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Kerry Birnbach, Nutrition Policy Advocate, California Food Policy Advocates
Kerry Birnbach is a Nutrition Policy Advocate at California Food Policy Advocates, where she develops and implements policies to support the health of low-income populations by increasing access to healthy and affordable food. She currently serves as a board member on the National Women’s Political Caucus- Alameda Chapter and the East Bay Young Democrats. Kerry is an Associate Member of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee.
Previously, she worked as the Interfaith Voices Against Hunger Coordinator at the NYC Coalition Against Hunger. Originally from Berkeley, California, she received a BA from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and earned an MA of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin, where she served as an AmeriCorps Volunteer. In her spare time, Kerry tutors and mentors at a local elementary school, and likes to hike and paint.
Joseph Calderon, Outreach Coordinator, Magic Zone
Joseph “ Joe” Calderon is an Outreach Coordinator and Workforce Ambassador for Magic Zone, a non-profit that serves kindergarten through transitional-aged youth in the Western Addition district of San Francisco. Joe continually organizes community events that help find solutions to the community’s pressing needs in education, employment and social justice. His expertise is in the complexities surrounding the reentry population; including substance abuse, social support, social economic challenges and realigning with society.
Joe’s first hand experience includes serving seventeen years in prison and as a facilitator for Criminal and Gang Members Anonymous. Presently, Joe is giving back by serving on the San Francisco Reentry Council and the Equity Advisory Committee. He has a passion for working with multicultural and disenfranchised populations. He is now a deeply invested community member, who is currently addressing institutional discrimination and standing up for social justice with an understanding that community investment is priceless.
Tyra Fennell, Program Manager, San Francisco Arts Commission
Tyra Fennell joined the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2009 where she develops and implements community arts enrichment programs. As program manager, Tyra develops arts based programs such as StreetSmARTS, funded by the Department of Public Works. StreetSmARTS celebrates the vibrancy of urban art by connecting established muralists with private property owners in order to deter property vandalism. Tyra has facilitated the creation of over fifty murals in San Francisco and will continue with twenty additional murals this coming year.
As an agent of the Arts Commission, Ms. Fennell has been charged with growing arts enrichment events as a vehicle to encourage economic growth in District 10 (Bayveiw-Hunter’s Point, Potrero, Dog Patch and Visitation Valley). In this role, Tyra also cultivates strategic partnerships, develops marketing strategies and program evalutation tools. Such District 10 programs include 3rd on Third, Art in Storefronts, Where Art Lives in school mural art program and MUNI poster series art campaign. Tyra also managed the San Francisco Arts CommissionÍs MayorÍs Art Awards and is credited for starting SF49ers Vernon Davis’ Visual Arts Scholarship Fund.
Tyra currently serves as a Board Member for the Bayview YMCA and the Museum of the African Diaspora’s Vanguard Board. She also served on the host committee for San Francisco Beautiful’s Young and Beautiful fundraiser.
Brian Goldman, Attorney at Law, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Brian Goldman is a native of San Francisco, where he is currently an attorney with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. His practice focuses civil litigation at the appeals level on behalf of both corporate clients and individuals in need of free legal services. A graduate of Yale University and Stanford Law School, Brian served previously as a law clerk to Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the Supreme Court and Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He has also worked at the Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honors Program, Altshuler Berzon LLP (a union-side labor law firm), the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, and McKinsey & Company. Brian currently lives in Oakland with his wife and their rescue dog, and he enjoys hiking Bay Area trails with them every chance he gets.
Brandon Greene, Attorney & Law Fellow, Public Advocates
Brandon L. Greene is a California attorney and graduate of Boston University School of Law. He has spent the last several years working on education and civil rights issues while serving as a fellow with Education Pioneers and as the Northeastern Regional Attorney General with the National Black Law Students Association. Additionally, he served as the Education Chair of the Boston NAACP and as a legal fellow in the Office of Governor Deval PatricksÍs Legal Counsel.
Brandon is a community activist with a background in film and media. His work has been published at Huffington Post, Jack and Jill Politics, and the Well Versed. He has produced multimedia pieces for CBS/Max Preps, the Las Vegas Review Journal, and others. He currently serves as an attorney & law fellow with the San Francisco non-profit law firm Public Advocates, working on the education justice team as well as the housing, transportation, and climate justice team.
Erin Haney, Habeas Counsel, Habeas Corpus Resource Center
Erin Haney is currently an attorney with the Habeas Corpus Resource Center (HCRC) in San Francisco. In that capacity, Erin works with clients and witnesses, often for years at a time, to develop a social history and reframe the narrative around her clients’ actions and life in an effort to persuade the courts to reassess the punishment of death.
