Staff

Sasha Wijeyeratne, Executive Director
Sasha is a queer, South Asian, Sri Lankan with organizing roots and homes in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Madison, and DC. Before becoming the Executive Director of CAAAV, Sasha was the Organizing Director at the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, working to build the power of LGBTQ API communities towards a world where all queer and trans people of color can thrive. The core of Sasha’s work is a belief that we have what we need to win, that the margins of our communities will lead us towards liberation, that we can transform ourselves and our people to build real power, and that we can must organize towards a  world without borders, prisons or binaries. Sasha has also been part of a variety of organizing and political education projects including: South Asian Youth Movement, No Dane County Jail Coalition, VigilantLove, Asians for Black Lives, LASSI: Los Angeles Solidarity Summer Institute, Queer South Asian National Network, and more.

Sandra Chen, Deputy Director
Sandra grounds her intersectional and anti-oppression power analysis in her experiences as a queer first generation college student and daughter of low income Chinese immigrants. She believes that restorative healing and building power and accountable relationships in community are key to our shared liberation. As a New York transplant via San Francisco, she is particularly mindful of centering the experiences, voices, and leadership of the communities we serve. Prior to joining CAAAV as Deputy Director, Sandra worked at the American Civil Liberties Union and Open Society Foundations. She served as Treasurer on CAAAV’s Board of Directors and has volunteered with the organization since 2014.

Sharmin Uddin, Development and Operations Manager
Sharmin is originally from the Lower East Side and lived in a rent-stabilized apartment down Allen Street and this experience allows her to closely relate to the issues that are prevalent in the Lower East Side/Chinatown, such as gentrification, illegal evictions, and displacement. She supported nonprofit organizations that serve low-income, people of color, and immigrants, and this increased her interest in community-building and serving her very own Asian community. Sharmin comes to CAAAV with development and operational experience and has a knack for organizational development and providing infrastructure to an organization. Sharmin received her BA in Political Science and Religion and minored in Human Rights. She received a Master’s in Public Administration and plans to work with under-served and underrepresented communities.

Melanie Wang, Chinatown Tenant Union Lead 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.

Emily Mock, Chinatown Tenant Union Membership Organizer
Emily is the Chinatown Tenants Union Membership organizer at CAAAV. Originally from San Francisco, she was a Center for Neighborhood Leadership Community Organizing Apprentice and holds a BA from Smith College in Art History and Government. She is also an educator and artist and is currently working on a paper cut children’s book about an immigrant community of color’s fight against gentrification and displacement.

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.

Sabrina Jalal, Public Housing Organizer
Sabrina was born and raised in East New York, Brooklyn and has seen a lot of injustices happening in her community of Muslim-Americans. She didn’t know how to bring change in her neighborhood or support her community in ways that targeted the root cause of injustice until she found CAAAV. CAAAV is her first political home and it is where she learned to express herself in a space that was safe, welcoming, and judgement-free. Sabrina started as a youth intern and fell in love with how CAAAV was helping build youth organizers and leaders. She has been a part of CAAAV for two years as a youth, and now organizes the Bangladeshi tenants at Queensbridge.

Alina Shen, Public Housing Organizer
A lifelong New Yorker and proud Queens resident, Alina is passionate about the worker-led labor movement, our right to the city, and youth organizing. Her belief in member-led community organizing comes from years of working with CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities as well as the Laundry Workers Center. Prior to joining CAAAV, she organized subway and bus riders in Queens with the Riders Alliance. She received her B.A. in Critical Social Change from the City University of New York. Alina currently serves as a Program Adviser for Chinatown Literacy Project.

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