Residency Awardees

Spring 2022 Residents Vidhya Aravind (she/her), Learning Director,  We The People, Detroit. She originally moved to Washtenaw County to earn her Master’s of Information from the University of Michigan, and now plans to call the area home forever. After coming out as trans while a student, she participated in immigrant, labor, trans, and police accountability […]

Spring 2022 Residents

Vidhya Aravind (she/her), Learning Director,  We The People, Detroit. She originally moved to Washtenaw County to earn her Master’s of Information from the University of Michigan, and now plans to call the area home forever. After coming out as trans while a student, she participated in immigrant, labor, trans, and police accountability activism, and was particularly instrumental in major wins by the Graduate Employees’ Organization 3550. She hopes to honor the trans women of color that came before her by organizing material aid and community structures for local trans folks in need. In her spare time, she facilitates workshops for queers, plays games of all kinds, intentionally finds ways to spend time with her trans family, and is slowly transforming into an outdoors lesbian.

Luis Avila (he/el), Founder,  Instituto, Arizona. Luis is building capacity with advocacy and electoral organizations in Arizona. A community organizer and activist, he’s collaborated with others to advocate for the DREAM Act, fight against SB1070 and challenge Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s discriminatory practices. Luis has led multiple national campaigns to advance the rights of immigrants in the US, spearheading Somos América in 2011, the largest immigrant-rights coalition in Arizona. He’s a proud Mexican immigrant, oldest brother, son, friend, and nerd.

Ginna Brelsford (she/her), Co-Executive Director, GSA Network, Oakland, CA, originally from Juneau, Alaska, is a highly qualified administrator with progressive leadership experience. A graduate of Smith College, Ginna has two decades of nonprofit financial and operations experience. Since joining GSA Network in 2011, Ginna has overseen organizational human resources and operational needs in a rapid expansion of staff and infrastructure. Ginna became Co-Executive Director in 2015 and has been an Arcus Foundation Leadership Fellow with her Co-ED, Geoffrey, and a Women of Color LeadStrong Fellow through LeaderSpring Center. When not at GSA Network, Ginna enjoys spending time with her partner and daughter at their home in Oakland, CA.

Reece Chenault  (he/him), National Coordinator, US Labor Against the War, Louisville, KY, has put in his dues as visible leader, first a union organizer and then as the executive director of US Labor Against the War and now mostly works behind the scenes. Part ferryman getting people where they need to be and part Griot sharing the wisdom that arises from what we do when we arrive, Reece plays an invaluable support role to many movement spaces. Recently Reece has been working with Justice Before Peace to build a BI-POC led working class anti-imperialist movement grounded in ritual.

Lisa Cooks (she/her), Director of Administration & Finance, New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice, New Orleans, LA, had her personal politicization started later in life. She was born in 1966, and the earliest home she can remember was in a segregated neighborhood when she was five. Those formative years gave her a false perspective. In 1999, she took a job at a local nonprofit as an administrative assistant, whose mission focus is on early education, fighting to change policies so that all children of Louisiana could thrive. As an employee of this organization within 90 days of your hire, you had to attend an Undoing Racism Class; the blinders fell off. After 14 years, she transitioned to an organization that focuses on the exploitation of POC in the workplace, the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice, where she now works.

Andrea Dehlendorf (she/her), Executive Director, United for Respect, Oakland, CA, leads a national organization building power for people working in low-wage jobs by centering their voices, experiences, and solutions in the national movement fighting for the future of work, our economy, and corporate regulation. Andrea’s roots in the movement go deep and include seminal experiences winning major victories with people working in the most unstable and precarious low-wage service jobs, from janitors to hotel workers. Andrea leveraged these critical advances and learnings into developing innovative models of leveraging technology and internet-based activation to support working people build power and voice. Prior to United for Respect, Andrea worked on some of the labor movement’s most innovative campaigns, including Justice for Janitors, Airport Workers United, and hotel worker organizing in Las Vegas. She lives in Oakland, CA, with her fourteen year old son.

Marinah V. Farrell (she/her), Director, Organizational Wellness for Birth Center Equity, Phoenix, AZ, leads an organization created to make birth center care an option in every community, by growing and sustaining birth centers led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Marinah is also the owner of a private practice, Phoenix Midwife, and the founder of Parteras de Maiz, an umbrella organization for health justice projects. Marinah has developed clinical, organizational, and regional policy initiatives on COVID response in Arizona, New Mexico and the SW region, indigenous reproductive healthcare access and education via midwives, and staff and student leadership development. Marinah was co-founder of a free primary care clinic, and in countless coalitions related to health justice, such as street medic work and immigration activism, partnerships in Mexico and Africa, and serves on several nonprofit boards.

