New American Development Center
Asad Aliweyd is the Executive Director of New American Development Center, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting education, cultural awareness and economic opportunity for East African immigrants in Eden Prairie. Asad moved from Somalia to the United States in 1995. After earning his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Metro State University, Asad taught math at Eden Prairie High School. During his years as a teacher, he started a parent group to help improve outcomes for Somali students. NADC was born from that group. The organization soon expanded its reach as Asad realized that employment, transportation, health care, education and affordable housing were equally important to his community. He became involved with the Alliance when he began organizing around the Southwest LRT and the potential benefits its development could bring.
Hibo joined the team at Redesign in 2021, where her work focuses on developing, implementing and growing Seward Redesign’s lending program including planning, budgeting, fundraising, implementing programs and operations, as well as program marketing. Prior to joining Redesign, she worked for African Development Center (ADC) where she was responsible for supporting a portfolio of businesses, as well as soliciting and servicing prospective and current clients to produce a variety of business loans. She was also involved with generating and managing a portfolio of non-loan business and corresponding relationships. She worked with loan officers to underwrite, structure and document loans per the ADC’s policy and assisted loan officers by offering other appropriate services provided by ADC. She maintained relationship with all loan partner organizations and supported day-to-day business lending and operations for ADC and its subsidiaries. She holds a Master’s degree (MBA) in International Business from Hamline University and a Bachelor of Arts in Health Science and Management from George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. She hopes to contribute a better understanding of immigrants’ assets and contributions and how we can help them become a part of prosperous and inclusive community, as well as community wealth-building.
Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers
Kadra Abdi is a Minneapolis-based creative strategist and human rights activist committed to advancing racial equity in Minnesota and imagining an alternative world centered on equity. She is co-Director of Public Policy and Field Building with the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers. She is also a founder and curator of Ubuntu, a platform that spotlights emergent issues impacting the global black diaspora, and Synergy, a consulting business dedicated to helping BIPOC small businesses. She is deeply connected to the black and Muslim social justice community in the Twin Cities and her work and activism uplift equity, inclusion, and accessibility issues. She currently serves as a board member of the Center for Victims of Torture and the Twin Cities Media Alliance. She holds a Master of Public Policy degree with a minor in Human Rights from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Gender Studies from Luther College. As a board member of the Alliance, she hopes to support advocacy efforts for resources and policy changes for BIPOC small businesses and work to address racial disparities in housing.
Harrison Neighborhood Association
Nichole is the Executive Director of the Harrison Neighborhood Association. Since 2017, she has been working to advance HNA’s mission to create a prosperous and peaceful community that equitably benefits all of Harrison neighborhood’s diverse racial, cultural, and economic groups. Nichole has nearly 20 years of experience in advocacy, policy, and community organizing work. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish Studies from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, she worked with the Resource Center of the America’s El Centro de Derechos Laborales, advocating for workers without documentation as they faced discrimination and abuse in the workplace. She received her law degree from Hamline University School of Law with a focus on Employment and Labor Law, and has been a practicing attorney since 2010, working with clients on a sliding-scale fee or in a pro-bono capacity on cases involving employment discrimination, unemployment claims, tenants’ rights, and criminal defense. From 2014 to 2017, Nichole served on the boards of the West Bank Community Coalition and the Cedar-Riverside Neighborhood Revitalization Program where she found her passion for place-based community organizing. In 2017, Nichole helped form the MSP Airport Rapid Response Team in response to the Muslim Travel Ban which worked nonstop to train, schedule, and deploy over 300 attorneys at the airport, meeting every affected international flight arriving at MSP for six weeks. For her work on that volunteer effort, Nichole received the Advocates for Human Rights Special Recognition Award. Nichole was also an active volunteer organizer for the 15 Now! campaign in Minneapolis, and later served on the 15 Now!–St. Paul Board of Directors where she helped organize a major win for workers in their struggle for livable wages.
Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota
Sunny is the Executive Director for the Lao Assistance Center. Since 1992, Sunny has been supporting and leading the Lao Assistance Center’s work to enhance the quality of life for Minnesota Lao families by meeting basic needs, increasing self-reliance and youth development, reducing social isolation, and promoting cultural equity. In 2013, Sunny was awarded the distinguished Virginia McKnight Binger Award in Human Service for his work. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Charles Frempong-Longdon, Jr
Sierra Club North Star Chapter
Charles is a volunteer at the Sierra Club North Star Chapter and a founding member of the MN BIPOC EJ Table, an organizing cohort whose mission is to build a sustainable ecosystem of BIPOC community members that is values driven, radically imaginative, and generative in overall approach. He previously served as part of the Healthy Communities organizing program at the Sierra Club, working on a multitude of Environmental Justice issues across the Twin Cities including Zero Waste and recycling, land use, affordable housing & anti-displacement efforts. His work is heavily informed by his experience as the youngest son of African immigrants as well as his upbringing in rural Minnesota. Central to his work are components of community care and arts based organizing. In his time at the Sierra Club, he has been part of the development of several training modules such as “Ecopoetry- A study of Queer Ecology & Wordbuilding,” “Community Care 101,” and in collaboration with partners at the MN BIPOC EJ Table, “Intergenerational Dialogues.” He hopes to continue to lead work around housing and anti-displacement. It is his belief that housing justice is environmental justice and that an environment in many ways is a physical manifestation of culture. It is that work of “cultural organizing” that drives him to innovate, to connect, and to imagine.
