Committee of Asian Americans Against Violence
The Committee of Asian Americans Against Violence (CAAAV) (also known as Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence)was founded by Asian women in 1986.
CAAAV focuses on "institutional violence that affects immigrant, poor and working-class communities such as worker exploitation, concentrated urban poverty, police brutality, Immigration Naturalization Service detention and deportation, and criminalization of youth and workers."
It was affiliated with the Communist Workers Party.
The organization originally "came out of a response to rising anti-Asian violence across the country, including the murder of Vincent Chin in 1982. As we publicized these cases, we developed a deeper analysis of the root causes of violence:
- that it wasn’t just random individuals, but part of the legacy of systemic and institutional racism"
- that as a result of systemic and institutional racism, immigrants and refugees were kept in poverty and forced to work in poor conditions.
- that women’s work has always remained invisible in and outside of the home.
- that LGBTQ folks bore the brunt of being marginalized to maintain the silence of others.
- and that the struggles our communities face in the United States are directly related to US policies abroad.
- Our work then shifted to reflect our analysis. We engaged in anti-police brutality campaigns, participated in anti-war demonstrations, protested unfair working conditions. And we developed community-based projects rooted in oppressed communities which focused on building the consciousness and leadership of our members.
In doing so, Committee of Asian Americans Against Violence:
- incubated projects that would later become their own organizations, including the NYC Taxi Workers Alliance, Domestic Workers United, and Mekong NYC
- pressured the city to allocate $14 million to build parks and open green space accessible to Chinatown and Lower East Side residents along the East River Waterfront, rather than the original plan of high-end stores and private developments
- organized the Southeast Asian community in the Bronx to challenge the failed Welfare to Workfare programs, documented in the film, Eating Welfare
- advocated for the rights of street vendors in Chinatown that were targeted during former NYC Mayor Giuliani’s Quality of Life campaign
- worked in a city-wide coalition that pushed Mayor Bloomberg to sign an Executive Order providing language access for immigrant New Yorkers
- organized countless tenants to fight their landlords and stay in their homes
- developed the leadership of young people around a vision for social justice through organizing
- coordinated over a thousand volunteers and members as first responders in Chinatown following Hurricane Sandy
- Today, we have a membership base of over 200 individuals, and a support base of over 3,000 people throughout NYC. We are part of local and national alliances addressing neoliberal globalization. We have a strong organizing model that guides our work. As we look back to our history to reflect on the lessons learned, we are also looking forward to continue the struggle for racial and economic justice in the years to come.
We write with exciting news! Following an extensive nationwide search, we are thrilled to announce that Sasha Wijeyeratne will be the new Executive Director of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities.
A talented organizer, strategist and thinker, Sasha comes to CAAAV from the National Queer Asian & Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), where they served as Organizing Director. At NQAPIA, Sasha has cultivated local grassroots leadership in queer and trans Asian and Pacific Islander communities across the country, led national queer and trans Asian and Pacific Islander convergences with hundreds of participants and helped fundraise and create the infrastructure needed to sustain an indispensable organization in our movements. Additionally, they are a cadre member of LeftRoots and previously helped lead the local work of #Asians4BlackLives in Madison, WI, partnering with Freedom Inc., Young, Gifted and Black to successfully propose redirecting funds set aside to build a new jail towards local communities. We couldn’t be more excited to be welcoming a new leader who will bring such tremendous experience and heart to CAAAV.
Appointing Sasha as our new Executive Director follows an extensive national search. We are deeply grateful to Zahida Pirani, our transition consultant, who helped lead a complex process that engaged key tenant leaders in Chinatown and Queensbridge, youth leaders, staff and the board; conducting candidate interviews in English, Mandarin, and Bengali; and extensive conversations with a wide range of other CAAAV stakeholders. We are also indebted to Cathy Dang, CAAAV’s current Executive Director, who has been visionary steward of CAAAV’s legacy for the past five years. During her tenure, Cathy has significantly expanded our staff, membership base, programs and budget while exhibiting incredible leadership, courage and grace that have inspired us all. Finally, we are grateful for you and all of CAAAV’s supporters for helping us build an organization over the past three decades that moves working-class Asian immigrants and youth to fight for housing justice and a more just New York City for all of us.
Sasha’s first day as Executive Director will be on October 17, 2018 and we hope you will join us in welcoming them and celebrating this next step in CAAAV’s organizational journey.
Board of Directors
CAAAV Board of Directors, as of 2018;
- Osman Ahmed (Chair)
- Sandra Chen (Treasurer)
- Daisy Chung
- Heewon Brindle-Khym
- Henry Lee
- Lolan Sevilla
- Mark Ro Beyersdorf
- Prachi Patankar
- Sarah Farjado
- Vivian Truong
CAAAV Board of Directors, as of 2013;
- Scott Lu, Chair
- Mini Liu, Secretary
- Claire Tran
- Christine Peng
- Namita Chad
- Dennis Chin
- Mark Ro Beyersdorf
- Donna Truong
- Chinatown Justice Project -Uniting low-income residents of Manhattan's Chinatown for decent and affordable housing, and fighting displacement caused by gentrification.
- Women Workers Project -Organizing Asian women workers in the informal service economy, particularly domestic workers who face long hours, low wages, no job security or health benefits
- Southeast Asian Youth Leadership Project in the Bronx, organizes around welfare, public education and INS detention issues.
- Domestic Workers United
- Coalition Against Police Brutality
- Racial Justice 911
- Southeast Asian Freedom Network
- Third World Within
2000 Better World Awards award
On October 22, 2000 the Peoples Weekly World held its 4th annual celebration luncheon in New York, at the Henry Winston Auditorium.
- Ernesto Jofre, president of UNITE Local 169
- International Longshoreman's Association, Local 1814
- Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence
- History of CAAV, accessed March 1, 2013]
- CAAV website, Board of Directors, accessed Feb. 28, 2012
- About CAAAV
- PWW October 7, 2000, page 2