Justin Bradley currently works at Sungevity, an Oakland-based Solar Leasing company, as a Finance Operations Specialist. He also volunteers with Power to the People, a non-profit installing off-grid solar electric systems in rural areas of Nicaragua, where he's helped launch a new program to enable Nicaraguan women sell micro-solar lanterns to their fellow community members. Prior to joining Sungevity, he worked on improving operations and expansion plans as an AmeriCorps VISTA with GRID Alternatives, an Oakland-based non-profit solar contractor that uses volunteers to install solar on the homes of families with a low income across the state of California. Before moving to the Bay Area, Justin completed 2 years of AmeriCorps including a year in Philadelphia organizing students to create community activism projects and a year with Habitat for Humanity of East King County as a volunteer coordinator. Originally from New Jersey, Justin attended Drexel University in Philadelphia graduating with a B.S. in Psychology with minors in Political Science and Economics. Justin firmly believes we can use renewable energy implementation in creative ways to tackle many of the tough social, economic and environmental issues we face today.
Ecaterina Burton, Advocacy and Education Associate, Alameda County Community Food Bank
Ecaterina Burton is the Advocacy and Education Associate at the Alameda County Community Food Bank, one of the few food banks in the country to do policy work and grassroots organizing. Her passion for organizing began when she was a social worker in Michigan and helped her first client successfully fight off an illegal eviction. Upon moving to California and serving in Americorps, she negotiated the removal of an unjust food stamps requirement that impacted 40,000 people. In the past year, she has worked with various coalitions that protected the safety net at the local, state and federal level, including a major overhaul of Alameda County's General Assistance program. Growing up in the military in a multiracial family, Ecaterina has lived all over the USA and abroad. Seeing both her parents selflessly serve in the Marine Corps, Ecaterina knew she always wanted to serve and protect others as well. She graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Psychology. A big believer in people power, Ecaterina spends her free time volunteering with the Ella Baker Center in its civic engagement campaign to make Oakland better through organizing its most disenfranchised neighborhoods. If she isn't organizing, you can find her rock climbing or cooking food with friends.
Victor Corral, Evaluation Analyst, Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)
Victor Corral is an Evaluation Analyst at the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating economic justice for San Francisco’s low- and moderate-income Latino families through asset development. Previously, Victor was the Program Manager for the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative, a national effort to close the racial wealth gap in a generation at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. At the Insight Center, Victor helped lead a national network of experts of color on asset building to develop and advocate for racially equitable public policies. Victor cut his social justice teeth as a researcher and writer at the Applied Research Center, a racial justice think tank where he co-authored reports on race and the economy. He has volunteered at the tech start-up Sumazi, and served on the Board of Directors of the Mission Economic Development Agency. Victor graduated from UC Berkeley and worked at the Center for Latino Policy Research. His writing has appeared at the Huffington Post and Colorlines. Victor is a native of Mexico and a proud veteran of the US Navy.
Melvin Cowan, Youth Development Specialist, Juma Ventures
Native to the Bluegrass Hills of Lexington, KY, Melvin earned his B.A. in Speech Communication with a concentration in Entrepreneurship for the Public Good, from Berea College. Committing over a decade to community and youth development, Melvin has traveled the nation to educate youth and young adults about leadership, entrepreneurship and the benefits of higher education. Melvin has served three terms in Americorp focusing on eradicating poverty, illiteracy and community awareness. It is his mission to turn tomorrow’s leaders into community oriented problem solvers who are confident in their ability to perform phenomenal tasks while inspiring others to do the same. Currently, Melvin serves as a Youth Development Specialist for the nation’s longest run youth development social enterprise, Juma Ventures. At Juma, he provides employment opportunities, financial literacy, educational support, college access, and leadership development to Bay Area youth. Melvin lives an exciting life and participates in extreme activities such as Krav Maga, boxing, full combat fighting, surfing, sky diving, snowboarding, mountain bike riding, and hiking. Whether it is jamming in street parades, drumming for cultural events, dancing to create awareness, or spitting that hot fire on the stage, Melvin is everywhere.