Jessica Frechette-Gutfreund LM, CPM, IBCLC, MSM (all pronouns), Executive Director, Breath of My Heart Birthplace, Dixon, NM, is a white non-binary trans person born and raised in Cincinnati OH. Their work life has emerged at the intersections of social justice, healing work and anti-racism practice. Midwifery brought them to rural New Mexico and has kept them here for much longer than initially expected. They live in Tiwa and Tewa country and have been influenced and mentored immeasurably by the communities of Northern NM that have taken them  in and offered them a place to learn, collaborate, grow and become so much of the person they are today.

Lisa Fu (she/her), Executive Director, California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, Los Angeles, CA, has been with her organization since 2008. As the previous Outreach and Program Director, she developed the organization’s leadership development and organizing work. For over 20 years Lisa has been an activist for reproductive justice, environmental justice, community development and other social justice issues impacting Asian American women and girls. She has worked as a staff, board member, and volunteer for many organizations across the country including Khmer Girls in Action, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and Chinatown Community for Equitable Development. Lisa was born and raised in Southern California and has two young children who inspire her to keep fighting for a better world.

Esteban Garces (he/him), Founding Member and Co-Executive Director, Poder Latinx, Orlando, FL. Esteban Garces has extensive experience in the political, electoral, labor, and community organizing fields for nearly two decades. Esteban has experience building and managing large scale metric-driven civic engagement operations, coaching candidates running for office. Esteban has also organized tenants, youth, immigrant spaces, businesses and various types of coalitions. Esteban is a co-founder and former Co-Executive Director of Poder Latinx. He also founded and administered its affiliated super PAC Votar Es Poder PAC. Previous to Poder Latinx, Esteban was the Florida State Director and National Operations Director of Mi Familia Vota. He also served as the Immigration Reform Campaign Director for Services Employees International Union Local 615 and was a community organizer at Tenants and Workers United.

Priscilla A. Hale MSW (she/her), Executive Director, allgo, Austin, TX, leads a queer people of color organization. She has been with the organization for over 23 years in various capacities. She has extensive experience in the areas of community organizing, health and wellness programming, production of cultural work, and nonprofit administration. She is an East Austin, Texas native and her family has been in the Austin area for generations. She earned a Master of Social Work Degree from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, TX, and a Bachelor Degree in Social Work from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.

Erica Hall (she/her), Chair, The Florida Food Policy Council (“FLFPC”), St. Petersburg, FL. Erica has a multi-disciplinary background as a community economic development practitioner, community organizer, environmental justice advocate, Board member, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) facilitator/trainer/consultant, and Senior Legal Professional. Her interests are in intersectional environmentalism exploring the connection between sustainability, resiliency, food waste, climate change, food insecurity, the built form and placemaking, economic resilience, racial, social justice and equity, housing diversity, and affordability. 

Gaby Hernandez (she/her), Executive Director, Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, Long Beach, CA. Gaby was born and lived in Mexico City until she was twelve years old and moved to Oceanside, CA where she grew up before moving to Long Beach five years ago. Her life experiences as an undocumented woman have fueled her passion and commitment for social justice and immigrant rights. She’s an abolitionist who believes in the importance of people power and grassroots organizing in order to make real systemic change. Gaby received her Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with a minor in International Studies from California State University, Long Beach. Gaby has a dog named Fuego who she adores.

Cat Huang (she/her), development lead, WorkIt atUnited for Respect/United for Respect Education Fund, Oakland, CA. Cat’s organizing platform is designed to connect people working in low wage jobs to resources, legal rights and community support. She is founder of the Innovate Work Lab where she leads technology-focused initiatives and solutions to scale outreach, support, and accelerate the mobilization of people working in low wage industries and the underemployed to understand and confront the underlying conditions that cause, sustain, and perpetuate systemic income inequality. Cat has over 20 years of experience in building digital media, membership, narrative and advocacy platforms and is passionate about leveraging technology to counteract the disaggregation of work, community, and experience.

traci ishigo (they/them, Co-Director, Vigilant Love, North Hollywood, CA,  is a queer, nonbinary, Japanese American, Buddhist, community organizer, therapist, and trauma-informed yoga & meditation teacher. They are based in the unceded lands of the Fernandeño-Tataviam peoples, also known as the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA. They are a co-founding co-director of Vigilant Love, where they lead the organization’s solidarity-based, healing justice programs, & support VL’s campaigns against Islamophobic government programs and the War on Terror. traci also provides individuals and couples psychotherapy in private practice. In their free time, traci loves connecting with nature & art, cooking, and spending quality time with their beloved partner, kitty, and Sangha.

