New York, NY—After seven extraordinary years at the helm of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), Executive Director Steve Choi will transition in early September, 2020 to a new role as Senior Advisor. In the new role, he will focus largely on the campaigns of NYIC’s sister 501(c) (4), NYIC Action, to strengthen the voices and political power of immigrants across New York State and the country during the upcoming critical election cycle.
Steve Choi came to the NYIC in 2013, after leading a longtime coalition member and community partner, the MinKwon Center for Community Action, in Flushing, Queens. In the ensuing seven years, NYIC has witnessed unprecedented growth and success. During his tenure, he expanded the NYIC’s role as a robust advocacy organization, capable of leading the way to major victories. The historic victory of winning the right for undocumented immigrants to access drivers’ licenses after 17 years; passing the Jose Peralta DREAM Act to extend financial aid for higher education to New York’s Dreamers; challenging the Trump administration’s cruel attempt to end DACA; and preventing the racist citizenship question from being added to the Census, are among many of NYIC’s major achievements under the leadership of Mr. Choi. As we faced the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Choi led the organization’s efforts to raise more than $2.5 million to distribute to immigrant New Yorkers left out of all three-stimulus relief packages. Mr. Choi also led the expansion of the organization across New York State, increasing the NYIC’s operational budget five-fold and strengthening its infrastructure.
In announcing his transition to his new role, Mr. Choi reflected on his time with the NYIC.
“Leading the NYIC during the last seven years has been one of the most powerful experiences in my professional life. These have been momentous years, full of daunting challenges and exciting opportunities that have helped transform the lives of immigrant New Yorkers. This would not have been possible without our dedicated staff, our diverse membership and partners. They led the expansion of our work and impact and helped this fantastic organization win critical victories for New York’s four million immigrants. After seven years, I am excited to take on a new role, which focuses on building the organization’s political power at a critical moment—a role that will allow me the time I need to refuel, focus on my family, and get ready for the fight ahead.
I want to thank the Board of Directors for allowing me the privilege to serve as Executive Director of this extraordinary organization over the past seven years. I also want to thank our membership, community of supporters, donors and advocates whose generosity and passion fueled our growth and progress to benefit all immigrants.”
“While we are saddened to see Steve leave his role as Executive Director, we are excited to see what he will be able to accomplish at NYIC Action as a Senior Advisor, with more time to dedicate to building the political power of immigrant New Yorkers. It has been an honor working alongside Steve Choi over the past seven years. He has transformed the NYIC into a fiery and impactful organization. We will be forever grateful to Steve for his contributions to the organization and the immigrant rights movement. We thank Steve for his dedication to our members and immigrant communities and know that he will bring that same passion and energy to this new role at such an important time for immigrant communities across our state,” said Guillermo Chacon, Board Chair of the NYIC and NYIC Action.
As Mr. Choi transitions into his new role, the NYIC Board of Directors has appointed Murad Awawdeh, Executive Vice President of Advocacy and Strategy, and Rovika Rajkishun, Vice President of Development and Communications, to serve as interim co-Executive Directors while a search for the new Executive Director is launched and unfolds. Both Mr. Awawdeh and Ms. Rajkishun have greatly contributed to the success of the organization under Mr. Choi’s leadership. They will focus on steering the NYIC through this transition period, delivering the resources, policies and legislation immigrant New Yorkers need to thrive.