Geetika Agrawal first started hosting dinner parties when she was four years old. The main ingredient was play dough. As she graduated to using more edible ingredients, Geetika developed a passion for turning creative ideas into great businesses. With a Computer Science degree from Stanford, Geetika started and ran a software incubator at IBM. Launching new products got her hooked on entrepreneurship. At NYU Stern, Geetika focused her MBA on Social Impact & Innovation, while working with investors and entrepreneurs around the globe. At Acumen Fund, she managed the agriculture portfolio, defining investment strategies to help small holding farmers in India. In London, Geetika worked with community development organization Bootstrap to bring in new revenue and expand community impact, including co-launching the New York Times notable Dalston Roof Park. She helped start Kitchenette, a London incubator inspired by La Cocina. As the Program Director at La Cocina, Geetika loves working alongside the incredible La Cocina entrepreneurs to support their businesses, leading growth initiatives for the organization, and of course, and sharing delicious food.
Francisco (Pancho) Argüelles Paz y Puente was born in Mexico City and has lived in the U.S. since 1997. For more than thirty five years he has worked on human rights issues in Mexico, Central America, and the United States: as a rural teacher in Chiapas, supporting Guatemalan refugees, co-founding Universidad Campesina in Nicaragua, and with rural cooperatives in Central Mexico. In Houston, he co-founded Fe y Justicia Worker Center, a community organization for low-wage immigrant workers. Pancho served on the board of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights where he co-authored the popular education curriculum, BRIDGE: Building a Race and Immigration Dialogue on the Global Economy. He lives in Houston, TX, and for the past ten years has served as executive director of Living Hope Wheelchair Association, a community-based organization of migrants with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities working together to survive, promote their rights and build a world where all people can live with dignity. Since 2003 through PazyPuente LLC he provides training and consulting services to social and racial justice organizations across the country. He also serves on the board of the Highlander Research and Education Center and holds a BA on Education from UNAM and a Masters on Multicultural Education from UHCL.
Reem Assil is a Palestinian-Syrian chef based in Oakland, CA and owner of Reem’s California, a nationally acclaimed restaurant, inspired by Arab street corner bakeries and the vibrant communities that surround them. Before dedicating herself to a culinary career, Reem spent over a decade as a community and labor organizer, building leadership in workers and residents to fight for living wages, affordable housing, and a voice in their jobs and their neighborhoods. Reem sits at the intersection of her three passions: food, community, and social justice, and she uses food to invoke the central virtue of her Arab culture — hospitality — to build strong, resilient, and connected community.
Keith Battle is a born storyteller. Whether through lyric verse and music, film/video, or at the gaming table in an epic D&D session, Keith’s thirst and enthusiasm for stories is on display. This love of sharing stories informs his passion for teaching. Keith finds deep joy in helping students find their way to “Aha!” moments. Keith also has a knack for putting creative people together. He sees and then seizes upon connections and opportunities for collaboration. Keith’s current dream project is a sci-fi psychedelic martial arts feature film that spans several thousand years… or does it?
Tiffanie Beatty As Program Director of Arts, Culture, and Public Policy at National Public Housing Museum (NPHM), Tiffanie Beatty oversees the Museum’s oral history programs and Entrepreneurship Hub and is a Chicago United for Equity (CUE) Senior Fellow for Narrative Design.
Needa Bee I am anita “needa bee” de asis miralle – a mother, chef, business woman, community activist and organizer, artist, event producer, educator, and currently unhoused. I am the founder and interium executive director of feed the village in oakland, a grassroots organization that provides direct services to oakland curbside communities and advocacy. The village in oakland asserts that housing is a basic human right and that homelessness is not a crime. I’m also a founding member of the homeless advocacy working group (HAWG), the landless peoples alliance, and OAXXANDA.
Gloria Berry, born and raised in San Francisco, CA, Gloria has been committed to a life of public service since childhood. In 2015, she transitioned from being a Black Lives Matter activist protesting social injustice to a political candidate driving change in San Francisco’s public policies. Gloria was elected to the SF Democratic County Central Committee in 2020, where she is Chair of the Endorsement Committee and has already passed four resolutions calling for amends to the Black community in San Francisco. She is also the founder of Berry Powerful Ladies, a mentorship program that takes girls from less fortunate circumstances and exposes them to opportunities and experiences in higher education, various career paths, and the arts. Gloria believes that when we empower a girl, it empowers the community.
Ynze Bijl Originally from the Netherlands, Ynze (pronounced “IN-za”) moved to California in the late nineteen eighties to pursue a career in film production. After freelancing for a decade and a half in various positions in the world of independent feature film and commercial production he worked his way up to Producer and started his own shop. As the founder of Axe Digital, a San Francisco based media production company, he has produced and directed hundreds of TV and Internet spots for political campaigns on the local, state, and national stage and won dozens of awards. He has worked on high profile campaigns for candidates like Kamala Harris for President and Gavin Newsom for Governor, as well as countless statewide ballot measures, such as No on 21, No on 6 and No on 53. Additionally, he co-founded commercial production company Criminal, through which he produces traditional TV spots for ad agencies and branded content films for the major tech companies.
