Beyond Equity Learning Series

Regional inequity in Orange County is well documented, but why and how did we get here?

For example, can we truly understand inequity in housing and property ownership without knowing the historical context of redlining, restrictive covenants, and the original theft of land from the Tongva and Acjachemen peoples?  Can we fully grasp education inequity without examining the historical context of school segregation right here in Orange County as well as the systematic efforts to overturn policies meant to remedy past discrimination?  And what is the lived experience of this region’s diverse communities in relation to inequities such as these and the varied forms of oppression that created them?

Building upon its own Equity Strategic Plan and the recent report Beyond Equity: Seeking Liberation, Autonomy and Justice in Orange County, Orange County Grantmakers is excited to announce a learning series on the historical and cultural context for inequity in our region as well as the need for systemic change to address its root causes.  Launching in March 2023, these in-person sessions will uplift the experiences of specific communities, cultural groups, and indigenous peoples, and will provide an opportunity for funders, government agencies, service providers, and other stakeholders to learn together and develop concrete action steps for addressing inequity.


  • Host: Orange County Grantmakers
  • Audience: Funders, government agencies, service providers, and other stakeholders who want to learn more about regional inequity and ways to address it.
  • Presenters: Subject matter experts drawn from academics, community leaders, and practitioners with an orientation to social and racial justice, including people with lived experience.

Beyond Equity Learning Series

March Session: Beyond Debt and Gratitude: Vietnamese Migration and Settlement in Orange County

Since the Cold War era, over 1.8 million refugees from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam have entered the United States and remade their lives through and against conditions of war and displacement. Orange County, CA is home to the largest population of resettled Vietnamese refugees. Although Vietnamese Americans have lived in the U.S. for almost 50 years, it was not until this recent decade that the stories told about our experiences were written by Vietnamese people. Join us as we explore how Vietnamese communities have been shaped by competing forces and how the framework of joint struggle can be used to build solidarity and advance social, racial, and economic justice.


Where: Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History, Cal State Fullerton 

California State University, Fullerton


When: Thursday, March 23, 2023

8:30AM - 10:30AM


Cost: $15 or free for OCG Members


Thuy Vo Dang


Tracy La


Vincent P. Tran


Son Do


Hosted & Partner with:


Learning series on the historical and cultural context for inequity in Orange County.  Each 2-hour session will include:

  • 60-90 minutes of learning content
  • Facilitated dialogue or breakouts
  • Opportunity for networking and discussion


8:00 to 10:00 AM on the 4th Thursday of the month from March to August 2023:

Click through each event date to register through Eventbrite!


Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History

California State University, Fullerton


8:00 to 10:00 AM on the 4th Thursday of the month from March to July 2023:

  • Sign up online here:
  • Attendance may be limited due to capacity, so we encourage everyone to register early.

For more information, contact OCG’s Executive Director Taryn Palumbo ([email protected]) or Project Consultant Eric Altman ([email protected]).

How do we build a compassionate and inclusive America in an age of distrust? WAJAHAT ALI knows from personal experience that when we come together to be the superheroes of our own stories, we can create honest social change. The beloved TED speaker has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Atlantic about our urgent issues—immigration, politics, parenthood—with boldness, hope, and humor. His memoir Go Back to Where You Came From, one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year, follows his life as a Muslim Pakistani-American on a surprising, emotional, and challenging quest for the good life. Iconic journalist Katie Couric says that “we are all so fortunate to be on the receiving end of his intellect, his humanity, and his heart.”

Wajahat Ali

“With wit and charm, Ali delivers a masterful meditation on growing up brown in America...he gives us a clear-eyed affirmation of the country America could be.” — Mara Gay, New York Times

Wajahat Ali uses his platform to fight tirelessly for the social change we need in our country—and he isn’t afraid to get personal while doing it. The Daily Beast columnist and former New York Times writer, TED speaker, award-winning playwright, and Peabody-nominated producer of the documentary series The Secret Life of Muslims offers us his experiences of triumph over hardship as a beacon of hope and resilience in the face of life’s impossible situations. From his experiences of Islamophobia growing up as a Muslim Pakistani-American to his two-year-old daughter’s liver cancer diagnosis, Wajahat is living proof that when we share our authentic stories, we build the America we wish to live in.”

In his memoir Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American, Wajahat teaches us how to create our own superhero origin story, invest in hope for the future of America, and enact real social change. The book was called “biting and funny and full of heart” by NPR. Representative Ilhan Omar called Wajahat’s work “hilarious” and “deeply moving”, and legendary writer Dave Eggers said it was the book he’d “been hoping Wajahat Ali would write for ten years—hilarious, stylistically fearless, deeply humane.”

Wajahat is also the author of The Domestic Crusaders—the first major play about Muslim-Americans in a post-9/11 world. He was the lead researcher and author for the Center for American Progress’s seminal report “Fear Inc., Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” and served as a national correspondent for Al Jazeera America, where he told stories about communities and individuals often marginalized or under-reported in mainstream media.

As Creative Director of Affinis Wajahat Labs, he worked to create social entrepreneurship initiatives to support and uplift marginalized communities. He also worked with the US State Department to design and implement the “Generation Change” leadership program to empower young social entrepreneurs. Wajahat initiated chapters in eight countries, including Pakistan and Singapore. For his work, he was honored as a “Generation Change Leader” by Sec. of State Clinton and recognized as an “Emerging Muslim American Artist” by the Muslim Public Affairs Council. 

He has given keynote speeches around the world such as TED, The Aspen Ideas Festival, Google, the United Nations, and The New Yorker Festival. His writing appears regularly in the New York TimesThe Atlantic, the Washington Post, and The Guardian. He’s a Senior Fellow at The Western States Center and Auburn Seminary and co-host of Al Jazeera’s The Stream.