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AAPI Speaks

Our grassroots partners across the nation are led by organizers and leaders with first-hand knowledge of AAPI issues and communities. They are leaders who contribute to systemic changes and transformation work from the ground up. Their voices and stories are shaping where and how AAPI communities fit into the intersection of justice and liberation to form a more inclusive and representative democracy. 

Use the search function to find and learn more about our partners, their area expertise, and where they are geographically based.

Alvina Wong

Role: Base Building Director
Organization: Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
Area of Expertise: Climate justice, Economic justice, Equitable development, Grassroots organizing, Housing/tenant protections, Land trusts, Movement building,

Alvina Wong is the base building director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. Her work is focused on organizing low-income and working-class Asian immigrants and refugees to build their leadership, advocate against displacement, and advance solutions on issues that matter most to the community.  She has organized intergenerational initiatives including community campaigns that secured sustainable community benefits and prevented the evictions of Single Room Occupancy tenants. 

Wong’s career as a community organizer in the Chinese immigrant community started during her time as an Eva Lowe Fellow for the Chinese Progressive Association. She has nearly a decade’s experience developing and organizing AAPI youth around access to quality education.

Berenice Rodriguez

Role: Civic Engagement and Organizing Director
Organization: Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta
Area of Expertise: Immigration, Movement building, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Berenice Rodriguez is a director for the Department of Civic Engagement and Organizing at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta. With her legal background, she specialized in the removal defense of individuals facing deportation proceedings where she conducted over 200 intakes at three Georgia-based detention centers for immigrants from over 20 countries. As part of the policy department, she worked on lobbying against anti-immigrant bills at the state and national levels. 

Rodruguez’s career as a community organizer began when Georgia passed an anti-illegal immigrant bill, one of the toughest laws in the country’s legal history. She helped organize farmworkers in South Georgia to advocate for safer work conditions and fair wages.

Chavi Khanna Koneru

Role: Executive Director
Organization: North Carolina Asian Americans Together
Area of Expertise: Democracy reform, Movement building, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Chavi Khanna Koneru is the co-founder and executive director of North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT). She spearheads the nonpartisan group to increase civic engagement and voter turnout among North Carolina’s growing AAPI community. As a result, the state experienced a record turnout of AAPI voters, many of whom were first-time voters during the 2020 presidential election.

Prior to founding NCAAT, she worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, Voting Section where she had the opportunity to work on voting rights and language access issues impacting the AAPI community.

Daisy Maxion

Role: Civic Engagement Lead Organizer
Organization: Filipino Advocates for Justice
Area of Expertise: Movement building, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Daisy Maxion is the Civic Engagement Lead Organizer at Filipino Advocates for Justice. She helps implement programs that aim to increase civic engagement in the AAPI community through local and state-wide campaigns. She led campaign activities that optimized community engagement such as supervised phone banks, signature-gathering, canvassing, as well as voter registration programs based on high school and college campuses.

Additionally, Maxion led a Get Out the Vote campaign against the 2021 Gubernatorial recall election by conducting voter outreach in AAPI communities to inform voters about important dates and address any pressing needs that affect their voting rights. Maxion also implemented community projects including an outreach initiative focused on vaccine education. Maxion and her team provided in-language support to help AAPI community members schedule vaccine appointments across 7 counties.

Deborah Chen

Role: Civic Engagement Programs Director
Organization: OCA-Greater Houston
Area of Expertise: Economic justice, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Deborah Y. Chen is the Civic Engagement Programs Director at the OCA-Greater Houston Advocacy Center with two decades of experience in social justice and community organizing. Through her work, Chen promotes equal opportunities, fair treatment, and civic participation through community building. Chen and her team were instrumental in boosting voter registration and raising awareness of anti-Asian hate. Their efforts led to outreach in AAPI communities in over 221,000+ households, during the 2020 Census at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Under her leadership, she also managed a $30 million grant program for small businesses in Harris County. 

