Take Action

Get Updates from California

Our Campaigns


Support Our Movement

Find Your State

Welcome back to Democracy Is! We hope you are ready for Season 2! In this episode, we discuss language access and why it is so critical in order for all communities to fully participate in our democracy. There are over 200 languages spoken in the state of California alone yet only a handful are covered under federal and state law. Find out why and hear from organizers and policy makers who are working to make our democracy more accessible.

Featuring interviews with Homayra Yusufi, the Deputy Director of Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) & Deanna Kitamura from Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus.

Listen Here!

Our Guests This Episode

Deanna Kitamura is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Voting Rights Program and the interim Voting Rights program manager at Asian Law Caucus. Her work focuses on protecting the vote and expanding access to the polls for AAPI voters. Before joining AdvancingJustice-ALC, Deanna was a Senior Staff Attorney at Partnership for Working Families where she provided legal support to grassroot organizations. For nearly a decade before that, Deanna worked at Advancing Justice-Los Angeles – first as the Statewide Redistricting Manager and later as Senior Staff Attorney and Voting Rights Project Director. She has filed lawsuits resulting in cities converting from at-large to district elections and has co-authored various reports, including Voices of Democracy: The State of Language Access in California’s November 2016 Elections. Deanna has worked on legislation involving California’s automatic voter registration process, the administration of vote centers, and language access improvements for voters. She has served on several local and state election-related committees and is a member of the California Secretary of State’s Language Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Deanna has dedicated her legal career to working on social justice issues. In addition to the nonprofits listed above, she has worked at Western Center on Law & Poverty, the National Consumer Law Center, and California Rural Legal Assistance. She began her career working on employment discrimination cases at a civil rights litigation firm. Deanna graduated from Pomona College and UCLA School of Law.

Homayra Yusufi, as Deputy Director of PANA, works closely with the Executive Director to advance the mission and goals of the organization. She leads the team of organizers and advocates with a community-driven approach to advance policies that directly impact refugee communities.  Ms. Yusufi joins PANA with over a decade of experience protecting the civil rights of immigrants, refugee and Muslim communities.

Prior to joining PANA, Ms. Yusufi worked as a Senior Policy Strategy Consultant working on a range of policy campaigns. She also served as the Senior Policy Advocate with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she developed the organization’s immigration policy platform and led the immigrant rights integrated advocacy team. During her tenure at ACLU, Ms. Yusufi worked collaboratively to pass multiple pieces of state legislation that provided protections for immigrant communities. She also worked on advancing the civil rights of the Muslim community through her work at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-San Diego).

Ms. Yusufi graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors in Political Science and received her Masters in Public Policy from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. During her time at UC Berkeley, Yusufi was a consultant with the Emery Unified School District working on the intersection of housing policies and student academic outcomes.

Ms. Yusufi was born in Afghanistan and became a refugee at the age of two. Her family immigrated to the United States where they established new lives in San Diego. As a proud mother of two daughters, Ms. Yusufi works tirelessly to build a better world for their future.

Join the movement over 1 million strong for democracy

Join us: Americans deserve open, honest, accountable government.