Tech innovation made for and with one of America’s fastest growing communities — that’s the sweet spot for Cayden Mak. As the head of 18 Million Rising, Mak and his team are building power for young AAPI communities, equipping them with tech tools to take on language barriers that hold back their voting power. Building demand for civic participation, Mak’s approach excels at cultural resonance — no small feat in one of America’s most dynamic and diverse populations.
Cayden Mak, Executive Director at 18MillionRising.org, is a movement technologist interested in building trust, community, and independent power on the internet. As part of 18MR.org’s founding staff, he was an integral part of developing the organization’s vision, voice, analysis, and playbook. In his previous role as Chief Technology Officer, he was the driving force behind community-centered design for civic tech project VoterVOX, a matching tool to help find personalized volunteer translation assistance for limited English proficient Asian American voters.
He is a member of the Open Society Foundations New Executives Fund 2017 cohort, serves on the advisory board for the Kairos Fellowship, and was recently recognized in Everyday Feminism as an inspirational trans leader of color. He also volunteers with local nonprofits in Oakland, California to help them choose and implement tech tools that better align with their mission and values.
Prior to 18MR.org, he completed coursework towards a Master of Fine Arts, taught intro media studies courses, and organized marginalized academic labor at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. While in graduate school, he co-founded New York Students Rising, a network of student organizers working for justice and equity in public higher education in New York State. He also helped found Youngist, a young people-powered movement media network.