Staff

Chavi Khanna Koneru
Executive Director, Chavi@ncaatogether.org

Chavi Khanna Koneru is co-founder and Executive Director of North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT). Koneru moved to North Carolina in 1989 and has spent the majority of her life living in the state, including attending college and law school locally at the University of North Carolina. This has allowed her to gain a deep, personal understanding of what it means to be AAPI in the South. Additionally, her legal background in voting rights law has given her the opportunity to interpret and enforce laws impacting the AAPI community, including during her time in the Voting Section at the U.S. Department of Justice, where she focused on language access for AAPI voters.

Danica Lee
Youth Engagement Director, Danica@ncaatogether.org

Danica grew up in rural North Carolina and is energized by the ever-increasing activism in Asian American communities across the state. At Appalachian State University she studied Anthropology and Biology; focusing on the intersection of environment and society and the disproportionate effects of climate change on communities of color. Her interest in NCAAT grew from her time in community organizing and student of color advocacy spaces. She is dedicated to engaging with communities across North Carolina for social equity, youth empowerment, and access to culturally competent education. In her free time, she likes to make and eat spicy noodle dishes.

Ricky Leung
Communications and Outreach Director, Ricky@ncaatogether.org

Ricky is co-founder and Communications and Outreach Director at NCAAT. Ricky grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, and studied journalism and mass communication at UNC Chapel Hill, concentrating in visual communication and design. He began his career in DC at National Geographic and at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, where he became more involved with AAPI grassroots organizers. Ricky returned to North Carolina in 2010 in hopes of bringing that AAPI experience to his home state and worked at NC Policy Watch, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center, before joining NCAAT fulltime. In his free time he snuggles with his puppy Charlie.

Phian Tran
Voter Engagement Director, Phian@ncaatogether.org

Phian is an NC State alum from Raleigh with a background in coalition building and community engagement. As an event curator, she specialized in combining efforts of young creatives, activists, and local organizations to propel collaborative initiatives for social equity. She went on to be the campaign manager for Zainab4Raleigh during the 2019 mayoral election, where her dedication to youth and BIPOC voter engagement grew. In her free time, she likes to play music and go to concerts.

Payton McGarry
Data and Field Director, Payton@ncaatogether.org

A North Carolina native, Payton grew up in a small town outside of Wilson, NC, before attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for college. At UNCG he attained a BS in Economics and a MA in Peace and Conflict Studies, focusing on restorative and transitional justice practices. While he was in college, Payton became a plaintiff against the notorious House Bill 2 and has committed himself fully towards fighting for justice for marginalized groups in the South ever since. In his free time, Payton loves to play trumpet and get into shenanigans with his partner, Nicole, and their dogs, Ava and Noodle.

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Olivia Zalecki
Youth Engagement Coordinator, Olivia@ncaatogether.org

Olivia grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and attended North Carolina State University where she double majored in Political Science and Foreign Languages and Literature with a concentration in Mandarin. Olivia’s passion for advocacy started when she had the opportunity to work with various AAPI organizations including the Triangle Asian American Student Conference and OCA National-Asian Pacific American Advocates. Doing so gave her insight into the collective power of community. In her free time, Olivia loves trying all the amazing restaurants the Triangle area has to offer!

Viviane Mao
Field Organizer, Viviane@ncaatogether.org

Viviane attended UNC Chapel Hill where she studied economics and history. She began working on electoral campaigns in high school and continued building those bases in North Carolina, where she interned at Lillian’s List and was a fellow for the Fight 4 H.E.R. campaign. She has also fundraised for the Human Rights Campaign and was involved with student-led efforts around Silent Sam, where she discovered her passion for community organizing. She hopes to use that experience to encourage people to vote, as a gateway to become more involved with their communities and other organizing efforts. In her free time, Viviane enjoys hiking with her lab, listening to podcasts, writing, and budget traveling.

Dan Tews
Field Coordinator, Dan@ncaatogether.org

As Field Coordinator at NCAAT, Dan helps to create and manage data systems, engages with staff in community outreach and voter registration efforts, and provides consultation drawing on his experience in grassroots fieldwork. He has worked for over a decade as an activist for social justice and environmental causes, with a special passion for working with those who are disenfranchised and historically underrepresented politically. He studied English Literature at The College of New Jersey. He lives in Raleigh with his rescue dog, Percy.

