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.
West Side Community Organization
Monica currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Side Community Organization (WSCO), a nonprofit built by and for community organizing and is one of Saint Paul’s District Planning Councils. Prior to leading WSCO, Monica spent more than a decade in grassroots community organizing at PCAMN, SEIU, ISAIAH, and working for state and county agencies in Minnesota. Her career and lived experiences are centered on two guiding values: equity and justice. From housing to labor to health care, Monica’s personal mission is to shift the power of systems, institutions, and policies toward the people who are directly affected by them. Monica is committed to the core values of Justice and applies a lens of equity to all aspects of her work. Monica views the role of her profession as a step on the path of a deeply healing and spiritual journey.
Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota
Sunny joined the Alliance board in 2017 after serving as a member representative for the Lao Assistance Center, where he is Executive Director. 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.
Jim Erkel, Treasurer
Jim Erkel is an environmental attorney. He recently retired from the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy after having established and then directing MCEA’s Land Use and Transportation Program for 18 years. He is particularly interested in the social, economic, and environmental effects that play out at the nexus of land use and transportation throughout Minnesota. Representing MCEA, Jim participated in a number of coalitions with members of the Alliance including Stops for Us which succeeded in securing three missing stations on the Green Line for some of the region’s most racially diverse and transit-dependent neighborhoods.
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.
Joshua Houdek, Secretary
Sierra Club North Star Chapter
Joshua joined the Alliance board in 2016 after being involved with our organization for more than 10 years through his position as Land Use and Transportation Program Manager at the Sierra Club North Star Chapter. He manages the chapter’s work on promoting sustainable development and expanded equitable transportation choices that will move Minnesota beyond oil. Joshua also serves on the Minneapolis Capital Long-range Improvement Committee and the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee. He has a B.S. in geography from the University of Iowa and holds a master’s degree in outdoor education and recreation from the University of Minnesota.
Suyapa Miranda, Vice President
Ms. Suyapa Miranda currently works as an independent consultant on legislative policy matters and on general nonprofit management. She previously worked for the American Heart Association as Midwest affiliate and served as executive director for the Saint Anthony Park Community Council (SAPCC). Prior to joining SAPCC, she worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 17 years, as a development coordinator for the Women’s Environmental Institute. Ms. Miranda is deeply committed to social justice with a passion for affecting systemic change in the way public, private, and nonprofit sectors work together and brings an equity lens to the leadership she provides. Miranda served on the board of directors for several other Minnesota non-profits and organizations, including the Metropolitan Council Transportation Advisory Board and the Minnesota Council of Latino Affairs. In addition to serving as Vice President of the Alliance board, she currently serves as a board member of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, and MNsure. Miranda earned a B.A. in modern and classical languages from University of St. Thomas and a master’s in advocacy and political leadership from Metropolitan State University.
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.
Major Taylor Bicycling Club of Minnesota
Anthony Taylor is a founding member of the Major Taylor Bicycling Club of Minnesota, a nonprofit social/recreational club that promotes safe and fun cycling geared towards the African-American communities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. He is the Adventures Director at the Loppet Foundation, where he leads the growth and development of efforts to provide opportunities and create passion for year-round outdoor activities and adventures in the Minneapolis area, especially among inner-city youth. Anthony also serves on the Metropolitan Parks and Open Space Commission, the League of American Bicyclists Equity Advisory Board, and the National Brotherhood of Cyclists.