By Bang Co, DC Programs Manager
Photos & Media courtesy of Bang
Hello, 你好, and xin chào! My name is Bang Co (he/him) and I am honored to join the AALEAD Team as the new DC Programs Manager. As the oldest child of immigrant parents and as a first-generation Chinese-Vietnamese American, I am a proud advocate and success partner of the AAPI community. I am overjoyed by this opportunity to work alongside a group of passionate and talented community leaders to promote the development and empowerment of AAPI youth in the DMV area.
Growing up in the Midwest, I really struggled with my identity as an Asian American and was not sure where I belonged in the community. I can recount too many memories where I either have felt or been told that I was “too Asian” or “too American” by members of my own community. I spent my grade school years trying to hide areas of myself and to change my identity so that I could simply fit in. It was not until my time in college that I started to open up about my ethnicity and other aspects of my social identity. Through my education and the resources provided by my local temple and various AAPI community groups from across the country, I was able to lean into my journey of self-discovery and identity development. Since then, I have committed my time and energy to work with several non-profits to cultivate positive leadership development and DEI awareness for youth and young adults across the country. With my lived experiences, personal passion points, and professional skill sets, I look forward to working with AALEAD as we strive to achieve positive results in our three outcome areas.
Outside of AALEAD, I volunteer my time with a number of other non-profit organizations. One of those organizations is affiliated with my alma mater, Indiana University, where I serve on the council of our Alumni Band Association. Prior to this role, I was in the IU Marching Hundred for six years – four as a piccolo player and two years as the Drum Major. I am proud and humbled to share that I was the first AAPI to serve as the Drum Major for the IU Marching Hundred. Another group that I am involved with is Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity, where I serve as the National Vice President for Student Affairs. In this role, I have had the honor and privilege of working alongside college students from across the country to promote the betterment and welfare of music education, leadership development, and service to university band programs. In addition to these groups, I also serve as the Director of DEI and Community Outreach for the DC Chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals. It is through this role that I have been able to give back to our community in a meaningful and intentional way. Through workshops, table talks, podcast discussion, and community-focused initiatives, I am incredibly grateful to be a part of the progress and evolution that is promoted through NAAAP DC.
As you can probably guess by now, I have a deep passion for music advocacy, DEI advancement, and youth development. I would be remiss not to take a moment to thank all those in my life that have supported me along this journey. It is thanks to the teachers, mentors, and community volunteers that have uplifted me and empowered me to become who I am today. Of course, I also have to thank my parents as well for all of their love and care. When we talk about community, this is the type of community I think of and the community that I strive to create through my work and personal connections. With all of that being said, I am excited to dive into incredible work that AALEAD has been doing for over 20 years and to see what positive impact I can have on the youth and community through AALEAD!
With much Love,