Through providing the courts and community with an alternate lens through which to see her clients, Erin is a powerful advocate for some of our most traumatized and forgotten citizens. Her choice of employment reflects Erin’s lifelong commitment to helping the most marginalized among us, as well as her adherence to the philosophy that no one should be judged solely by their very worst moment. While at HCRC, Erin is on leave from her position as a Deputy Public Defender in San Francisco, where she represented San Franciscans at the trial level. Erin previously litigated inmate civil rights suits as part of the UC Davis Civil Rights Clinic. During that time, Erin was honored to work on a team that won the first punitive damages in a case of its kind for an inmate suffering under California’s harsh prison conditions. After representing her client at the trial level, Erin was privileged to argue before the Ninth Circuit on his behalf.
Prior to attending law school, Erin completed her undergraduate studies at UC Santa Cruz in Psychology and American Studies, during which time she was a founding member of a comprehensive program to assist women transitioning out of jail and back into society. During her time in Santa Cruz, Erin worked as a investigator for the public defender’s office and volunteered at the Needle Exchange. Erin was also active in a pilot program that worked with battered women and the men convicted of perpetrating the abuse, in an effort to stop the cycle of violence.
In other current activities, Erin Haney is a founding member on the Board of Citizen Hope, a nonprofit organization which empowers people to bring about change through civic engagement, community building, service, and activism. Erin was born and raised in the Bay-Area, attending local public schools, and stays up with local politics, particularly those involving criminal justice and lower-income individuals. In her non-work life, Erin prioritizes her family – who she is extremely proud of – and loves watching her favorite Bay-Area sports teams with them.
Nicolas Heidorn, Special Assistant to the Secretary, California Environmental Protection Agency
Nicolas Heidorn is a lifelong Oaklander. He first became involved in OaklandÍs civic life in high school, serving on the city’s Youth Advisory Commission. Swept up in Oakland’s renaissance, he took a semester off college to return and work full-time in Jerry BrownÍs Mayor’s Office. After graduating, Nicolas went to work in the State Legislature as a member of the prestigious Capitol Fellows program and later for the successful statewide campaign to create an independent citizen’s redistricting commission (Proposition 11). Locally, he has been active pushing for election, public safety, and fiscal reforms. In 2013 he was appointed by Governor Brown as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Nicolas is a board member of Make Oakland Better Now!, a former commissioner on the City of Oakland’s Budget Advisory Committee, and co-founder of the now-defunct United Neighborhood Councils of Oakland.
Ivy Hest grew up in Florida and moved to Berkeley, CA, in August after a decade in Boston, MA. Ivy seeks to build power with communities that are ignored as others make decisions about them. She want to use her skills, strength, and passion in the most effective way she knows how: through organizing.
For much of Ivy’s life, she felt a strong connection to social justice issues and the struggle of low-income communities. Through out high school she focused on homeless issues and helped establish Students Taking Action Now: Darfur while studying at Brandeis University. She soon found that beyond specific issues she wanted to help others to become actors, not just observers, and to find this power herself. Upon graduating, Ivy participated in JOIN for Justice (formerly the Jewish Organizing Initiative), a year-long fellowship on community organizing and learned skills that changed her perspective on how change happens.
Her hunger for change drove her to take on many different issues and work as a community organizer with many different populations. Most recently she worked with Massachusetts Senior Action Council, helping low-income seniors fight for their rights. She organized campaigns on issues such as Social Security, public housing rights, and public transportation equity. She also expanded the organizationÍs volunteer-led voter engagement program and multi-lingual/multi-cultural capacity.
IvyÍs passion lies in building the leadership of others, supporting new organizers, and working to build the organizational capacity and effectiveness of social change organizations. To this end, she recently helped pilot a program that introduced youth organizations to community organizing principles.
In her spare time, Ivy co-founded and directed an a cappella group, the Mass Whole Notes. While starting her new life in California, she can be found singing jazz at local bars and volunteering for community organizations. She is always the first to volunteer to dress in costume for a direct action.
Jeffrey Hom , Physician , UCSF Department of Medicine
Jeffrey Hom is a resident physician in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. As a resident he cares for patients in the UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine, as well as in three San Francisco hospitals: UCSF Moffitt-Long Hospital, San Francisco General Hospital and the San Francisco VA Medical Center. His clinical interests include primary care, communicable diseases and palliative medicine. He is also an active member of the medical centerÍs ñHealth Systems and Leadershipî track, in which his quality improvement efforts focus on improving the care provided to patients with alcohol use disorder.
