At The Greenlining Institute, we don’t just talk about diversity, we practice it every day. Our talented staff and Academy participants come from a wide variety of backgrounds and bring a diverse range of life experiences to the work of advancing justice and equity for all of America’s communities.
Preeti Vissa Kristipati is passionate about advancing an equity agenda for underserved communities and supporting the strategic growth of organizations to meet community needs. She is a social worker at heart with over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector.
In her previous role as Chief Operating Officer of The Greenlining Institute, she built organizational systems and processes to support sustainable growth. In this role, she was responsible for strengthening internal teams and driving organizational strategic change. She had a wide-ranging set of responsibilities, including: maintaining financial oversight, organizational development, and ensuring communication, collaboration and support of cross-functional teams. She also created a leadership development plan (incorporating individualized leadership goals and management-wide training sessions), and an onboarding program for both staff and members of the Board of Directors.
Preeti first came to Greenlining as a Summer Associate in 2007 and eventually rose to lead the Economic Equity policy team. In that role she worked closely with grassroots leaders to ensure that powerful stakeholders understood the economic needs of communities of color and pushed them to embrace solutions rooted in equity. She published numerous reports on issues of homeownership, small business entrepreneurship, supplier diversity and regulatory reform, and regularly led delegations of community leaders in meetings with the nation’s leading financial regulators and decision-makers.
Most recently, Preeti was an independent consultant, supporting various nonprofits with organizational development, systems building, fundraising, and project/grant compliance needs. Preeti is also an appointed member of the Fremont Citizens Advisory Committee, which advises City staff on the use of Community Development Block Grant funds.
Preeti holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an M.A. in Social Work from Columbia University. In her spare time, she loves to bake with her two sons.
Rosa María Martinez is The Greenlining Institute’s Operations Director, overseeing the management of our office and building. Previously, she worked with the Health Equity Team managing Greenlining’s Diversity in the Health Workforce initiative, looking at current representation of people of color at all levels within the health field. She also worked on ensuring that information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was reaching limited-English communities throughout California, conducting presentations across the state. Rosa María co-authored an issue brief designed to help ethnic small businesses understand key elements of the ACA affecting them.
Rosa María served on the Advisory Council to the San Francisco Mexican Consulate (2012-2014) and was the secretary for the Council’s Committee on Health and Sports. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature with a minor in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.
Originally from Zacatecas, México, Rosa grew up the Bay Area where she currently lives with her husband and daughter. In her spare time she loves to go horseback riding.
As the Assistant to the President of The Greenlining Institute, La Shonda provides direct 1:1 administrative support including primary management of the President’s calendar. She also serves as liaison to the Board of Directors, while overseeing the management of a variety of special projects for the President.
La Shonda has over a decade of experience supporting executives across industries. Among others, she has been executive assistant to four different vice presidents at Charles River Associates, an economic consulting firm and performed similar duties at RREEF, a former subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, and at Current TV, before it was taken over by Al Jazeera America.
She enjoys sprinkling her trails with the sound of her howling laughter and infectious spirit, spending time with friends and family, traveling, and lending her voice to amplifying the voices of people and communities that have been marginalized.
As Operations Manager at The Greenlining Institute, Ana assists the Operations Director with overseeing the management of the office and building. Previously, she worked at Mayer’s Laboratories, Inc. and Briones International, LLC as an Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper.
Since 2010, Ana has volunteered at SEIU Local 1877, advocating for human rights. Ana supports the union by translating, participating in protests and helping write letters of support for workers. Additionally, Ana has volunteered with various organizations that support foreign students learn English and achieve a higher education.
Ana will be earning her Human Development/Early Childhood Development degree from Cal State East Bay oi Spring 2016. After graduating, her biggest goal is to give back to her community by working/volunteering for non-profit organizations. Ana is excited to continue growing and expanding her professional knowledge at Greenlining.
Ana was born in Michoacán, Mexico but raised in the Bay Area and currently lives in Oakland with her family. In her free time, Ana loves to go shopping, dancing, watch movies and spend quality time with her family.
