Director, Mekong NYC
Chhaya Chhoum and her family lived in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines before being resettled to the US. After the US’s refugee resettlement program abandoned her family and thousands of other Southeast Asian refugees in the Bronx, she organized her community through the newly created Youth Leadership Project. In 2012, she co-founded Mekong NYC in the Bronx, seeking to empower Southeast Asians through arts & culture, community organizing, and advocacy. Its work in the Bronx honors the history of the Bronx and all its people. Her achievements were recognized by the Ford Foundation and the Petra Foundation. Her work was featured in the documentary “Eating Welfare” and in the NBC Asian American “Deported” series. She is currently the executive director of Mekong NYC and serves on the board of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. She is also a mother of 3 - ages 20, 16 and 11.