PHOTO CREDIT: AAJA

Filipina immigrant Naomi Tacuyan Underwood has been installed as the new executive director of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA).

The Filipina-American director of AAJA started her position on January 9. Prior to joining the journalists association, Tacuyan Underwood was with the Washington, D.C.-based Faith & Politics Institute, where she served as director of programs.

She has over a decade of experience in nonprofit management and community engagement where she has long focused on empowering Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

“Naomi’s unique experience at the intersection of nonprofit, civic engagement and politics will help take AAJA to greater heights,” said Michelle Ye Hee Lee, the president of AAJA. “Her ideas and passion for expanding AAJA’s reach and impact in journalism and civic engagement will be crucial as our organization continues to grow and innovate in the coming years.”

Underwood has worked extensively in community outreach, including a stint as deputy director for APIAVote, a national nonpartisan organization that builds voter engagement capacity in local AAPI communities. She has also served as legislative staff for Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam), focusing on territorial, environmental and AAPI issues, among other issues.

“I have deep respect for the role of journalism in our democracy, and this role must be fortified with the diversity of perspectives that journalists of color bring. I look forward to supporting and uplifting AAJA’s members, and working closely with leadership to increase AAJA’s visibility and impact in this next chapter of the organization’s growth,” Underwood said in an AAJa report.

Naomi Tacuyan Underwood grew up in Guam and graduated from New York University with degrees in journalism and Asian Pacific American studies, and received a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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