The 2016 Presidential Election and Diverse Communities

Saturday, September 24
9:00 - 10:15 AM
Irvine Auditorium
About this Session: What would President Trump or President Clinton do for you? Will Immigration reform come about? Will the Equality Act and LGBTQ protections be passed? Will #BlackLivesMatter policies be codified into state or federal law? Our signature panel will explore what is at stake for diverse populations in this country.

Featured Speakers

Ron Allen C'79 G'01

NBC News


RON ALLEN / NBC News Ron Allen is a NBC News correspondent based in New York. His thoughtful and insightful reports from across the country and around the world appear on every NBC News platform including, “NBC Nightly News,” “Today,” and MSNBC. He joined NBC News in 1996.

During several decades of reporting, Ron also has been based in London for 11 years, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Boston, Hartford, and Charlotte. He has won many of journalism’s highest honors, covered American politics extensively, and traveled to more than 75 countries, often hotspots across the Middle East and Africa.

Some of Ron’s most recent assignments at NBC News include the White House during campaign 2016, Ferguson, Missouri and issues of policing across the country, and the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela from South Africa.

Ron has joined NBC’s political team for the past 4 US presidential elections. In 2008, he reported from Chicago’s Grant Park the night of President Barack Obama’s victory, the culmination of a year spent following the campaigns of Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, and the general election campaign of Vice President Joe Biden.

Prior to NBC, Ron was a London based correspondent for ABC News, where contributed to “World News Tonight,” and “Good Morning America,” from 1992 to 1996, and before that a CBS News correspondent, based in Washington, D.C. and in Los Angeles, contributing to the “CBS Evening News,” the “CBS Morning News,” “48 Hours” and “Sunday Morning”, from 1988 to 1992.

Among his most memorable national and international assignments: the first Persian Gulf War from the Pentagon, the Rodney King trial, the Los Angeles riots, the OJ Simpson trial, the US led intervention in Somalia, the Bosnian civil conflict, the war in Kosovo, the death of Princess Diana, numerous natural disasters in the Philippines, Turkey, India, Mozambique, the Rwanda genocide, the start of the Iraq War, Afghanistan following the September 11th attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the Boston Marathon bombing, Hurricane Sandy, the death of Nelson Mandela from South Africa, and the country’s first democratic elections in 1994.

Ron covered local news for WCVB-TV Boston, WFSB-TV Hartford, and WBTV Charlotte. He began his career at CBS News New York as an assignment desk assistant in 1980.

Ron’s work has earned many of journalism’s highest honors, including 6 Overseas Press Club Awards, 6 Emmys, numerous Emmy nominations, 2 Robert F. Kennedy Awards, 2 George Foster Peabody Awards, and 2 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards. His coverage of the unrest in Baltimore following the death of a suspect in police custody recently helped NBC win an Edward R. Murrow Award. The National Association of Black Journalists once named him journalist of the year.

Ron has a BA and MA in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. He has served on the University’s Board of Overseers, the Board of the Overseas Press Club, the Leadership Council of the Committee to Protect Journalists, and participated in the Woodrow Wilson Fellows Program.

He now lives in New Jersey, his home state.

Christine Chen

Executive Director
Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote - APIAVote


Christine Chen, the founding executive director from 2006-2008 returned to APIAVote in January 2011 to serve as its current Executive Director. During her tenure she had strengthened and expanded APIAVote's partners into 22 states. APIAVote’s research and polling of Asian American voters and their regional trainings and field programs have strengthened the local grassroots programs in reaching and mobilizing Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. Through all these efforts, APIAVote has played a key role in elevating the Asian American and Pacific Islander electorate to an unprecedented national level in recent years.

In addition Chen serves as President of Strategic Alliances USA, a consulting firm specializing in coalition building, institutional development, and partnerships among the corporate sector, government agencies, and the nonprofit and public sector.

Profiled by Newsweek magazine in 2001 as one of 15 women who will shape America’s new century, Chen served from 2001 to 2005 as national executive director of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), one of the leading APIA civil rights organizations in the country. Leading an organization with more than 80 chapters and affiliates across the nation, she worked with OCA’s national board, executive council, chapter representatives, members and funders while managing a staff of 13.

Chen is well-known by activists across the county. Her track record in building coalitions and working at the grassroots and national levels established her as one of the strongest voices in the APIA community. She has more than two decades of experience in organizing and advocating on issues such as immigration, hate crimes, affirmative action, census, racial profiling, voting rights, election reform, and various derogatory and racist media incidents. Her role as a trusted coalition builder has her effectively building relationships with key Congressional offices including the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, federal agencies, and the administration.