Before her current role, Chen was a senior executive staff analyst under the mayor’s office at the City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunities to support Small, Minority, and Women Owned Business Enterprises (SMWBEs). She was also the Certification and Contract Compliance Division Manager at the Human Relations Department of the City of Kansas.

Erich Nakano

Role: Executive Director
Organization: Little Toyko Service Center
Area of Expertise: Affordable housing, Comprehensive community development, Economic justice, Healthcare or Health equity, Movement building, Voting engagement,

Erich Nakano is the executive director of the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) where he manages projects that build affordable housing and engages in comprehensive community development in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California. He leads community facility projects that provide a broad range of social services for the AAPI families and senior members of the community. With his background in urban planning, Nakano is responsible for developing several LTSC programs that offer housing security such as the Affordable Housing Collaborative. 

Prior to his current role, Nakano partnered with various community-based organizations to address current and emerging issues among AAPIs. He also helped advance the Japanese American redress and reparations movement in addition to promoting community preservation, tenant rights, educational rights, as well as various national and local political campaigns.

Grace Pai

Role: Executive Director
Organization: Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
Area of Expertise: Democracy reform, Education, Immigration, Movement building, Voting engagement,

Grace Pai is the executive director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago. Pai leads strategy for issue-based campaigns that strengthen power-building work, and supports organizational infrastructure. Her recent projects include a successful campaign to require Illinois public schools to teach Asian American history–making Illinois the first state in the country to do so. As an experienced community organizer, she has worked to advance racial, economic, and immigrant justice and has trained organizers and community leaders across the country.

Pai also serves as the founding executive director of Asian American Midwest Progressives, a political organization that endorses progressive candidates for elected office. During the 2021 Georgia Senate runoff election, Pai took a leave of absence to serve as the field director for Asian American Advocacy Fund PAC, where she led a team that reached over 100,000 AAPI voters in the Atlanta area. Her leadership helped secure the historic wins of Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. 

Jacqueline Thanh

Role: Executive Director
Organization: VAYLA New Orleans
Area of Expertise: Climate justice, Education, Gender equity, Healthcare or Health equity, Movement building, Voting engagement,

Jacqueline Thanh is the executive director at VAYLA New Orleans, a progressive multiracial organization that offers support services for AAPI youth and their families. In her role, she develops programs that offer services and advocate for social and environmental justice in the AAPI community. 

Throughout her career as a clinically trained and trauma-informed social worker, Thanh has pushed for community-informed policy change to address social inequities. She also led efforts to forge sustainable leadership pathways for AAPI youth through storytelling and community building. Her unique approach to social justice centers around intergenerational healing and civic engagement to advance the social justice movement among AAPI community members.

Jasmine Rivera

Role: Director of Communications
Organization: Rising Voices
Area of Expertise: Democracy reform, Movement building, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Jasmine Rivera is the director of communications at Rising Voices, a youth and women empowerment advocacy group. Rivera helps develop strategies for leadership and power building, as well as organizing capacity for AAPI women and youth. In her role, Rivera uses her creative skills to frame narratives and key messaging that uplift the organization’s core values. She also fosters relationships with community partners and media outlets.    

An award-winning filmmaker and producer, Rivera created and launched Rising Voices Amplify, a collaboration with acclaimed photographer Jarod Lew. The initiative aims to document the local AAPI leaders and organizers, as well as DIY Power, a civic education web series for the Michigan Asian American community. The initiative uses storytelling methods to amplify issues that affect AAPI youth and women.

Jennifer Srey

Role: Senior Manager for Civic Power
Organization: Coalition of Asian American Leaders
Area of Expertise: Criminal justice, Immigration,

Jenny Srey spent most of her career in the social work field serving children and families. Her experience involves working with youth in juvenile detention, child protection, and foster care; survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault; and newly arrived, immigrants and refugees. 

Her experience entails grassroots organizing, family reunification, violence prevention, court advocacy, systems navigation, refugee adjustment, VAWA, U-Visa, and deportation defense. She organized and fought to stop the deportation of her husband. In her spare time, she volunteers with a Khmer elders program. She is a co-founder of ReleaseMN8 and a Humphrey Policy Fellow (2020). She loves eating and cooking Khmer food with her family and is a proud mother, partner, organizer, and advocate.

