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Miguel Alvarez is focused and committed on advancing higher education attainment for students of color and underrepresented populations through effective policies and practices that ensure student access and success. He is a subject matter expert in educational pipeline initiatives and cross-sector partnerships. Miguel is a champion for the California Community Colleges and was a transfer student to the University of California system. His current role as a Project Coordinator at Contra Costa College for the California Promise Innovation Initiative allows him to impact the lives of students and community in West Contra Costa County. At Contra Costa College, he is building influential institutional partnerships and student success programs with the West Contra Costa Unified School District, California State University, and the University of California. His role at the college is in streamlining student services and programs to ensure that students seamlessly transition from the K-12 system through the community college and later transfer to a four-year university. As an educational leader, Miguel also currently serves as the Chairman of Board for the Richmond Promise, a community-wide 35-million dollar college scholarship fund and college success initiative that is building a college graduating culture in Richmond. Serving on Oakland’s Emiliano Zapata Street Academy as the Interim Vice President of the Board of Directors, Miguel is supporting the organization and the community in transforming the lives of Oakland’s most vulnerable students and families through education. As the current Chair of the UCLA Anderson School of Business Riordan Fellows Program he is using similar educational practices and strategies to diversify the MBA pipeline with more students of color, women, and LGBTQ+ communities. Miguel has held various impactful roles in the social sector at higher education institutions and nonprofits such as UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and KIPP LA Schools where he focused on new school startup, student recruitment, transfer programs, educational partnerships and undergraduate admissions. He holds joint degrees in Political Science and Chicanx Studies from UCLA and plans to pursue a joint Master’s degree in Educational Policy and Business and sees political office in the near future. Miguel loves to travel, enjoys wine, a good conversation or debate, and is always ready to take action against systems of oppression!
Amanda J. Baker was raised in Stockton, CA. She is a first-generation American whose passion for civic engagement arose from listening to her grandfather’s Vietnam War stories. She is a graduate of San Jose State University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and M.P.A. She obtained a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law. Amanda’s passion for advocacy and public policy emerged while working on criminal justice and domestic violence issues at the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits. From this experience emerged a commitment to underserved communities and an interest in understanding how government operates to solve complex challenges. She has worked as an intern for the White House, U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees. She is currently Associate Counsel at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Office Board of Veterans’ Appeals where she adjudicates claims involving disability, healthcare, education, and pension benefits. From these experiences she recognizes the relationship between economic disparities, to include access to healthcare and education, and the criminal justice system. Her recent volunteer activities include working as a court appointed attorney representing indigent defendants at bail bond proceedings, mentoring and interviewing first year law students for the American Bar Association (ABA) - Judicial Internship Opportunity Program (JIOP), participating as a government panelist for the ABA Law Student Division, and serving as the Legislative Co-chair for the Washington Bar Association – Young Lawyers Division. In her free time, Amanda enjoys road trips and exploring the art community. She is an aspiring photographer, painter, and national park enthusiast.
Daniela is a marketing strategist and storyteller. Born and raised in the Bay Area, she started her advocacy work by organizing youth protests against California’s Proposition 8 and budget cuts to K-12 programs. Daniela graduated with honors from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Professional Writing, Business Communication. While there, her focus as an organizer was building community empathy and deconstructing the different components of the local housing crisis, sexual violence, and racial injustice. She was elected External Chair of the Isla Vista Community Relations Committee, a UCSB Associated Students non-profit centered on fostering community relationships by organizing arts and culture festivals, funding after-school childcare programs, and supporting advocacy efforts for local issues. Daniela interned for Pacific Gas & Electric, where she helped develop the Diversity & Inclusion section of the Compliance and Ethics training received by 23,000 employees. Eager to learn more about how to create social change across sectors, Daniela came back to San Francisco as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. As a fellow, she created digital marketing strategies for the California State Coastal Conservancy, the Campaign for Female Education, and planned the 2015 Behind the Click: Women of Color in STEM and Social Justice panel for Black Girls CODE. Daniela later joined the marketing team at a fintech startup on a mission to create a straightforward path to homeownership, where she managed the redesign the customer experience and sales model through journey mapping and automation. She is currently an Associate Marketing Manager at Linkedin, focusing on product communications to empower customers and recruiting leaders to be more successful in their hiring efforts. She also sits on the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, Bay Area Institute organizing board. Daniela hopes help build better, more connected movements for change by emphasizing the importance of self-awareness, political consciousness, and collective action in every sector.