Prior to residency Jeff volunteered and worked at St. Anthony Foundation, a multi-service nonprofit in San FranciscoÍs Tenderloin neighborhood, where he helped serve over 54,000 meals to impoverished men, women and children, participated in the FoundationÍs Advocacy Committee and led its group volunteer program. His Letters to the Editor on domestic poverty, food insecurity and homelessness have appeared in the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Jeff has contributed to healthcare and public health efforts in San Francisco, Boston, and Shiprock, New Mexico, as well as internationally in Lesotho and Cambodia, which have fueled his desire to improve community well-being, reduce health disparities and advance social justice. For his efforts he was a scholarship recipient of Kaiser Permanente and was selected as a Zuckerman Fellow at HarvardÍs Center for Public Leadership.
Jeff remains committed to the common good, caring for underserved populations and in the application of research to advance public health, and welcomes opportunities to collaborate across sectors. He is humbled to be joining the NLC community and looks forward to bonding with the fellows, alumni and staff from all chapters nationwide whose vision of a healthier, stronger and more just society he shares.
A native San Franciscan, Jeff completed his undergraduate education with a degree in Art History at Bowdoin College. He received his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health and his MD from Harvard Medical School.
Nathanael Ligon, Business Developer, Advanced Clinical Services
Nathanael Ligon is an award-winning Marine Corps veteran, entrepreneur, and business developer. As a ten-year Information Technology veteran and Marine, he established help desk environments and led operations in a score of countries, restructuring the way the Marine Corps conducts its business globally. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Navy Unit Commendation Medal for his involvement in the recapture of a pirated cargo freighter off the Coast of East Africa.
He currently works with Advanced Clinical Services to provide consulting solutions to biotech and pharmaceutical companies in San Francisco and across the country. He combines a passion for minimalism and entrepreneurship on his mission to reshape the landscape of consumerism and excess for Generation-Y. He lives in Emeryville with his partner and two cats.
Edwin Lindo , Director, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Vormetric, Inc.
Edwin is a San Francisco native, with deep roots to the gorgeous City by The Bay. Currently, he is the Director of Legal & Corporate Affairs at Vormetric, Inc., with a focus on Intellectual Property and Real Estate Law. He sits on the board of the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, with a focus on providing more affordable housing to San Francisco residents. In 2014, he will launch a non-profit focused on providing high school-aged boys, from disadvantaged backgrounds, the navigational capital to succeed professionally and academically. Edwin received his undergraduate degree from the University of the Pacific in Business Administration, and his J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law.
Sonya Mehta, Educator, Education for Change Public Schools
Sonya Mehta lives, teaches, and engages in progressive education reform efforts in Oakland. In addition to serving students and families at her school site, Sonya is a 2014 teacher policy fellow with the Great Oakland (GO) Public Schools coalition, where she is working with colleagues to decrease teacher turnover in Oakland by creating more professional pathways for highly effective teachers. She also engages in classroom inquiry research with the Mills Teacher Scholars group, working with colleagues to collect and analyze data in our classrooms to better understand student learning. Additionally, Sonya is a lead teacher on the Urban Teacher Quality Index (UTQI) project initiated by the Teaching Excellence Network, which is working to dramatically redesign teacher evaluation so that is more grounded in the needs and priorities of the community, and so that the data collected on teacher performance can more directly be used to support teachers and improve instructional practice.
Sonya graduated with honors from UCLA, where she studied political science, community development, and Spanish. Throughout college, she worked on a variety of campaigns and legislative actions including the Obama 2007 primary race and 2008 general election (with Nevada headquarters), and the California and federal DREAM Acts to increase opportunities for undocumented youth. She was also selected as a national fellow with Young People For (YP4), an organization that works to to train progressive leaders on college campuses across the country. Toward the end of her college career, Sonya became invested in local Los Angeles issues, and was very active in electing longtime teacher and progressive leader Steve Zimmer to the LAUSD school board in 2009.
Sonya received her MA in education and bilingual credential (Spanish) from UC Berkeley in 2012, where her thesis focused on building young studentsÍ capacity to understand and voice their social and emotional needs, which is often a prerequisite for sustained academic success. In her graduate program, Sonya engaged in academic and field work around culturally competent pedagogy, developmentally targeted teaching, arts integration and project-based learning, and avenues for bringing social justice work into the classroom. She currently teaches in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, where she and her colleagues serve not only as educators, but also as social workers, legal advocates, cultural translators, and so much more.