Kiki Rivera

Role: Storyteller
Organization: Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)
Area of Expertise: Climate justice, Education, Gender equity, Healthcare or Health equity, LGBTQIA+,

As a storyteller for Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), Kiki Rivera helps fulfill EPIC’s mission to advance social justice by developing and implementing narrative change strategies. They use creative skills to build political will for the organization’s advocacy agenda and expand its reach in the Pacific Islander community. 

As an award-winning theatre artist, educator, and arts activist; Rivera is among a group of grassroots leaders that mobilize resources to empower Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Through their creative talent, Rivera amplifies the collective voice and strengthens the advocacy work of the community organizers.

Lian Cheun

Role: Executive Director
Organization: Khmer Girls in Action
Area of Expertise: Education, Gender equity, Healthcare or Health equity, Housing justice, Immigration, LGBTQIA+, Movement building, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Lian Cheun is the executive director of Khmer Girls in Action, with a background in politics and community organizing. Cheun implements the organization’s mission to build a progressive and sustainable movement for gender, racial, and economic justice led by Southeast Asian young women. Her leadership efforts have secured funding for youth programs, fought for educational and health justice programs, organized numerous GOTV efforts, as well as advocated for workers’ rights. 

As a veteran community organizer, Lian served as a commissioner with President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from 2014-2016. Currently, she is a community council member for Bold Vision, an initiative to advance equitable policies for youth of color across Los Angeles County. Early in her career as a youth advocate, Cheun’s efforts as a community organizer secured $12 million for afterschool programming and education in the  Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). 

Melinda Lee

Role: Lead Organizer for Community Prosperity
Organization: Coalition of Asian American Leaders
Area of Expertise: Economic justice, LGBTQIA+,

Melinda Lee is the lead organizer for community prosperity at the Coalition of Asian American Leaders leading efforts to build wealth for Asian Minnesotans. Melinda helps mobilize resources to harness collective power to improve the lives of Asians in Minneapolis. They use their knowledge and expertise to address economic issues affecting the Asian community by connecting, learning, and unifying its members. Melinda aims to build capacity and strengthen Asian and queer and trans people to thrive and be free. 

Lee previously held positions as an administrative manager for the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, a power-building hub of grassroots organizers practicing emergent strategy for social justice. They also worked as an assistant director for the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life at the University of Minnesota.

Nausheena Hussain

Role: Executive Director
Organization: Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)
Area of Expertise: Gender equity, Movement building, Voting engagement,

Nausheena Hussain is the co-founder and executive director of Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE). She is dedicated to movement building that supports Muslim women in their endeavors to achieve gender equity. In her role, Hussain helps develop leadership initiatives, increase community engagement, and foster social change through community organizing.  

As an award-winning community organizer, Hussain currently serves on the board of the Center on Muslim Philanthropy. She has been recognized by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Minnesota Women’s Press for her work as a community leader. Prior to her current role, Hussain was appointed as a Commissioner on the Charter Commission for the city of Brooklyn Park and served on its Human Rights Commission.

Pabitra Khati Benjamin

Role: Executive Director
Organization: Adhikaar
Area of Expertise: Economic justice, Gender equity, Immigration, LGBTQIA+, Movement building,

Pabitra Khati Benjamin is the executive director at Adhikaar for Human Rights and Social Justice. She leads the organization’s efforts for power building and community organizing to achieve economic and social justice. As a community leader with more than 2 decades of experience, Pabitra helps drive social change by implementing solutions that empower various AAPI communities. 

Pabitra previously served as a board member for the organization she was appointed as its executive director. She also supports community initiatives that operate at the intersection of race, class, caste, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. Throughout her career, Pabitra also served in leading organizing efforts with Amnesty International USA, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, the Rights Working Group, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, Fair Wisconsin/Action WI Education Fund, as well as the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center.