Roxana joined Rising Sun Energy Center in April 2017 as a Policy Associate. In her current role, Roxana advocates for Rising Sun’s policy positions related to workforce development, energy efficiency, economic equity, and climate resilience at the local and state level. Prior to joining Rising Sun Energy Center, Roxana worked as a Technical Project Manager at the Center for Transportation and the Environment. She managed a $17 million portfolio of advanced technology transportation demonstration projects, helped create a workforce training program for zero emission buses, and developed new business opportunities.Roxana also worked at California Air Resources Board from 2012 to 2015 where she developed regulations and educational efforts related to zero emission vehicles. She worked with the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research to develop the Zero-Emission Vehicles in California: Community Readiness Guidebook. Roxana also led the development of several resources disseminating the state-of-technology and best practices for fuel cell electric vehicles and hydrogen refueling infrastructure.
She has a Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Irvine and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. At the University of California, Irvine, Roxana was a graduate student researcher at the National Fuel Cell Research Center and worked on the world’s first demonstration of tri-generation of hydrogen, electricity, and heat from a stationary fuel cell.
Miya is a Consultant at FSG, a nonprofit firm that works with foundations, businesses, nonprofits, and governments focused on social change. Her work at FSG has focused on collective impact (multisector collaboration) and foundation strategy development, with a particular focus on physical and mental health equity and social determinants of health such as education and economic security.Before FSG, she taught Public Narrative with Professor Marshall Ganz at the Harvard Kennedy School and worked with students on grassroots organizing efforts, such as organizing with hotel workers to secure their rights to fair labor conditions. Previously, Miya worked in Washington, D.C. as a political appointee for the Obama Administration at the Department of Health and Human Services and as a White House Associate in the Office of the Vice President. She also worked as a Supply Chain Analyst for Partners in Health in rural Rwanda, where she helped improve the management and distribution of essential medicines and medical supplies, worked to improve care for premature babies, and streamlined services at an HIV clinic for youth.Miya received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology-Behavioral Neuroscience from Yale University and her Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida.
Lisa Hu is a young AAPI changemaker, passionate about channeling community voice and embedding racial equity in real-world policy solutions. She currently serves as Special Projects Coordinator at the Greenlining Institute, an Oakland-based racial justice policy organization, where she has tackled fundraising and development, environmental equity issues, post-election strategy development, arts engagement, and energy equity policy.Lisa’s experiences include work with sex trafficking survivors, low-income youth, and refugees; she has also worked with education and tech nonprofits and government agencies of varying scales, from local government to the United Nations Development Programme. Across a variety of issue areas and scales of impact, Lisa employs power analyses to center voices of the most impacted in decision-making. She brings experience in policy analysis, research and advocacy, strategy development, coalition-building, leadership development, public speaking, and communications. She dedicates her advocacy to bridging grassroots activism and lived experiences with strategic policy agendas to advance equity for communities of color and low-income communities.Lisa’s background as a writer and performer drives her understanding of power; her lived and professional experiences fuel her passion for equity and social justice as her life’s work. Raised between the Boston area and the Bay Area, Lisa completed her undergraduate in the Midwest at Macalester College, where she studied Geography, Political Science, Environmental Studies, and Community and Global Health. Lisa was a 2013 Public Policy and Leadership Conference participant at the Harvard Kennedy School, a 2014 Public Policy and International Affairs Law Fellow at UC Berkeley, a 2016 Hope Institute Fellow at the Democratic National Committee, and a 2017 Young People For (YP4) Fellow. She is thrilled to join the NLC Oakland family.