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Ayo Wilson
Operations Coordinator, Ayo@ncaatogether.org

Ayo grew up in the West End community of Mebane, NC – a historically Black community founded by former slaves after the Civil War and the birthplace of West End Revitalization Association (WERA), a nonprofit community improvement organization founded by his parents and other concerned neighbors. Over the course of his life, he’s lived and worked in impacted frontline communities in NC and Ohio, and used his skills in nonprofit management, organizational management and development, and community organizing to support and empower impacted people through the arts, climate/environmental justice, and health/group fitness. He has participated in and facilitated leadership workshops in Liberia and Durham, NC, and has taught Zumba classes in NC and Texas with his brother as TwinZIN Fitness. He holds a B.S. in Communication Electronic Media/Broadcasting from Appalachian State University and a Masters in Public Administration, cum laude from NC Central University. He serves on the Board of Directors for Haw River Assembly and NC WARN, and on the Leadership Team of NC Climate Justice Collective. Fun time for him includes hanging out with his young son, going on walks, and enjoying documentaries, concerts, and sporting events.

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Keven White
Outreach Lead, Keven@ncaatogether.org

Keven White (he/him/his) is from Winston-Salem, NC and went to Appalachian State University for a BA in Religious Studies and minors in Nonprofit Management, Social Work, and Political Science. While at App State, he became connected with student and community activists and found an interest in anti-poverty work, community organizing, and political advocacy. After six years in Boone, Keven relocated to Raleigh to study social work at UNC-Chapel Hill. He hopes to pursue a career in macro social work around anti-poverty community organizing and policy analysis/advocacy. Keven has worked with NCAAT in the past and is excited to work with them again — he is especially looking forward to connecting with API community members in preparation for the 2020 election. In his free time, Keven likes to play tennis, ride his bike, watch Star Wars movies, and listen to “sad boy” music.

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Phun H
Community Organizer, Phun@ncaatogether.org

Phun was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, and studied Public Policy and Asian studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. She was born in Vietnam and is a member of the Bunong community, an indigenous and ethnic highlander group under the larger Montagnard umbrella. Phun’s advocacy ranges from ethical global service to Southeast Asian deportation policy and she is active in her Montagnard community through the Montagnard American Organization (MAO). She is excited to further support her community by helping build a toolkit for civic empowerment. In her free time, Phun enjoys being outside and creating Spotify playlists.

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Shruti Parikh
Community Ambassador, Shruti@ncaatogether.org

Shruti was born in India, but immigrated to the US at a young age and grew up in the Midwest. She attended the University of Michigan, where she studied Mathematics and Art History and received her MS in Management from NC State. She has been an active volunteer in the Triangle community since moving to North Carolina in 1993. After the 2016 election, Shruti was inspired to become more involved in voter outreach and engagement specifically in the South Asian community. As a mother of three young adults, Shruti enjoys cooking and sharing Indian food and culture.

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Chris Ly
Outreach Lead, Chris@ncaatogether.org

Chris was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, where he delved into the diverse communities through food, culture, and language. He became an advocate for immigrants and youth in high school when he learned of the inequities that plagued the communities. Chris stays motivated by implementing relevant programs to empower youth, engaging community members to vote, and raising awareness of issues that impact the AAPI and Latinx communities. In his free time, Chris enjoys time with his dog, trying new places to eat, and staying on top of memes.
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Alyanna Ridimann
Outreach Lead, Alyanna@ncaatogether.org

Alyanna Ridimann (they/them/theirs) is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill with B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies. While at UNC, they took an interest in ethnic studies and intersectional feminist theory, focusing on equity and the experiences of Filipinx/a/os in the Southeastern United States. Most recently, they organized with NextGen North Carolina providing youth voter education and registration, and are a 2019 recipient of the Frances L. Phillips Travel Scholarship from UNC-Chapel Hill. They are looking forward to engaging with fellow AAPI community members in preparation for the upcoming 2020 election. In their free time, Alyanna likes tending to their houseplants, sewing, and smelling new candles.
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Gerry Lor
Outreach Lead, Gerry@ncaatogether.org

Gerry grew up in Salisbury, NC, and graduated from UNC Wilmington with a BA in International Studies and Sociology. He started his advocacy and community engagement work in 2017 when he got involved in the Seeding Change National Fellowship in which he was able to work with the Southeast Asian Coalition (SEAC). His involvement with SEAC has allowed him to be engaged with Southeast Asian American communities across North Carolina to support voter outreach, citizenship workshops, and youth mentorship. He hopes to use his outreach and advocacy experience to better connect with the AAPI community at large in North Carolina. When he is not working or volunteering, Gerry enjoys hiking, listening to podcasts, taking care of his indoor plants, and karaoke.