Who We Are

Staff

Jenny Chiang, Executive Director
Jenny is a second generation Taiwanese American. She first got involved in the AAPI community after taking Asian American Studies at UMass Boston; it was an explorative process that revealed the inequities faced by the AAPI community and offered a space that fostered a sense of leadership. She continued her exploration through community organizing in Chicago’s Chinatown as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community.

Jenny furthered her education with a Master of Social Work degree at Boston College, focusing on Macro Intervention, with a determination to improve systems affecting the AAPI community. She has worked alongside community leaders in her work with UMass Boston, the Boston Public Health Commission, and the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK). Jenny has been dedicated to advocating for undocumented immigrants, supporting AAPI health equity, and encouraging youth leadership and civic engagement.

Email: jenny.chiang@aacommission.org

 
Jessica 'Jay' Wong, Administrative Coordinator
Jessica “Jay” Wong is a mixed-Asian American from Fall River, MA. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a BA in Political Science. She’s been active in her community for the past decade with a strong interest in government relations, youth empowerment, advocacy, and civic engagement. Jay is motivated to assist in the expansion of the AAC, learn more about issues facing Asian Americans throughout the Commonwealth, and continue strengthening community partnerships. 

Email: jessica.wong@aacommission.org

 

Commissioners
 
Pralhad KC, Chairperson

Mr. Pralhad KC is the Partner/Consultant of Equiserve, Inc. Environmental Engineering Consultant and also the Owner / CEO of Prem-La, the oldest and first Himalayan Region Art Gallery of New England. Mr. KC holds, MBA, (Master in Business Administration), in Finance and Marketing Management, BSCE, (Bachelor in Science in Civil Engineering) in Water and Wastewater management.CDA, (Carrier Discovery Architecture) in Urban planning.

Mr. KC is a Project Manager with an extensive experience in leading national and international economic development projects and Water and Wastewater projects. He has worked with multi-national staffs thought the US and Southeast Asia.  His skills include institutional capacity building, strategic planning, program designs, evaluations, training and technical assistance.

Mr. KC has led several International and National projects with the ADB (Asian Development Bank), UNDP (United Nation Development Program) and NGOs. Mr. KC also has significant expertise in establishing an effective network with decision-makers at all levels and in building the capabilities of international staffs to assume full project management responsibilities.

Mr. KC is a Social and Community leader has led many national and International Non–Profit organizations such as, MIND, Inc, Nepal America Foundation, ANA (Association of Nepales in America), NRN NCC of America, IHO, (International Health Organization) and GBNC (Greater Boston Nepalese Community), etc.

Mr. KC has received numerous Honors, Recognitions, Awards and Gold Medals for his social and community activities especially working to improving lives of the immigrant communities, such as , New American Appreciation Award, from Commonwealth of Massachusetts, City of Cambridge “Key of the”, Gold Medal from the King of Nepal and several “Citations” and “Honored recognition” from, Governors, Mayors Legislatives Leaders and International Dignitaries.

Mary K. Y. Lee, Vice Chair
Mary K. Y. Lee is an attorney based in Boston. Her practice concentrates on business immigration and complex real estate litigation. An immigrant of Indonesian-Chinese ancestry, she participated in a number of initiatives advocating for the interests of Asian Americans, including the first Asian American and Pacific Islanders Civil Rights Forum Human Rights Panel. She currently serves as Co-Chair on the Immigration Section of the Boston Bar Association and is a member of the Massachusetts Trial courts Language Access Advisory Committee. She was selected as “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers in 2015-2018. She earned her credentials from Boston College and Touro Law School.
 
Chung Liu, Treasurer

Mr. Liu has worked as a Technical Manager for Massachusetts Municipal Electric Company since 1984. He is also the member of Reliability Committee to represent the Public Power to advise the ISO New England on the design and oversight of reliability standards for the power system in the Northeast Region. Mr. Liu received his bachelor’s degree in Taiwan and Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Mr. Liu enjoys human and social interactions, and integrating culture, education, and science. He has served as the Trustee of Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Hadley, Mass. Mr. Liu also serves as Commissioner of the Culture Council and Commissioner of Sewer Commission of the City of Chicopee. In addition, he works as a liaison to help the City of Chicopee promote culture and education with both China and Taiwan.

Mr. Liu is the president of the Western Massachusetts Taiwanese Club (WMTC) and the Board member of Chinese Association of Western Massachusetts (CAWM). Also, He is the advisor of Overseas Community Affairs Council of Republic of China (Taiwan).