Mitzi is the oldest daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico. Her parents worked as a welder and school teacher and instilled the importance of getting an education to help support the community. She was raised in East Oakland where she attending public schools in the San Antonio District and participated in many community organizations that focused on mentorships, relationship building, networking, and academic support.Mitzi obtained a double major in Social Welfare & Chicano Studies, with a minor in Education from UC Berkeley. She decided to continue her community learning by obtaining a Masters in Counseling focusing on College and School Counseling from San Francisco State University. She currently works as an Assistant Director for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at UC Berkeley where she works with first generation, low income, and historically underrepresented students which include undocumented students. Some of her current efforts include the EOP STEM Mentorship Program, the Graduation Gown Lending Project and Wellness Apparel Project. Mitzi also commits time to her sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc., by serving in the National Convention Committee for the past five years. She oversees the 3 day leadership conference which includes workshops, trainings, networking and bonding events that bring together over 600 sorority sisters from around the nation.
Lindley Mease is an interdisciplinary problem solver dedicated to advancing social justice and ecological regeneration. She co-founded Blue Heart, an organization that weaves visionary art with stories from frontline movement builders to mobilize people to give to local movements for social justice. In this role she is working to build accountability and humility into philanthropic giving, and to elevate the scrappy organizations building political power in low-income communities and communities of color in Oakland and nationally. Prior to Blue Heart, Lindley was a Senior Research Analyst at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment. As senior staff, Lindley led organizational change-making and managed interdisciplinary design and policy projects creating impact across the land-sea interface. Lindley currently teaches a class on human-centered design for graduate students at Stanford University; is a trained mediator and counselor; and organizes with LeftRoots, a national formation of social movement activists. Lindley has a M.S. in Earth System Science and a B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University. Although her roots run deep beneath the Cascades of Washington State, she has fallen hard for the Sierras and the Redwoods that surround her home of Oakland.
Menaka is passionate about where people live, work and play. She worked at the new Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) where she transformed the City’s Pedestrian Plan to focus on equity, safety, vitality and responsiveness. She also launched the City’s first street mural program, called Paint the Town! which allows community members to paint ground/street murals on residential streets. Prior to OakDOT, Menaka worked at the San Francisco Planning Department, where she was a lead planner for several pieces of affordable housing legislation, and managed the community outreach for several programs including: HOME-SF, a program that provides development incentives in exchange for 30% on-site affordable housing. Prior to SF Planning, Menaka worked at Prevention Institute, a national non-profit dedicated to primary prevention, where she focused on health equity, the connection between the built environment and public health, and prevention in California. Menaka currently works as a legislative aide in San Francisco working on citywide land use policies. She loves to run around Lake Merritt and get muddy at Redwood Regional Park.
Kimberly Muñoz is an organizer, web developer and recovering digital campaigner. She grew up in the Coachella Valley where her family were strong supporters of the United Farm Workers. She got her start in progressive politics volunteering with Obama for America in college, temporarily serving as New Media Lead for Organizing for America in California. In 2012, she was part of the founding team for Congressman Raul Ruiz’s campaign to unseat Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack in her home district and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work with Rebuild the Dream. After Rebuild, she worked on digital campaigns and web development projects with organizations like Sierra Club, CREDO Action and the Citizen Engagement Lab with ShareProgress and served as Technology and Innovation Fellow at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to make our financial institutions work for all Americans. She currently works as a developer at Slack where she is a member of #earthtones, the employee resource group for people of color, and volunteers for organizations like Code2040 to get more underrepresented people into technology jobs. She serves as a board member for Techtonica, a program to get more women and non-binary adults from low income backgrounds in technology, and the Claremont McKenna College Alumni Association. She lives in Oakland with her husband and dogs.