Chesa Boudin is the recently elected District Attorney of San Francisco. Personally impacted by parental incarceration and the failings of the criminal justice system, DA Boudin was inspired to become a public defender, and now, decarceral prosecutor. He is focused on reforming the criminal justice system and making our communities safer by developing data-driven policies to expand alternatives to incarceration and treat the root causes of crime. In his first few months in office, DA Boudin ended the office’s practice of asking for cash bail, eliminated status enhancements, implemented California’s first diversion program for primary caregivers, and ended the prosecution of charges resulting from racist pre-textual traffic stops. He has also implemented numerous police reforms, started an innovative Economic Crimes Against Workers Unit to protect workers from exploitation, and has succeeded in reducing the jail population in San Francisco even as crime rates declined. He remains committed to additional reforms that promote justice and protect public safety.
Peter Bratt was born and raised in San Francisco by a strong, indigenous, single mother from Peru, his family was part of the American Indian Occupation of Alcatraz, the Wounded Knee stand-off and the Farm Workers Movement. Peter has worked with the International Indian Treaty Council, Amazon Watch, Friendship House Association of American Indians, H.O.M.I.E.S., and Instituto Familiar De La Raza. Peter Bratt is a Rockefeller Fellow, a Peabody Award winner, an Emmy nominated film producer, writer, director, and social justice activist.
In 2007, Peter and his brother Benjamin Bratt and their partner Alpita Patel started 5 Stick Films– a high impact media pop-culture media company dedicated to shifting culture and economy. In 2009, Peter produced La MISSION which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. More recently, Peter wrote, produced and directed DOLORES, which debuted at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Peter’s film FOLLOW ME HOME premiered at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival and won the Best Feature Film Audience Award the same year at the SF International Film Festival and was hailed by black, brown and indigenous social critics, and is slated for a re-re-release in the fall of 2020.
Gregg Castro (t’rowt’raahl Salinan/rumsien-ramaytush Ohlone), has worked to preserve his Ohlone and Salinan heritage for three decades. Gregg is the Society for California Archaeology’s Native American Programs Committee Chairperson. Gregg is a Facilitator for the annual California Indian Conference, a 30+ year annual gathering about California Indigenous culture. He is a Founder/Advisor to the California Indian History Curriculum Coalition, based at CSU-Sacramento. He is “Principal Cultural Consultant” to the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone, advising within their San Francisco Peninsula homelands. Gregg is a writer-activist within the California indigenous community.
“It is vital to the spiritual well being of everyone now inhabiting this place: of the newcomers that came to colonize our homelands, the later native relatives that have found this place to be their new “home”, as well as the Ramaytush survivors of colonization in our homeland area, that we be a respectful and integral part of the revitalization of Indigenous culture here in ‘Yelamu’, San Francisco. This is in the fulfillment of our sacred obligation, given to us at our coming into the world by Creator and in accordance with the wishes and sacrifices of our ancestors, to continue in our ‘original instructions’ as caretakers of this place of our birth.”
Cheyenne Concepcion (b. 1991, Los Angeles) a multi-disciplinary artist and designer based in San Francisco. She creates work that investigates the politics of public space using installation, speculation, social practice and sculpture. Drawing on her interest and training in urban planning, and utilizing her toolkit as a designer, Concepcion’s work is site-specific and focuses on land development, cultural memory, migration and often has a public component.
Vivian Doumpa is an Athens-based urban planner and geographer, with a specialization in (creative & inclusive) placemaking. She has international experience on placemaking and citizens’ inclusion and participation in urban planning, especially on matters of public space and neighbourhood revitalization. Throughout her work she integrates aspects of socio- cultural management, non-formal education, community building and systemic change. She is an associate partner for STIPO, a netherlands-based team for urban development, in Greece and board member of Placemaking Europe network. She enjoys working on various scales, from neighbourhood level to strategic and international one, while experimenting with different topics, varying from creative and cultural economy to urban mobility and circular economy. Her heart compass is defined by two aspects, music and people, which – when followed – lead her to unexpected paths and projects related to music performance and communities in the urban scene.
Ian Cordova Morales is a lifelong resident of the East Bay, growing up in and around Albany CA. He began his outreach work volunteering with groups such as Berkeley Copwatch and Berkeley Needle Exchange. During the recession in 2008, Ian was living unhoused in Berkeley. He is now housed and living in Oakland. He is the lead advocate and president of nonprofit organization Where Do We Go Berkeley?
Michael Epstein is a screenwriter, journalist, and expert in immersive storytelling. Michael’s audio production career began when he was 10 years old as co-anchor of radio station K-R-A-P broadcast on a dual-tape-deck boombox in his friend’s attic. Michael’s next gig was with NPR’s “Morning Edition” filing stories about digital culture in Silicon Valley. Michael’s writing has appeared in Wired and Filmmaker Magazine focusing on interactive and participatory media.
