Anthony Gabriel Galace
Anthony is the health policy manager at The Greenlining Institute, a Berkeley-based public policy think tank committed to achieving racial and economic justice. His background in the health sector includes direct health care services, health education, and local advocacy. These experiences have highlighted the universality of health in all aspects of our lives, which inspires him to work towards holistically improving health outcomes for communities of color. As a health advocate, Anthony strives to serve as a nexus that utilizes public policy as a vehicle for health equity and racial justice. Anthony is very excited to learn and grow alongside the dynamic and exciting BCLI 2016 cohort!
When Gehad's not at work, she's involved with a few different things. She serves as a board member of the Timelist Group, a non-profit service provider catering mainly to youth and those formerly incarcerated, as well as the community at large. Through Timelist, she was introduced to Congregations Organizing for Renewal (COR) and other community groups to create what became the RISE Coalition (Residents Insisting on Social Equity), a coalition made up of local organizations, congregations and residents, advocating for economic equity and housing justice in Fremont. RISE is working on a campaign for rent control and just cause for eviction and Gehad hopes the tools she acquires during her time with the BCLI will help further their work, bringing Fremont a few steps closer to equitability.
Roberta is a leader of Residents Insisting on Social Equity (RISE), a coalition fighting for equitable development, affordable housing, and renters' protections in Fremont, where she was born and raised. Roberta serves as Secretary General of Anakbayan East Bay, a mass Filipino youth organization committed to establishing national democracy in the Philippines, and volunteers at Asian Women's Shelter in San Francisco. She currently works at UCSF, organizing a deliberative community engagement to inform California health policy around newborn screening and looking at the social, ethical, and legal implications of new technologies in prenatal screening. Roberta holds a BA in Gender Studies and Public Policy from UCLA. She is excited to build power, knowledge, and skills with the BCLI community to advance local and global movements for liberation and social justice.
Brandon is a father, lifelong West Oaklander and community organizer. Currently a Lead Organizer at Oakland Community Organizations (a PICO affiliate), Brandon coordinates the organization’s West Oakland education and Criminal Justice System work, and is the statewide co-chair of the PICO’s LIVE FREE campaign. Brandon received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from American University in Washington DC.
Chris is a native of San Francisco's Mission District, and identifies as a queer, mixed-race (Black and Mexican) social justice advocate. Chris currently works for the Mayor's Office of San Francisco on a public housing revitalization and anti-poverty initiative called HOPE SF. He earned his B.A. from Dartmouth College where he studied the intersections of urban space and racial, class, and gender inequalities. Chris participated in the City Hall Fellows post-graduate program with the City and County of San Francisco where he worked directly with the Public Library system, the Department of Children, Youth, and their Families, the Public Utilities Commission. Chris currently lives in Oakland, California, and enjoys spoken word poetry, facilitating trainings and workshops, discussing identity, power, and opportunity, and eating San Francisco burritos.
Estivaliz Castro is a research associate at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) in Oakland, CA where she works on several projects related to juvenile justice. As part of a research project, she had the privilege of interviewing over 125 young women involved in gang activity in California where she learned immensely from the young women’s stories. Estivaliz is also a member of New Hope Covenant Church, a church that has a long history of activism in the San Antonio neighborhood in Oakland. Her strong passion to uplift community voices comes from understanding that true leadership and expertise comes from those who society often ignores and disenfranchises. She hopes that through research, advocacy, action, and love she can give communities the voice and recognition they deserve, which she believes is one of the first steps to a more equitable and just society.
After a long hiatus from school Jose received a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting in 2013. During this hiatus, he explored his passion and interests in social issues, specifically on indigenous issues in Chiapas, Mexico, with an emphasis on topics of displacement, migration, environmental, and movements of resistance. After graduation he re-focused on developing his accounting and financial reporting skills at a local firm that specializes in consulting nonprofits. As he deepens his knowledge he would like to continue exploring ways to combine his business acumen and passion for social justice to contribute towards solving some of the issues currently facing our communities. He serves as a board member for a grassroots all-volunteer organization in Oakland, California. The organization supports indigenous and campesino organizations in Mexico. They organize delegations to Chiapas and also recruit and certify human rights observers and volunteers. Jose is very excited and looking forward to working alongside the talented group of people, and developing a deeper knowledge about issues facing marginalized communities and discussing ways to become more comfortable engaging with the institutions of power and being a more active citizen of our democracy.
