Ntxhais "Chai" Moua​


”I knew that I had to keep pushing and do things differently.”


Chai Moua is the Community Power Coalition Director for Freedom, Inc., a Black and Southeast Asian non-profit organization that works with low- to no-income communities of color. Chai leads the only state coalition in Wisconsin that is building civic power and engagement in Asian Pacific Islander communities.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services Management and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership. She holds a Family Development Specialist Certification from the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice and the University of Iowa School Social of Work. Chai started off her work in community organizing with one of Madison’s most isolated neighborhood. This is where she realized her passion to fight for racial and gender equity. She has over 15 years of expensive experience working with low to no-income communities, especially the Hmong community.

Describe what inspired you to start this work. 

​Being born a refugee daughter in a refugee camp, me and my family have experienced many forms of violence. I’ve heard stories of my sister being left behind because my father’s one son was worth more than my two sisters, I’ve watch Black and Southeast Asian community members get mis-treated by the police right from my office window, and I’ve seen many women and children who have lost their lives to violence and I knew I had to do more than just watch. From a young age, I have witnessed many different injustices and always knew that I wanted to do something to change the world my kids will live in. I knew I wanted to live in a world free of violence (gender base violence, state violence, war, etc.) but haven’t seen many leaders that were progressively creating this world to also include my people.​

What has been your greatest success or challenge in this work? 

My biggest challenge doing this work is being a Hmong Woman, but I have learned to use my experiences to push for my success. There have been many tables and conversations, I have not been welcomed at but because I am a Hmong Women, I knew that I had to keep pushing and do things differently. I not only experience push back from my Hmong community but also from the mainstream community. It felt like fighting dual battles and healing communities every day. Because I am a Hmong Woman with my experience and upbringing, did I keep telling the community, “You can hate me, you can dislike me but when you are harmed, I will be the one who cries the hardest and makes the most noise". My greatest success is being able to set a new example of what Hmong women in leadership could look like. 

What would you say to other women and girls who want to make or support change in their community, state, world?

I would say, "Who are you waiting for? If not you than who else can you trust to make decisions for you and to create the world you want to live in?" Women and girls are more than just statistics. We are capable, we are smart, we lead have always led with both our brains and our hearts. As women and girls, we can accomplish anything because we have nothing to lose. It’s time we make our wishes known to the universe what we want and we start support each other to build this world we want to live in.​

Inspired by the centennial of the 19th Amendment, would you like to comment on voting or have a story to share? 

I came to the United States in 1984 at the age of 2. I always thought I was a US Citizen and knew no other country to be mine. It wasn’t until I entered high school that I found out I actually didn’t have many of the same rights that US Citizens did. Growing up, I would teach and encourage people around me to vote but I was never able to vote because I wasn't a citizen.  It wasn't until 2013 when I finally could afford to get my citizenship. I remember how happy my husband and I were when we went to the polls to vote for the first time in 2014. I wanted to teach my children to be lifelong voters. When I ran for local office for the first time in 2018, I was the first person my daughter got to vote for. 

For more information:

Chai Moua's County Supervisor page can be found here​.​

Learn more about Freedom, Inc at https://freedom-inc.org/