Michael has a degree in Comparative Media Studies from M.I.T. where he developed several interactive documentary projects about human connection in the digital age. In 2006, Michael founded Walking Cinema, a digital storytelling studio comprised of filmmakers, developers, and designers specializing in travel and history productions. Walking Cinema’s stories connect compelling characters to places around the world and have been distributed by the Venice Biennale, Detour, PBS, and MTV. For Audible, they have developed and produced Pen and Place, The Curious Case of the Pheromonophone and The Ralph Steadman Interactive Experience. Michael’s work has been honored by The American Alliance of Museums, The Boston International Film Festival, and The National Endowment for the Humanities.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is a Black / Iranian visual artist and Oklahoma City native. She is a painter whose work ranges from the gallery to the streets, using visual art to address the daily oppressive experiences of marginalized people through beautifully drawn and painted portraits. Her street art series, “Stop Telling Women to Smile,” addressing sexual harassment in public spaces, can be found on walls across the globe. For the past 8 years, Tatyana has worked as a socially engaged artist. She creates work that tells the experiences of women and Black folk in the public space. Working with individuals and groups, community engagement is the crucial part of her work to share the stories and experiences of marginalized people. In 2019, she was the inaugural Public Artist in Residence for the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Fazlalizadeh has been profiled by the New York Times, NPR, MSNBC, the New Yorker, Time Magazine. Fazlalizadeh’s work can be seen on Spike Lee’s Netflix series, She’s Gotta Have It, for which she also served as the show’s art consultant. In 2020, Tatyana’s debut book Stop Telling Women to Smile: Stories of Street Harassment and How We’re Taking Back Our Power released from Seal Press. She is based in Brooklyn, NY.
Ken Fisher is an Emmy nominated social justice documentary filmmaker. He is the founder and chief creative at Truth Be Told Creative. His most recent film, “The BIG Experience” premiered at BIG Sky documentary festival and was used by presidential candidate Andrew Yang to build the grassroots movement for a Universal Basic Income.
Tenoch Flores is a strategic communications consultant with two decades of experience in advocacy and campaign communications. He has advised clients and directed communication campaigns at the federal and state level. Most recently, he directed communications for a campaign that ran digital ads using poll-tested, pro-immigrant messages aimed at persuadable voters in Wisconsin, Arizona and North Carolina. Tenoch previously served as Communications Director for the California Democratic Party and began his career as a Senate aide on Capitol Hill. He has also taught courses in communications strategy and campaign communications at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of San Francisco.
Jamon Franklin is currently finishing a dual Master of City Planning and Master of Public Health at UC Berkeley, with a focus on community-led solutions to spatial and racial health inequities. They come to this work with experience in nonprofit fiscal management, social and racial justice activism, particularly around transportation and the climate, and a deep love of maps and backpacking. Originally from Cleveland, OH, they have a BA in feminist studies and cultural anthropology from UC Santa Cruz.
Samuel Getachew is an 18-year-old poet and writer from Oakland, California. He is the 2019 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, a 2020 Finalist for National Youth Poet Laureate, and a 4-time YoungArts Winner. His writing has been published in Teen Vogue, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and more. He will attend Yale University in the fall of 2021.
Jane Gillooly grew up in Ferguson Missouri. She is a non-ﬁction video artist committed to the art of narrative, how it is constructed, and how complex and often hidden histories can be made accessible. Her work ranges from the impressionistic Where the Pavement Ends (2019), to the experiential in Today the Hawk Takes One Chick (2009), to a love story which was reconstructed from audiotape discovered in a suitcase purchased on eBay in Suitcase of Love and Shame (2013). Her award-winning work has screened internationally at museums and festivals. Gillooly is a Guggenheim Fellow and currently chairs the Media Arts Department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.
Ron W. Goode The Honorable Ron W. Goode is the Tribal Chairman of the North Fork Mono Tribe. He is a Veteran of the United States Army; a Life Member of the Sierra Mono Museum and of the United States Judo Federation. Ron holds a 6th degree Black Belt in Judo and still enjoys teaching. He is also a retired Community College Prof. in Ethnic Studies. Ron was inducted in the Clovis Hall of Fame for his work in Education and Community Service in 2002. In 2006 he was selected as CA Indian Education Teacher of the Year and in 2006 and 2007 Mr. Goode was nominated for the Who’s Who of America’s Teachers.
Mr. Goode is a published author, an ethnobotany book on native plants and resources: Cultural Traditions Endangered, 1992. In 2017-2018 Ron was the Coordinating Lead Author for the Tribal Indigenous Communities Climate Change Assessment as a new report of the California 4th Climate Change Assessment.
Mr. Goode and his tribal and ecological team, have been conducting Cultural Burns with Sequoia Park, Bass Lake Ranger District – Sierra National Forest, Cold Springs Rancheria, Private and Tribal Lands in Mariposa with the Mariposa Miwok Tribe. Ron then takes their practical work and presents it at Universities, Colleges, Seminars, Webinars, via Zoom and other Internet venues. Ron’s Journal writings and Webinar presentations have garnered worldwide attention.
Judith Helfand is best known for her ability to use her quirky sense of humor and irony, first-person storytelling chops and the power of transparency to tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time — from reproductive technology, corporate malfeasance, and toxic chemical exposure to the climate crisis, the “politics of disaster” and grief. Three of her films have premiered at Sundance and were nationally broadcast on PBS, HBO, and The Sundance Channel. Helfand is a field-builder who helped reshape the documentary landscape by co-founding two critical organizations, Working Films and Chicken & Egg Pictures. In 2018 she completed and launched COOKED: Survival By Zip Code, an award-winning feature documentary about extreme heat, the politics of disaster, and survival by zip code, for which she was awarded the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival’s 2019 Freedom of Expression Award. The film was nationally broadcast on PBS Independent Lens in February 2020 and was rebroadcast in July to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Chicago heat wave and give historical context to the scourge of COVID. It is currently being used virtually with community organizations, policymakers, public health experts, activists, and educational institutions across the U.S. and Europe to frame/reframe the current COVID-19 crisis with a long view on how and why acute disparity exists in the United States.