Sonya sees her work in public education as profoundly political, with the potential for far-reaching impacts on social inequalities. She believes that more lasting changes happen when people from different progressive sectors work together, and coalition building is critical to her work.
Laurel Moeslein, Employment and Community Partnerships, SFOLaurel Moeslein has worked in San Francisco’s forgotten communities for more than a decade. A Bay Area native, Laurel attended the University of San Francisco where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Politics and Community Development. After taking the LSAT her senior year of college with the intent of enrolling in law school, she started her senior thesis and quickly changed paths. Her thesis research, on the subject of African American Outmigration from San Francisco, took her all over the city and she began spending time working in public housing. She graduated from USF on a Friday and began working fulltime in Sunnydale, the largest public housing site West of the Mississippi, on Monday. During her time there she focused on a myriad of issues impacting San Francisco’s most disenfranchised residents, including generational poverty, housing and affordability, and community violence. She also started several programs for residents of the Southeast Sector and raised over two million dollars for low-income residents of San Francisco.
In 2009 Laurel left Sunnydale to start a violence prevention case management program in Lakeview, a community that’s experienced homicide at an alarming rate. She worked with victims and perpetrators of violence and worked to bring resources and funding to that neighborhood. During the time she was there she lost several young people to gun violence and to date, those losses have been the most impactful incidents in her career and have made her a strong advocate for anti-violence efforts and economic alternatives to the illegal street economy.
Last year Laurel began working for City and County of San Francisco and is currently at San Francisco International Airport in the Office of Employment and Community Partnerships. She works to connect San Francisco’s most disconnected neighborhoods to the economic opportunities and services at SFO. Many of the young people she worked with in Sunnydale and Lakeview currently work at SFO.
Faauuga Moliga-Puletasi, Community Advocate, Bayview YMCA Beacon
I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in the San Francisco Bayview Hunters Point community. I attended high school at Tafuna in American Samoa, and graduated from Balboa High School in San Francisco. I received a BA degree in Justice Studies from San Jose State, and I am currently enrolled in the Masters Social Work program there as well. After receiving a bachelors degree, I founded a non-profit organization called T.O.U.C.H. for at risk youth girls in San Francisco. T.O.U.C.H. serviced approximately 100 girls on a yearly basis, and had a 90% college enrollment rate for seniors who entered into colleges such as UCLA, Smith College, and UC Riverside. T.O.U.C.H. was awarded one of two best after school athletic programing by the Rosenberg Foundation in 2008. In addition, I built the case managing program for the first truancy school at the Bayview YMCA in San Francisco called CARE, and produced the research for its current high school diploma program Five Keys. Afterwards, I assisted in building and launching the drop-out prevention case manage program at Burton High School, which has assisted in decreasing the drop-out rate by 50% within the last 4 years. Currently, I am operating the first Youth & Government program in the Bayview, which I established in 2011. Also in the last two years, I built a Student Athlete Academy at Burton High School. The program has helped 91% out of 91 student athletes attain eligible grades for Fall sports in 2013. I am also working with the Samoan community to develop academic and cultural events plus programing to empower youth and families through the Samoan Initiative program and the TPOT club. Currently also, I am assisting in the Bayview Resilient project to help create a leadership institute for youth in Bayview Hunters Point that address climate change.
Alana Price, Managing Editor, Tikkun Magazine
Alana Yu-lan Price is managing editor at Tikkun, a magazine about radical social transformation and interfaith spirituality. She brings a love for stories and a deep commitment to feminism, anti-racist work, and progressive activism to her journalistic projects. During her five years at Tikkun, she has created special issues on restorative justice, queer politics and spirituality, immigration, Occupy Wall Street, and the intersection of class politics and racial justice struggles. SheÍs currently commissioning articles for future issues on disability rights, radical parenting, and debt abolition. Previously she edited articles from Inter Press Service for distribution to alternative weeklies in the United States. In her spare time, she sings with the International Orange Chorale of San Francisco, draws surrealist creatures with friends, and invents new kinds of vegetarian dim sum. She has an MSJ in political reporting from Northwestern University and a BA from Swarthmore College, where she specialized in postcolonial literature and gender studies.
