Our Staff

staff.miriamMiriam Yeung, Executive Director

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Miriam W. Yeung, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) guides the country’s only national, multi-issue, progressive organization dedicated to social justice and human rights for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the US. With offices in NYC and DC, and chapters in 13 cities, NAPAWF’s current priorities include winning rights for immigrant women, exposing the myths behind sex selective abortion bans, leading community-based participatory research with young AAPI women, and conducting national AAPI opinion polling.

Prior to NAPAWF, Miriam held many positions during her 10-year career at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (the Center) in New York City, the last of which was Director of Public Policy & Government Relations where she oversaw policy matters on the local, state and federal level and was responsible for raising over $40 million dollars in capital campaign and programming funds over three years. She started her career at the Center as a Youth Worker responsible for empowering young people to fight bullying and create safer schools.

Miriam is published in diverse publications in print and online and is a sought after speaker and workshop presenter. In 2014 Miriam was honored at the Ms. Foundation’s annual Gloria Awards; A Salute to Women of Vision. In 2012, Miriam was recognized by the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW) with the Making A Difference for Women award. In 2007, Miriam received special recognition from the New York City Council for her work with the LGBT youth community.

Born in Hong Kong and raised in the projects of Brooklyn, Miriam is a proud queer Asian-American immigrant woman activist who is committed to social-justice movement building and raising her two young daughters to be fearless. Miriam holds a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College and a bachelor’s from New York University.


Shivana Jorawar
Shivana bio photo
Reproductive Justice Program Director

Shivana coordinates the organization’s reproductive justice policy priorities. She is passionate about uplifting the status of women in communities she identifies with, and has a background in legal advocacy and community education around issues of gender-based inequity and violence. Her experience includes working with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as a legal clerk, working with the the anti-domestic violence organization Sakhi for South Asian Women, co-chairing a chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, and co-founding the Indo-Caribbean women’s organization Jahajee Sisters, where she is now a member of the Steering Committee. In August, 2012, Shivana completed a one-year fellowship with NAPAWF through Law Students for Reproductive Justice. Originally from New York, she now works out of NAPAWF’s Washington, D.C. office.

Shivana holds a B.A. in Political Science from Fordham University and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law.


JenniferChou_PhotoJennifer Chou, Reproductive Justice Fellow 

Jennifer Chou is a Reproductive Justice Fellow through Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ). Jennifer graduated in 2014 from the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. During law school, she was active in clinics, arguing a prisoner’s rights case in front of a panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and representing a young victim of domestic violence in her successful application for asylum. Jennifer also interned at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and the ACLU of Southern California, where she worked with staff attorneys on reproductive health access, inmate religious freedom, and immigrant rights in education. At UCLA, Jennifer served on the boards of UCLA’s chapter of LSRJ, the Asian Pacific Islander Law Students Association, Law Women of UCLA, and the Women’s Law Journal. Before law school, she spent three years as a paralegal for the Public Policy Litigation and Law Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Jennifer did her undergraduate work in Political Science and Women’s Studies at Wellesley College, with a concentration in Asian American Studies.


Melissa Kwon staff bioMelissa Kwon,  Research Coordinator

Melissa Kwon, PhD,  Research Coordinator of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) leads the organization’s research efforts on AAPI women and girls in the US. She also serves as Faculty for the Minnesota Young Women’s Collaborative (MYWC), which is currently hosted at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Additionally, Melissa is currently Co-Chair of the newly founded Twin Cities Chapter of NAPAWF.

Dr. Kwon has over 12 years of experience conducting health and educational research with the AAPI community and has worked with numerous programs that aim to eliminate health disparities and increase access to higher education for AAPIs. She is Affiliate Faculty in Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus. She has been a researcher and evaluator at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus, University of California at Irvine, University of California at Santa Barbara, and WestEd. She has served as Chair of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Health Coalition (AAPIHC), a coalition of AAPI serving nonprofit community organizations in Minnesota. She has also volunteered her time to local community organizations and has served as the Executive Director of the Midwest Asian American Students Union (MAASU), a Board Member of Neighborhood House, Member of the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership’s (MMEP) Research Collaborative Table, Board Member of United Cambodian Association of Minnesota (UCAM), and Board Member of The Cambodian Family. She is currently located in the Twin Cities Metro Area in Minnesota.

Dr. Kwon earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She earned her M.A. in Education-Research Methodologies and Ph.D. in Education Cultural Perspectives and Comparative Education from University of California, Santa Barbara.