 
Anil Saigal, Secretary
Dr. Anil Saigal is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Tufts University, Medford, MA. Prof. Saigal received his B.Tech from IIT, Bombay and M.S. and Ph.D from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA. During his tenure at Tufts, he has served as the Chair of Mechanical Engineering, Director of International Programs for the School of Engineering, and on a number of university committees. He is the founder of Lokvani.com, an on-line media serving the Indian-American community since 2001. Currently he is the Treasurer for the Indian Americans for Burlington. He has served as the President of Indian Institute of Technology Society in New England (IITSINE) and the India Association of Greater Boston (IAGB). He has participated in various Asian American Commission activities over the years. He is a Charter Member of TiE Boston – an organization that fosters entrepreneurship, Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Service Alumni Award from IIT Bombay.
 
Jonjy Ananth
Jonjy Ananth MD, MBA from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts is the elected President and Chairman of the Board for WCUW Inc. Worcester, MA. With over 700 members, around 120 programmers WCUW broadcasts live on 91.3FM radio and streams online 24/7 to a worldwide audience at www.wcuw.org .

Jonjy hosts his radio show titled “Community Matters” every Thursday 12.30 to 1.00pm at WCUW 91.3FM streaming worldwide online at www.wcuw.org and archived at www.wcuw.org/communitymatters. His show brings community-participation forum interviews with physicians, lawyers, CEOs, community leaders, and elected officials on all issues that impact the community.

Jonjy has been volunteering hundreds of hours in service providing culturally sensitive support to survivors of Asian American origin with his training in Trauma Informed Care. He is engaged with several non-profit organizations, among them include Saheli Inc., India Society of Worcester (ISW), Community Legal Aid (CLA), YWCA, South Asian Bar Association (SABA), Jane Doe Inc., and ADVISE [co-Chair]. He is a White Ribbon Ambassador for Jane Doe Inc., promoting initiatives to prevent intimate partner violence.

As a domestic violence advocate, Jonjy assists survivors for court proceedings, accessing shelter, social security, child care, free legal assistance benefits, and maintaining liaisons with local police. As a community volunteer, he works closely with town, county and state officials to help them connect with the South Asian community. Jonjy is an elected Town member for Shrewsbury, Deputy Sheriff [Reserve] for Worcester County, Shrewsbury Constable, and a Notary Public for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Jonjy has provided volunteer healthcare services at Free Clinics in Ohio and Massachusetts. He has research publications in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine [as first author] and International Journal of Radiation Oncology.Biology.Physics. He is a member of the Mass Medical Society (MMS), World Medical Association (WMA), American Society of Microbiology (ASM), American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) and TIE-Boston.

Jonjy is certified extensively in emergency medical skills, including Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Advanced Trauma Life Support, and Fundamental Critical Care Support. He received the presidential merit scholarship from his medical school, was an honoree of the Dean’s list, and was elected President of the student council.

Jonjy enjoys playing chess, tennis, badminton and table tennis with his friends and family. Jonjy Ananth’s dedication for enhancing others’ lives in the fast growing South Asian community in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts pursues John Quincy Adams quote “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

 
Meenakshi Bharath
Meena Bharath currently serves as the Vice-Chair on the Hopkinton School Committee.

She worked for 15+ years in the corporate world. She was last working as Vice President, Enterprise Risk Management group at State Street Corporation, an Investment Bank in Boston. Her work there involved leading large teams and complex projects across many groups to successful completion. One such project that she led to fruition for her group, saved the company $2.4 billion in RWA. Prior to State Street, she worked in companies such as Mass Mutual, LG Software (software arm of South Korean LG Electronics Conglomerate), Navimedix.

In 2016, after the death of her father, she chose to step away from her corporate career to focus on her family and pursue her passion in education which led her to volunteering and community involvement.

Serving on the School Committee has allowed Meena to explore education through a unique perspective. She currently serves as a Board Member at The Education Cooperative (TEC), plays a liaison role to the Planning Board in Hopkinton, and is a voting member on the Marathon Fund Committee. She advocated and spearheaded creation of a Community Communications group in Hopkinton which fosters collaboration and open communication across schools, town departments and community organizations. She actively advocates for the educational welfare of all students. Her area of interests include innovation in education, raising awareness to the needs of Advanced Learners through the creation of ALPAC in Hopkinton. She also actively supports diversity and inclusion initiatives.

