PP Jennifer Hara introduces Director de Guzman to help us begin the celebration of AAPI Heritage Month.
Ben de Guzman is the Director of the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (MOAPIA). He has been a leading voice at the local and national level on issues of racial equity, immigrants' rights, veterans affairs, and LGBT justice for more than two decades. He comes to MOAPIA from the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, where he served as the Community Outreach Specialist. During his tenure there, he helped execute two major first time events for the Office- the “District of Pride” LGBTQ cultural performance event and the 32nd Annual 17th Street High Heel Race, presented by the Mayor’s Office as lead organizer.
He has authored articles and op-eds that have appeared in mainstream and special interest media, anthologies, and academic publications, including the Encyclopedia of Asian American Issues Today. In 2015, he received a Community Service Award from Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, and is pleased to come to MOAPIA and help recognize exciting new leaders moving forward. In June 2019, he was recognized by the Capital Pride Alliance in Washington, DC as a Capital Pride Hero. In October 2019, he received one of the Twenty Outstanding Filipino Americans Award for LGBT Advocacy.
As an advocate for equity and recognition for Filipino veterans of World War II, he played a key role in two of the most significant legislative victories on behalf of these soldiers. He led communications, outreach, and political strategies for the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project that led to the passage of the Filipino Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal Act in 2016. He also served as the National Coordinator for the National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity, where he organized a national legislative campaign that created the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund in 2009.
For almost ten years, he was principal staff at the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), where he managed the policy and programmatic work for NQAPIA and its federation of 40 Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander LGBT groups around the country. He spearheaded efforts to promote national LGBT campaigns around comprehensive immigration reform and a national LGBT Pride Month campaign from Asian American/ Pacific Islander advocacy organizations.
Ben is the son of Filipino immigrants and was born and raised in New Jersey. He first moved to the District in 1997 and is a proud resident of Ward 1.