Appreciation of CBA Director Yun-Ju Choi
By Charlie Gargiulo
Earlier this month, Yun-Ju Choi, who has served as the Coalition for a Better Acre’s (CBA) Executive Director since 2014, announced that she will be stepping down next June. In her statement announcing her decision to resign from CBA, Yun-Ju showed the compassion, honor and dignity that has made her such an excellent leader when she stated, “It’s now time to focus on caring for my parents, who sacrificed so much to make sure my siblings and I had futures full of possibility. It is a privilege to do so.”
It is a PRIVILEGE to do so. That moving statement sums up beautifully why Yun-Ju has been such an amazing leader for CBA and the Lowell community over the past decade. It is the statement of a moral leader.
As CBA’s Executive Director, Yun-Ju Choi has strengthened CBA financially and successfully implemented many innovative and important new affordable housing projects, expanded CBA’s reach and services and eloquently spoke out with moral purpose and clarity on social justice issues while working hard to empower community residents. She has built and led a talented, committed staff that works with such competence and harmony that I feel inspired every time I have an opportunity to meet them.
Yun-Ju Choi’s decade long tenure as CBA’s Executive Director has not only cemented her legacy in CBA history, it has gained her the respect she richly deserves nationally among professional community development experts.
In addition to maintaining & expanding affordable housing and providing valuable community services, I am extremely impressed with how Yun-Ju has rekindled the spirit and determination of CBA’s original purpose to unify, educate, inspire and build a community of people who believe in decency and justice for all.
Personally, I will always be grateful to Yun-Ju for the compassionate support she provided me during the darkest moment of my life when I lost my beloved son Charlie Jr. in 2019. When I was barely hanging on, Yun-Ju reached out to me and helped mobilize support on behalf of me and my grieving family.
This was the same kind of community spirit I later saw her and CBA staff bring to bear on behalf of the community during the Covid crisis as she and the CBA staff jumped into action to keep resources flowing for the community amidst the isolation and fear.
When I founded CBA in 1982 it was my dream that we could rebuild the kind of caring community that I experienced in Little Canada before it was destroyed by urban renewal.
I want to thank Yun-Ju Choi for not only maintaining that vision but for her success in making it a reality.