She enjoys her volunteer work at the Senior Center in Hopkinton. She also volunteers as a Math tutor at the Framingham Public Library’s Homework Center. She has partnered with them to create programming in Coding, Future Leaders and supports the many other programs at the Homework Center. She has recently taken up a volunteering opportunity at the Garden at Elm Bank’s Seed to Table initiative which will allow her to stay close to nature.

She loves to spend time to connect with people, and takes pride in her leadership skills, integrity, hard work, quick-learning, collaborative and can-do attitude. She is grateful for her family, diverse background, life experiences and support of her friends and community which have made her life very rich and fulfilling.

 
Vira Douangmany Cage
Vira is serving a second 3-year term on the Massachusetts Asian American Commission with a 2019 appointment by the state treasurer. In 2015, Vira was elected to a 3-year term on the Amherst School Committee and was a Town Meeting member from 2014-2018. In 2016, she became the first Lao American to run for state representative in Massachusetts.

Vira organized a successful grassroots campaign from 2010-2013 which allowed an innocent person to be freed who was serving a life without the possibility of parole sentence. Her efforts garnered recognition from the Center for Women and Community at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Spring of Hope Church in Springfield and the Prison Birth Project in Holyoke.

After fleeing war-torn Laos at the age of five, Vira, her parents & four siblings spent about a year in a Thai refugee camp before the US received them in 1980. Vira graduated from Boston Latin Academy and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Vira works locally as a program coordinator at BakuCare, an adult day health center in Hadley and volunteers on the board of directors at Amherst Media as its vice-president. She, her husband and two children reside in Amherst.

 
Bora Chiemruom
Bora Chiemruom is the owner of Kravant Boutique LLC. It’s the first and only Khmer woman-owned rental and consignment boutique in the city of Lowell, MA. As a social enterprise, Kravant boutique lends our dresses to under-resourced young women, who can’t afford the rental fees.

A refugee from Cambodia, Bora and her family settled in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts. She has over 20 years of non-profit leadership experience working in Lowell and Boston. Recently, she served as executive director of the Asian American Commission from 2015 to 2017, overseeing day-to-day operations and management.

She is a board member of Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association in Lowell, MA. Since 2015, she has served as an advisory board member for the Institute for Asian American Studies. This past year, she spoke at the National Asian American Conference on Law and Public Policy at Harvard Law School. In 2016 and 2017, she co-chaired the Asian-Americans Pacific Islanders Civil Rights Forum in Boston.

Bora has received two (2) City of Lowell Mayor’s citations, a citation from City of Lynn, and three (3) citations from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts House of Representatives. In addition, a citation from the Massachusetts Treasurer and Receiver General’s office for “Your dedication and commitment to the Asian American Commission” from State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg.

Bora hopes to be a successful entrepreneur and ultimately create jobs for young people especially young women. She hopes to inspire the next generation to be leaders and active members of their communities through her non-profit volunteer work and entrepreneurship. She continues to be a passionate advocate for the Khmer Community and for all Asian Americans.

 
Mary Chin
Mary Chin is a longtime community leader with extensive experience in human services and a strong track record of service in Boston and beyond. A native of Lowell, Massachusetts, Mary is the daughter of immigrants and understands the struggles immigrant families face firsthand.

Mary is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in private practice and has served as Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Registration for Social Work.  She has led social service departments and psychiatric programs in Boston and the North Shore.  Mary served on AACA’s Board of Directors as President and oversaw the organization’s growth, including the construction of the building at 87 Tyler Street, the expansion of workforce training, education and social service programs, as well as the addition of the Mandarin immersion Reggio Emilia daycare, Buds & Blossoms.

Mary completed her graduate studies in social work at Simmons College and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts. Mary has also served on the boards of Action for Boston Community Development, Urban College, American Cancer Society, Mothers for Justice and Equality, Company One, South Cove Community Health Center, Eastern Bank, and the Asian American Commission.

In 2017, a Citation for her service to Massachusetts was bestowed upon her by Governor Charlie Baker. 

 
Vanna Howard
Vanna Howard has been an aide for Massachusetts Congresswoman Niki Tsongas since 2008, specializing in immigration, US and foreign visas, US passports, and inter-country adoption issues. Additionally, she engages in community outreach activities with the Southeast Asian community, immigrant rights organizations, and local service agencies throughout the Greater Lowell area and the entire Third Congressional District.

In her capacity as a Greater Lowell Regional Director, Vanna is responsible for managing and responding to the hundreds of individuals who contact the congressional office with problems interacting with federal agencies such as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of State, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Vanna has contacted her federal colleagues on the other side of the globe during all hours of the day and night on behalf of a family in need, American citizens working or residing abroad with the US Embassies and Consulates, or for Americans with International travel issues.