Laylaa serves as the Community Advocate at Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), a longtime civil rights organization in Chinatown, San Francisco. She is a service provider to working-class, immigrant clients seeking work and a policy advocate around access to jobs, better wages, and land-use for community benefit. Prior to CAA, Laylaa worked with youth in Chinatown and West Oakland. She has served on the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission and is a strong advocate for racial justice, and the interests of working-class communities of color. Laylaa is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and lives in Oakland.
Mia is the Administrative and Projects Coordinator for East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO), the leading advocacy coalition promoting affordable housing in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. She joined EBHO in 2015 after earning her B.A. in American Studies, with an emphasis in city and regional planning and public policy, at the University of California-Berkeley. She is the lead researcher and writer of a white paper, sponsored by EBHO and Community Economics, Inc., analyzing the impact of Airbnb on affordable housing in Oakland. Mia’s advocacy interests focus on improving housing stability for low-income communities of color in her native Bay Area employing land use and affordable housing as catalysts for achieving equity. Her senior honors thesis explored the relationship between bicycle infrastructure in San Francisco’s Mission District and the gentrification, accompanied by wide-scale evictions, occurring in the area. Before EBHO, Mia interned for the Mission Economic Development Agency, surveying working-class residents aspiring to open a business or become homeowners, and spent a semester interning at the Urban Institute in Washington D.C. researching housing search trends for renters living in the D.C.-metro area.
Najla Gomez Rodriguez
Najla was born and raised in Mexico City, immigrated to the US at the age of 9, and lived in San Jose, CA until she went off to college. She graduated in 2014 from Stanford University with a degree in Civil Engineering, and from UC Berkeley in 2015 with a Master’s in Engineering & Project Management. She was undocumented throughout high school, blessed to have naturalized in 2014, but continues to experience-through close family and friends-the brokenness of the immigration system. She has been organizing for social justice since her high school years with Californians for Justice, a grassroots, educational justice organization, where she fought alongside other low-income students of color for increased college access. She then became a student organizer at Stanford University with MEChA, a Xicanx/Latinx activist organization, and FLIP, an organization that supports students who are the first in their families to go to college. She firmly believes marginalized communities should be at the forefront of any movement, and brings her life experiences to her current position as a Community Organizer with East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO). At EBHO she works with affordable housing residents and staff in supporting their leadership development to direct and participate in policy and organizing campaigns to promote affordable housing and advance housing justice.
Sequoia is a Health Educator and Community Worker with Contra Costa County Health Services, Safe Routes to Schools Program. She has a passion for collaborating with communities to create and build healthier, more sustainable cities. Sequoia is a clinical herbalist, and for over 10 years taught workshops and class series in the outdoors with the goal of reconnecting urban dwellers with their natural environment. As a Commissioner on the City of Richmond Parks and Recreation Committee, Sequoia hopes to continue creating healthier, safer, and more biodiverse parks with her neighbors. Sequoia is a member of the Richmond Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Healthy Richmond Steering Committee. Sequoia aspires to join in the larger conversation around city design by obtaining a certificate in City Planning. She currently holds a BA in Global Economics and Latin American and Latin@ Studies from UC Santa Cruz.
Etecia is a fourth generation Bayview Hunterspoint resident. Etecia’s family has struggled with cancer due to the environmental racism in her community. In 2009, Etecia became the Site Director of Farms to Grow Inc., a non-profit organization based in Oakland committed to helping small Black farmers grow their franchise in a sustainable organic way as well as combat hunger and advocate for food justice in marginalized communities. In 2013, Etecia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from St. Mary’s College where most of her research projects were based on racial and gender inequality. In 2014, Etecia joined the Community Research Board at the organization Community Youth Wellness in order to better inform the Black community on the importance of medical research to develop better-suited treatments for people of color. More recently, Etecia organized the Millions March San Francisco and Millions March Oakland surged by the glaring need for a peaceful healing space for the Black community to gather and express their grief during this "Black Lives Matter Movement”. Currently Etecia hosts a radio segment on Setting the Standard on KPFA 94.1 called “Let Them Flourish” which is about empowering and informing the Black community on the issues most affecting them. Etecia Brown is also apart of an organizing coalition called the Last 3 percent which is demanding justice for the murder of Mario Woods by SFPD. Etecia Brown is planning to attend graduate school for public health so that she may continue in her research and inform decision-making related to the well-being of the Black community.