Rawan Elhalaby is the Senior Economic Equity Program Manager at the Greenlining Institute where she oversees bank accountability efforts using the Community Reinvestment Act. As the daughter of working class refugees, Rawan is all too familiar with the obstacles to achieving self-sufficiency in the United States for low-income and immigrant families. As such, she has spent her career addressing these obstacles at Greenlining and one-on-one with recently arrived refugees from Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Afghanistan (among others) to San Diego at the International Rescue Committee. She has also worked as a policy consultant to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the County of San Diego, the Western Regional Advocacy Project, and the Dellums Institute for Social Justice. Rawan holds a degree in Political Science from San Diego State University and a Master of Public Policy from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.
Sonrisa grew up in beautiful Portland, Oregon, where she first came to see how urban planning decisions and policies disproportionately impact communities of color. Watching her hometown grapple with rapid gentrification and displacement of longtime residents stirred her to dedicate her career to economic justice and expanding access to housing. After receiving her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Wellesley College, Sonrisa joined the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation in Boston, where she worked on affordable housing development and organized tenants around energy issues. She also has experience in program evaluation for utility energy efficiency programs. Sonrisa’s commitment to economic opportunity led her to pursue a master’s in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on affordable housing and community development strategies. She intends to spend her career working to level the economic playing field in marginalized communities and expand access to housing for people of all backgrounds.
Sonrisa is a Jeopardy! champion and trivia enthusiast with a tendency to sprinkle useless facts into every conversation. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with sourdough bread, spending time outdoors, and trying new restaurants.
Stephanie Chen directs Greenlining’s advocacy in energy policy, working to ensure that the environmental, economic, and health benefits of clean energy reach California’s communities of color. Over the last ten years, Stephanie’s work has driven investments in solar, energy efficiency, and other clean technology into environmental justice and low income communities, and promoted pathways to meaningful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for people of color in California’s growing clean energy economy. As an attorney practicing before the California Public Utilities Commission, Stephanie litigated several high-profile cases impacting billions of dollars in utility rates, winning broad statewide protections for communities of color, low income ratepayers and small business owners.
Stephanie is a member of the state’s Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group, which works with the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission to ensure that clean energy policies benefit environmental justice communities. Additionally, Stephanie serves on the board of directors for Vote Solar, and has previously served on the boards of directors for Rising Sun Energy Center and the Conference of California Public Utility Counsel. Stephanie has a B.A. in Government from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law, and is an alumna of Greenlining’s Leadership Academy. Outside of work, Stephanie can usually be found in the kitchen up to her elbows in something delicious.
Carmelita Miller was born in the Philippines and grew up in South San Francisco, California. She graduated from Sacramento State University where she became a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and earned a B.A. in History with a minor in Greek studies. After a graduating from UC Hastings College of the Law, she became a Greenlining Legal Fellow in 2013-14, focusing on telecommunications policy.
While at UC Hastings, she served as the President of the Pilipino American Law Society and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal. Inspired by her personal experiences living in low-income, immigrant, and working class communities, she dedicated her free time in law school to providing legal assistance to the low-income population by interning and volunteering at various pro bono organizations such as Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, UC Hastings Civil Justice Clinic, Legal Aid of San Francisco’s Workers Rights Clinic, the Veterans Equity Center, and the Filipino Community Center.
When she is not studying or fighting for justice, Carmelita enjoys lounging, hiking, and playing with her two black labrador retrievers named Maximus and Athena.
Jessica Elizabeth Iniguez grew up in an immigrant single parent household in South Central Los Angeles. Her Mexican descent and her parents’ migration narratives have impacted the way in which she interacts and perceives the world and its social structures. As a child she assumed that the only way to live life was through a suffering and survival model, as those in her community often were oppressed, ignored, and abused. The lack of autonomy that she witnessed ignited her path towards creating liberating and embracing spaces. She was able to grow her passion for social justice and social change through her undergraduate experience at the University of California, Berkeley. Her degrees in Social Welfare and Education opened an avenue for unpacking the unjust and inequitable superstructure systems that governed her life, as well as her identities as a survivor of domestic and sexual abuse. During her time in Berkeley, Jessica channeled that understanding into creating a reproductive justice program for children who coped through different forms of violence.
