Spring 2024 Residents
Fall 2023 Residents
Denicia Cadena (my name), former Policy Director, Communications and Cultural Strategy Director, Interim Executive Director at Bold Futures/Young Women United, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Denicia is a queer Chicana born and raised in southern New Mexico and now building a home in Albuquerque. Denicia has deep experience in reproductive justice, racial justice, and queer liberation. For many years, Denicia led change-making and culture shift strategies, by and for women and people of color in New Mexico at Bold Futures/Young Women United. Denicia loves drag, bubbles, puppies, queer and trans people, and creating openings for each of us to live in joy.
Jess Campbell (she/they), Director & Organizer at the Rural Organizing Project, Cottage Grove, Oregon
Jess grew up in a working poor family in the rural timber country of Oregon and began organizing in high school. Together they led walkouts of hundreds of students, ran military recruiters out of the school, and dropped the military recruitment rate down to less than 6%. As an ROP staff organizer since 2011, Jess has worked with the most rural communities in every corner of Oregon to lead statewide collective action to save post offices and libraries, to confront white nationalist organizing, and to advance experimental campaigns at the intersections of racial, economic, social, and climate justice.
Michelle DePass (she/her), Founder & Advisor at Tishman Environment & Design Center, Fairfield, California
Michelle began her career as a community organizer and went on to institutional leadership at the intersections of social, economic & environmental justice, political strategy, progressive philanthropy and academia. She served as president and chief executive officer of the Meyer Memorial Trust, was dean of the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy and Tishman Professor of Environmental Policy and Management at The New School. As a Senate-confirmed presidential appointee in the Obama administration, she led the creation of the Office of International and Tribal Affairs at the Environmental Protection Agency, elevating the agency’s recognition of the sovereign rights of indigenous peoples in the United States.
Tessa Domingus (she/her), Program Coordinator at Mental Health Association of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska
For over seven years, Tessa has dedicated herself to re-entry efforts. Working closely within Nebraska’s prison system, she developed and implemented programs that provide crucial support to the incarcerated including peer supported transitional living houses. Her advocacy is driven by the desire to amplify the voices of those who’ve faced oppression, marginalization, mental health challenges, addiction, and the repercussions of the carceral system. Having personally navigated trauma and the criminal legal system, Tessa has testified at local and state levels to advocate for more equitable policies. Tessa finds joy in nature and cherishes time spent with her extensive family—six children and four grandchildren.
Consuela Hendericks (she/her), Co-Founder at People Matter, Chicago, Illinois
A 4th generation Chicago native, Consuela has over a decade’s experience improving race relations between Black/ Latine /Asian communities. As co-founder of People Matter (PM), Consuela invented PM’s Community Language Program, one of the world’s only dual immersion Cantonese/English classes taught through a social justice lens, and the annual Black Heroes of Chinatown celebration. She has a background in tech, urban studies, and youth mentorship. She has experience with government and policy at Senator Tammy Duckworth’s office, participatory planning at the Obama Foundation, and combatting displacement in Chicago’s gentrifying neighborhoods. She loves hearing and telling stories and watching youtube videos.
Annita Sophia Lucchesi (she/her/they/them), Director at Sovereign Bodies Institute (SBI), Colstrip, Montana
Annita is a Cheyenne woman currently living on her ancestral homelands in southeast Montana. She is the director of Sovereign Bodies Institute (SBI), a non-profit research institute dedicated to ending violence against Indigenous peoples, and a service provider offering support to Indigenous survivors of violence and families of missing & murdered Indigenous people. Annita holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Arizona, and also works with Indigenous peoples in asserting their sovereignty through cartography. She is a survivor of trafficking, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and police violence, and upholds Indigenous self-determination and survivor leadership in all she does.
Melanie Myers (she/her), Senior Associate Director at American Federation of Teachers, Folsom, California
Melanie has worked for 20 years on economic and social justice issues for labor unions in the education and healthcare industries, focusing on policy, organizing, institutional investments and strategic campaigns. Recent campaigns include efforts to push for overhauling the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to address the national student debt crisis and policy education on the use of Environmental, Social and Governance factors in institutional investments. Across her work in organizing, educational, policy and political campaigns, Melanie is passionate about empowering working people through leadership in their unions.
Chris Novato (they/them), Grassroots Training Director at Sierra Student Coalition, Atlanta, Georgia
Chris is a Black, Queer, Disabled, Puerto Rican/Cuban born and raised by a single mother in Miami, FL. They grew up next to train tracks and seven blocks away from mangroves. Chris is a Sagiturius with a moon in Scorpio, and ascendanting in Virgo, which means they’re pretty great! They’ve been organizing, training and facilitating in environmental and climate justice spaces for the last decade. They love watching The Great British Baking Show, tending to plants, and spending time with their partner and dog in Atlanta, GA.
Esthefanie (Esthef) Solano (She/Her/Ella), Communications Director/Strategist at InnerCity Struggle, Long Beach, California
Esthef is a queer, CaliMexicana raised in Boyle Heights, California who has been organizing since the age of 15. Raised by a single, immigrant mother, Esthef learned how exploitation, broken immigration laws, and disinvestments in high need neighborhoods took a toll on families’ wellbeing. Organizing became the tool she used to heal, transform and empower her community and herself. Esthef has organized alongside youth and parents on campaigns that have led to a drastic increase in equitable school funding, secured the construction of a comprehensive school based wellness center and won landmark tenant protections for Angelenos and LA County residents. Esthef enjoys learning about restorative justice and herbal and traditional ways of healing.
Sarra Tekola (they/them), CoFounder, CoDirector, Development Director, Policy Strategist, Facilitator of PhxEJ Coalition, Lead on Black Mesa Solidarity work at Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro, Phoenix, Arizona
Sarra has a Ph.D. in Sustainability. They are a co-founder and co-director for Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro. They were a lead organizer in Divest UW, where they divested coal. They helped to start a “Block the Bunker” campaign in Seattle that blocked a police station from being built in a POC community. They started a campaign at ASU that won multicultural centers on all 5 campuses. Their activism has been featured in Democracy Now, CNN, Rolling Stone, New York Times Magazine and was named by Outside Magazine as one of the “30 under 30” in 2016 and was a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow from 2018-2021.
Sabra Williams (she/her), Executive Director/Founder at Creative Acts, Los Angeles, California
Sabra has received international acclaim for her work as an actor, host and founding director of The Actors’ Gang Prison Project, including being named by President Obama, a “Champion of Change” in 2016, and being honored with a British Empire Medal for services to the Arts & Prison Reform by Queen Elizabeth in 2018. Sabra is co-founder of Creative Acts, a Social Justice initiative that uses the Arts as the tool for transformation including engagement programs in juvenile facilities, anti-racism training and a new Virtual Reality Arts Reentry program in adult maximum security prisons and solitary confinement. Sabra is a Visiting Lecturer at UCLA, an Adjunct Professor at USC, and a Bellagio Rockefeller Resident Fellow. She is a member of The Independent Shakespeare Company, LA ensemble, and an in-demand speaker on justice and Arts issues.