Thomas Omolo is currently pursuing his Master of City Planning and Master of Public Health degrees at the University of California at Berkeley. He was born abroad, moved to the Bay Area when he was 8 years old, and has always loved exploring outdoors, learning about the natural world, and encouraging others to appreciate their surrounding environment. While working for the U.S. Forest Service Urban Field Station in Philadelphia, he coordinated an environmental science competition for high school students, helped start one of the first citizen science-based longitudinal study of the urban forest, and taught elementary and middle school students about an array of natural science topics.His exposure to high-level strategies aiming to level inequities in access to public outdoor space, education systems, and healthy neighborhoods strongly resonates with his belief that everyone should have the right to feel proud of their neighborhood, regardless of zip code, skin color, or bank account balance.Currently, he is working at the Richmond City Manager’s Office and using public data and graphical information systems (GIS) to inform community center programming in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Thomas is also a research fellow with Cal’s Institute of Urban and Regional Development, where he’s focused on utilizing community-based participatory research to track revitalized neighborhood change after a park greening intervention.He hopes to continue to collaborate with urban communities to create their own green spaces within walking distance of their homes and to plan beautiful and functional natural environments across cities.
Tom leads the student product experience at the Khan Academy. Almost all he dreams about is getting more people doing more learning for free on Khan Academy's website and apps. The mission is to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Tom has been at Khan for almost fives years as the non-profit has grown from 6 million to 50+ million users. Tom thinks he has the best job in the world. Or, if not, at least Top 3.Before falling in love with Khan Academy, Tom has been an investor with the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund, a Global Fellow at LeapFrog Investments, a consultant at McKinsey, had a brief stint at the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet in Australia, and has an MBA from UC Berkeley. He is also on the board of the East Bay Innovation Academy, a startup Oakland public school, since it opened in 2013, and is a Resolution Guide at the Resolution Project, mentoring education entrepreneurs, since 2012.Tom and his wife moved to the East Bay from Sydney, Australia, six years ago, with the hope that Tom would find his dream job in education and technology. More recently he and his wife found their dream weird home in Oakland, and live there with 4–5 other close friends.Tom grew up in the middle of nowhere in rural Australia and is the youngest of seven in a patchwork family that has given him 15 sweet nieces and nephews and three million laughs.
Thato has a decade of experience strengthening institutions using a racial and gender equity framework. She has dedicated her career to improve the lives of those who are vulnerable and marginalized by laws, policies, and inadequate services. Thato is an experienced consultant, having worked in a wide range of topics, including: stakeholder engagement, policy planning and analysis, project management, grassroots organizing, organizational development and mixed methods research through a racial equity lens.Through her efforts to eliminate Anti-Blackness, Thato has worked closely to build community capacity and reform local governments to improve outcomes for individuals and families negatively impacted by interlocking systems of oppression.
Parker Rugeley is a Gas Attendant at Costco Wholesale in Hayward, California where he adheres to safety of all members in and out of the warehouse. Prior to this role, Parker focused his efforts on legislation and policy effecting the students at California State University East Bay and in the California State University system as the Director of Legislative Affairs of Associated Students Incorporated at CSU East Bay. As Director of Legislative Affairs Parker researched legislation, advocated and lobbied on behalf of the student body while writing resolutions and letters to our congressional members. He also works as a student assistant for Information Technology Services at East Bay. Currently, Parker attends CSU East Bay receiving his B.A. in Political Science with an option in Pre-Law and a B.S. in Criminal Justice with an option in Law Enforcement. While studying at California State University East Bay, Parker held the position of President for Gamma Zeta Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated for the 2017-2018 academic year and is currently serving in the United States Marine Corps Reserves as a Fire Support Man for 6th ANGLICO (Air Naval Gun Liaison Company). Parker is born and raised in Hayward, CA and currently resides there as a student.
