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About Kirin

Kirin Amiling Macapugay, MSW, has worked in education, health and human services, and various not for profit organizations in San Diego since 1998, primarily in organizations working to empower under-resourced communities. In 2016, she was awarded  “Professor of the Year” by San Diego State University students, where she taught as a lecturer before coming on to lead the San Diego City College's Human Services Department. She designed the PEER Program, the classroom to career pathway for people wanting to work with communities experiencing homelessness, supported by the San Diego Housing Commission and the City of San Diego. She co-wrote and is now co-principal investigator for San Diego City College's Inclusive City Achievement Network, or ICAN, which earned federal AANAPISI designation in 2022. 

As Vice-Chair for the California Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs Higher Education Committee, she helped spearhead a historical, first in the nation state funded Student Achievement Program of 16 mil. to support lower income Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Asian American higher education students with education codes

Ed Code 79510 – 79511, Article 10 - CCC Law section (

Ed Code 89297 – 89297.1, Article 11 – CSU  Law section (

Kirin also serves on the Asian Pacific Islander Advisory for the San Diego City mayor.

In 2015, she founded Asian Pacific Islander Community Actions (APICA), a nonprofit serving as a catalyst for grassroots like the Kuya Ate Mentorship Program and the People's Collective for Justice and Liberation.

Macapugay served on the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and was past Chairwoman of the Cultural Arts Commission for the City of Chula Vista. She co-founded IKAT Indigenous Knowledge, Art, and Truth, a group of Indigenous scholars and community organizers from the Philippines. She is Chair for Made in Paradise Hills,founding board member of the San Diego Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, a core member of the statewide FIERCE Policy Forum, and a mentor for San Diego Leadership Alliance fellows.

Macapugay and her work has been featured by PBS, KPBS, 10 News, fox News, CBS News, the San Diego Union Tribune, the Voice of San Diego, San Diego Magazine, Voyager San Diego Magazine, This Filipino American Life, Yellow Ranger, Alliance for California Traditional Arts, Filipino Press, Asian Journal, the National Association of Social Workers. She published her first textbook on social work in 2019 has works in: Closer to Liberation by Solomon et. al, Impower You, Oviedo; The Pilipinx Radical Imagination Reader, Nievera-Lozano and Santa Ana; Representation over Visibility, Oleano; and Reclaiming our Stories, Alexander, et al. 


Decmber 12, 2022 was declared "Kirin Macapugay Day" in the County of San Diego. In January of 2017, Kirin was honored as a “Present Day Civil Rights Woman Leader” by RISE San Diego, the first event of its kind in the county.

She was formerly a founding board advisor for Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence, an advisor for San Diego Gas and Electric, and the Diversity and Inclusion Chair for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, San Diego.

Kirin has delivered keynote speeches, lectures, and presentations for thousands of conferences throughout the nation, media outlets, colleges, organizations, companies, and community groups.


Kirin is a Doctorate of Social Work candidate at the University of Southern California focusing on increasing access for under-represented communities to social work higher education. She earned a Master’s in Social Work and Bachelor's in Psychology from San Diego State University, and a Certificate in Indigenous People’s Rights from Columbia University's Columbia X program. 


Kirin with some of her phenomenal San Diego City College students 

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2019: Kirin speaking on a panel for10 News  ABC San Diego KGTV Segment on Homelessness in San Diego. Left to right: 10 News anchor Steve Atkinson, San Diego Mayor Faulconer, Councilmember Chris Ward, Alpha Project’s Bob McElroy, SDPD Homeless Task Force Scott Wahl, Solutions for Change Chris Meggett, and yours truly.

My latest projects

Building community


APICA: Asian Pacific Islander Community Actions 

Kirin foudned APICA: Asian Pacific Islander Community Actions,an organization serving as a hub for grassroots projects enhancing the lives of Asian Pacific Islander (API) Americans and other communities. Current projects include the Kuya Ate Mentorship Program, and the People's Collective for Justice and Liberation. APICA served as supports for efforts including Made in Paradise Hills, Viet Vote, and FilAmFest, Project Reo Collective holiday events.  

Photo: 2018 Made in Paradise Hills Night Market, San Diego, CA 

Information at: APICA 

IKAT: Indigenous Knowledge, Art, and Truth

Kirin co-founded IKAT. IKAT stands for Indigenous, Knowledge, Art, & Truth — is the voices of Indigenous People from the Philippines, currently living in the United States, educating since 2007.  The group's primary goal is to provide education on the complex sociopolitical history, identities, culture, and current day situations faced by Indigenous People from the Philippines living in the diaspora. 

Photo: 2019 Photoshoot for collaboration with BRNWGRLZ and Bayani Art for handcrafted earring collection to benefit the Igorot Global Organization Scholarship Fund, supporting Igorot students in the Philippines as they attended university. 

Information at: IKAT VOICES

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