Staff

Cathy Dang, Executive Director
With roots in New York City and Los Angeles, CA, Cathy has been a community and worker center organizer leading campaigns for just living and working conditions in immigrant and communities of color for over a decade.  Her former work in the labor movement organizing restaurant and retail workers for racial, gender, and economic justice is what sustains her true love and passion for community organizing in working-class Asian immigrant communities. She is originally from Ridgewood, Queens and Los Angeles, California, and a daughter of Chinese-Vietnamese refugee parents who raised her in their nail salon in Downtown Brooklyn.

Krystal Portalatin, Interim Deputy Director
Krystal is a Queer Femme Nuyorican. As as long time ally of CAAAV she is honored to support the team as the interim Deputy Director. Krystal’s former work has included a mix of organizing, service provision, and consulting and is centered around a social justice and anti-oppression framework.  Her 15 years of organizing history has focused addressing the issues at the intersections of gender & sexuality, police violence, and gentrification.  Having witnessed and experienced the impact of rapid gentrification, rising xenophobia, and targeted policing, she maintains her commitment to ensuring that NYC remains a place for all low income, people of color, and immigrant communities. She believes this is possible by utilizing organizing strategies and leadership development to build and sustain the power of our people to demand their rights while maintaining their dignity.

Seonae Byeon, Public Housing Organizer
Seonae is Korean public housing organizing fellow at CAAAV. She is also a senior Honors student at John Jay College majoring in BA International Criminal Justice and minors in writing. Seonae is also an artist and writer using her artistic skills to advocate human rights.  To give firm voice to immigrant youth and their family regardless of their status, she also staffed at 2016 Immigrant Youth Empowerment conference (IYECon). She is currently conducting capstone research on Native American reservations including housing issues, massive incarceration, and violation of various treaties.

Roxy Chang, Public Housing Organizer
Roxy is a first generation Hong Kongese-American who joined CAAAV in 2015 as a volunteer doing outreach with the Chinatown Tenants Union, where CAAAV helped to win the first rent freeze for NYC rent stabilized tenants. Through her education at the University of Vermont, she grew passionate about environmental justice, interracial solidarity and community organizing. This motivated her to work with other organizations, such as WE ACT for Environmental Justice in Harlem, the Land Justice League in Hong Kong, as well as the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) in the Bay area. Roxy has worked most closely with Chinese immigrants and is determined to continue to empower Asian immigrant communities that are currently living in New York City public housing.

Melanie Wang, Chinatown Tenant Union Organizer
Melanie made the move from her native Massachusetts to New York City to join CAAAV in 2016. She has worked in both the domestic worker and retail worker organizing movements and studied labor history and gender studies as an undergraduate. Raised in a first-generation, Mandarin-speaking Chinese family, she believes deeply in intersectional feminism, multilingual justice, and the immense power of organizing to create social change.

Chen Yo Chi, Chinatown Tenant Union Organizer
Chen Yo is a native New Yorker who grew up in Flushing, Queens. He cares about justice for the Asian American community as well as people from all communities. Chen Yo has worked in many different industries before joining CTU. Prior to working at CAAAV, Chen Yo organized street vendors at the Street Vendor Project, which is part of the Urban Justice Center. He is passionate about social change and believes in fighting for the underdogs. He enjoys cooking and playing bass during his spare time.

Sharmin Uddin, Program Associate
Sharmin is originally from the Lower East Side. She attended primary and secondary schools in the Lower East Side, and this allowed her to experience and see the issues that are prevalent in this neighborhood. She was part of nonprofit organizations that support low-income and people of color, and this increased her interest in community-building. Her experience centers around youth and education in New York City’s public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Sharmin received her BA in Political Science and Religion and minored in Human Rights. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration and plans to work with under-served and underrepresented communities.

Zhi Qin Zheng, Chinatown Tenant Union Organizer
Ms. Zheng has been a member of CAAAV since 2005 and is one of the founding members of the Chinatown Tenants Union.  She became part-time staff in July 2010.  Ms. Zheng has lived in Chinatown for more than 20 years, and prior to becoming involved with CAAAV has worked in the garment industry for 20 years.

KahEan Chang, Volunteer Staff
KahEan first became involved in CAAAV’s youth program in 2001 while she was a sophomore in high school.  Over the years she became a trainer and is currently volunteering her time as leadership in CAAAV’s programs.

The work of CAAAV is made possible through the dedication of its members and volunteers. REGISTER NOW to volunteer.