In the future Jessica plans to obtain a M.A. in Public Policy and a J.D., as she wants to work on international human rights policy. During her Fellowship year she aims to aid in the amplification of POC narratives and to advance intersectional and social justice-centered policy. In particular, as an Energy Fellow, Jessica plans on deconstructing the barriers to clean energy initiatives for POC communities. For fun, Jessica likes to cook, watch Pokemon, eat ice cream, plant flowers, dance, and put on Fenty makeup.
Paul Goodman directs Greenlining’s work in technology policy. His work is grounded in the belief that all technology policy has racial equity impacts. Paul advocates for affordable and reliable telephone and high-speed broadband service for communities of color, including critical consumer protections like data privacy and net neutrality. His most recent work involves fighting algorithmic bias, ensuring that computerized decision-making does not have disparate effects on communities of color. While at Greenlining, Paul has successfully opposed the highly anti-consumer AT&T/T-Mobile and Comcast/Time Warner Cable mergers; helped obtain a $33 million settlement from Comcast for privacy violations, and advised the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on the use of big data to create alternatives to traditional credit scores.
Paul received his J.D. from John F. Kennedy University School of Law, and his LL.M in Intellectual Property from Santa Clara University School of Law. While at Santa Clara University, Paul worked as a Research Fellow at the Broadband Institute of California, working on issues including net neutrality, deceptive Internet service provider terms and conditions, and the regulation of broadcast television and radio. Paul’s previous experience includes research on pharmaceutical reverse-settlement payments and broadcaster liability for spreading anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories.
In his spare time, Paul enjoys cooking and making his own cheese. He lives in Oakland with his wife, who is a registered nurse and published author of urban fantasy novels.
Vinhcent Le grew up in California and graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in political science before receiving his Juris Doctor from the UC Irvine School of Law. As a law student, Vinhcent advocated for disadvantaged communities on a variety of fronts, including criminal defense, appellate litigation and immigration law. Vinhcent brings a diverse set of experiences to Greenlining. He advocated for clients as a law clerk at both the Orange County and Federal Public Defender’s offices. He later clerked with the Office of Medicare Hearing and Appeals as well as the Small Business Administration. Vinhcent also co-authored an award-winning paper for the Oxford Journal of International Law analyzing the effectiveness of informal legal policies in reducing overconsumption of fossil fuels and overfishing of the world’s oceans.
As a volunteer, Vinhcent mentored and encouraged at-risk high school students to attend college and law school as part of UC Irvine’s “Street Law” program. Other experiences include helping Orange County immigrants obtain a pathway to citizenship and assisting the overlooked Vietnamese and African American communities in Mississippi in obtaining government assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Outside of the office, Vinhcent enjoys wilderness backpacking, fantasy football and cooking.
Alvaro S. Sanchez is an urban planner with extensive experience crafting, implementing, and evaluating strategies that leverage private and public investments to deliver community benefits to impacted communities. Alvaro leads our work on SB 535 (de León) which directs at least one quarter of California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to disadvantaged communities. He also leads our neighborhood-scale sustainability initiative, a comprehensive and scalable approach to greenhouse gas reduction that leverages private and public investment while improving underserved communities throughout California.
Prior to joining Greenlining, Alvaro led Green For All’s stormwater infrastructure strategy. As a member of the State and Local Initiatives team, he led the organization’s strategies for connecting impacted communities to economic opportunity related to national stormwater infrastructure investments. He wrote several reports detailing the untapped opportunity of using green infrastructure as a cost-effective stormwater management tool that creates job and business opportunities for underserved communities. Several leading water and stormwater utilities throughout the country have used the framework he presented to deliver triple-bottom-line benefits.
