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Commissioner Grace Huang Spotlight


Commissioner Grace Huang, J.D., joined the Washington State Women’s Commission at its inception in 2018, at the urging of our first executive director, Michelle Gonzalez. As Grace finishes her allotted two terms, she says some of the most impactful experiences have been helping with our forum on domestic violence prevention, working with experts to create a model policy on workplace harassment for small businesses, and meeting and learning about the work of women across the state who have a variety of experiences and perspectives.

As Policy Director at the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, Grace brought incomparable perspective to her position as our safety committee chair. Grace has spent almost thirty years providing legal representation for victims of domestic abuse and advocating to improve domestic violence services. She began as a volunteer at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project where she helped women who she describes as amazing people who had lived through hell. She noticed how few resources they had yet how strong they were, and she wanted to help them stop living in fear. Grace still works toward that goal on a larger scale today.

During her four years as commissioner, Grace has enjoyed interacting with the other commissioners and legislative advisors. She also appreciates the opportunity to deepen her engagement in the policy-making process and to support law makers by sharing her expertise on issues related to gender-based violence. Although she will no longer be a commissioner, Grace plans to continue supporting the Commission when the safety committee has questions related to her expertise and her advocacy work at the federal level.

“Grace and I were both appointed as Commissioners when the Women’s Commission was established in 2018. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving together, first as commissioners and later when I became Executive Director. What a wonderful opportunity it has been to work side by side with Grace these past 4 years. Our work around gender-based violence has been largely informed by her 20 years of expertise. While we’ll miss her, we’re so grateful she’s willing to continue to be an informal advisor as we continue to advocate for better policies to help the women of Washington State." - Executive Director Regina Malveaux.

When asked what policies she hopes will be enacted in our state, Grace envisions a more proactive approach to preventing domestic violence. She sees the current responses as mainly reactive in providing victims shelter and police intervention. While these are essential, Grace envisions building vibrant communities where people have what they need, especially the space to nurture children. She hopes for programs that teach children autonomy over their bodies, how to interact with others, and especially how girls can say no to unhealthy relationships.

Her advice for anyone interested in applying to be on the commission is that they stay informed about what the commission is doing by subscribing to the newsletter and following the Women’s Commission on Facebook and Instagram. To make it the best experience, she recommends interested applicants ponder what they want to engage in, and then build their understanding of that subject so they can advise the Commission. She notes that there are many opportunities to participate in the commission without being a commissioner—such as listening sessions and helping with committees. The Commission does a lot of data gathering on topics that are informed by community members at the local level. For example, our committees have several ad hoc members.

We thank commissioner Grace Huang, J.D., for her dedicated service with the Washington State Women’s Commission. We would not have achieved as much as we have in the last four years without her!