Melissa San Miguel, Policy Manager Foster Ed: California, National Center for Youth Law
Melissa San Miguel is a San Franciscan born and raised in the Mission district and an alumna of Lowell High School. Melissa is a first generation college graduate and proud daughter of immigrant parents from Peru. Melissa currently works for the National Center for Youth Law, a 40 year old legal advocacy organization that works on behalf of low-income children, including those facing additional challenges of abuse or neglect. Previously, she worked for The Education Trust-West, an education nonprofit focused on closing the opportunity and achievement gaps for low-income students and students of color.
As Legislative Affairs Coordinator, she helped to pass a historic school funding reform for the California K-12 education system in 2013. Melissa also served as an Executive Fellow at the California Department of Education and worked on issues such as early childhood education and foster youth services. Melissa is currently an elected Assembly District 17 Delegate representing the eastern side of San Francisco in the California Democratic Party and is the Vice-Chair for the Bay Area region of the Chicano Latino Caucus of the California Democratic Party.
In 2012, Melissa served as an At-Large Delegate for California at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. Melissa is a proud product of public schools and earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated as class valedictorian.
Lynette Ward, Supportive Services For Veteran Families Case Manager, East Bay Community Recovery Project
Lynette Ward grew up in Oakland CA, where as a child she was involved in several community organizations such as Police Activity League, KidÍs House, and Young Life Ministries. It was in those programs that she developed a strong passion for community service and social justice.
Lynette has spent most of her professional life working in the nonprofit sector. She has worked with many of the hardest to reach populations such as women recovering from chemical dependency, dual diagnosed clients, children and currently as a Case Manager with East Bay Community Recovery Project Havens for Heroes program that serves homeless veterans. It is through her professional experience that she began to understand the barriers and complexities of these specialized populations and choose to be an advocate for those communities.
Lynette attend junior college in Oakland CA, and later transferred to San Francisco State University where she majored in Psychology. During her undergraduate studies she worked in the Complex Cognition Research lab for three years. In the lab Lynette designed and administered a research project where she acted as the Principal Investigator, looking at the cognitive process on ñRace and Essentialismî and the possible social implications from those findings. In 2011 this project was accepted into the Society for Personality and Social Psychology national research conference where she presented as first author.
After graduating college LynetteÍs love for community service lead her to a group of people interested in starting a democratic club aimed at engaging African American youth and young adults in the democratic process. This later became the Black Young Democrats, East Bay. As Vice President of Programming with Black Young Democrats, East Bay Lynette is responsible for all of the club fundraising and community engagement projects. These projects directly impact the East Bay community and in fall of 2013 Black Young Democrats, East Bay was named Alameda County democratic club of the year.
Heather Warnken, Legal Policy Associate, Chief Justice Earl Warran Institute on Law and Social Policy, UC Berkley School of Law
Heather Warnken, Esq. is a Legal Policy Associate at the Warren Institute, a multidisciplinary, collaborative venture to produce research-based policy prescriptions on the most challenging civil rights, education, criminal justice, family and economic security, immigration and healthcare issues facing California and the Nation. As a member of the Criminal Justice team since 2011, Heather has led policy reform projects at the Warren Institute in her niche areas of juvenile justice, crime victims rights and services, and violence against women response, including partnerships with the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department, the California Office of Emergency Services, and Californians for Safety and Justice. Dedicated to building bridges between the world of academic research, practice, and policy debate, Heather focuses on elevating the voices of stakeholders impacted and marginalized by broken systems through community-engaged research.
Heather has presented her work at numerous national conferences and authored multiple publications including A Complex and Compassionate Response: The Role of Victim/Witness Assistance Centers in Responding to Violence Against Women in California, offering the first-ever comprehensive look at California’s 59 state-based victims’ service agencies, and Real Justice: Victims’ Rights Delivered, Report & Recommendations emerging from the statewide crime victims rights and services summit. In 2013 Heather was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics to serve on a the national Committee to Shape the Development of U.S. Victim Service Organizations Survey. Heather also serves as a board member for the Berkeley Youth Empowerment Program, the Alipato Project (working to provide representation to domestic violence survivors through the civil court system), and as a member of the Center for Justice and Accountability’s Young Professionals Committee for Human Rights.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Heather earned a B.A., with honors, John Hopkins University; J.D., cum laude, with pro bono distinction, Suffolk University Law School, and Masters of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she received the Jim Fahey Safe Homes for Women Fellowship (presented annually to a UC Berkeley graduate student with a deep commitment to ending violence against women). Prior to coming to the Warren Institute, Heather served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Joseph F. Murphy, Jr., Court of Appeals of Maryland. She has provided direct legal services at the Family Violence Law Center (Oakland, CA), Children’s Legal Services, and Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.