Malik is the Neighborhood Leadership and Organizing Program Coordinator at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. Prior to joining CURA, Malik worked as a Community Organizer with the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition to promote access, equity, and community benefits of bicycle infrastructure, policy, and engagement. He also served as the former Director of St Paul District 6 Planning Council for three years and former Executive Director & Economic Development Organizer of North Minneapolis’s Harrison Neighborhood Association for 11 years leading community engagement projects, racially equitable development initiatives, business development, and land use planning. He received an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts in Human Services with a minor in Sociology from the University of Minnesota Morris. Malik was a member of the Board of Directors for the Headwaters Foundation for Justice and its past Grant Review Committees. He was a long-standing member on CURA’s Kris Nelson Community Based Research Program Grant Review Committee, a 2004 graduate of MCNO’s Neighborhood Organizing Training Program, and a past member of the MCNO Advisory Committee. He is currently on the Nexus Community Partners Grant Review Committee, the Bryant Neighborhood Organization Board Chair and Board member of the People’s Anti-Racist Global Committee. Malik is a native of Chicago but has lived in Minnesota for more than 13 years. His life has centered on community, spirituality, music and dance, his wife and son, and his love for learning, community capacity building, systems change, racial equity, and direct service.
Margaret Kaplan, Treasurer
Housing Justice Center
Margaret Kaplan is the President of the Housing Justice Center, a non-profit public interest legal and policy advocacy organization dedicated to upholding the right to safe, stable, affordable housing free from discrimination. Margaret has over 20 years of experience in the field of affordable housing and community development, starting out as a community organizer with All Parks Alliance for Change. She began her legal career with the Housing Preservation Project, and subsequently worked for All Parks Alliance for Change and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining HJC, Margaret spent six years as the Community Development Director at Minnesota Housing. Margaret has expertise in local, state, and federal housing policy and programs and is dedicated to using law and policy as a tools to effectuate community articulated outcomes for a more just and equitable society.
Ashwat Narayanan, Secretary
Our Streets Minneapolis
Ashwat Narayanan (Ash, he/him) is the executive director of Our Streets Minneapolis, an organization that works to make biking, walking and rolling easy and comfortable for everyone in the city. In his work, he tries to center racial justice and prioritize the voices of those who’ve historically been left out of transportation decision-making. Ash believes that to achieve a truly equitable transportation system, we must dismantle interconnected systems of oppression. Ash serves on the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Sustainable Transportation Advisory Committee, and represents Minneapolis on Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Advisory Board.
Nelima Sitati-Munene, President
African Career, Education & Resource Inc
Nelima Sitati-Munene represents African Career, Education & Resource, an organization that promotes culturally competent solutions that help Africans, African Americans, and other communities of color achieve social and economic independence. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Summit Hill Association, a St. Paul district council, is a member of the Metropolitan Council’s Housing Policy Plan Work Group, and serves on the city of Brooklyn Park’s core planning team. Nelima has a long history of community organizing, including work at the North Minneapolis-based Harrison Neighborhood Association. She is a member of the Equity in Place table convened by the Alliance and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs to secure more equitable investments in the Twin Cities region.
Anthony Taylor, Vice President
Major Taylor Bicycling Club of Minnesota
Anthony Taylor is a co-founder of the Major Taylor Bicycling Club of Minnesota, founded in 1999 with the commitment to increase the participation of the African American community in cycling for sport, transportation, and health improvement. He is also a member of the League of American Bicyclists Equity Advisory Council, co-founder and VP of the National Brotherhood of Cyclists, and the founder of Slow Roll Twin Cities. He is actively engaged in partnerships that use active living and the outdoors as a tool to build community, increase personal power, community safety, and improve the wellbeing of our youth and families with a special commitment in historically oppressed communities. He recently served as the Director of Adventures and Equity Programs for the Loppet Foundation and has been a consultant with The Sanneh Foundation, The YMCA of the North, and The Cultural Wellness Center, Minneapolis Park Board, HGA Architects and The DNR at the intersection of equity, the outdoors, youth development, and community development. He currently serves as a member of the AARP Executive Council for AARP MN and was appointed by Gov. Walz to the Governor’s Council on Age-Friendly Minnesota and as a Commissioner on the Metropolitan Council Open Space Commission, responsible for funding and policy in the Regional Park Systems and the founder of Melanin In Motion leading outdoor adventures for BIPOC families and youth. He hopes to support the Alliance in directing the power of its membership in systems change that shows up as increased community agency and equitable public policy.