Phi Nguyen

Role: Executive Director
Organization: Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta
Area of Expertise: Democracy reform, Immigration, Movement building, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Phi Nguyen is the executive director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta. In her previous role, she was the Litigation Director where she focused on impact litigation in the areas of voting rights and immigrant justice. Since joining Advancing Justice-Atlanta in early 2017, Nguyen has helped block a Georgia state law that restricted voters’ right to an interpreter at the polls and represented a class of Vietnamese immigrants suing the federal government over the indefinite nature of their detention in ICE prisons.

An award-winning lawyer, Nguyen aims to protect and expand the civil rights of AAPIs and other marginalized communities. Nguyen was introduced to Advancing Justice-Atlanta in 2016 when she partnered with them to lead Vietnamese Voices, a get-out-the-vote campaign that focused on Vietnamese Americans and helped mobilize further grassroots efforts in AAPI communities.

Prarthana Gurung

Role: Director of Campaigns & Communications
Organization: Adhikaar
Area of Expertise: Economic justice, Gender equity, Immigration, Movement building, Voting engagement,

Prarthana Gurung is the director of campaigns and communications at Adhikaar, a Queens-based community center that organizes the Nepalese immigrant and refugee community. In her leadership role, Gurung and her team lead Adhikaar’s efforts for power building and community organizing to support workers in the Nepali-speaking community.

Prior to Adhikaar, Gurung was based in Washington, DC as a communications specialist executing campaign strategies for local grassroots community groups advocating for anti-fracking and indigenous land rights in several states. Additionally, Gurung supported communications for DCFerguson, a broad coalition of groups that called on the DC Council to repurpose $2.9 million in funds to support community-led peacekeeping initiatives in partnership with law enforcement.

Sachi Watase

Role: Executive Director
Organization: New Mexico Asian Family Center
Area of Expertise: Gender equity, Gender-based violence, Immigration, Movement building, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Sachi Watase is the executive director of the New Mexico Asian Family Center, a community-based organization offering culturally and linguistically tailored programs and services to Asian Pacific Islander families across New Mexico. Watase and her team are dedicated to providing equitable access to critical social services, resources, and opportunities through direct services, civic engagement initiatives, advocacy efforts, cross-racial movement building, and multi-generational community programming.

Watase has a background in advocating for survivors of on-campus sexual assault, community organizing with AAPI youth, and teaching children, teens, and young adults. Watase is a Fulbright Scholar and member of the New Mexico Women of Color Leadership Initiative. In her endeavors as a community leader, Watase strives to push for equality, advocate for systems change, and center the deep wisdom and experiences of AAPI communities in New Mexico.

Samip Mallick

Role: Executive Director
Organization: South Asian American Digital Alliance
Area of Expertise: Archives, Community storytelling,

Samip Mallick is the co-founder and executive director of SAADA, a community-based culture change organization ensuring that South Asian Americans are included in the American story: past, present, and future. Mallick has guided SAADA from its inception in 2008 to its place today as a national leader in community-based storytelling. 

Mallick’s background includes work related to international migration in South Asia for the Social Science Research Council and The University of Chicago. Mallick currently serves on the Library of Congress Connecting Communities Digital Initiative advisory board. He also previously served as an archival consultant for the Ford Foundation’s Reclaiming the Border Narrative Initiative and on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.

Sasha Wijeyeratne

Role: Executive Director
Organization: CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities
Area of Expertise: Economic justice, Housing justice, Movement building,

Sasha is the executive director of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, an organization with a mass base of working-class Chinese and Bangladeshi immigrants and youth. Sasha has led CAAAV to sharpen strategy, develop working class leadership, and build power to disrupt real estate’s practices of speculation, financialization and gentrification in NYC, specifically in Chinatown and Queens. Under their leadership, CAAAV has doubled in size across staff, membership, and budget. Most recently, CAAAV kicked Amazon’s headquarters out of Queens, helped pass NY’s historic 2019 rent laws, and is currently fighting for a community-led rezoning that would intervene in speculation and displacement on NYC’s waterfront. 