Some of her immigration-related issues are particularly relevant to Vanna, as she draws upon her own life experience as a Cambodian refugee who fled her homeland as a child to escape the Khmer Rouge. Because of her own experience, Vanna is able to treat each constituent with a high degree of empathy and respect, even while juggling an enormous caseload.

 
Nate Bae Kupel
Nate Bae Kupel, MSW is the Associate Director, New England for the Institute for Nonprofit Practice (INP), a Tufts affiliated management and leadership certificate program for nonprofit and public sector professionals and executives. Mr. Kupel oversees the recruitment, enrollment, admissions and program management for INP’s certificate programs in Boston, Lowell/Merrimack Valley, Cape Cod and Islands, as well as in Providence, Rhode Island. Prior to INP, Nate worked at Crescendo Consulting Group as the Director of Digital Marketing and as a Senior Consultant, where he worked with clients in healthcare on community health needs assessments and other digital marketing and communications projects. Before Crescendo, Mr. Kupel was the Associate Director of the Academy for Transformation at YouthBuild USA, an international youth empowerment and workforce development nonprofit in Somerville, MA where he managed technical assistance and trainings for over 200 Department of Labor funded YouthBuild grantees across the country.

Nate has also worked for the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he authored a report on the state of the Korean Americans and a report on Asian Adoptees in the Commonwealth. While at the Institute he also produced a nationally syndicated, award-winning Asian American public radio pilot called, As I Am: Asians in America hosted by Helen Zia. He was also an Assistant Producer for Commonwealth Journal, a Massachusetts public affairs radio program at WUMB Radio. Nate was also an anti-racism trainer with the Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW) Sticky Rice Project.

Mr. Kupel currently serves as a board member of the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition (GMAACC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of Asian American residents in the Greater Malden area. Nate served as the President of Boston Korean Adoptees, Inc., and served as a board member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association for Social Work Groups. He received a BA in Sociology and has a Certificate in Asian American Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and an MSW from Simmons College.

 
Mabel Lam
Dr. Mabel S. Lam is a Chinese-American, Clinical, and Police and Public Safety Psychologist in Private Practice.  Her work experiences have been very diverse ranging from clinical to administration.  She has worked for many years nationally and in the state’s under-served and disenfranchised communities by providing mental health services, advocacy, and consultation; and she has also taught and done research in the areas of minority mental and physical health.  The population that she has worked with is also very diverse in socio-economics, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and age.  As a Police and Public Safety Psychologist, she provides psychological evaluations, screenings and fitness for duty evaluations with emphasis on assessing the individual’s capacities to develop culturally competent responses to diverse populations served by law enforcement.  She is the Clinical Coordinator with the Metro Boston Critical Incident Stress Management Team providing services to first responders.  Dr. Lam also teaches at Salem State University as a Visiting Assistant Professor in their Mental Health Counseling graduate program.

Dr. Lam serves on numerous boards of community non-profits, such as Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, and co-founded the Jasmine Asian Women Giving Circle, which fundraises to provide programming grants for Asian women and girls in Massachusetts.  Dr. Lam is the first ethnic minority to be elected as President of the Massachusetts Psychological Association, and Chair to the American Psychological Association’s Committee on State Leaders.  As a member of MPA, she has provided testimonies for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Health Disparity Bill, especially advocating for culturally appropriate services.  Along with the MPA delegations, she has also advocated numerous times at the U.S. Capitol Hill.

 
Nina Liang
Nina Liang is the first Chinese-American City Councilor in her hometown of Quincy.  Born in Quincy and raised by immigrant parents, she has experienced first hand the challenges minority children and families face.  Over the years, she has had the opportunity to be a part of community organizations dedicated to addressing the needs of those who are new to both the language and customs of American culture.  Having worked as the office manager and helping to manager operations with her family’s restaurant group, Nina also has the experience and perspective of a small business owner, creating jobs and opportunity in the communities in which they operate.  Nina understands that it takes collaborative efforts among these local organizations, businesses and public service facilities to better address the needs of the diverse residents Quincy has.
 
Dimple Rana
Dimple’s advocacy for Revere, Massachusetts spans across neighborhoods, sectors, and generations of Revere residents. As Director of the City’s Department of Healthy Community Initiatives and Co-Director of Revere On the Move, she has worked with residents, businesses, and stakeholders to increase access to opportunities for active living, healthy eating, civic engagement, and youth leadership. She is a recent graduate of Tufts University’s, with a Master in Public Policy from the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning program. Dimple’s commitment to building a vibrant, engaged, and active Revere also extends to her work as a champion of small businesses and a longtime civic leader.