Katie Drasser, Deputy Director, The Aspen Institute
Katie is a Senior Program Officer at the Aspen Institute where she leads global health and development initiatives. She works closely with the World Health Organization other key partners on a variety of issues including the global shortage of health workers and the centrality of reproducive health in sustainable development. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Katie worked nationally and around the world on global health and development initiatives, including HIV/AIDS implementation strategies in Romania, operations research for private health services in Myanmar and the scale up of Kenya’s national emergency medical system through a public-private partnership. Katie also spent time leading a range of start-ups that included designing a network of charter schools, integrating microfinance with other development activities, and most notably was instrumental to the success of Good Capital, a venture fund that invests in expanding social enterprises. She continues in her role as Deputy Director of Policy Dialogues for the Opportunity Collaboration, a position she has held since its founding. Originally from Boston, Katie holds a BA in political science from Colgate University and MSPH in global health policy and administration from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Janet Frishberg is the co-founder and co-coordinator of the Female Sexuality Workshop for the Community (FemSexComm), a peer-to-peer led workshop that uses female sexuality as a lens to engage and grapple with the social forces that inform individual experiences, exploring topics ranging from body image to female health to communication and consent to empowerment. Drawing from the long-running student led courses at UC Berkeley and Brown University, Janet started FemSexComm in 2011 with the hopes of allowing those outside of the university setting to access the workshop. While continuing to run two sections in San Francisco, FemSexComm will expand to Oakland in the spring. Janet works at a workforce development non-profit by day, where she enjoys helping job seekers build their job search skills and doing outreach on an online job seeker's guide. Originally from the Bay Area, she attended UC Berkeley, studying Psychology and Sustainable Food Systems. In her last year at school, Janet co-led a food justice effort to successfully prevent a national fast-food chain from coming onto campus, and was honored to help found the Berkeley Student Food Collective as a result of that work. In addition to helping to drive social change, Janet enjoys reading real paper books, eating leafy greens, and writing.
Cristal Gallegos, Program Coordinator/Director, La Voz Latina-Tenderloin Housing Clinic
Cristál is a passionate human rights activist who runs La Voz Latina, a community empowerment and family resource center that was founded in 2005, born from a need for a community resource center for Latino immigrants living in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, and is a project of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. La Voz Latina seeks to engage Latino immigrants and their families- particularly children, who are at the forefront of the work of La Voz Latina. Latinos are a thriving and ever-growing population, and in the Tenderloin, represent a formidable and active community who are advocates for immigrant rights, housing rights, community safety, and who place a high priority on children. Although the Tenderloin has a notorious reputation fostered by many stereotypes, and has a high percentage of people living at or below the poverty level, the Tenderloin also has a higher concentration of children than any other neighborhood in San Francisco. These youth are forced to deal with the repercussions of these stereotypes and the negative reputation. This is a critical fact for Cristál who believes that this generation of youth, particularly immigrant youth, are the bridge to our future. Cristál was drawn to La Voz by the incredible work that has been done by its founders as well as the groundbreaking work the Tenderloin Housing Clinic has done in the neighborhood for over 30 years. She hopes to see La Voz grow, expand and engage more leaders in the Tenderloin. Cristál is a native of Tucson, Arizona and a sixth-generation Arizonan who moved to San Francisco 8 years ago. She grew up in an activist household as the daughter of a migrant farm worker/organizer father and a human rights attorney/activist mother. She comes from a tradition of struggle, and as the granddaughter of the founder of the Mine, Mill, and Smelter workers union, she understands the fundamental importance of community organizing and activism. Prior to her work with La Voz Latina, Cristál has volunteered with Prison Radio, Freedom Archives, The Center for Third World Organizing, and was a union organizer for Justice for Janitors, SEIU 1877. She received her B.A. from San Francisco State University with a double major in Raza Studies and Political Science. Cristál loves to enjoy the outdoors with her furry companions: a Pekingese and a blue nose Pit bull who love life in the Bay Area. When she is not organizing with Latino families in the Tenderloin, or hanging with her pups at Ocean Beach, you can find her challenging the paradigms of white privilege and having heated discussions on the politics of machismo, immigration, gender, and sexuality.
Mai-Ling Garcia, Federal Government
Mai-Ling Garcia is currently working for the federal government. Mai-Ling was previously a Senior Policy Associate for Swords to Plowshares, a nonprofit service organization for military veterans. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley and was awarded a Haas Research Fellowship to conduct in-depth interviews and research analysis on American military families. In 2005, she was named a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. Ms. Garcia is co-author of "Defining a New Age of Veteran Care: A Primer for Understanding Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans", a nationwide online training for social workers, therapists, and counselors provided in conjunction with the National Association of Social Workers. She has testified before the California State Senate and continues to speak on behalf of veterans and their families. Mai-Ling spent her childhood in Simi Valley, California, a suburb outside of Los Angeles. Currently, she lives with her husband, Bryan in the beautiful city of Oakland, California. Mai-Ling is a chronic traveler, recreational yogi and an enthusiast of sugary confections.
