Hello, Resource Generation! My name is Iimay (pronounced “ee-may”) Ho and I joined the staff as the new Associate Director in mid August. I have the great honor and challenge of filling Mike Gast’s shoes as he transitions to life after RG. I’m thrilled to be leading our fundraising and assisting Jessie with organizational development to ensure that RG is a healthy, sustainable, effective organization.
I’m based in Washington, DC and have lived here for the past 6 years. I was born and raised in Cary, North Carolina, and identify as a Southerner. Barbecue, sweet tea, and the NC State Fair hold a special place in my heart. Growing up Asian American with immigrant parents in the South politicized me early – I got a lot of messages growing up that I didn’t belong. My experiences of racism were buffered by my family’s wealth and class privilege and my strong ties to my large extended family. Spending summers in NJ with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, I knew that there was always a place of refuge for me.
I attended UNC-Chapel Hill and learned how my individual experience had been shaped by larger systems of oppression. I started growing into my whole identity as a Southern, queer, Asian American woman. After I graduated I interned with Southerners on New Ground (SONG), which builds, sustains, and connects a Southern regional base of LGBTQ people in order to transform the region. SONG affirmed my complicated love for the South and introduced me to heart-centered, long-term transformative organizing.
Although it was tough to leave NC, I moved to DC in 2008 to take a job with OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates and to learn what life was like in a major city (more walking, more expensive, and a lot more queer Asian Americans!). I’ve spent the past 3 years working for The Management Center, an organization that works with social justice leaders to build and run more effective organizations. I was the Director of Operations and Finance and learned a lot about spreadsheets, Salesforce, and the power of streamlined systems. During that time I also helped organize the Rainbow Dragon Fund, the region’s first grassroots queer Asian American giving circle. Through that experience I saw firsthand how powerful it was for community members to leverage their resources to support community-based organizations. Giving together also deepened my relationships with my friends and fellow organizers as I learned more about their values.
The giving circle pushed me to look harder at my own class privilege and access to resources, and I joined a DC chapter praxis group in 2013. Being in a space with other young people with wealth talking openly about class was transformative and challenging, since as a queer woman of color it was the first time I was organizing around my access to privilege. The praxis group helped me create my first giving plan and as a result I gave my largest ever individual gift. I was hooked and became the core facilitator for the people of color praxis group and attended the Transformative Leadership Institute this past July.
As I continue along my RG journey, now as a member of the staff, I’m struck again and again by how grateful I am to be a part of this incredible community of authentic, committed, loving people who seek to redistribute wealth, land, and power. I look forward to getting to know all of you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected].