNEY Citigroup (now part of Morgan Stanley). Since 2012, in addition to managing SAR Wealth Management, he has been the Executive Director of Muslim Housing Services (MHS). In 2018, MHS helped house over a 1,100 people across King County who were mainly homeless refugees and immigrants.  

Reason for Membership:  I joined the Seattle Department of Transportations Equity Workgroup to ensure that people had a say in Transportation decisions even though they may have very low incomes and be from populations which are not usually represented when policy is being designed.    

Steven Sawyer 

Bishop Steven R. Sawyer is a human rights advocate, community leader, entrepreneur, and national religious trailblazer. Currently, Steven works as the Executive Director of POCAAN, formerly known as (People of Color Against AIDS Network). Established in 1987, POCAAN is a multicultural social service agency serving marginalized communities in Seattle, WA. The agency seeks to advocate, educate, and mobilize programming that addresses substance abuse, incarceration, homelessness, sexually transmitted diseases, racism, sexism, homophobia, and other such matters that further contribute to community marginalization and health disparities. His work also includes interaction and involvement with a number of local and national civic and social organizations focusing on Human Rights, Economic Empowerment, Social Justice, and HIV/AIDS advocacy. These organizations include The HRC (The Human Rights Campaign), The Center for American Progress, The National Black Justice Coalition, The Center Black Equity, The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and the Out In Front LGBTQIA+ Leadership Development program.Steven's academic studies include a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Organizational Management. Master of Divinity with a concentration in Global Development and Justice from Multnomah University, Portland, OR.  He can best be described as a leader and a trailblazer with a heart to see is community healed and whole. His motto is shared with the organization: "Promoting Health, Mobilizing Community, and Transforming Lives".

Amir Noir Soulkin 

Amir Noir Soulkin is a seasoned cross-sector communications professional with more than 20 years of experience.   He is formally training in African-American Studies (BA),  Cultural Studies (MA).  Amir is currently pursuing a PhD in Leadership and Change, with a critical focus on Black-led-and-serving nonprofit financial sustainability. His education, lived experience as a Black man, and commitment to Black liberation, produced a moment of awakening.  From here, he left the corporate sector in pursuit of life purpose in nonprofit work.   Currently, Amir Noir Soulkin is the Development Director for East African Community Services.  On a personal note, Amir is die-hard science fiction fan and spends his free time reading and watching animal videos on Facebook.

Reason for membership: 
Amir joined the TEW because of an acute awareness of the centrality of transportation in the lives of Black communities.  The connections between class mobility and access to safe, affordable and equitable transportation cannot be denied.  Additionally, he was moved to join TEW because "representation matters.  We need more Black and brown faces in environments where decisions that impact Black and brown families are made."   

Yordanos Teferi, Workgroup Co-Chair

Yordanos Teferi is an eDiscovery Attorney with over 15 years of experience in combined law firm and Fortune 100 companies. Upon returning to Seattle, Yordanos began serving on the board of the Eritrean Community Center which introduced her to the great work of the Multicultural Community Coalition for which she currently serves as the Interim Executive Director. Yordanos also serves on the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) Advisory Board and on the Communities of Opportunity (COO) Governance Board. 

Karia Wong

Karia Wong, started as a volunteer, has been serving immigrants since 1998. Karia Wong is currently the Family Resource Center Coordinator at CISC, Chinese Information & Service Center. During her 20+ years in supporting immigrants to thrive, Karia has witnessed how transportation inequity has become barriers for immigrants to embrace their new lives in Seattle. She believes everyone should have the same access to safe, affordable, accessible and environmental sustainable transportation options regardless of their country of origins, languages, background and physical/mental capacities.

Yu Ann Youn 

Yu-Ann Youn is a current student at the University of Washington's Robinson Center for Young Scholars working towards her Bachelor's degree in Construction Management. She was born in the Seattle area, and grew up in both California and Washington. She is passionate about building racial equity and diversity in the Built Environment industry, and is an active advocate for greater engagement with the community about urban planning and development. In her free time, Yu-Ann enjoys watching theatre productions and learning about the history of buildings in Seattle.

Reason for membership:I joined the Transportation Equity Workgroup to bring light to the voices of low-income BIPOC communities and youth in the discussions surrounding transportation planning. It is so important to have these conversations early on, and to incorporate the voices of the people who have historically been underrepresented. Beyond being able to bring in community insight to the current discussions at SDOT, I thought that the workgroup would be a great opportunity for me to learn about the conversations going on at the city level so that I can better serve the communities and organizations that I am a part of in the future.

