“I want whatever I do to be an honest, constructive voice for myself and my community.”

Minji Chang is an event producer, community leader and the former executive director of Kollaboration.

For the past decade, Minji Chang’s goal has been to give a platform, and more visibility, to AAPI creatives.

As the former executive director of Kollaboration, a global non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of AAPI artists and leaders, Minji helped artists go from complete unknowns to global influencers. In the past couple of years, she traveled to dozens of cities to help produce live events, and AAPI-specific programming, for major events like Sundance Film Festival and SXSW.

In many ways, Minji’s story is a familiar one: She was set to pursue a career in the medical field after graduating with a public health degree from the University of California, Berkeley, when she decided to follow her passion for entertainment and media. She packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles, challenging the more traditional and less risky path envisioned by her parents.

Surviving a complex past — a difficult relationship with her Korean American identity, escaping an abusive relationship in her teen years, struggles with mental health, the loss of a close friend to suicide — fueled Minji’s decision to take the leap toward following her dreams. In the worst moments, she said, she learned to hold on to who she knew she was. “I was on the brink of being extinguished,” she said. “But I didn’t.”

Minji’s focus now is on addressing the diversity of culture within AAPI communities, and the issues that are rarely talked about, including gender inequality, mental health and political injustice. They’re difficult topics, but ones she hopes the AAPI community — especially women — can begin having more frequent conversations about.

She left Kollaboration last year to pursue acting and writing full-time, and continues to advocate for the AAPI community by producing events like the EMPOWER Conference and acting as advisor for films like Crazy Rich Asians.

Through every project, her goals remain the same. “My purpose is to share underrepresented stories about people of color, to create a wider understanding of ourselves and one another, to create ways for people to heal and seek help that they need,” she said. “I want whatever I do to be an honest, constructive voice for myself and my community.”

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