D’atra “Dee Dee” Jackson (she/her), National Director, BYP100, Durham, NC, is an organizer, trainer, big sister, and godmother of five. Born and raised in Southwest Philly, she moved to Durham from Miami. She attended Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, the oldest historically black institution for higher learning, where she obtained her B.S. in Recreation & Leisure Management, and Florida International University to obtain her Masters in Recreation and Sports Management. While attending FIU, she became active at the height of the murder of Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman verdict with an organization called Dream Defenders, founding the FIU chapter. Dee Dee is a trainer, leader, and respected party thrower here in Durham. She is formerly the Co-Director of Ignite NC, which works with mostly Black, mostly queer, young organizers across to state to shift the culture of organizing in North Carolina. Now, as the National Director of BYP100, she dreams of freedom, Black worlds, and building a movement of ungovernable and strategic lovers of Black liberation. 

Eli Johnson (they/them) from Washington, DC, is a queer, non-binary anarchist who has spent the last 20 years protesting and organizing around issues related to incarceration, trade, immigration and US foreign policy. They also spent 8 years as a lobbyist in DC for human rights and humane immigration policies before leaving lobbying to make time to write, protest, garden, and heal from decades of physical and emotional trauma. After contending with multiple forms of cancer in 2022, they hope to gain skills to use their personal experiences to contribute to the emotional healing of others.

Isabel Kang (she/her) was born in Korea and immigrated to Brazil at age five, and later immigrated to the United States in her twenties. She has over 35 years of experience advocating for the rights of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. At the Korean Resource Center  (KRC), Isabel worked actively in integrating immigration legal services into civic and community organizing. Prior to joining KRC, she was the Program Director of Shimtuh Domestic Violence Program at Korean Community Center of the East Bay in Oakland, and the Disability Rights Senior Case Manager at Asian Community Mental Health Services. Isabel is a founder and part of the Steering Committee of INCITE and one of the founders of Korean American Women In Need (KAN-WIN) in Chicago.

Linda Lee (she/her), Associate Director, Chinese Progressive Association, San Francisco Chinatown, CA. In this capacity, Linda supports CPA’s staff development and resource development work. Previously, she was the Co-Director and a founder of Seeding Change – A Center for Asian American Movement Building.

Lucia Lin (she/they), Co-Director, Trabajadores Unidos Workers United, Oakland, CA. Lucia is a 2nd-gen Chinese American queer femme who found her way to the labor movement through a combination of a student worker organizing campaign at UCLA, the UCLA Labor Center, and starting a grassroots Chinese worker organizing effort in the San Gabriel Valley. Lucia was formerly the National Coordinator for Grassroots Asians Rising, a national network of grassroots organizations rooted in Asian working class communities.

Alison McCrary (she/her), New Orleans, LA is a tribal citizen of the Ani-Yun-Wiya Cherokee Nation, a social justice movement lawyer, Catholic activist, restorative justice practitioner, and an internationally sought-after speaker on social justice, spirituality, and liberation. She currently serves as a Spiritual Advisor on Louisiana’s death row, and the Movement Capacity Building Strategist supporting about 50 formerly-incarcerated-people- led non-profits in the United States. She formerly served as the Statewide Campaign Manager for the Unanimous Jury Coalition abolishing a 138-year-old Jim Crow law in Louisiana, the founding Director of the ReEntry Mediation Institute of Louisiana, the Executive Director of the National Police Accountability Project, President of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and Founding Director of the New Orleans Community-Police Mediation Program.

Laura Misumi (she/her), Executive Director, Rising Voices, Hamtramck, MI, is a fourth-generation Japanese American who believes strongly in building the capacity for people to come together to exercise their collective power, grounded in their history and identity. She seeks to apply her skills as a lawyer and interest in food, storytelling, toward building and sustaining energizing movement spaces filled with fun and laughter.

Kim Miyoshi (she/her), Executive Director, Oakland Kids First- Justice for Oakland Students Coalition (J4OS), Oakland, CA, spent 25 years supporting BIPOC community organizing in the Bay Area. She ran the anti-Nike sweatshop campaign and the No on Prop 21 juvenile justice campaign. She ran Oakland Kids First for 18 years. She co-founded an educational justice coalition that won ballot measures increasing children and youth funding and one that secured voting rights for 16 year-olds in school board elections. They also passed a ‘Reparations for Black Students’ policy. She co-founded Japanese American for Justice to organize protests to abolish ICE and end anti-Black racism. Kim lives in Oakland with her husband and two daughters.

