Bo Thao-UrabeNetwork Director
Bo Thao-Urabe is Co-founder and Network Director of CAAL. A social entrepreneur, Bo focuses on creating community-centered, asset-based solutions that result in meaningful progress for those who are most impacted. She has extensive leadership experience having led local, national and global efforts.
In addition to CAAL, Bo also serves as Commissioner to President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She co-founded Building More Philanthropy with Purpose Giving Circle, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, Hmong Women Achieving Together, Building Our Future: A Global Community Campaign, and RedGreen Rivers LLC. Bo has received a number of awards recognizing her contributions and leadership.
Fun Fact: Bo is one of the few people in Minnesota with the honor of having the same day named after her in both the City of Saint Paul and the State of Minnesota.
KaYing YangPolicy Director
KaYing is a social justice advocate who has built and led community development efforts in Colorado, Minnesota, Washington, DC, Thailand and Laos. She began her career as a community organizer and executive manager providing social services and advocacy for the protection of refugees and immigrants. In the mid-1990s, she served as executive director for the only national Southeast Asian American advocacy organization in the US based in Washington, DC. Nationally, KaYing has worked in coalition with Asian American civil rights groups to address alarming gaps in educational achievements, lack of desegregated data, economic and health disparities that plagued large sectors of the Southeast Asian American community. To ensure that these issues were addressed at institutional levels, she co-founded several organizations, such as the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), and worked closely with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI).
KaYing has intensified her work around ending gender-based violence and creating gender equity through movement building among the Southeast Asian refugee and immigrant diaspora. Related to this work, in 2008 she founded the first Hmong woman’s organization in Laos to help women and girls access educational and economic opportunities. She also co-founded and serves as President of RedGreen Rivers, a social enterprise working with women and girls in the Mekong Region to bring their handcrafted products to a global market.
Fun Fact: KaYing returned to help resettle the last wave of Hmong refugees at Wat Thamkrabok, Thailand in 2003 and lived overseas in Thailand and Laos for almost 10 years before returning to the US.
Jay ColondProgram Coordinator
Jay Colond, a “1.5” generation immigrant Minnesotan, grew up in Cambridge, along the banks of the Rum River in East Central Minnesota. Jay was born in Singapore of a FilipinX mother and Indian-descent father. He has spent decades working in Minnesota’s nonprofit sector in technology and administration. He holds a degree in Public Affairs from the Hubert H Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota and is now thrilled to help CAAL raise visibility, include, and engage Minnesota’s vibrant Asian community, and to advocate for Asian American, and all, civil rights in Minnesota.
Leedra Hli Nra YangCommunications and Social Media Intern
Leedra Hli Nra Yang recently earned her BA in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. In the summer of 2016 she was accepted to be a research scholar for the Multicultural Research Summer Opportunities Program at the University of Minnesota. She conducted her research on Hmong youth and higher education graduation rates. In the Fall of 2016 Leedra studied abroad for a semester in Chiang Mai Thailand where her main focus of study revolved around international development. While abroad, she also had the opportunity to intern for the organization called Hmong Women Network in Thailand. She is also the international organizer/communication specialist for Street Stops and Mountain Tops.. She was a student fellow for the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship. As a student fellow she has been able to share her public narrative with a broad spectrum of audiences and actively engage with and practice democracy and citizenship within her community. In Leedra’s free time she enjoys playing volleyball, skiing, traveling, being outdoors, and engaging others in thought provoking conversations.
Bao LeeAdvocacy Intern
Bao Lee is a Family Achievement Coach at the Northside Achievement Zone. Bao provides outreach, goal planning, and resource navigation to children and families in North Minneapolis. Bao graduated from St. Olaf College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and is currently attending Metropolitan State University for her Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership. Bao is a community organizer for Transforming Generations, a nonprofit organization aim at ending gender-based violence in the Hmong community.
ThaoMee XiongGovernment Relations Consultant
ThaoMee Xiong is an experienced legal and legislative advocate, public policy researcher and community organizer. She has worked on issues related to health equity, economic development, immigration, refugee resettlement, domestic violence, and affordable housing. Currently, she is the Government Relations Consultant for the Coalition of Asian American Leaders, where she provides technical expertise and legislative strategy.
ThaoMee has also held leadership roles at the Center for Health Equity at the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Housing Partnership, and Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women. She has International experience working for the International Organization of Migration and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
She received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She also has a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A.