Berta Hernández, born and raised in Mexico City, came to the US in 1987 as an undocumented immigrant and has worked as a champion for human rights in Bay Area community struggles ever since. Her long history of service has a special focus on comprehensive community health, including AIDs advocacy and services, suicide prevention, and arts-based interventions for youth. As Director of Family Services for Instituto Familiar de Raza, Berta advocates for and delivers services to Latinx families in the SF Mission District. Berta is currently on a temporary assignment with the SF Department of Public Health supporting the COVID massive vaccination efforts in the city.
Lailan Sandra Huen is a 6th generation Bay Area native working to build people power through leadership development, civic engagement, and grassroots coalition-building. Her family first came to San Francisco Chinatown during the 1850s Gold Rush, and moved to Oakland Chinatown after the 1906 earthquake. She is a member of the Oakland Chinatown Coalition, leading campaigns to secure Community Benefits Agreements with developers, advocating for city-wide policies to ensure equitable development, and preserving Chinatown’s culture, community and history. She authored the “Our Neighborhoods” report which documented best practices and policies from across the country to protect cultural districts for the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. When working for the California State Assembly, Lailan helped save homes from foreclosure and advocated for education justice. She currently works for the Oakland Unified School District Office of Equity serving Asian, Pacific Islander and Middle Eastern students and advancing racial justice and ethnic studies in Oakland’s public schools. Lailan holds a Bachelors in Asian American and Urban Studies from Columbia University and a Masters in Media Studies from The New School. She loves to dance, hike, explore, design, facilitate, do tai chi, and uplift wellness practices and healing for communities of color.
Anthony B. Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH, as Senior Vice President of Healthy Communities, joined The Endowment in October 2009. Prior to his appointment at The Endowment, Iton served since 2003 as both the director and County Health Officer for the Alameda County Public Health Department. In that role, he oversaw the creation of an innovative public health practice designed to eliminate health disparities by tackling the root causes of poor health that limit quality of life and lifespan in many of California’s low-income communities.
Iton also served for three years as director of Health and Human Services and School Medical Advisor for the City of Stamford, Connecticut. Concurrent to that, he also served as a physician in internal medicine for Stamford Hospital’s HIV Clinic. In addition, Iton served for five years as a primary care physician for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Iton’s varied career also includes past service as a staff attorney and Health Policy analyst for the West Coast regional office of Consumer’s Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine.
Iton, who has been published in numerous public health and medical publications, is a regular public health lecturer and keynote speaker at conferences across the nation. He earned his B.S. in Neurophysiology, with honors, from McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec, his J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, and his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Melinda James is a queer, Black and Thai cinematographer whose work encompasses documentaries, narratives, installations, commercials, and music videos. Centering her work on women, QTBIPOC, and underrepresented communities, Melinda is drawn to the process of unearthing the nuances of people’s everyday lives. She believes a good image is the starting point for communication, but it’s in the space between images where dialogue happens.
Tonika Johnson is a visual artist and photographer from Chicago’s South Side Englewood neighborhood. In 2010, she helped co-found Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) and is the lead co-founder of Englewood Arts Collective established in 2017. Also in 2017, she was featured in Chicago Magazine as a Chicagoan of the Year. Within her artistic practice, Tonika often explores urban segregation and documents the nuance and richness of the black community. Her work has been featured at Rootwork Gallery in Pilsen, the Chicago Cultural Center, Harold Washington Library Center and featured in the Chicago Reader. Her multi-media project titled “Folded Map” that illustrates Chicago’s residential segregation while bringing residents together to have a conversation was exhibited at Loyola University’s Museum of Art in 2018. Since then she has transformed this project into an advocacy and policy-influencing tool that invites audiences to open a dialogue and question how we are all socially impacted by racial and institutional conditions that segregate the city. An excerpt of Folded Map is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art as part of the exhibition titled “The Long Dream.” In 2019, she was named one of Field Foundation’s Leaders for a New Chicago and most recently, she was appointed as a member of the Cultural Advisory Council of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events by the Chicago City Council.
Juliet Kahne, Ph.D. is Director of Events at Project for Public Spaces in NYC, where she organizes major conferences, webinars and trainings that bring together public space practitioners and advocates from around the world. She is also an urban geographer with an academic background in gentrification research specifically and still spends time trying to make sense of its constant evolution in changing urban centers. From Los Angeles originally, Juliet currently lives in Brooklyn where she has a passion for all things design, fashion, music, film, and street photography, and in her spare time explores the intersection between art and urbanism in her creative musings.
Sarah Karlinsky is an expert in housing and land use policy. She has led the publication of numerous SPUR policy reports, including What Will it Really Take to Create an Affordable Bay Area, Room for More, Affordable By Design, Safe Enough to Stay, On Solid Ground, Taking Down a Freeway to Reconnect a Neighborhood and Historic Preservation in San Francisco: Making the Preservation Process Work for Everyone. She has held many leadership roles at SPUR, including serving as the organization’s Deputy Director from 2008-2014.
Prior to joining SPUR, Sarah developed affordable housing throughout the Bay Area with MidPen Housing, one of the largest nonprofit developers of affordable housing in the Bay Area. She began her career teaching urban planning to middle school students as a Teach for America corps member in Baltimore, Maryland. Sarah received her Master’s degree in public policy and urban planning from Harvard Kennedy School and a BA in history from Columbia University.