Seema Rupani is a legal fellow with the Community Economic Justice (CEJ) clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC). The daughter of immigrants from South Africa and Kenya of South Asian descent, Seema grew up in Union City, California, and has been actively involved in social justice work for over a decade. She joined CEJ to combat the displacement of low-income communities of color in her home of the East Bay and to help build long-term solutions to the growing economic and housing crises. Prior to law school, Seema worked as an organizer with Green For All, where she worked on national green jobs initiatives, and with Phat Beets Produce, where she engaged in community organizing for neighborhood health and food justice in North Oakland. She also worked as a researcher with the Center for Environmental Health and Eat Drink Politics. Seema currently serves on the board of Oakland Communities United for Equity and Justice.During law school, Seema defended youth in the juvenile justice and education systems with EBCLC’s Youth Defender Clinic and the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office. She was the inaugural Racial Justice Extern at the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office where she worked on a project to address racial disparities in juries. Seema also worked on statewide litigation and policy advocacy to defend civil rights on criminal justice and immigration issues as an intern with the ACLU of Northern California. On her campus, Seema served as the Director of Equity & Inclusion for the Coalition for Diversity and the Self-Care and Healing Coordinator for the Women of Color Collective.Seema also spends her time being outdoors, watching comedy, and listening to 90’s hip-hop and R&B, as well as cooking vegan food, being with family and friends, and practicing meditation – a very important part of her life.
Yoana Tchoukleva is an attorney, activist and organizer, devoted to supporting the efforts of local communities of color to find collective healing from the wounds of the past and collective liberation from the oppressive forces of the present. Following their lead, she hopes to lend her legal skills to the creation of a truly equitable and humane justice system. Her work is rooted in her own path to healing after growing up in a Bulgarian family torn apart by abuse, violence, and intergenerational trauma resulting from decades of systemic oppression.Yoana immigrated to the US at the age of 15. During her college and post-college years, she dedicated herself to international human rights work. She started a bakery with widows and orphans from the genocide in Rwanda, helped build a memorial for the survivors of the war in Northern Uganda, and worked as a case manager at UNHCR’s office in Malaysia advocating for Rohingya refugee children. She received a B.A. from the University of Chicago, as well as an award for her writings challenging the NGO industrial complex in post-genocide Rwanda.Seeking to understand how the unaddressed legacies of slavery and settler colonialism continue to cause human rights violations here in the US, Ioana decided to pursue a law degree at UC Berkeley School of Law. There she co-founded two legal projects, chaired a number of student organizations, including the Restorative Justice Committee and the National Lawyers’ Guild Bay Area Student Chapter, and served as an editor on the California Law Review. The Post-Conviction Advocacy Project, one of the projects she founded, trains law students to represent lifers in parole hearings and has helped dozens of lifers regain their freedom after decades behind bars.As a barred attorney, Yoana set out implement California’s Fair Sentencing for Youth Act and ensure that individuals sentenced to juvenile life without parole had access to counsel and a chance at resentencing. The ACLU of Northern California adopted her fellowship and hired her as a litigation fellow, in which capacity she served for over a year. Yoana then clerked for Judge Thelton E. Henderson of the Northern District of California and is currently joining Oakland’s expanding restorative justice movement. Yoana has received a number of awards, including the 2012 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, the 2015 Rights and Leadership Award, and the 2016 Unsung Hero Award.
Sharon Velasquez is a Chicana born in Los Angeles and raised in the Inland Empire. She obtained her Bachelor's degree in English Literature and Public Affairs from UCLA. Currently, Sharon is Economic Equity Manager at The Greenlining Institute, a racial equity and policy advocacy organization advancing economic opportunity for communities of color. She is guided by a mission to bring justice, economic opportunity, and self-determination to the Latino community.Sharon is an advocate because she believes power concedes nothing without demands. She lives by the motto, “I can and I will.”
