There's trouble at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon.
Fourteen former employees and board members at APANO signed a Nov. 5 letter demanding the immediate resignations of executive director Joseph Santos-Lyons, associate director Duncan Hwang and all board members. The letter alleged wrongdoing at the 21-year-old nonprofit, which lobbies on behalf of Asian-Americans and is increasingly active in social justice campaigns.
"There have been over a dozen staff members," the letter says, "who have been pushed out and traumatized by their experiences of rampant sexism, homophobia and transphobia at APANO."
The controversy is among the latest turmoil to arise from the #MeToo movement, which has drawn attention to sexual harassment and abuse nationwide.
On Nov. 15, APANO board chairs Simon Tam and Raahi Reddy responded with an open letter to the Asian Pacific community.
"We want to assure our communities that APANO has, and will continue to thoroughly investigate allegations of misconduct, including gender and LGBTQ discrimination, and respond appropriately," they wrote. "To date, we have no evidence to suggest that there has been any unlawful discrimination or actions by current or former staff within the organizational practices of APANO."
Santos-Lyons also says APANO takes the allegation seriously.
"APANO has not lost sight of our values and what justice can look like as we move through this process," he says. "We want to assure our communities that APANO has, and will continue to thoroughly investigate any allegations of misconduct, and respond appropriately."