Jung-In Kim is a practicing architect and professor at Soongsil University, Seoul Korea. He has focused upon the interplay between the built environment and changing constructions of urban consciousness in Asia. His work and theoretical explorations are organized around a series of dominant urban projects in Asia. He examines the social and political consequences of these projects through close analysis of the popular contestations and how these struggles contributed to debates about urban rights and new forms of citizenship.
His critical frameworks, informed by the emerging field of transnational cultural studies, appeared in Architectural Research Quarterly published by the Cambridge University Press, the Journal of Architecture by the Royal Institute of British Architects, Planning Perspectives by the International Planning History Society, and Architectural Research by the Architectural Institute of Korea.
Bryan Lee Jr. is an Architect, educator, writer, and Design Justice Advocate. He is the founder/Design Director of Colloqate Design a nonprofit multidisciplinary design practice, in New Orleans, Louisiana, dedicated to expanding community access to design and creating spaces of racial, social, and cultural equity. He has led two award-winning youth design programs nationwide and is the founding co-organizer of the DAP (Design As Protest) Collective. He was most recently noted as one of the 2018 Fast Company Most Creative People in Business, a USC Annenberg MacArthur Civic Media Fellow, and the youngest design firm to win the Architectural League’s Emerging Voices award in 2019.
Lisa Yun Lee is a cultural activist and the Executive Director of the National Public Housing Museum, an Associate Professor in Art History and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, teaching faculty with the Prison Neighborhood Art Project, and a member of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials. She has published books and articles about aesthetics and politics, public art, and the potential of museums as radical sites of resistance, and for participatory democracy. Lisa served as a Co-Chair of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Arts & Culture Transition Team, and is currently on the Mayor’s Committee for the evaluation of Monuments, Memorials, and Historical Reckoning. She is currently a board member of the Field Foundation, 3Arts, and on the Executive Committee of the UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy.
April McGill M.P.A. (Yuki, Wappo, Little Lake Pomo, Wailaki) is the Director of Community Partnerships & Projects for the California Consortium for Urban Indian Health (CCUIH) leading the violence against women Red Woman Rising Project (RWR) the Traditions of Health Project and currently the Getting Real About Stigma Reduction (GRASP) HCV prevention grant.
April is also the Executive Director for the American Indian Cultural Center. In her activism and community work pushing for the City to give the Native community a cultural arts and wellness center she became a Co-founder of the American Indian Cultural District. She graduated from San Francisco State University in 2009 with a BA degree (Honors) in American Indian Studies. April moved to the Northwest in 2010 to work as a Research Assistant at Portland State University Regional Research Institute on the System of Care “Nak-Nu-Wit Project” for Native families receiving mental health services. While living in the Northwest, April attended Evergreen State College where she pursued her Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Tribal Governance in 2012.
Mark Molnar began volunteering at Shanti in 1994. In 2000, he was hired by Shanti as the HIV Peer Advocate for St. Mary’s Medical Center, and during his 20 years with the agency has held a range of positions. He is also a former co-chair for the San Francisco HIV Planning Council and currently oversees administrative and needs assessment support for that council.
Deana Mitchell is a filmmaker, photographer and video journalist currently covering tech news for Voice of America’s Silicon Valley Bureau. She earned her Master in Journalism with a concentration on documentary from UC-Berkeley. Before that she worked for ABC News in New York. She loves to travel and learn about new cultures.
John Moody is a creative director and urban designer focused on strengthening connections between people and place, particularly through processes that put people’s lived experiences and collective storytelling at the heart of any sort of change. From community storytelling for downtown revitalization in Las Vegas to adaptation strategies for climate resiliency in South Florida, he has played a pivotal role in helping designers, organizations, and cities to find hidden power in their work and to catalyze progressive transformations in the built environment. He is co-founder and creative director of Invisible Cities Studio, a collaborative design practice that helps people create inclusive cities and urban spaces using artistic media. He has won an ASLA Honor Award and directed the award-winning films Redemption Square and the cerebral city. He currently lives in Los Angeles.
Destiny Muhammad is a Recording/Performing Artist, Band Leader, Composer, & Producer. Her genre, Celtic to Coltrane™, is cool and eclectic with a feel of Jazz & storytelling to round out the sonic experience. Destiny has curated concerts for Grace Cathedral Christmas Concert Series, SFJAZZ Tribute to Jazz Harp Legend Alice Coltrane, was a featured guest for GRAMMY Winner Kanye West’s ‘Sunday Service’, shared the stage with Jazz Masters Marcus Shelby, Omar Sosa, Blue Note Artist Ambrose Akisemuire, and Azar Lawrence, to name a few. She has headlined Bay Area ‘Women in Jazz’ Concert series, Sundays in the Redwoods Concert, Seattle’s Fest Sundiata, and ButcherTown Jazz Fest. She is the Principal Harpist for Jazz Master Eddie Gale’s Inner Peace Orchestra, The Oakland Community Orchestra, and performs with The AWESOME Orchestra. Destiny is Governor Emeritus and Educational Chair Emeritus of the Recording Academy, ASCAP Songwriter Awardee, California Entertainers Music Awards Female Jazz Artist of the Year Winner, SFJAZZ Teaching Artist, Bay Area Jazz and Blues Award Winner (BAJABA), and Raise Karma Virtual Residency Alumni.