Gabriel Villarreal is a passionate community advocate and dedicated coalition builder working to create equity and opportunity for low-income and marginalized communities. Gaining inspiration from his immigrant grandparents, and raised Mexican-Filipino in Chula Vista, California, Gabriel seeks to embody the ethos that, “Those to whom much is given, much is expected.” He is currently working as a Policy Advocate with the non-profit small business lender Opportunity Fund. With Opportunity Fund, Gabriel is working to advance fair lending standards for commercial lending at the local, state, and national levels. His goal is to ensure that small businesses can be a driver of economic sovereignty, opportunity, and intergenerational wealth for historically marginalized communities. Prior to joining Opportunity Fund, Gabriel served as a CA Capitol Fellow in the office of State Assemblymember Mark Stone where he worked on policy issues and legislation relating to banking and finance, juvenile justice reform, human trafficking, social services, education, and labor. While there he staffed two bills signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. He has also served as an Americorp Resident In Social Impact (RISE) Fellow at the Oakland Public Education Fund where he built a model for advancing diversity in children’s literature through volunteer and community involvement. This resulted in Oakland Unified Schools District’s first ever district-wide African-American Read-In and subsequent read-ins focused on the Latinx and Asian communities. A resident of Oakland for over two years, a native San Diegan, and a proud Californian, he has been told by his out-of-state friends he is a stereotype of the Golden State. Gabriel enjoys running, power yoga, playing guitar, dancing, ice cream and nerf battles with his goddaughter, listening and telling stories with friends and family over some quality beer, and reading very nerdy science fiction novels. Gabriel received his Bachelors degree in Political Studies with a minor in Sociology from Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Colleges, and has also received graduate training in public policy analysis from Sacramento State.
Courtney is an affordable housing advocate dedicated to fighting displacement and homelessness throughout the Bay Area and her hometown of Oakland, CA. She currently is the Administrative and Membership Associate for the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. Prior to joining NPH, Courtney founded her own virtual assistant firm, Courtney Consulting Agency, where she provided administrative, customer, and operations support for minority-owned small businesses and startups. Courtney's volunteer and community work includes working with the National Low Income Housing Coalition on local and national call to action campaigns and serving on East Bay Housing Organization’s Oakland Committee, and was recently accepted into EBHO's 2018 Leadership Academy. Courtney is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Administration.
Angelica Zabanal is a licensed attorney, aspiring community organizer, and civil rights activist-social justice academic. She currently serves as an Associate of Selman Breitman LLP. Angelica is passionate about all things progressive, especially with regard to equal access to justice, health, and education; juvenile/criminal justice reform; implicit bias; and disparity awareness.Angelica graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in dance. She received honors distinction from the Program in Ethics in Society for her thesis on the ethics and efficacy of a rehabilitative approach to the juvenile justice system in California. Angelica also holds a law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai’i at Manoa. While in law school, Angelica founded Law for Youth Empowerment (LYtE), a law student organization dedicated to juvenile justice. Through LYtE, she coordinated and led trauma sensitivity training to law student facilitators of law-related education workshops for incarcerated youth at the Hawai‘i Youth Correctional Facility. She also organized Hawai’i’s first Juvenile Justice Community Gathering, which brought together community leaders and members of the Hawai‘i State judiciary, State Senators and Legislators, State agencies, nonprofit organizations, and law school faculty and students to discuss ongoing juvenile justice initiatives in Hawai‘i.A daughter of Filipino immigrants, Angelica was born in Los Angeles and raised in Hawai’i with her four siblings. She is fluent in Tagalog. Angelica moved to the Bay Area in 2005, and she is a proud resident of Oakland. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Women’s Committee of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California. She has previously served as a board member of the Alameda County and Mid-Peninsula (Palo Alto) chapters of the ACLU of Northern California.Angelica’s life goal is to make the world a better place by using the law as a vehicle for social change.
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