Executive Director, APIENC
Sammie Ablaza Wills is an enthusiastic, queer, non-binary Pilipinx organizer passionate about supporting people in reclaiming their inherent power and dignity. Growing up in a hustling class immigrant household, their political journey started with witnessing xenophobia against their family, fighting budget cuts in public schools, and learning about trans Pilipinos fighting colonization. Currently, Sammie is the Executive Director of APIENC, a grassroots organization building power for transgender and queer Asian and Pacific Islander people in the Bay Area, where they originally started as a youth Summer Organizer. In their current role, Sammie supports hundreds of community members to organize for rights, build intergenerational connections, and heal for trans justice. Sammie has trained numerous organizations to deepen gender justice praxis and healthy group culture, served as a fellow for the Trans Justice Funding Project, and been honored by the Mario Savio Young Activist Award. Their words have been featured in the New York Times, Huffpost, and Autostraddle. Originally from the 818 and Las Vegas, Sammie has been in the Bay Area since 2012. They graduated with a B.A. in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity with honors from Stanford University. During their time as an undergraduate, Sammie created and facilitated the first student-led curriculum centered on concrete tools for community organizing. With other student organizers, they led initiatives to push the Stanford administration to resource ethnic studies and increase the diversity of its tenured professors through the "Who's Teaching Us? Campaign. Sammie’s vision for justice is rooted in restoration for the land and for the people. They deeply believe in the importance of biodiversity, the right of self-determination, and the practice of interdependence. Outside of their organizing work, Sammie enjoys spending time with friends, telling stories, making song parodies, and lifting weights. They believe that anything can be turned into a chant and brought onto the streets (literally and emotionally).