Jeanette Monsalve (she/her/ella), Co-Founder, Mama Sana Vibrant Woman and of Mamas of Color Rising (MOCR). She worked in women’s reproductive health care for 15 years specializing in bereavement and loss, as a newborn care specialist for 5 years, and co-founded Yo Mama’s catering cooperative. She has also co-hosted a radio program for mamas for 8 years, created a zine on pregnancy called Knocked Up and a board game on social inequities for a MOCR workshop at Critical Resistance. Her focus within MSVW is on creating equitable, healthy and sustainable communities using principles of alternative economics and through skill sharing and works to uplift invisible work within our communities while celebrating together.

Jacqueline Patterson (she/her), Founder and Executive Director, Chisholm Legacy Project: A Resource Hub for Black Frontline Climate Justice Leadership, Owing Mills, MD. Most recently, Patterson served for 11 years as the Senior Director of Environmental and Climate Justice at the NAACP. Patterson has worked as a champion of gender justice, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental justice. She has a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland and an MPH from Johns Hopkins University.

Adiel Pollydore (she/her), Program Director of Student Action at People’s Action, Oakland, CA is a Guyanese migrant based in Oakland, CA. She currently works with top strategists, storytellers and culture makers building a movement to make reparations a public and political priority and usher in a new era of reconciliation in this country. Prior to this, she was the Program director of Student Action- where she worked with college students across the country fighting for Free College for All and the full cancelation of student debt. She got her start as an organizer and later director for I Have A Future (IHAF)- a youth led organization in Boston fighting for full youth employment and an end to youth criminalization. She is passionate about education as a tool for liberation and enjoys geeking out about pedagogy. She graduated in 2015 from Tufts University where she studied Chinese and Sociology.

Bliss Requa-Trautz (she/her), Executive Director, Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center, Las Vegas, NV. She has more than a decade of experience in community organizing. She graduated from University of Massachusetts Amherst with Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology, as well as a Labor Studies certificate from the Murphy Institute for Labor Studies and Worker Education at CUNY. Bliss moved to Las Vegas in 2017 to support the launch of the Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

Michelle Rivera (they/them), Program Manager, ACT for Women & Girls, Dinuba, CA. She is rooted in the rural communities of the Central Valley in California. They are currently the Program Manager at ACT for Women & Girls, a Reproductive Justice organization that builds power through leadership development, community organizing, advocacy, and policy change in local communities. Michelle is passionate about reproductive, racial, and queer and trans justice. For the past 10 years, they have worked in the reproductive justice movement in different capacities. From implementing comprehensive sexual health education at rural schools to advocating and supporting state-wide legislation, they continue to work in community with those most impacted by systematic injustices. 

Alejandra Tres (she/her), Co-Founder/Organizer, Comunidad Latina de Vashon, Vashon, WA, organizes community-led systems change around democracy, environment, and economy. She works alongside committed, talented, and tenacious community leaders and organizers to develop community power for the common good. She co-founded several Latino and BIPOC Alliances and is co-founder of the Battle for Democracy Fund. She has been an executive director to both local and national groups and consultant to foundations and immigrant organizations. Alejandra was awarded the MLK Medal of Distinguished Service and the Call to Service Award for relentlessly recruiting people to join her in the fun and fierce work of remaking the world as it should be.

Mabel Tsang (she/her), Interim Co-Director-Political, CEJA and CEJA Action, Oakland, CA, works to build the political power, self-governance and self-determination of EJ communities and communities of color burdened by health, economic and environmental impacts. She builds the bridges of accountability between California’s elected leaders and voters, manages ballot measure campaigns, and expands democratic participation for environmental, racial and social justice by centering and including members of the community who have been historically barred from voting.

Maurice Weeks (he/him), Co-Executive Director, Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE), Detroit, MI. He works with community organizations and labor unions on campaigns to create equitable communities by dismantling systems of wealth extraction that target Black and Brown communities. Maurice has many years of community organizing experience on issues such as housing, revenue and budgets, policing and incarceration, corporate accountability and education justice.

Tammie Xiong (she/her), Executive Director, Hmong American Women’s Association (HAWA), Milwaukee, WI, leads a grassroots social justice organization led by Southeast Asian Women and Queer Fem women that is dedicated to ending gender-based violence against Southeast Asian Women, Girls, Queer and Trans folks. Through her leadership at HAWA, her intersectional work around gender and race has led to not only securing resources and advocacy services for Southeast Asian survivors of violence, but also community organizing to build political and economic power for Black and Brown communities in Milwaukee so folks are able to live in thriving and safe communities. Xiong has dedicated over 14 years to providing gender justice advocacy and leadership development. 

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