Dimple is the first woman of color to run for office in Revere. She ran in 2017 for 1 of 5 seats as Councillor At-Large. She will run again in 2019 and is hopeful in being elected.

A first generation Indian American, Dimple grew up in Revere, attending public schools and working in her family’s small, independent convenience stores in the North Shore. At the stores, she learned the value and struggles of a small family-owned business, from the unique perspective of immigrant families. In high school, she worked as a peer leader at a youth organization that fostered her love for youth leadership and organizing. After graduating from Hofstra University in Community Health and Education in 2002, she returned to Greater Boston and became a community organizer, working with many organizations focused on HIV/AIDS prevention, and LBGTQ and immigrants rights.’

From 2001 to 2010, she worked independently with grassroots and advocacy organizations as a community organizer and leader on the issue of deportation of Cambodians, other green card holders, and refugees within the National Immigration and Anti-Deportation Movement.

In 2012 she returned to Revere and founded a youth leadership organization, Revere Youth in Action, where young people worked to ensure they had opportunities to grow, lead, and promote a safe, and inclusive community in Revere. In 2016, the Revere Chamber of Commerce named her Youth Mentor of the Year.

In 2013 she joined the Women Encouraging Empowerment, Inc. board where she continues to serve as the Vice-Chair. WEE is the only organization in Revere that works with immigrant and refugee women and their families through organizing, leadership development, and service delivery.

Also, in 2016 she was appointed by House Speaker Robert DeLeo as a commissioner to the Massachusetts Asian American Commission. In 2018, she served as the Secretary of the AAC. Currently, Dimple is serving her second term with the AAC.

Dimple loves and is deeply committed to her family, especially her young niece and nephews. Dimple looks up to the older and younger people around her who continue to push, ask questions, challenge the status quo, and who are the change we want to see in our world.

Her passion for organizing and grassroots change is expressed through a quote by Audre Lorde “If I cannot air this pain and alter it, I will surely die of it. That’s the beginning of social protest.”

 
Philjay Solar
Philjay Solar is the founder of Fil-Lennials of New England which features young professionals of Filipino-American descent to inspire and connect other Filipino-Americans across New England. He received his Juris Doctor Degree from New England Law | Boston in the spring of 2019. At New England Law | Boston, Philjay was President of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, Student Outreach Chair for the Boston Bar Association, and the Executive Treasurer of his school’s Student Bar Association.
Before attending law school, Philjay dedicated two years of public service with the AmeriCorps Program, City Year. Through City Year, he served the Boston Community working with a team of young individuals striving to close the education gap within inner city public schools.
Philjay sits on the Board of Directors for the Philippine American Mainstream Advocacy for Non-Partisan Associations, Inc. (PAMANA) which fosters a cultural understanding, cooperation, and facilitates assistance to Filipinos in need during natural disasters in the USA, Philippines and abroad. Through PAMANA, Philjay has contributed their annual Philippine Independence Day Celebrations and Filipino-American Highs School Leadership Workshop in collaboration with Harvard University, the Philippine Consulate of New York, and the Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPro).
Philjay currently volunteers with multiple non-profit organizations such as the: Massachusetts Youth Leadership Foundation serving on their Conference Planning Committee, BosFilipino, and the Philippine Dance Company of Boston. He is also an active liaison with the Philippine Consulate of New York where he communicates the needs of the Filipino-American Community in New England to the Consulate office.
 
Ying Wang
As a lifelong resident of Massachusetts and the proud daughter of Chinese American immigrants, Ms. Ying Wang is deeply rooted in her community. Professionally, she serves as Assistant Vice President and Associate Counsel at State Street Bank & Trust Company. Ms. Wang is also a Judge Advocate General (JAG) Officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, providing legal assistance and support to the 30,000+ soldiers stationed in the New England region. She is a member of Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s SPARK Council, which creates new programming and resources to answer the policy and social needs of millennial Bostonians. She was recently appointed by the Boston City Council to serve on the Community Preservation Committee in making project funding decisions in affordable housing, parks and open space improvements, and historic restoration. Ms. Wang is a Board Member of Boston’s New Leaders Council, which is a training program for young emerging civic leaders. As a student, Ms. Wang benefited tremendously from the mentorship of the Asian Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence (ASPIRE) Youth Leadership Program and the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative (AAWPI). She is a graduate of Boston Latin School (2008), Emerson College (2012), and New England Law | Boston (2015).