Community Democracy Workship | Senior Fellow
May has spent her adult life working for social justice and racial and economic equality. This work has primarily been in four arenas: power for urban communities of color; learning and leadership development; multi-racial / multi-ethnic electoral and community coalition building; and Asian American Movement
She is a seasoned organizer, coalition-builder and popular educator. Currently a visiting practitioner and curriculum designer with Tufts University Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Program’s Teaching Democracy project, she is developing a pilot training on Popular Education.
For twenty years, May served as a senior staff member at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), a pioneering model for innovative community-controlled urban revitalization. She first directed DSNI’s participation in a nationally-funded comprehensive community initiative, and then served as its Director of Leadership and Capacity Building. Key projects under her leadership included the Rebuilding Communities Initiative, the Resident Development Institute/Dudley Learning Center, community board elections and board development, civic engagement, the Boston Promise Initiative, and Dudley Children Thrive.
May was a founding board member of the Center for Community Builders, as well as a member of the National Community Land Trust Academy Advisory Board and faculty. She was an Alston-Bannerman Fellow and then served as a member of its selection committee. She has the privilege of being part of the community comprised of Rockwood Leadership’s “Leading from the Inside Out” fellows.
In 1983, as the movement to gain electoral power swept the country, Boston’s Mel King ran for mayor by building a Rainbow Coalition, just as Jesse Jackson did on a national level in 1984 and 1988. May played leadership roles in these campaigns as well as in building the ongoing multi-racial, multi-issue activist coalitions that emerged from those electoral efforts.
A child of immigrants from China, May has her early activist roots in the Asian American movement, helping to start regional, campus, and community organizations. She maintains her involvement through her current work with the Activist Training Institute which has built the organizing skills and political analysis of emerging Asian American activists.