Alvaro has over nine years of experience working on economic development and land use issues throughout California and nationally. In 2011 he received a Master of Planning degree from the University of Southern California, where he focused on affordable housing and economic development. He is the President of the Board of Directors at Dolores Street Community Services, an immigration and community development organization in San Francisco. He also created the Triple Bottom Line Hub, a social media platform that celebrates projects that deliver triple-bottom-line benefits. Alvaro, who believes you can never be too wonky, lives in North Oakland, grew up in Los Angeles, and was born in Mexico City.
Joel works to reduce poverty and pollution in communities of color by advocating for accessible, affordable, and clean transportation choices and a diverse clean energy economy. He leads Greenlining’s transportation equity work advocating to increase racial equity in transportation planning and investments; implementing the Charge Ahead California Initiative–a law that works to make electric vehicles (EV) accessible to low- and moderate-income Californians; and advocating for equitable EV charging infrastructure investments at the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, and within the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement. He is author of “Electric Vehicles for All: An Equity Toolkit;” lead author of “Electric Carsharing in Underserved Communities: Considerations for Program Success;” and co-author of “Delivering Opportunity: How Electric Buses and Trucks Can Create Jobs and Improve Public Health in California.” Joel is always thinking of ways to make new mobility services and transportation investments more equitable and sustainable.
Prior to joining Greenlining, Joel attended law school where he worked on consumer protection issues for the Federal Trade Commission, on civil rights cases for the Office of Staff Attorneys at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and death penalty cases for the California Appellate Project.
Joel was born in Gallup, New Mexico and split time growing up between Gallup and Phoenix, Arizona, where his family lives now. He graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Philosophy, a minor in Justice Studies, and a certificate in Ethics. Joel earned his J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law where he served as the Academic Chair of the La Raza Law Students Association and Acquisitions Editor of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal.
After work hours, Joel likes to spend time with friends and family, eating, and dropping dimes on the basketball court.
As Legal Counsel with the Environmental Equity team, Román works to ensure that lower-income communities of color have a seat at the table in order to drive climate investments to help improve air quality and economic opportunities within their communities. He believes that communities and their members must be prioritized, engaged and heard. Román grew up near San Diego in National City, two blocks away from the freeway and across the street from a car body shop that regularly violated city codes by sanding, chroming and painting vehicles out in the open. His exposure to these toxic chemicals and pollution inspired him to work on addressing environmental concerns in his community.
Román was the Environmental Equity Legal Fellow from 2013-2014 where he worked on SB 535 implementation and the development of the Charge Ahead Initiative, creating pilot programs to increase access to cleaner vehicles. More recently he was Senior Equity Specialist at the Center for Sustainable Energy, where he worked with CSE’s reneweables and transportation teams.
Román received his B.A. from the University of San Diego and J.D. from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. In his down time, he loves to spend time with his partner and two kids, coaches their sports teams and tries to live out his long lost dream of making it to the Major leagues by playing on an Adult Baseball League team with his three brothers.
Emi is dedicated to supporting communities of color to access the resources they need to lead their own transformations. Our neighborhoods have been shaped by racist and exclusionary public policies, and Emi is committed to leveraging policy to bring about transformative change, grounded in social and racial justice, for our communities. At Greenlining, Emi leads the Environmental Equity team’s capacity-building and locally-based work, helping to build the capacity of communities of color to access state-level resources to fight the impacts of pollution and climate change. She also co-leads our advocacy in Sacramento around policies to reduce poverty and pollution. Prior to joining Greenlining, Emi supported grassroots community improvement initiatives in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods across New York City.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Emi has mad love for the 718. She is happiest in sunshine, cities, mountains and the ocean. She is equally passionate about all the food. Emi graduated from Vassar College in 2011 with a B.A. in History, focusing on modern American social and political history, and a minor in Japanese.
