Karen Chen

Executive Director
Chinese Progressive Assocation

Boston, MA

Karen Chen is Executive Director of the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), a 43 year-old grassroots civil rights organization. Karen’s training began as a 10 year-old when she immigrated to the US and became de facto interpreter and advocate for her immigrant working class family, later honing her leadership and organizing skills as a youth intern with Coalition of Asian and Pacific American Youth and the Chinese Youth Initiative, a paralegal at Greater Boston Legal Services’ Asian Outreach Unit, and Tenant Service Coordinator at the Castle Square Apartments in the South End.

At the Chinese Progressive Association, Karen led campaigns to win $1 M in retraining funds for dislocated electronics workers, bilingual ballots for Boston’s Chinese and Vietnamese voters, Massachusetts’ first unionization of a private home care agency, as well as grassroots civic engagement and political efforts in developing a shared platform to transform the political landscape.