Meet Our 2020 Fellows
To see a snapshot of our 2020 Emerging Organizers Fellowship participating organizations and fellows click on the link below or scroll down to read through our Fellows full biographies.
I am Adriana Diaz, an indigenous woman pertaining to roots back from Oaxaca Mexico. As a trilingual Mixteca, I have been volunteering with a non profit organization helping various indigenous communities including Mixtecos. Through the fellowship I hope to gain base building skills to help guide me as I advocate for my community; this will be skills specifically focusing on organizing and leading campaigns.
ANN GILLIAN GUIAM
My name is Ann Guiam (she/they), from Richmond, CA, with the Ryse Center. I am a youth organizer, artist and a current college student. Through this fellowship I hope to flourish more as a grassroots organizer and take this opportunity to learn, decolonize, and give more awareness on issues caused by capitalism, white supremacy, and other oppressive systems causing racial injustices and discrimination towards BIPOC , Womxn, and LGBTQ+ communities. All while creating radical solidarity and community with youth in CA to magnify and uplift identities, cultures, leadership, and power.
Mid City CAN
San Diego, CA
Ariana was born and raised in Southeast San Diego. Being a child of immigrant parents has influenced her passion for human rights, social justice, and community advocacy. In grade school, Ariana learned more about complexities about the institutional injustices that her community faces every day, which is why she decided to dedicate her career to social change. Ariana received a B.A. in Latin American and Latino Studies and Politics from the University of California Santa Cruz. At UCSC, she was part of the Chicano Latino Resource Center and student-led organizations that served Chicano and Latino populations through programming efforts to raise awareness of the social, political, economic, historical, and cultural realities of our community. Ariana moved back to San Diego in 2017 to give back to her community. Before becoming Youth Organizer, Ariana was a Team Lead under Mid-City CAN's Civic Engagement Team and Domestic Violence Counselor at the YWCA of San Diego County.
Fathers & Families of San Joaquin
Hi, My name is Armani Poe and I'm a young 24 year old woman of color . I hope to engage with amazing people and fight for change within our marginalized communities, our people of color, and our ones who have been oppressed by the systems . I am excited to learn through this fellowship so that way I can use what I'm learning towards bringing up the awareness on the war on drugs also by reimagining a healing trauma center instead of incarceration. I hope to impact the lives of our youth, because at the end of the day I truly feel it's about them.
Urban Peace Movement
My name is Briana, I am a Native of Sacramento however I now live in Oakland. I have a long history of working with youth of a plethora of backgrounds. I'm a huge advocate for mental health awareness, and self and spiritual well-being. I hope to be more involved in the community and add to my current skills so I can be a better advocate for those in the community as well as myself.
Dolores Huerta Foundation
Hello, my name is Cesilia Acevedo and I am a Youth Organizer with the Dolores Huerta Foundation here in the Central Valley. I have been in this position for a little over a year and I truly enjoy my work with my young people. Working in this setting has inspired me to continue to fight for youth voices and give me hope for our future. With this fellowship, I hope to take away different ways to be of service to them, guide them and help them reach their fullest potential. I would love to see my young people as fierce leaders in their communities.
Chinese Progressive Association
San Francisco, CA
Connie Liu is a queer Chinese American womxn, born and raised in San Francisco. She is the Youth Organizer and Operations Assistant at Chinese Progressive Association. At UC Merced, Connie organized and advocated for the queer and trans community. She also engaged in prevention education work to end sexual violence, domestic violence, and stalking. Through the Emerging Organizers Fellowship, Connie hopes to sharpen her political analysis, base building tactics, and campaign strategy. She is excited to connect with other youth organizers to create a more accessible, engaging, and inclusive movement led by young people.
Save California Salmon
Darcey is a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she researches salmon farming in British Columbia and Washington State. Through this fellowship she will continue her work with Save California Salmon, mobilizing for environmental justice in Northern California and developing community-based educational programs for high school and college students. She is of Karuk-European heritage and is a member of Quartz Valley Indian Reservation. Water and salmon stewardship hold personal significance and influence her educational and career aspirations.
Faith in the Valley
Kern County, CA
Hi! My name is Daulton Jones, I organize with Faith in the Valley Kern in the areas of Housing and Restorative Justice! Outside of organizing I do healing work, and I am in the process of becoming a yoga teacher! I want to meet new people doing this work who get it! Who are about true change for everyone, and also learn how to do this sustainably!