Desi Mundo is an Oakland-based spray paint educator, hip-hop cultural diplomat and the founder of the Community Rejuvenation Project, a pavement to policy mural organization that has produced more than 300 murals, throughout the Bay Area as well as nationally and internationally. The “Universal Language” mural, His largest at that time, galvanized the Oakland community in the struggle against gentrification resulting in $20 million in community benefits, as depicted in the acclaimed documentary film “Alice Street.” In 2020, Desi completed his tallest mural to date, “AscenDance,” a 90′ tall piece on the Greenlining Institute. Desi’s legacy as an educator and youth worker in K-12 schools spans two decades. He received the “Rising Leaders” Fellowship from the Youth Leadership Institute in 2005 and has been awarded the Individual Artist grant from the City of Oakland eight times.
Toan Nguyen Hi, my name is Toan Nguyen. I was born in Vietnam to a family of three; my mother and father and sister. We came to the united states in the early 90s and since then went our own ways. I also have two siblings that were born here.
The current date is Jan. 14, 2021 is when I’m writing this. The reason is because I was asked to write this, which I didn’t really feel like writing my own bio, I think it’s a bit weird. I was also asked to select a title, along with a photo of myself, but since I don’t take selfies I asked a friend for a photo of myself.
Anyway, I’m a member of Cardboard & Concrete unhoused artists Collective. I currently live in an encampment in Berkeley, homeless camp to be clear since 2017. FTCFTH / Here/There is a sober community that (strictly) follow simple rules that were set up from dedicated unhoused activists before me. Some of the folks that initiated this protest / movement have since left, and some passed away. Their legacy is still alive, and along with our rage we continue the demand of acknowledgment that we exist, and we are able to organize, and remind the public that first they came for the homeless…
Leah Nichols is an award-winning filmmaker and designer based in San Francisco. She is best known for the animated short film, 73 Questions (2018 San Francisco International Film Festival selection, 2018 Social Impact Media Awards winner). She served as the lead animator for the documentaries Tomorrow Will Be a Better Day For Me (2020 BBC News) and Only the Moon/Solamente La Luna (2019 Sundance Ignite winner). Her work seeks to expand models of kinship, increase access to collective histories, and champion the compatibility of joy and trauma.
Isaacnezer K.Njuguna is an urban planner with 5 years of professional experience in Sub-Saharan Africa region, specifically Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Zambia. He specialises in applied urban research, environmental mainstreaming in urban development, and, informal settlements planning and upgrading. One of his key achievements is supporting the preparation of the Mukuru Slum Special Planning Area Plan in Nairobi, a pioneer undertaking in Kenya, which led to declaration of other informal settlements as Special Planning Areas, to pave way for community and stakeholder-led planning.
Xan Parker is an independent producer of award-winning documentaries, nonfiction series and shorts. Recent productions include Ross Kauffman’s film “Tigerland” (2019 Sundance Film Festival, Discovery); the 2017 CNN Films’ “The End: Inside the Last Days of the Obama White House,” directed by Toby Oppenheimer; and the ESPN Films/FiveThirtyEight 2016 special “The Contested Convention,” about the 1976 Republican National Convention. Parker produced Marshall Curry’s coming-of-age documentary “Racing Dreams” (Best Documentary, 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, PBS “P.O.V”); Ivy Meeropol’s 2007 series ”The Hill,” about congressional legislative aides (Sundance Channel); and Celia Maysles’s “Wild Blue Yonder” (2007 IDFA, SXSW). Her credits also include Rachel Boynton’s “Big Men,” about offshore oil drilling in Africa (2013 Tribeca, BBC, PBS “P.O.V”); and Kristi Jacobson’s “A Place at the Table” (Participant/Magnolia, 2012 Sundance). Parker directed and produced “Risk/Reward” (2003 Full Frame Film Festival, Tribeca, Oxygen). She earned her first producing credits under filmmakers Susan Froemke and Albert Maysles on the 1996 film “Umbrellas,” about artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and on the Academy Award-nominated feature documentary “LaLee’s Kin: The Legacy of Cotton” (2001 Sundance Cinematography Award, duPont-Columbia Award, HBO).
Pancho Pescador is a visual artist and muralist from Chile. He attended Escuela de Bellas Artes in Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, where he was introduced to printmaking and other mediums. Due to his interest in printmaking, in 1995, he joined a cooperative of printmakers, Taller de Artes Visuales (TAV), in Santiago, Chile. He was quickly identified by senior artists, Carlos Donaire and Guillermo Frommer, who invited him to participate in shows in Chile and abroad. In 1995, Pescador immigrated to the Bay Area and it is here where he develops a passion for street art. Soon after, he begins to work on public art projects, primarily through murals. In 2003, Pescador and other Chilean artists and intellectuals from the Bay Area found the 9-11 Squared Collective, a group dedicated to raising awareness about the complex relationships between the United States, Chile and other Latin American countries. Through the collective, Pescador curates several shows in the Bay Area. In 2007, he co-authored a visual poetry book published in Lima, Peru – “Libro de las Sombras o Recortes de la Memoria” with writer Jose Antonio Galloso. In 2009, Peskador becomes an active member of Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP). Together they have painted more than 200 murals in the Bay Area, Chicago, Seattle, Germany, Chile, Thailand and New Mexico. He is also part of “Los Pobres Artistas” a collective of painters, mostly from Chile, that founded and organized the first “Bay Area Mural Festival” this past year in Berkeley- Oakland border.