Throughout the years with Chen's multitasking abilities, Chen also was a member of the executive committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. She also served on numerous boards such as the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Demos Board of Trustees, Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), Youth Vote, Gates Millennium Scholarship Advisory Council, advisory board for the Progressive Majority Racial Justice Campaign, and the Board of Advisors for the Midwest Asian American Students Union, East Coast Asian American Students Union and the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association. In 2003, she was a founding member of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund and also in 2006, a founding member of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote.

Chen currently serves on the Kennedy Center Community Advisory Board, Center for Asian American Media, OCA Northern Virginia Chapter, and the advisory boards for the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association (APAMSA), and CAPAL.

William Burke-White

Richard Perry Professor and Inaugural Director, Perry World House; Professor of Law
University of Pennsylvania


William Burke-White, an expert on international law and global governance, served in the Obama Administration from 2009-2011 on Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff, providing the Secretary direct policy advice on multilateral diplomacy and international institutions. He was principal drafter of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), Secretary Clinton’s hallmark foreign policy and institutional reform effort. Burke-White has written extensively in the fields of international law and institutions, with focus on international criminal and international economic law. His work has addressed issues of post-conflict justice; the International Criminal Court; international human rights, and international arbitration. His current research explores gaps in the global governance system and the challenges of international legal regulation in a world of rising powers and divergent interests. In 2008 he received the A. Leo Levin Award and in 2007 the Robert A. Gorman award for Excellence in Teaching.


Iván Espinoza-Madrigal C'01

Executive Director
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice
James Brister Society


Iván Espinoza-Madrigal is the Executive Director of Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. In a decade as a public interest lawyer, Iván has worked on a wide range of civil rights issues, including racial justice, immigrant rights, and LGBT/HIV equality. He was formerly at Lambda Legal, where he focused on LGBT/HIV issues, including marriage equality. Previously, he handled MALDEF’s immigrants’ rights docket, including a challenge to Arizona’s immigration law, and a Supreme Court voting rights case. He also worked at Fried Frank, where he defended New Haven’s immigrant-friendly municipal ID against an attempt to dismantle the program. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and NYU School of Law.

Brian K. Sims

Pennsylvania State House Representative
182nd Legislative District - Philadelphia County


State Representative Brian K. Sims is a distinguished policy attorney and civil rights advocate from Center City Philadelphia. The former staff counsel for policy and planning at the Philadelphia Bar Association, he recently stepped down as both the president of the board of directors of Equality Pennsylvania and as chairman of Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP). He also has extensive experience as a guest lecturer.

He is dedicated to making Philadelphia safer, strengthening and protecting public education, preserving services for seniors and other vulnerable Pennsylvanians, making affordable health care more available, expanding civil rights for all Pennsylvanians, preserving our environment while investing in alternative energy, creating jobs and cleaning up Harrisburg.

During his time at the Bar Association, Sims worked with attorneys, legislators and community organizations on issues ranging from gender and pay inequity to environmental regulation. A member of the national campaign board of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund until August 2011, Sims lectures regularly about the policy and legal challenges facing the LGBT civil rights movement and is a regular lecturer at the Center for Progressive Leadership. He is the first out LGBT member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Before his time at the Bar Association, he practiced law as a disability attorney representing disabled professionals. He also worked as the senior law clerk at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Washington office, where he focused on state and municipal compliance and enforcement.

He earned a bachelor of science degree from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and a juris doctor degree in international and comparative law from the Michigan State University College of Law.

In 2000, Sims, the son of two retired Army lieutenant colonels, came out to his football team after helping to lead them to the Division II national championship game as their captain. He remains the only former NCAA football captain to have ever come out, and is one of the most notable collegiate athletes to do so in any sport.

Today he continues to serve on the GLSEN Sports Advisory Council, is a contributor to The Advocate magazine, and has written for The National Jurist, The New Jersey Law Journal, The Legal Intelligencer,, The Philadelphia Bar Reporter, MD News magazine, HRC Back Story,, Yahoo Sports and Compete magazine.

As a state legislator, he is honored to represent the neighborhoods of Pennsylvania's 182nd District, which includes part or all of: Rittenhouse, Fitler Square, Logan Square, Midtown/Gayborhood, Washington Square West, Bella Vista, Hawthorne, Fairmount, Queen Village, East Passyunk, Spring Garden and Market East.

Related Articles