What is HQ and Who’s in Charge Here?!

So glad you asked! HQ is comprised of some amazing humans who help run this merry band of volunteers.

Kristina Wong
Kristina WongThe Overlord

Kristina is the Overlord of the Auntie Sewing Squad, focused on fundraising, buying bulk materials, reimbursement, and making strategic partnerships. When not stuffing flat rate boxes to the brim with elastic, she is a performance artist, comedian, and elected official in Koreatown Los Angeles. Her show “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord: Raw and Unhemmed” premieres off-Broadway in November 2021 at New York Theater Workshop.

www.kristinawong.com

Amy Tofte
Amy TofteFirst Lieutenant of Google Docs

Amy organizes us, helping coordinate pick-ups, drop-offs, mailings, communications… and everything in between. She is also an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who won the 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her work has been produced throughout the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and twice at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She sits on the Playwrights Advisory Board for Coalescence Theater Project. When not hustling masks for A.S.S… she’s writing.

What’s a Super Auntie?

SUPER AUNTIES help field requests from communities in need, organize and manage the volunteers sewing to fulfill these requests, sometimes even deliver supplies, and so much more! Without Super Aunties, we would not be so efficient as a national group and definitely would not have lasted over 1 year.

Anne Bagasao
Anne Bagasao

Anne is a single mom who had her own wedding and event business. When California shut down, Anne’s work as a community activist in her town of South Pasadena enabled her to raise funds and donated supplies from friends and neighbors to support the Squad’s early efforts. As a hub for members of the local Women’s Club, she has expedited the making and distribution of over 6,000 masks. Anne has since left the event business and transitioned back into the nonprofit world, continuing her work with vulnerable women and children. She hopes to someday learn how to sew.

Candice Kim
Candice Kim

Candice started off as an elastic sourcing and distributing Auntie before pivoting to processing mask requests from Indigenous organizers and environmental justice communities. She also tries to be a utility Auntie by helping with whatever is needed–such as supply distribution, cleaning/ironing/cutting donated fabrics for faster sewing Aunties, and media appearances when commanded by Kristina. By day, she is the Project Director of the Moving Forward Network (MFN) located at Occidental College. Candice is a public health advocate, community organizer, and volunteer COVID vaccine appointment doula. She credits her arts education for her most useful pandemic survival skills.

Constance Parng
Constance Parng

Constance is an actress/writer/director and a proud descendant of Hakka warriors and of the Dai (Freedom) people. In the pandemic, coordinating masks for Native Nations led to 6 pallets of medical supplies and a road trip to reservations and occupied lands. She created Amazon wishlists and the A.S.S Winter Coat Drive based on the requests of those she met, and ended up co-founding the Lakota Well-Being Project together with Standing Rock allies. Constance is inspired by the sublime in the everyday, and putting compassion into action.

www.constanceparng.com

Diana Williams
Diana Williams

Diana is the CEO & Co-founder of Kinetic Energy Entertainment. An award-winning producer, she has worked with emerging and established talent to ensure that all voices are included in the media landscape. When the pandemic overtook our lives and the entertainment industry ground to a halt, a plea for lanyards from a friend of a friend led her to the Auntie Sewing Squad. She jumped in with both loaf pans baking pound cakes for the sewing aunties, as well as happily succumbing to database mania as she has never met a spreadsheet that she didn’t want to over-colorize.

Jessica Arana
Jessica Arana

Jessica is a Xicana/American/Mexican designer, educator, and artist. Her work has appeared in Design Observer, Eye on Design, and a co-curated Google Arts & Culture exhibition. As an Auntie, Jessica prioritized Black and Brown communities by thoughtfully developing relationships with over 70 organizations and activists to reach farm workers, formerly incarcerated women, Black community centers, BLM, low-income laborers, migrants, and asylum seekers. She is proud of developing pathways to serve folxs on la frontera and getting masks to both sides of the U.S./Mexico border, and rapidly coordinating protective KN95’s to farm workers during the 2020 fires.

Kelly Burr
Kelly BurrVermauntie

Kelly wandered in off the internet after seeing a post about A.S.S. mask donations through a Standing Rock water protector page. Aside from East Coast Super Auntie duties, she sewed 1,000ish masks and organized the A.S.S. winter gear drive for Navajo and Hopi families. Her previous emergency response work includes ten years as a firefighter and two as a Red Cross Disaster Action Team responder. In her outside life, she is a co-owner of Yunksen Productions (theater, film, and music) and teaches Shakespeare with a concentration on proto-feminism and gender roles.

Laura Karlin
Laura KarlinSpreadsheet Auntie

Laura is a Super Auntie who lived on the Spreadsheet of Glory and focused primarily on coordinating masks for organizations supporting farmworkers. She is also a Choreography Auntie and leader of Auntie Sewing Squad Super Stretching Sessions (ASSSSS), and has sent around 3 gallons of homemade salve to Aunties and the communities they supported. Laura is the Artistic Director of Invertigo Dance Theatre, a Reproductive Justice activist, a gardener, a fan of popsicle stick jokes, and the mother of Juniper, whose refusal at 5 months old to work a sewing machine earned her the title of the Lazy Baby.

Gayle Isa
Gayle IsaCommunity Care Coordination Auntie

Gayle believes the culture of mutual support within A.S.S. is a perfect antidote for her experience as a recovering nonprofit executive director. She is grateful to her school-aged daughter Davina for teaching her to sew and getting their family involved as Aunties. Together, they have made over a thousand masks, sourced homemade meals and sweets during quarantine, mailed care packages throughout the country, and hosted virtual gatherings and local “swap meets” for Aunties to share and connect with each other. They are joyful recipients of two kittens and true kindness and friendship from fellow Aunties.

Mandy Dunlap
Mandy DunlapBouncer Auntie

Mandy, like Heimdall of Asgard, is the gatekeeper into the Auntie Sewing Squad. When not vetting new members, she also sewed hundreds of masks. She proudly recruited her mom to do the hefty sewing of a couple thousand masks, which helped to keep them connected during the pandemic despite being over 1,200 miles apart. Her favorite and most challenging job has been that of an unexpected at-home kindergarten teacher to her young daughter, who many times provided auntie care in the form of inspirational drawings for the other Aunties.

Badly Licked Bear
Badly Licked BearLogistics Auntie / Navajo Nation Relief Van Driver

Badly has coordinated seven relief vans/trucks to our partners in Navajo Nation, served as a manufacturing and distribution hub for 3D printed face shields, coordinated donations of PPE to local unhoused organizations, and herded cats and coats for our Winter Clothing Drive for Standing Rock and Black Hills. When not sniffing out caches of diapers, masks, and hand sanitizer, they occupy themselves as a college professor, comic book writer, and “Professional Doomsayer.”