Sasha has also been part of various kinds of queer and trans organizing, racial justice organizing and political education projects, including the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), DC Desi Summer (DCDS), No New Jail Coalition in Dane County, Asians for Black Lives, and hotpot!.

Tammie Xiong

Role: Executive Director
Organization: Hmong American Women's Association
Area of Expertise: Education, Gender equity, LGBTQIA+, Voting engagement,

Tammie Xiong is the executive director for the Hmong American Women’s Association (HAWA), a Milwaukee-based grassroots social justice organization led by Hmong women and Hmong Queer fem women. Xiong and her team are dedicated to ending gender-based violence against Southeast Asian women, girls, and LGBTQ folks. She has dedicated over 14 years to providing advocacy for Southeast Asian women and girls in Milwaukee through literacy development, parent education, community education, domestic violence, sexual assault advocacy, and leadership development of Southeast Asian girls.

Xiong’s other leadership roles include serving on the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse and as a Commissioner for the City of Milwaukee Commission for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. She is deeply passionate about building the leadership of unapologetic, Southeast Asian women that will use their gifts to impact the world.

Tavae Samuelu

Role: Executive Director
Organization: Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)
Area of Expertise: Pacific Islanders,

Tavae Samuelu is the executive director of Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), a grassroots organization that advances social justice through culture-centered advocacy, leadership development, and research. Through her work, she aims to support Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in their path to liberation. 

Before her current role, Samuelu served as the Development Director for the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, CA. She has since become a member of RYSE’s board of directors. She also serves on the board of the AAPI Equity Alliance and the Executive Committee of NCAPA.

Tram Nguyen

Role: Co-Executive Director
Organization: New Virginia Majority
Area of Expertise: Climate justice, Criminal justice, Democracy reform, Economic justice, Healthcare or Health equity, Immigration, Movement building, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Tram Nguyen is an award-winning activist and community leader who helped found New Virginia Majority, where she currently serves as co-executive director. She leads multi-racial, multi-issue campaigns using large-scale civic engagement, community organizing, advocacy, leadership development, and strategic communications. Her leadership has helped expand the electorate to be more reflective of Virginia’s diversity, reshaping Virginia’s political landscape and building power for underrepresented communities.

Her work on democracy, criminal justice, immigrants’ rights, climate change, and economic opportunity explores the intersections of social, racial, and economic justice. Tram is a partner at Democracy Partners and currently serves on the board of directors for the Meyer Foundation and the National Advisory Council for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. She is a certified faculty member at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. Tram is an alumna of Barnard College and a former Lead the Way Fellow of the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Tweetie Fatuesi (she/her)

Role: Civic Engagement Manager
Organization: UTOPIA Washington
Area of Expertise: Citizenship access, Climate awareness, Climate justice, Education, Gender equality, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Tweetie Fatuesi is the Civic Engagement Manager for UTOPIA Washington, a queer and trans people of color-led grassroots organization. She manages program areas relating to voter education and registration, climate change, climate equity and awareness, climate justice, as well as creating pathways to citizenship. As an instrumental member of her team, she helps increase access to a variety of resources including employment, stable housing, higher education, and culturally competent healthcare.

Fatuesi also helps build resilience in the queer and trans people in the Pacific Islander community. As a community leader, Fatuesi has cultivated pathways with UTOPIA Washington through multiple volunteer opportunities. Through her work, she develops and implements strategies that helps to improve the quality of life for communities of color, particularly Queer and Trans Pacific Islanders or QTPI. She has dedicated her career to advocating for social justice by expanding education, career, and life opportunities for QTIP’s everywhere.

Vetnah Monessar

Role: Executive Director
Organization: MASA Fund
Area of Expertise: Democracy reform, Education, Gender equity, Immigration, Movement building, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Vetnah Monessar is the founder and executive director at MASA Fund, an advocacy group that develops leadership and political agency for Muslim, Arab, and AAPI communities. She oversees the organization’s programs and initiatives to develop leaders and support their ambitions to drive social change in their respective communities. With her background as a community organizer, she has advocated for the human and civil rights of communities of color pushing for equal opportunity in employment, affordable housing, and access to public resources. 

