Lillian Cho is a community organizer and creative placekeeping advocate who has spent more than two decades working with social justice organizations, cultural groups and public agencies on projects focused on promoting racial equity, inclusion, and access. Before joining Hester Street, Lillian served as project lead for the Urban Essex Coalition for Smart Growth, a coalition of community activists, residents, affordable housing advocates, city and transportation planners to address safety and accessibility in Black and Brown neighborhoods along the Morris/Essex transit corridor in Newark, East Orange, and Orange (NJ). She also helped launch the East Orange Sustainable Food Alliance (EOSFA) and community garden as a new nonprofit involving East Orange residents.
Lillian has maintained a steady consulting practice focused on community engagement, leadership transitions, resource planning, and program design for community-based nonprofits. Clients have included: Asian American Writers’ Workshop, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, Grace Institute, Streetwise Partners, Opening Act, and The Laundromat Project. Prior to consulting, she served as the Asian American Arts Alliance’s executive director leading advocacy efforts across NYC’s ethnically diverse immigrant populations to promote equity and inclusion for APA cultural groups in partnership with BIPOC communities.
Lillian holds a BA in Art History and East Asian Studies from Colgate University, and is a LNY24 Fellow alumna of Coro New York Leadership Center. In her free time, she is a curator for Lincoln Center Out of Doors’ La Casita (poetry and music) Festival and serves on the boards of EOSFA, Ping Chong & Company, and Think!Chinatown. In a former life, she performed with NYC’s beloved community taiko group, Soh Daiko, giving her the exciting opportunity to meet the late Queen of R&B Ruth Brown and the world-renown KODO Japanese taiko group from Sado Island. Lillian resides in the Garden State with her family and a couple of Xoloitzcuintlin.