Jonathan Hasak, Coordinator of Intervention, Sankofa Academy
Jonathan Hasak currently works as the Coordinator of Intervention and Resource Specialist at Sankofa Academy in Oakland. He is particularly interested in learning how to enact systemic change that promotes literacy for students from low-income communities at a national level and is hoping to transition to policy work in the near future. Upon graduating Bard College where he received his bachelor of arts degree in creative writing, Jonathan worked as a behaviorist in Los Angeles public schools before moving to Tel Aviv to teach English. In 2010, Jonathan became a Teach For America corps member, believing he could be an agent of change for low performing students. Aside from teaching, Jonathan recently completed a fellowship with Great Oakland Public Schools where he worked on increasing its network of teachers and continues to intern for Obama For America in San Francisco, where he assists the campaign's finance committee. Last year "ZYZZYVA" published his first short story and he continues to work on publishing his first novel. In March, he is running his first half marathon. Jonathan has two brilliant younger siblings and lives with his girlfriend. He was born in Israel, raised in Los Angeles, and recently obtained an Estonian passport.
Clifford Hong, Principal, Roosevelt Middle School
Cliff Hong is in his second year as Principal of Roosevelt Middle School in the Oakland Unified School District in Oakland, California. Before that, he worked as an Assistant Principal at Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland for two years and taught middle and high school for seven years, starting in 2002. Through Teach For America, he taught in the South Bronx in New York City, and then taught in Syracuse, New York, and finally, in Oakland. Cliff received his Bachelor's of Arts from UC Berkeley, a Master’s in Teaching from Pace University, and recently completed a Master’s in Education through the esteemed Principal Leadership Institute at UC Berkeley. In 2009, Cliff was named one of Phi Delta Kappan's Emerging Leaders and also received the PDK Charles Foster Fellowship in Educational Leadership. Cliff is an ardent advocate for public education, which he sees as being absolutely necessary for a democracy to thrive, and his vision for Roosevelt is that it function as a full-service community school that “empowers every student to build better communities." Cliff is from Hacienda Heights, California, and currently lives in Oakland with his partner Lindsay and son Yuji.
Smita Hussain, Social Media Coordinator, Community Health for Asian Americans
Smita Nadia Hussain is the Social Media Coordinator at Community Health for Asian Americans (CHAA,) a non-profit that assists refugees and marginalized API communities in the Bay Area. Nadia documents the stories of these communities for CHAA through blogging, photography and narrative storytelling. Nadia is the founder of Us Ordinary People, a photoblog that documents the stories of individuals who have immigrated to the US. She is currently working on public relations for the documentary “Into the Current: Burma’s Political Prisoners”. Before CHAA, Nadia was the Legal Coordinator at Manavi, a NJ based anti-violence organization working with South Asian Women. Nadia obtained her BA in Political Science from Rutgers University. While at Rutgers she was the first intern at the Bangladesh Mission to the United Nations. As a student leader, she helped to establish Bengali language courses at her University. Nadia is actively involved as a writer/perfomrer for Yoni Ki Baat, the South Asian version of the Vagina Monologues. She is also deeply involved with SAALT, a national civil rights organization for South Asians and ASATA, a Bay Area activist group working to organize and empower Bay Area South Asian communities. Nadia enjoys traveling, reading voraciously, photojournalism and dancing samba.
Sukie Jefferson, Student, University of San Francisco
Sukie Aïda Jefferson is a cum laude graduate of Spelman College who double majored in Sociology and Anthropology while completing a minor in Public Health from Morehouse College. Her interest in cultural Anthropology and global health led her to study Western and traditional Brazilian health practices in Bahia, Brazil while researching environmental justice issues in the local favelas. Sukie spent a recent summer working under the direction of Juliana Myeya in the Mwanza region of North-Western Tanzania as an intern for CARE International. Her research focused on evaluating a Women and Girls Empowerment Program (WAGE II) that seeks to bring quality reproductive and sexual health services to marginalized women and adolescent girls. As a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar, Sukie plans to continue traveling the world and developing innovative action plans for communal transformation and social change. After receiving her doctorate in Public Health, Sukie will move overseas and work with a non-profit agency to contribute her efforts towards the eradication of global poverty. Sukie is the youngest of 3 and is currently living in Oakland California, where she is earning her Master of Public Health from the University of San Francisco.
Masharika Maddison, Director of Regional Communications, Teach For America
Masharika Prejean Maddison is a passionate advocate for educational equity in our nation, and has an unwavering belief in the academic potential of children living in low-income communities. She is particularly compelled to be an agent for positive change in the lives of children and families living in San Francisco's Bayview Hunters Point community. Masharika currently serves as a Director of Regional Communications at Teach For America, and was a teacher in Bayview Hunters Point. She received her bachelor of arts degree in Political Economy from Tulane University and has a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas - Austin. Upon completion of her graduate studies, she became a Presidential Management Fellow, where she served as the Special Assistant to the Department Spokesman. In this capacity, she traveled extensively around the world with the spokesman and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; managing Dr. Rice's media efforts abroad. Masharika is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, and is the mother of one son, Sims Amari. She is a former collegiate volleyball player and is an avid runner. She has completed 11 marathons, including the Boston Marathon.