Fernando serves as the Community-Engaged Learning Program Manager at the University of San Francisco, and received his Master of Public Administration from USF in 2015. He previously worked for the San Francisco Public Defender's Office and its community-building agency, BMAGIC, in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. He is a member of the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club, board member of Breakthrough San Francisco, and also serves as an appointed member on the San Francisco Unified School District's Public Education Enrichment Fund Community Advisory Committee (PEEF CAC). As a native San Franciscan, he is passionate about public service and creating equity through collaboration across communities.
Paul is the son of immigrant parents from El Salvador and a native of the San Francisco Bay Area. After completing his undergraduate studies at UC Santa Barbara, Paul returned to San Francisco to work as a political organizer for the region’s largest public sector labor union, SEIU Local 1021. Paul has worked to address educational inequities in local public schools as a campaign director for Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, a non-profit organization with a thirty-year legacy of advocating for low-income communities of color in San Francisco. Additionally, he has served as a Commissioner on the San Francisco Youth Commission where he was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee to represent the unmet needs of San Francisco’s children, youth and their families. Paul earned a Masters in Public Policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government and is pursuing a Juris Doctor degree at the UC Berkeley School of Law focusing on social justice and public interest law.
Rhea L. Serna
Rhea is a native of Northern New Mexico and a graduate of the University of New Mexico earning a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish and a Master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning. She is also a graduate of the Baruch School of Public Affairs in New York City earning a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Rhea moved to San Francisco in 2003 to work for the California Reinvestment Coalition as their Senior Policy Advocate. Her worked has largely focused on increasing access to credit and asset building opportunities for low income communities of color. She currently works in an administrative and fund development capacity at PODER - People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Sydney is the daughter of Chinese immigrants and refugees. Sydney currently leads communications strategy for local organizing and statewide policy campaigns at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. In her previous roles in organizing, research, advocacy, philanthropy, and government, Sydney has solidified a lifelong commitment to the struggle for health and environmental justice for underserved communities of color. She served as a City of Berkeley Community Health Commissioner from 2012-2013.
Amina Burrell, MPH has extensive experience in planning, coordinating, and conducting public health programs. She has over ten years of experience in health education, promotion, and disease prevention. Before she completed her master's degree in Public Health, Amina demonstrated her commitment to improved health outcomes among low income families throughout the Bay Area with Champions for Change and the Network for a Healthy California. She organized and managed over 80 partnerships between community based-organizations including the Network for a Healthy California and community liaisons. Amina has continued building her skills and expertise in the public health profession as a former Health Education Associate, with the Ira Greene PACE Clinic, organizing and administering services in HIV/AIDS management and prevention using the Healthy Relationships curriculum. She is now a Community Health Planner within San Mateo County's Behavioral Health and Recovery Services department.
Corina is an epidemiologist for the San Mateo County Health System where she acts as a technical lead for research and mapping to address issues of social, economic, and environmental justice. She previously worked at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum as a research associate where she conducted quantitative and qualitative research around issues of health justice for Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities and provided research capacity building to community-based organizations across the US. Corina serves on the Guerrilla Cartography Board of Directors and the Islander Elevation Advisory Board as Director of Research. She has a Master’s degree in Geographic Information Science & Technology from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley.
Mary K. Bier
Mary is the Program Director for the Pacifica Partnership, Prevention Specialist with the North County Prevention Partnership and facilitator of the Pacifica Collaborative. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from San Francisco State University where she received The George S. Araki Academic Achievement Award from the Institute of Holistic Health Studies. Mary has been an active community leader in San Mateo County, specifically empowering low-income youth and residents in Pacifica for over a decade. Mary has a deep-rooted passion and expertise for addressing social inequities, her personal experiences igniting others in the community to lead policy victories that ensure a healthy and thriving Pacifica community. Currently she is supporting a grassroots coalition (Fair Rents for Pacifica) committed to affordable housing and preventing displacement, a critical issue across the Bay Area region. Mary has navigated various sectors in the community that include local (Pacifica) and federal government officials, school districts (Jefferson Union High School District), health organizations and community-based organizations.