Category: Bio

Cirian Villavicencio

Cirian Villavicencio, Commissioner

Cirian Villavicencio is an Associate Professor of Political Science at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton. Active in politics, Villavicencio worked for the late Congressman Tom Lantos (12th-CA) and served as a graduate intern for the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus in the State Capitol. He worked on several statewide and national political campaigns and served on the Sacramento County Democratic Central Committee. He was elected as a state delegate to the California Democratic State Conventions in 2009 and 2010 and was elected twice as a delegate for the Democratic National Convention in 2008 and in 2012. Villavicencio also served as a citizen member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee (EEOAC) for Sacramento County. Villavicencio is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and earned his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Wyoming specializing in the area of Adult Post-Secondary Education & Administration.

Christopher Punongbayan, Commissioner & Secretary

Christopher Punongbayan is the Executive Director of California ChangeLawyers, a statewide foundation that invests in the next generation of legal changemakers.

Over the last twenty years, Chris has gained deep experience in social justice issues. He profoundly believes in giving voice to the unheard, breaking down barriers, and creating strategic alliances to advance equity. Prior to joining the California ChangeLawyers, Chris was the executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus and held positions at Northern California Grantmakers, Positive Resource Center, and Filipino Advocates for Justice.

Currently, Chris serves KQED’s Community Advisory Panel and is the Treasurer of Power California Action Fund. A native of Massachusetts and the son of immigrants from the Philippines, Chris graduated cum laude from Brown University with a degree in Asian American Studies and UCLA School of Law where he completed the Critical Race Studies concentration and the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy.

In 2003, Chris received a scholarship from California ChangeLawyers, which first set him on his social justice path in California. He has never looked back. Since then, Chris’ accomplishments have earned him recognition from the New Voices Fellowship, the Gerbode Foundation, and the Levi Strauss Foundation, which named him a Pioneer in Justice.
Karthick Ramakrishnan

Karthick Ramakrishnan, Chair

Karthick Ramakrishnan is professor of public policy and political science at the University of California, Riverside, and founding director of the Center for Social Innovation. He holds a BA in international relations from Brown University and a PhD in politics from Princeton. 

Ramakrishnan is also a Board Member of The California Endowment, Chair of the California Commission on APIA Affairs, and Director of the Inland Empire Census Complete Count Committee. Ramakrishnan directs the National Asian American Survey and is founder of, which publishes demographic data and policy research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He has published many articles and 6 books, including most recently, Framing Immigrants (Russell Sage, 2016) and The New Immigration Federalism (Cambridge, 2015), and has written dozens of opeds and appeared in over 1,000 news stories. He was recently named to the Frederick Douglass 200and is currently writing a book on state citizenship in the United States.  

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