Former TEW Members 

Khatami Chau

Born in Vietnam but raised in White Center, Khatami hails from a Cham immigrant family. Khatami currently attends the University of Washington Seattle as a freshman intending to double major in Public Health and American Ethnic Studies. He is a community leader working alongside FEEST advocating for food justice, equity and access in school food and their surrounding communities ranging from White Center, Delridge to Rainier Beach. Currently he is the co-president for the Cham Student Association UW, Vice President for the Khmer Student Association UW, and the Director of Communications for the Rising SEAs Delegation. When Khatami is not doing any work, you can find him taking brisk walks across campus and watching YouTube videos until 2 am.

Reason for Membership: I want to be able to utilize my experiences living in unincorporated White Center, where general transportation access such as transit and safe crosswalks are limited. Access to fresh grocery stores is a real struggle for our communities due to food deserts. Alongside that, gentrification is another issue that progressively looms over the safety and security for many homes and local businesses. With the potential imminent annexation of White Center into Seattle, I want to provide a voice for my community members where the majority either work in or have to navigate through Seattle. Transportation intersects into various aspects of life, such as food and safety. I believe that it is impossible to create solutions without also addressing the needs of many marginalized communities that have many things to say and ideas to bring to the table.   

Kiana Parker

Kiana works in the Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity at the University of Washington in Seattle as a scholarships adviser for study abroad.  She is extremely passionate about bettering the lives of vulnerable populations and building community in ways that invite greater dialogue and inclusion.  Kiana is originally from Oakland, CA and loves the Golden State Warriors!

Reason for Membership : Seattle's rapid growth has caused significant changes to its transportation systems.  As a result, urban planning, had become a growing area of interest for me. I wanted to join the workgroup because the ability to access transportation safely is a vital part of our everyday lives, and I saw the necessity to move the conversation about safety beyond crime. I wanted to give voice to individuals with mobility challenges to ensure that their needs were both better understood and approached with greater equity in the design, implementation and integration of our transportation systems. 

Kristina Pearson 

Kristina Pearson is a member of the Duwamish and Suquamish Tribes. She sits on the council for the Duwamish Tribe since 2018 and more recently started acting as the Duwamish Tribes Public Relations Liaison. Kristina has been actively volunteering with the Duwamish Tribe on and off for  most of her life. Kristina has a background in hospitality and is a small business owner. She resides in Bonney Lake, WA with her husband and two sons.

Reason for Membership: Kristina joined the transportation equity workgroup so that the transportation inequities the Duwamish have dealt with for the past decade, can be heard. 

Chris Rhoades 

Originally from Seattle, Chris was first exposed to the non-profit community as a counselor for the Variety Boys & Girls Club. He continued his community involvement working with King County Executive Ron Sims as the Youth Board Member of the King County Youth and Family Commission. While attending Clark Atlanta University, he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and of The Prince Hall Masonic Order. Both organizations allowed for Chris to serve his new community of Atlanta where his service was specifically directed towards raising funds to support the disadvantaged areas of the city. He then relocated to Chicago, where he worked with city and state government to address various educational and environmental issues plaguing the city. He spends his spare time with his family and enjoys taking advantage of all to see in the great Northwest. 

Reason for Membership: As a native of Seattle and a life long property holder in the central district I have been aware of the transpiration barriers faced by people of color throughout our city. I distinctly remember as a child accompanying my grandmother as she took the number 2 bus from the CD downtown to pay her bills. Now with gentrification a lot of our community elders have relocated further making the transportation to Dr appointments, perform business transactions or just attend Sunday church service that much more important. In my opinion, the work that this group will perform is crucial to the quality of life of these residents and I am honored to be a part of it.  
 

Christina Thomas 

Christina Thomas volunteers with Rainier Valley Greenways, an organization that works to promote safer and more equitable transportation changes in Southeast Seattle. 

Reason for Membership:  I joined the Transportation Equity Workgroup to help bring my community's voice to conversations that we have historically been excluded from. By participating in the Workgroup, I hope to learn more about how SDOT is addressing transportation inequities in Seattle. I also look forward to working with other community members to help shape SDOT's Equity Agenda in a way that centers previously marginalized groups.