Kevin Phillips has been the Town Manager of the Town of Paradise since August of 2020. Mr. Phillips is leading the Town through recovery and rebuilding after the devastation from the Camp Fire. Previous to working with the Town, Mr. Phillips spent 13 years with Paradise Irrigation District. During his time at Paradise Irrigation District, he served as the Finance and Accounting Manager, the CFO, and the District Manager. As District Manager, Mr. Phillips led the District through the difficult water restoration period after the Camp Fire.
As a Certified Public Accountant, Phillips worked with Matson & Isom Accountancy Corporation (Chico, CA) from 2000 to 2007. He attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Accounting and Finance.
Phillips lives in Durham (CA) with his wife and three children.
Ada Pinkston is a multimedia artist, educator, and cultural worker living and working in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work has been mounted at a variety of spaces including The Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building, The Walters Art Museum, The Peale Museum, Transmodern Performance Festival, P.S.1, The New Museum, Light City Baltimore and the streets of Berlin, Baltimore, and Orlando. She is a recipient of an Andy Warhol Foundation Grit Fund Grant in Visual Arts, administered by The Contemporary (2017), and a Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Ruby’s Project Grant in Visual Arts (2017). A graduate of Wesleyan University (B.A.) and Maryland Institute College of Art (M.F.A.) she has presented lectures on public space at The French Embassy, NYU, UCLA and The National Gallery of Art. She was a part of the second cohort of fellows at Halcyon Arts Lab and is a Monument Lab Transnational fellow. She currently is also a part of the inaugural cohort of artists participating in LACMA x Snap AR Monument Project with her upcoming work: The Open Hand is Blessed.
Yesica Prado is a multimedia journalist and a first-generation Mexican immigrant from Nezahualcoyótl, Mexico. She grew up undocumented in a southeast neighborhood in Chicago, Archer Heights. With limited choices for a job without social security, she ventured into photography to learn a skill –– a trade. She hoped to earn a living as an independent contractor and attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, earning a BFA in Photography. But unexpectedly before turning 21, she was granted a humanitarian visa (U-Visa). Yesica took advantage of this new opportunity, expanding her borders to seek a master’s in journalism from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
While she was a graduate student, Prado lost her housing in San Francisco. She obtained an RV and came to the Berkeley Marina, joining a community of vehicular residents already residing there. They created a network of support for one another, showing the empathy, resilience, and kindness present even in the face of precarious living. Prado captures these elements in her most recent work, “Driving Home: Surviving the Housing Crisis,” which she completed in collaboration with visual storytelling nonprofit CatchLight as an inaugural CatchLight Local Bay Area Fellow for the San Francisco Public Press.
Her fellowship work has been featured by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and by Artists Against an #Infodemic Campaign, which aims to improve access to locally relevant public health information.
Annyliss Quinde, known as Quinde by friends, is a 20-year-old videographer, actor, and model from Minneapolis. She is a part-time student at the Minneapolis Community College, works 2 part-time jobs, and has her own YouTube channel. Annyliss is dedicated to giving back to her community and making change to help build a better life for young ones.
Serginho Roosblad is an Emmy® Award-nominated and award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist, and photographer. His work has been published by PBS Newshour, KQED News and KQED Arts, AJ+, The Guardian, The BBC, The San Francisco Chronicle, and many others. He has covered a wide range of topics during his years as a foreign correspondent, from Pope Francis’ first visit to Africa, to the plight of homeless single mothers in the Central Valley, and a freeway interchange in the Bay Area.
Chhavi Sahni As Director of Public Policy and Partnerships at the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, Chhavi leads research and communication on policy issues for the San Francisco restaurant community. She works with city officials and departments advocating for local, independent restaurants while also managing community partnerships with business and nonprofit organizations. To support the career development of current and future restaurant workers, Chhavi sits on the San Francisco Workforce Investment Board, City College of San Francisco’s Culinary Arts & Hospitality Advisory Board, and SFUSD Career Pathways Advisory Board. She is deeply passionate about the hospitality industry and small business advocacy. Born and raised in the Bay Area, she has seen first hand the struggles and successes of a small business owner supporting her family’s business, Apna Bazaar in Antioch.
Katherine Schaff joined Berkeley Media Studies Group to help build the organizational and communications capacity of local health departments, government agencies and community-based organizations working to advance racial and health equity. Prior to joining the BMSG team, she spent 11 years at the Alameda County Public Health Department, where she helped foster racial, social and health equity through policy change, community partnerships, and building institutional and staff capacity within the health department and the county. Her doctoral research focused on how local health departments addressed and communicated about the foreclosure crisis as a driver of health inequities.
Avni Shah, AIA is an Oakland, CA-based architect and filmmaker. By day, Avni designs low-income housing in the San Francisco Bay Area. By night, she creates documentary films investigating the disconnect between design and policy intent and lived community experience. Her mission is to engage and empower stakeholders across communities, governments, and demographics.
Cigdem Slankard is a filmmaker based in Cleveland, OH. She was born and raised in Turkey and received her BA in translation and interpreting from Bogazici University (Istanbul, Turkey) in 1999. She first came to the United States in 1998 to study film and video at State University of New York in Binghamton. In 2002, she received a Master of Fine Arts in filmmaking from Ohio University. She has written and directed several short film and video projects including Fresh Start (2017), Cultivation (2016) and Comfortable (2013). Her work has been included in several exhibitions and film festivals around the world.”