Los Angeles, CA
My name is Erika Jimenez I am from Boyle Heights, California and I want to be able to continue to support the youth I work with. I want to learn new strategies in order to continue being able to support them, for instance best practices when having a difficult conversation with the youth. I want to continue creating change in our community, hosting political education workshops for the community I work with and the youth so we strive to a new and better world.
Fernando credits his academic success to his mother, whose resilience and willpower led her to flee extreme poverty in Oaxaca, Mex. He is finishing his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley with a major in sociology. Fernando's area of study ties deeply to his lived experience as an incarcerated youth. Fernando co-leads the Homies 4 Justice program at Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ). He believes CURYJ and the Emerging Organizing Fellowship has opened the door to cultivate growth, change, and leadership with those who have survived similar experiences of criminalization and oppression.
Brother, Sons, Selves Coalition
Los Angeles County, CA
Young Abolitionist stopping the school to prison pipeline with passion and love for my community and desire to see a better future.
ITZAMAR CARMONA FELIPE
Itzamar is the Youth Organizing and Leadership Development Program coordinator. They grew up in West Oakland after migrating from Guerrero, Mexico. They attended UC Santa Cruz and graduated with a combined major in Sociology and Latin America and Latino Studies with a minor in education in 2018. They began doing community organizing work in high school by creating murals around Oakland with a local organizing, 67 suenos. Itzamar wants to do work that benefits and supports the community they grew up in. In their free time, they enjoy reading science fiction, learning astrology and hiking among redwood trees. By participating in the emerging organizers fellowship they hope to strengthen their curriculum building skills, learn more about campaign development and meet other amazing organizers from all over California. I also want to share the knowledge and experience that I bring with everyone else.
Youth Justice Coalition
Los Angeles, CA
My name is Jacob but I prefer to be called blacc, and I work with Youth Justice Coalition. The work I hope to do through the fellowship is handling a campaign that's dedicated to ending the school to prison pipeline. I want the world and ones captive in the dark, others push out like I was to realize your voice is just as strong as your actions.
ACT for Women & Girls
Hi, my name is Jailene (she/hers). I am the Alumni Outreach Coordinator at ACT for Women and Girls. On my spare time I enjoy spending time with my pets and drawing. Through the fellowship I hope to develop my organizing skills and build networks with my peers. I hope to have an impact by inspiring others to transform their communities in a positive way.
Fresno Barrios Unidos
My name is Jennifer Rojas, prefer Jenn or Jenny and my pronouns are she, her, and ella. I am from Fresno California and am very passionate about community work. Currently I am a Program Coordinator with Fresno Barrios Unidos where I work to be the best tool I can be to the young people pushing for change in Fresno. I am so eager to share space with all of you as we continue to work towards liberation.
Hmong Innovating Politics
My name is Paj Yeeb (Pah-Yeng) Moua and prefer to go by Katie and I use she/her/hers pronouns. I was born and raised in Fresno, California to refugee parents and I'm the oldest of four, a Hmong womxn, and a dog mom to June. I am the Fresno Lead Community Organizer at Hmong Innovating Politics in Fresno, CA. Through this fellowship I hope to strengthen my skills as an organizer, increase my capacity to hold and create space, do healing work and build new friendships with the beautiful people I will meet. I hope to be able to continue working with my community, deepen their love for themselves, our world and to dismantle and abolish oppressive systems.
Youth Organize California
I started organizing my sophomore year in high school working with Californians for Justice on their Relationship Centered Schools, and their Equitable School Funding Campaigns. I helped lead the 2017 May Day march in Oakland and have worked on various projects with YO! Cali before this fellowship. On top of that, I was a barista with a passion for latte art and utilizing the natural properties of tea and coffee to lead a better life. I'm currently a second year at SFSU studying Race and Resistance and Health Education. I'm a taurus who loves food and nature.
California Native Vote Project
Los Angeles, CA
My name is Maya I am a member of the Diné nation from my mother's side and mexika on my dad's side. I am a youth organizer for the California Native Vote Project based in Southern California. I have been a Youth Organizers for almost a year now, before I was a canvasser doing base building. I hope to better myself as a leader through the fellowship to help accomplish my goals. I want to be a leader that our youth look up to and get inspired to do the work for our communities.
