May 25, 2020

Community News

May 24th Immigrant Day of Visibility at Commonwealth Club
May 7, 2019

News Courtesy of Riki Rafner, Public Affairs Director, Commonwealth Club~~~

Media Advisory from

The Commonwealth Club

the nation’s premier public affairs forum



Karen Korematsu, Founder & Executive Director, Fred T. Korematsu Institute­-Keynote Speaker

Igor Chudak, Singer; Performer; Member of Advisory Council, LGBT Asylum Project

Flash, Singer; Musician

Tookta, Singer

Michelle Meow, Host, "The Michelle Meow Show" (Radio and KBCW TV); Twitter @msmichellemeow


Immigrant Day of Visibility


Friday, May 24, 2019


5:30 p.m. check-in and reception with food and drinks, 6:30-8 p.m. program



110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco, 94105


FREE for Members and Non-Members.  Press please RSVP to Riki Rafner, 415-597-6712, or


Immigration has become the central social issue of our time. A rise in anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric are creating instability for immigrants, including many here legally. Advocates argue that those most in need are being turned away at the border, detained, and their families separated with no clear path to follow. Yet for centuries, immigrants have come to America expecting a place of refuge, hope and opportunity.  Our panelists of musicians and community leaders will discuss the many ways in which immigrants contribute to the United States and our people.

During the program, the following organizations and community leaders will be recognized: CAIR SF (Council of American Islamic Relations–S.F. Chapter), Transgender Law Center, African HRC, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Karen Korematsu is the Founder and current Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and the daughter of the late Fred T. Korematsu. Since her father’s passing in 2005, Korematsu has continued Fred’s legacy as a civil rights advocate, public educator and speaker. In April 2017, she was honored with the Key to the City of Dearborn, Michigan by the Mayor of Dearborn. In 2015, Korematsu was invited as the first non-lawyer fellow of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). In 2013, she was selected as an Advisory Member to the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning by the Honorable Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. In 2011, Korematsu established “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution” for the state of California on January 30, with the help of Assembly Member Warren Furutani.

Flash is a 23-year-old metal-rock artist who hails from Nepal. He was the lead guitarist of the local band named Beside The Coffin. He immigrated to America three years ago to escape religious and political persecution. Flash is a creative, multi-instrumentalist who plays lead guitar, bass, drums and piano. He writes and produces his own music and is currently finishing an Extended Play to be released at the end of 2019. He is one of the subjects of a documentary film currently in production with a working title “In a Flash,” which documents the lives of three music artists who use their music to escape, engage, and dream big while navigating the harsh realities of immigrant life in America.

Igor Chudak is 26 years old and originally hails from Russia. Igor moved to the United States when he was 21 years old to escape the Russian persecution against LGBTQ people. In 2014, he released his first mini-album entitled “Inception.” He is currently a member of the San Francisco Gay Man’s Chorus and is about to release his first American Extended Play entitled “Out of Faith.” Igor has developed a drag queen alter ego named "Mila Knockabitch," the supposed sister of Melania Trump, and has a YouTube comedy series called “Russian Concussion.” He is part of the advisory council of the LGBT Asylum Project.

Tookta is a Thai Molam (folk, country) singer. She started singing at the age of 12. Her sound and genre are specific to the Isaan region of Thailand. She has performed for an audience of more than 100,000 on Mother's Day for Thailand's queen. In addition to a successful career as a Molam singer, Tookta has also performed as a popular stand-up comedian. She immigrated to the United States 2 years ago and is now beginning a new chapter in her life and career. 

About “The Michelle Meow Show”

Michelle Meow, former president of SF Pride, is a talk show host who has interviewed political figures, community activists and media personalities: Margaret Cho, Melissa Etheridge, Maria Bello, Chaz Bono, Ellen Page, Lily Tomlin, Julianne Moore, Susan Sarandon and Wanda Sykes, to name a few.  Her radio show can be heard on Progressive Voices Network M-F 4 p.m. PST, Sundays at 12 noon. Her local San Francisco TV show airs on weekends on KBCW TV. For more information, visit


About The Commonwealth Club of California

Founded in 1903, The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation’s premier public affairs forum, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with more than 25,000 members. Based in San Francisco with a second office in San Jose, the Club hosts nearly 500 speeches and discussions each year on issues of regional, national and international significance. The Commonwealth Club’s weekly radio broadcast airs on more than 230 public and commercial stations across the country. The Club’s podcasts are downloaded more than 4 million times each year. The Club’s videos also appear on the California Channel, C-SPAN and YouTube, where they have been viewed millions of times. For the past 11 decades, the Club has fostered free speech and civic dialogue on a wide range of topics, addressing key issues in society, culture, politics, the economy, national security and more. For more information, visit


The Commonwealth Club launched its programming partnership with Meow in 2018 to expand the range and depth of programs at the Club dealing with issues of interest to LGBTQ audiences.


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