Monessar previously worked alongside elected officials to pass legislative bills to increase civic engagement among members of the Uyghurs, Kashmir, Yemeni, and Afghan communities. She has also led community outreach that pushed for voter registration, GOTV, and poll monitoring within the MASA and AAPI community.

Vivian Yi Huang

Role: Co-Director
Organization: Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
Area of Expertise: Climate justice, Economic justice, Movement building,

Vivian Yi Huang is Co-Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN). For over a decade, Vivian has organized with Asian immigrants and refugees to stand up to big polluters and build a thriving economy. She has played a leadership role in strengthening APEN’s organizing and leadership development, advancing our collective strategy for just transition and systemic change, catalyzing innovative models, and deepening our embodiment of feminisms and shared power.

Prior to working at APEN, Vivian spent a decade working on policy, legislative, and budget campaigns, including model policies to improve health care interpretation, $25 million for health disparities in cancer, and a successful effort to support immigrant parents that made a conservative “top bills to kill list.”  She has also been a facilitator, trainer, and teacher with the Women’s Policy Institute, School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), and SFSU Department of Public Health.

Wei Chen

Role: Civic Engagement Director
Organization: Asian Americans United
Area of Expertise: Education, Movement building, Voting engagement,

Wei Chen is the civic engagement director at Asian American United’s (AAU) where he leads the organization’s goals to campaign for justice, develop youth leadership, and uplift AAPI culture and community. During his time as an organizer, he created and led Chinatown Vote, a community engagement initiative that registered hundreds of voters and supported thousands of Asian voters in Philadelphia.

Wei’s lived experience as an immigrant inspired him to start his career as a youth advocate that helped to file AAU’s case with the Department of Justice. The case established safe schools free of bias for all students in the Philadelphia School District. He also co-founded Pennsylvania’s first Asian-focused 501c4 organization, Asian Pacific Islanders Political Alliance (API-PA). Wei has served on the Peace First Board of Directors, as a Commissioner on Philadelphia’s Commission on Human relations, and is on the Board of Victim Witness Services in South Philadelphia and Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA).

Ysrael Quezon

Role: Racial Justice Coordinator
Organization: Filipino Advocates for Justice
Area of Expertise: Education, Movement building, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Ysrael Quezon is the racial justice coordinator at Filipino Advocates for Justice, leading the organization’s efforts to advocate for immigrant and civil rights. Quezon has led campaigns to provide direct services, develop leaders, and organize and advocate on issues important to the Filipino community as a historically underserved ethnic minority. In his role, he organizes community initiatives and projects that serve at-risk youth and low-wage workers vulnerable to exploitation. He also supports the organization’s efforts to integrate newly arrived and undocumented immigrants into society. 

Through his passion for social change, Ysrael aims to amplify movement hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter, #StopAsianHate, #MeToo, and #EnoughIsEnough. As a community leader, he aspires to connect marginalized communities with funding opportunities and resources that address various issues. To achieve these goals, he partners with movement-building organizations, philanthropic institutions, schools, and governments to address the needs of youth, communities of color, immigrants, and survivors of state-based violence.

Zaynab Abdi

Role: Leadership Development Coordinator
Organization: Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)
Area of Expertise: Conflict and peacemaking, Economic justice, Education, Gender equity, Immigration, Voting engagement, Voting rights,

Zaynab is the leadership development coordinator at Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment, helps manage the organization’s efforts to address hate crimes against Muslim women and raise awareness about the rise of Islamophobia in today’s society. Abdi supports leadership workshops for Muslim women that cover a variety of issue areas including economic empowerment, mental health, and other forms of personal development.

In her experience as a community organizer, she served as part of the Hate Crime Coalition in Minnesota to build community resilience among people of color. She was among a team of community organizers that led COVID-19 education and vaccine campaigns. Her work helped more than 5,000 community members receive free masks, get vaccinated, and learn about public resources. Abdi was also appointed by Governor Tim Walz’s office to serve in the Young Women’s Cabinet where she advocated for young women in Minnesota and led statewide community projects.