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.

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 the Lower East Side/Chinatown. She lived in a rent-stabilized apartment in this neighborhood and has a personal connection to CAAAV’s politics and ideals. She was part of nonprofit organizations that support low-income and people of color, and this increased her interest in community-building and serving her very own Asian community. Her experience centers around youth, juvenile court, and education in New York City’s public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Sharmin comes to CAAAV with fundraising and operational experience and has interest in 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, Lead 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.

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.

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.