San Diego, CA
A child to working-class Vietnamese refugees, Nancy Nguyen understands the multigenerational impact of violence and the strength of grassroots change. She previously conducted emergency aid for Congolese refugees in a Ugandan refugee settlement, and administered immigration casework with the International Rescue Committee. Nancy has also investigated refugee resettlement legislation as an Advocacy and Legislative Co-Chair with the United Nations Association and developed policy proposals to U.S. diplomats as a Public Policy and International Affairs fellow at Princeton University. As a Princeton in Asia Teaching fellow in Thailand, she facilitated intercultural exchange between ethnically diverse students from different socio-economic backgrounds. She now serves as PANA's Civic Engagement Organizer, where she leads civic engagement campaigns and oversees PANA's Youth Advocacy Congress.
Californians for Justice
San Jose, CA
I am a 24-year-old organizer from the Bay Area who grew up in Silicon Valley, in what I was constantly hearing described as a liberal bubble, but in reality was anything but. My experiences as a young person, Egyptian-American, child of immigrants, visible Muslim, student in predominantly white institutions, and youth struggling with my sexuality and my understanding of gender have shaped me, the friendships and relationships I have created, and are what brought me into organizing as a career. In my work, I see myself as an adult working with youth to develop the organizing and political analysis schools that will empower them to push for the schools they deserve and envision the communities they are capable of realizing. I want to become the best organizer I can so I can pass on everything I learn to the young leaders that I work with, and so that I can use my positionality as an adult to best serve the youth leaders I work with in developing their own campaigns. And looking even further, I want to bridge the young people from the community I come from - immigrant Muslims of all ethnicities - and the civic engagement work being done within it with the organizing work already being done with from primarily Black, Latinx, and Southeast Asian communities.
Khmer Girls in Action
Long Beach, CA
I am a community organizer who has been involved in the organizing world since the age of 14 yrs old. I have learned and experienced so much about the injustices my communities have faced. I am looking forward to relearning things from a different perspective and work with other organizers from all over to fight for social justice, and reclaim everything that should be ours. Through this fellowship, I want to build strong relationships and gain a bigger network of folxs I can work with. I aspire to build a powerful voice for the Southeast Asian community in Long Beach and all over.
Communities for a Better Environment
Southeast Los Angeles, CA
Growing up in South East Los Angeles (SELA), we deal with the cumulative impacts of massive freeway expansion, extreme regional smoke, natural gas power plants, and heavy industry. It is not uncommon to wake up to the sound of loud machinery, to close your windows because of the smell of disgusting odors, or to have to choose between your work or your health. This is why, for the past ten years, I have been organizing with the statewide environmental health and justice organization Communities for a Better Environment (CBE). CBE taught me the importance of storytelling, which is what inspired me to pursue my third degree from the Cal State LA Communication Studies Master's Program. Through this fellowship, I hope to learn from others, share knowledge and continue unlearning through these shared spaces.
San Diego, CA
I'm currently a youth organizer with Youth Will, a nonprofit organization that seeks to create a world where every young person has what they need to be happy health, and prepared to reach their potential. I want youth in San Diego to know that we have a seat at the table when it comes to shaping decisions and policies that directly affect us because our experiences and perspectives are just as valid. I also want to encourage more youth from historically underrepresented/marginalized groups to get involved in this work.
California Native Vote Project
Los Angeles, CA
My name is Sygourney Longknife Williams but I go by Pony. I am Navajo, Assiniboine, and Gros Ventre. I have 2 dogs who are my pride and joy. I hope to better our indigenous community by becoming a better leader. Learning all this fellowship has to give and bring it back to my indigenous community.
South LA, CA
I'm Tanness Walker. I'm from South LA. I organized with Community Coalition. I hope that I get a great learning experience from the fellowship. I essentially hope to network and meet different people and different orgs and learn their outlook on social justice/change. The impact I ultimately want to make to teach students that if they don't like something within their schools, community they don't just have to sit back and deal with unfair injustices happening in their world they can actually get up and do something about it.
My name is Yesenia Cruz, I am an undocumented indigenous woman from Oaxaca, Mexico working toward justice and liberation. My work is focused on the empowerment of youth of color. Through this fellowship I hope to gain more tools to continue this work in order to dismantle the many systems of oppression that are destroying mother earth and have caused harm and pain to human and more than human life. In order to create a just and equitable future we must provide the tools for our young people to reach self empowerment.
San Francisco, CA
I'm Zitlalli and I am a gardener, hair braider and star gazer. I live in the bay area and rep it proudly because it has played a big role in the person I am, and the values I stand for today. In this fellowship I would like to strengthen building community relations in my neighborhood. I want to see my community in solidarity with a strong sense of unity and support. I wish to make farming more accessible and increase the community involvement with Mother Nature.