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Manjusha P. Kulkarni    

Executive Director of Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council

Manjusha P. Kulkarni (Manju) is Executive Director of AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity), a coalition of over forty community-based organizations that serve and represent the 1.5 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County. In March 2020, Kulkarni co-founded Stop AAPI Hate, the nation’s leading aggregator of COVID-19-related hate incidents against AAPIs. Kulkarni was recently recognized by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential individuals in 2021 with the co-founders of Stop AAPI Hate, Cynthia Choi and Russell Jeung.

Kulkarni is a member of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission and was recently appointed to the California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board by CA Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. Kulkarni also serves as a Lecturer in the Asian American Studies Department of UCLA, teaching "Ethnic, Cultural and Gender Issues in America's Health Care Systems" and "South Asian American Communities." Kulkarni was appointed in 2018 by CA Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to serve on the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program Advisory Panel. Kulkarni's work has been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times, CBS News, and CNN, as well as several ethnic media outlets. On March 18, 2021, Kulkarni testified before Congress at the House Judiciary Committee on the issue of anti-Asian hate; she shared Stop AAPI Hate data as well as policy recommendations for addressing the current wave of racism and discrimination faced by AAPIs in the U.S.

Prior to joining A3PCON, Kulkarni served as Executive Director of the South Asian Network (SAN). SAN is a community-based organization advancing the health, well-being and civil rights of South Asians in Southern California. Located in Artesia, California, SAN serves the needs of individuals of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepalese and Sri Lankan descent in the areas of health and health care access, civil rights and violence prevention. Through her work at SAN, Kulkarni has advocated for effective policies and practices on issues impacting the South Asian American community. In 2013, SAN was featured in the Los Angeles Times and on PRI’s radio program The World for its efforts to educate South Asian Americans on the Affordable Care Act and enroll them in Covered California.

Between 1999 and 2010, Kulkarni served as Senior Attorney at the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) in Los Angeles, California. There, she worked to improve access to quality health care for low-income individuals through administrative and legislative policy advocacy and litigation. Kulkarni drafted reports and training materials and provided legal assistance and training to hundreds of health attorneys and advocates across the country. With her colleagues, she drafted a 150-page legal analysis of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on low-income and uninsured Americans. Prior to joining NHeLP, Kulkarni served as Director of Intake at the Law Offices of Sharon Lybeck Hartmann, a civil rights law firm appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice to monitor compliance of Denny’s restaurants with the consent decrees resulting from two class action race discrimination lawsuits. Early in her career, Kulkarni served as pro bono counsel for a group of Japanese Latin Americans who were abducted and interned by the United States government during World War II and helped to secure for them an apology and redress payment.

In April 2014, Kulkarni received the White House Champions of Change award from President Obama for her dedication to improving health care access for South Asian Americans. In 2006, she was selected to participate in the Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) Fellowship program, a highly selective program of the Women’s Foundation of California to train women to take on leadership roles in state policy advocacy. While a Fellow, Kulkarni secured passage of landmark lead poisoning prevention legislation, which she drafted, through the California Assembly and State Senate. In 2005, Kulkarni received the Public Service Award from the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California.

Over the past eighteen years, Kulkarni has lectured on health law and policy, civil rights and violence prevention at Stanford Law and Medical Schools, the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California and their schools of law. Kulkarni has authored numerous articles in law journals and civil rights and health law publications and was a regular contributor to Huffington Post.

Kulkarni has served on several non-profit board of directors, most recently for LA Voice, a multi-racial, multi-faith community organization seeking social justice in Southern California, the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. She has also served on Board of Advisors of the UCLA Lab School, an elementary school that promotes innovation and excellence in education through research and outreach and teaching and learning. From 2007-2010, she was President of the Board of Directors of SAN and from 2007-2009, she was Chair of the Board of The Growing Place, a child development center in Santa Monica, California, serving on both boards for a number of years. Kulkarni also served on the board of the Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF), a non-profit shelter and community-based organization serving the needs of Southern California’s Asian Pacific American domestic violence survivors and their families.

Kulkarni received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Certificate in Women’s Studies from Duke University and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law. After graduating from college, she worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Attorney General’s Office in her hometown of Montgomery, Alabama. While in law school, Kulkarni clerked at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, California. Kulkarni lives in Los Angeles with her daughters Vaishali and Meghana and her husband Shai Halbe.


How to stop the rise in hatred aimed at Asian Americans
Mar 30, 2021 ... Asian Americans watched something spread even faster than COVID-19: Widespread hate and discrimination against members of our community. Manjusha Kulkarni ...
Manjusha P. Kulkarni, Russell Jeung and Cynthia Choi
Sep 15, 2021 ... Find out why the Stop AAPI Hate co-founders Manjusha P. Kulkarni, Russell Jeung and Cynthia Choi made the 2021 TIME100 list.

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