Sharaya Souza (Taos Pueblo/Ute/Kiowa) helped lead the American Indian Cultural District initiative by drafting the legislation, working with the local American Indian community to identify a culturally significant geographic boundary, securing funding, and leading Cultural District negotiations with local District Supervisors and stakeholders.
Sharaya is an ambassador for promoting equitable resource distribution to Native American communities, increasing Native visibility and political representation, and protecting and preserving tribal cultural resources in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to active participation with local Native American organizations, Sharaya serves on several local City boards and groups including the Housing Policy Group, Race & Equity in All Planning Coalition, Racial Equity Arts Working Group, Inter-Tribal Community Coalition, Economic Recovery Task Force, the Human Rights Commission Community Roundtable, and the SF Community Climate Council.
Sharaya’s previous experience includes the American Indian Cultural Center, Twitter, California Native American Heritage Commission, the California Research Bureau, Office of Institutional Research, American Indian Recruitment and Retention, and working with Governor Brown’s Tribal Advisor and the Executive Tribal Advisor at the California Department of Water Resources. Her work in these areas included establishing the Native voice in tech, providing research and recommendations in education and policy, Native youth retention, sacred site and tribal cultural resource protection, government-to-government tribal consultation, land use mediation, helping tribal groups gain recognition as non-federally recognized tribes, and the designation of Most Likely Descendants for Native American human remains.
Dr. Brandi Thompson Summers is Assistant Professor of Geography and Global Metropolitan Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her book, Black in Place: The Spatial Aesthetics of Race in a Post-Chocolate City (UNC Press, 2019), explores how aesthetics and race converge to map blackness in Washington, D.C. Her current research explores the complex ways that uses of space and placemaking practices inform productions of knowledge and power in Oakland, California. Dr. Summers has published several articles and essays that analyze the relationship between race, power, aesthetics, and urbanization that appear in both scholarly and popular publications, including New York Times, The Boston, Globe, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR), Public Books, and The Funambulist. Dr. Summers is a member of the Editorial Collectives at City and ACME, and is on the editorial boards of Urban Geography and City & Community.
Mary Travis-Allen (Mayagna, Chortega, Seneca) sits on the SFUSD School Names Advisory Committee. Mary was born, raised and educated in San Francisco. She has roots with Alcatraz, Wounded Knee occupation, and the American Indian Movement. In the 70’s she frequently spoke at rallies and networked withmany other emerging political activist groups in the San Francisco Bay Area that advocated for racial equality, freedom of political prisoners and more. Mary retired after thirty-two years of employment with the City & County of San Francisco, SFMTA, as a Senior Operations Manager. During her employment she stayed focused on the needs of the people we served and the employees that worked hard to provide service to the City.
Mary is privileged to know and stand with many leaders that fought against the racial and political oppression that was prevalent in this Country (and still exists).“I have learned that every step you take and experience in your life takes you on your path and knowledge in this existence. We learn from those that have come before us, traditions and knowledge, to give us strength and value to live and survive this life. We learn, we cultivate and we continue to plant these ways for those that will follow.”
David Vega-Barachowitz is Director of Urban Design at WXY Architecture + Urban Design and an adjunct professor of planning and urban design at Syracuse University. His work focuses on the development of new tools, research methods, and design perspectives that investigate and challenge the DNA of cities, from zoning and building codes to street and engineering manuals. David has spearheaded a range of projects and initiatives, including the development of neighborhood-based public realm plans, research on new and emerging mobility options, and guidelines for the design and retrofit of public housing complexes. He is a former Senior Urban Designer at the New York City Department of City Planning and the former Director of the Designing Cities Initiative at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), where he spearheaded the production of NACTO’s Urban Street Design Guide (Island Press, 2013).
Spencer Wilkinson After a decade working with gang-involved and homeless youth in the California Bay Area, Spencer founded Endangered Ideas in Oakland, to focus on stories of resilience. Spencer is the director and producer of ALICE STREET which premiered in 2020. KQED Arts describes ALICE STREET as “set in just a few city blocks, it’s a story about intractable loss as well as collective refusal, depicting artists’ role in grassroots activism that builds power by bridging communities.” ALICE STREET won the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Documentary at the Oakland International Film Festival and was an official selection of 15 film festivals in 2020. In 2018, he directed the feature-length “ONE VOICE: The Story of the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir” which premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival, was a “Best Movie of the East Bay” in 2019 and featured on PBS’ “Truly CA” 2020 season. He was awarded grants for impact producing in 2020 from the California Arts Council, San Francisco Foundation and Oakland Cultural Funding Program. His films have presented at the Urbanworld Film Festival, Newport Beach, Mill Valley, Marda Loop Justice, Atlanta Docufest, Milwaukee, Social Change Fest, DOCUTAH, Brighton Rocks, London Rocks, Filmocracy, ARTS X SDGS and the San Francisco Latino Film Festival.
David Woo was born and raised in San Francisco where he still currently lives. He recently graduated from USF with his MA in Urban Affairs where he studied urban policy as it relates to gentrification and displacement. He previously worked with the South of Market Community Action Network in community development, focusing on bottom-up strategies for addressing displacement through land use and planning. He currently works with the SOMA Pilipinas Filipino Cultural Heritage District in land use and is helping to write their Cultural Heritage, Housing, and Economic Sustainability Strategy report.