Emma Radovich, Major Gifts Coordinator, ACLU of Northern California
Emma is the Major Gifts Coordinator at the ACLU of Northern California, focusing her fundraising efforts on the SAFE California ballot initiative campaign to replace California’s dysfunctional death penalty system with life without possibility of parole. She spends her days developing solicitation strategies for high-net-worth individuals, producing campaign materials, and cheering on a team of volunteer fundraisers. Before joining the ACLU, Emma spent a little over two years fundraising for NARAL Pro-Choice California. Her experience in pro-choice politics has led to her growing interest in the interplay between diminished public and increased private sector support of reproductive health policies. She hopes to one day combine her interest in fundraising with a career improving health care access for women and girls. Emma also serves on the board of Good Ol’ Girls, a progressive women’s networking and professional development organization. She received a BA in Art History from UC Berkeley, a degree that she finds useful when giving impromptu museum tours to friends and family. When not fighting the good fight, Emma enjoys searching for creative outlets, learning to play tennis, and trying to find the best chilaquiles in San Francisco.
Paria Rajai, Marketing Manager, Daraja Academy
Paria Rajai is part of the leadership team that helped develop Daraja Academy, one of the first entirely free secondary schools for girls in East Africa. The academy provides smart and driven girls a high school education with emphasis on leadership skills, cross-cultural education and female empowerment. Paria lived on campus in Kenya for a year. Upon her return to the US, she has managed various marking and fundraising initiatives. She spearheaded the Race for Daraja in San Francisco which got over 70 supporters to participate in Bay to Breakers, including the reigning Bay to Breakers champion. The race raised awareness and over $50,000. Additionally, she led a campaign that officially partnered Daraja with the Girl Effect, a world-renowned female empowerment initiative backed by Nike and the United Nations. Previously, Paria worked in Finance at Yahoo! and assisted the Yahoo! Business and Human Rights Program, a division of the technology company that integrates human rights issues into the way Yahoo! makes business decisions. Paria grew up in the Bay Area and received her BA in International Development from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a member of Future Women Leaders and a proud mentor at 'Year Up!'.
Darin Ranahan currently works as an associate attorney at Siegel, LeWitter & Malkani, a small plaintiffs'/union-side firm representing workers in employment and labor disputes. Since attending law school, Darin has clerked, volunteered, and worked for a number of organizations focusing on direct representation and advocacy on behalf of workers, having headed the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, volunteered with the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center's Workers' Rights Clinic, and worked with the Boalt Hall Labor Coalition to organize events in solidarity with on-campus unions. Darin was also a clinical student with the East Bay Community Law Center's Community Economic Justice Clinic, working with other non-profits in coalitions advancing the economic interests of low-income communities and communities of color in the East Bay. Darin attended law school at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall) and went to college at Brown University, where his concentration was Urban Studies. Darin is originally from the suburbs in the East Bay. In another life, Darin was involved in playing and promoting music, but finds fewer and fewer opportunities to do so as life (and law) have gotten in the way in recent years.
Jonathon Stewart, Student, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley
Jonathon is currently pursuing a Master’s degree from the Goldman School of Public Policy (UC Berkeley) where he is focused on education policy. In 2005, Jonathon graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics and Statistics. After graduating, he taught high school mathematics in Oakland as a Teach For American corps member. Upon completing his two-year teaching commitment, Jonathon worked with DonorsChoose.org, a non-profit that enables people to fund classroom projects. At DonorsChoose.org, Jonathon helped the organization transition from a regional network to a national organization. After leaving DonorsChoose.org, Jonathon returned to Oakland Unified School District as a staff member. Working in the Research and Assessment department, Jonathon helped coordinate Oakland's district assessment program and train teachers to effectively use assessment data to improve instruction. Jonathon was born and raised in Southern New Jersey where his family still resides. Currently, he lives in Oakland, CA with his wife, Jessica, and two cats, Barnum and Bailey. He and his wife are avid travelers and also enjoy playing board games such as Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride.
Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager, SPUR
Eli Zigas is the Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager at SPUR, a non-profit think-tank and advocacy organization in San Francisco. He works on policy related to urban agriculture, regional foodshed planning, and creating a vibrant, accessible food system in the city and Bay Area. He also currently serves as volunteer co-coordinator of the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance. Before moving to the West Coast, Eli was program manager for DC Vote, which works to end taxation without representation in our nation’s capital. In that capacity, he managed foundation and direct-mail fundraising and assisted with outreach programs. Prior to working for DC Vote, Eli was the communications manager for the Udall Legacy Bus Tour, a cross-country biodiesel bus tour promoting public service on environmental and Native American issues. A native of Washington, D.C., Eli made his way to San Francisco via Iowa, where he earned his B.A. in policy studies from Grinnell College. A passionate supporter of newspapers in their print form, Eli also enjoys spending time in kitchens, along hiking trails, and on the dance floor.