Son Ah bio picSon Ah Yun, Deputy Director of Programs and Policy

Son Ah Yun, the Deputy Director of Programs and Policy of NAPAWF, with our local chapters is responsible for growing, strengthening, and sustaining NAPAWF’s capacity to advance social justice and human rights for AAPI women and girls across the country nationally and locally.
Previous to joining NAPAWF, Son Ah worked at the Center for Community Change. a national social justice nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.  for the past 15 years in various capacities.  She began her career at the center as an intern and soon joined the staff team to launch the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support, a coalition of over 1000 anti-poverty groups to impact the reauthorization of TANF.  It was through the National Campaign that CCC’s immigration work, was born.  She served as co-Director and was instrumental in the building of CCC’s immigration work, which led to the development of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) into the leading voice for grassroots immigrant organizations across the nation.  Son Ah also served as lead organizer to reform health care on behalf of the Campaign for Community Change, leading their effort on immigrant inclusion in health care reform.  Most recently as Senior Campaign Organizer to protect and advance retirement security.In addition to national campaigns, Son Ah has experience in leadership development, capacity building, coalition building, and organizational development.She has a passion for her family and pilates!She received a B.S. from Emory University and a M.S.W. from Washington University.  Son Ah was born in Seoul, Korea and now resides in Smyrna, Georgia.


Melissa CarinoMelissa CariñoField Organizer

Melissa is a proud Filipina-American who was born in San Francisco and grew up in the Bay Area. As part of a hard-working family and a child of immigrant parents, she knows what it is like to struggle in America and understands the importance of critical education, equality, and giving to the greater community. Her passions lie in social / economic / global justice, systemic change, grassroots organizing, progressive philanthropy, transformational processes, and community empowerment. She has over 15 years experience within community-based organizations and the not-for-profit sector.  Her former workplaces include The Open Pantry of Greater Lowell, the Funders Network on Transforming the Global Economy (now EDGE Funders Alliance), Boston Women’s Fund, and the United Teen Equality Center.

Melissa holds a B.A. in Legal Studies/City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters in Regional Planning/Community Development from Cornell University.  Melissa works mostly from Massachusetts, but she also travels to and works from various chapter sites and the NAPAWF offices.

Melissa is excited to focus on building strong relationships and partnerships as we strengthen our movement. She finds her role at NAPAWF important by serving as a bridge between chapters and the National office as we all continue together on this important work that is necessary for API women’s justice in America and beyond.


Leng Leng

Leng Leng Chancey, Communications and Development Director

Leng Leng was born and raised in Singapore and came to the United States to attend college, and received her BA in History and Asian Studies from Washington State University. Her longstanding passions revolves around social justice issues concerning AAPI women and beyond, with “equitable access for all” as her motto. In addition to holding numerous senior management positions in nonprofits such as the United Way of Greater Atlanta and Culture Connect, Inc, Leng Leng is a founding member of NAPAWF’s Atlanta Chapter. She is also a trained facilitator for the Anti-Defamation League and facilitates training around cultural competency and diversity. Her spare time includes social change advocacy via the soulful beats of an all-women Korean folk drumming group, which she co-founded.


Jamie0019Chuen Yan (Jamie) Lau, Office and Data Coordinator

Jamie is the Office and Data Coordinator of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). She joined NAPAWF on the summer of 2013 as a temporary Administrative Assistant shortly after graduating from Baruch College with a BA in biology. While with NAPAWF, she has found a culture of sisterhood, activism, and fierceness – fertile grounds for growth. She decided to stay on with NAPAWF after her temporary period and is proud to be a part of such powerful work.  





Aneesa Hakeek, 2015 Financial and Administrative Intern
Aneesa is a new member of NAPAWF who joined the organization in April 2015 as a Financial and Administrative intern. She is currently a junior majoring in accounting at St. John’s University with a strong interest in nonprofits and activism. She is excited to join NAPAWF and is thrilled by the opportunity to gain experience in her anticipated career path as well as contribute to the success of the organization. While being with NAPAWF for only a short period of time, she has met inspirational people devoted to their work and enjoys her time spent with them.

Whitney Wong Bio HeadshotWhitney Wong, 2015 Summer Policy Intern

Whitney Wong recently graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in Biology and Asian American Studies, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Health Policy at George Washington University. Her experiences in student organizing and in advocacy have inspired her to pursue work in improving health in underserved communities, particularly the API community. She is very excited about the opportunity to work with NAPAWF!In her spare time, she loves going to concerts and trying out new eats.