Monica Thammarath is the Senior Program/Policy Specialist in the Office of Minority Community Outreach (MCO) at the National Education Association (NEA), where she serves as the liaison between the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and NEA’s more than 3 million members. Prior to the NEA, Ms. Thammarath was the education policy advocate for the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) where she was the only full-time Washington-based staff person focused on education policy for the AAPI community. In addition to overseeing SEARAC’s Education Program, Ms. Thammarath was co-chair of the Education Committee for National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and co-chair of the Grassroots Committee for the Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE). As a result, Ms. Thammarath was the community point person on AAPI education issues to the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the U.S. Department of Education, and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). Ms. Thammarath’s work is grounded in her experience organizing as a college student and providing services locally around access to affordable and high quality education. Ms. Thammarath currently serves as the Chapter Liaison on the National Governing Board of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and represents the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) on the Executive Board of the State Federation of Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO.
The daughter of refugees from Laos, Ms. Thammarath was born and raised in Southeast San Diego, California and a proud product of California’s public K-16 education system. She graduated with university and departmental honors from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in Social Welfare, BA in Political Science, and minor in Asian American Studies. She has been trained by the United States Student Association, the Center for Progressive Leadership, and will begin the Masters in Public Administration Program at American University next fall.
- Studied Policy Analysis at American University
- Studied Social Welfare at UC Berkeley
- Studied British and American Studies at Thammasat University
- Went to Samuel F. B. Morse High School
November 27, 2020 Washington, DC - APALA sent a letter to the Biden transition team supporting Julie Su for U.S. Secretary of Labor and calling for 7% of cabinet-level and other appointed positions to be Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), mirroring the diversity of the U.S. population. APALA called on the transition team to especially consider Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs) as that community is especially underrepresented at all levels of government.
APALA National President and NEA Appointee, Monica Thammarath, said: “The selection of a strong U.S. Secretary of Labor with experience fighting for immigrant workers, workers of color, and women workers is critical to ensuring that our communities aren’t left behind as we ‘build back better’ and recover from the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.”
APALA Founding President, California Federation of Labor Vice President,and Director of the UCLA Labor Center, Kent Wong, said: “I can think of no one better to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Labor than Julie Su. Her entire career has been spent advocating for working people. She has directly supported workforce development, health, safety, and wage theft enforcement that has benefited millions of workers. Ms. Su was staff attorney for the Asian Americans Advancing Justice who represented the Thai garment workers from El Monte, California, who were held in slavery. Alongside working with other community partners like the Thai Community Development Center, the effort resulted in a major breakthrough in California to demand that manufacturers and retailers are held liable for the sweatshop conditions in the garment factories that produce their clothes.” .
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum
In 2011, Isabel Kang was profiled at the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, which were "selected from a national pool of fierce sisters working across the country. They're multi-issue, multi-faceted, multi-ethnic movers and shakers. They're artists, activists, moms, attorneys, organizers, students. Together, we'll redefine women leadership and lift up the progressive movement for APA women and girls."
- "Isabel Kang is a fierce APA woman leader through her work as the director of Shimtuh, a domestic violence and sexual assault program based at the Korean Community Center of the East Bay (KCCEB), a multi-service organization located in Oakland. For over ten years, Isabel has counseled thousands of survivors from all over the U.S. on Shimtuh's helpline, met with women to talk about the options available to them, and served as a liaison in a criminal justice system that often fails to provide adequate interpretation services for non-English speaking immigrant women. Additionally, Isabel tries to help women within a Korean cultural framework, rather than necessarily going after perpetrators in court. Articulate, tireless, and passionate, Isabel redefines what it means to be an APA woman leader by helping countless women discover the warrior within themselves."
Cathy Dang, May 14, 2016 ·
Thank you Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) for inviting me to meet your national executive board! Together, we will build the left in our immigrant and refugee communities. So great to be in the space with many of the people who helped develop me as an organizer. — with Gregory Cendana, Monica Thammarath, Susan Li and Kent Wong.