Meet the Workgroup

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, Workgroup Co-Chair 
Bio forthcoming

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. 

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. 

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.   

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.

Yordanos Teferi
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. 

Phyllis Porter
Bio forthcoming

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. 

Former TEW Members 

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. 

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.

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.