Sona comes to us from New Orleans, and recently moved to the Bay Area to work on environmental equity issues. She became interested in environmental equity after witnessing the disproportionate environmental burdens that communities of color face in New Orleans, especially after Hurricane Katrina and the B.P. oil spill. Sona interned at several environmental nonprofits throughout law school and realized that she wanted to pursue a career in public interest environmental law. As Environmental Equity Manager, she looks forward to advocating for environmental equity and learning how to effectively empower communities of color.
In her spare time, Sona enjoys running, cooking delicious vegan food and listening to probably too much 90’s music.
As Environmental Equity Program Manager, Hana contributes to the development and implementation of policies leading to clean transportation and mobility investments in California that result in positive health, environmental, and economic outcomes. Her work is focused on the intersection of transportation, climate change, and economic opportunities for low-income communities of color. Prior to Greenlining, Hana implemented innovative campaigns for Alameda County’s Clean Commute Program, to promote long-term sustainable behavior changes. Hana has also worked as a community organizer, advocating for climate change action and public transit policies in San Diego.
Hana was born and raised in Berkeley, California. She graduated magna cum laude from San Diego State University with a degree in Sustainability, with a particular interest in environmental justice and equity. Outside of work, Hana enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, cooking, and traveling. Her greatest fear is being stuck inside on a sunny day.
Nia Aisha Mitchell is the daughter of an Afro Cuban immigrant mother and a southern born Black American father. While she was physically raised in northeast Los Angeles, she developed a key aspect of her ideologies and identity during her childhood summers in La Habana, Cuba.
After graduating high school she attended Pasadena City College, where she engaged with two courses that drastically changed her personal and professional trajectory: Sociology of the African American and Introduction to Environmental Studies. The understanding that space and race are inherently connected to produce exploitative outcomes for low income and communities of color has never left her. Empowered (and disheartened) by that knowledge she continued her academic journey at UC Santa Barbara where she created an Interdisciplinary Environmental Justice B.A. degree using the Anthropology, Black Studies, and Environmental Science departments. Upon graduation she focused on helping create change through honing her organizing and educational outreach skills with the Afrikan Black Coalition, Communities for a Better Environment, and the DemocracyNow! education department.
Given Nia’s calling to help collaborate on the collective project that is imagining and creating a sustainable and equitable world, she finds perfect alignment with this public policy Fellowship. She looks forward to the lessons and opportunities working in the Environmental Equity team will provide, especially, for working with diverse stakeholders in California to adapt and mitigate to climate change. For fun she enjoys dancing, hanging out with friends, going on hikes or having a beach day.
Anthony’s passion for advocacy lies at the nexus of public policy, health equity, and racial justice. As the child of Filipino immigrants, his desire to advocate for underserved communities was shaped by the struggles his extended family faced while coming to the United States. Anthony leads Greenlining’s health advocacy to promote access to health care and health workforce opportunities for historically underserved populations, such as young people of color, immigrants, and the re-entry community. Additionally, Anthony advances Greenlining’s advocacy to ensure health employers across California, such as hospitals and health plans, address racial and ethnic health disparities by increasing investments in upstream, preventive health resources for communities of color. Anthony has authored a number of reports highlighting barriers to employment for marginalized groups, such as young men and women of color, and offering policy solutions to improve racial and health equity.
Anthony also serves as the Chair of the Alameda County Public Health Commission and on the Board of Filipino Advocates for Justice, a community-based organization dedicated to empowering the Filipino community and other disadvantaged communities across the Bay Area.
Apart from Greenlining, Anthony is an avid sushi connoisseur, aspiring chef, and the self-proclaimed “Greatest Laker Fan of All Time.”
Anthony is from Chula Vista, California, and graduated from UC Berkeley in 2013, with a degree in Integrative Biology.
Patrick Brown joined Greenlining’s team in 2012 as the Manager of the Leadership Academy. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, he comes from a lineage of community and labor organizers. While completing his B.A. at DePaul University in Political Science with a minor in Environmental Science, he served as training coordinator for DePaul’s Labor Education Program.
Committed to economic and community development, Patrick worked with OAI, Inc. for the next 10 years developing and implementing training programs for a national network of workforce re-entry programs. As manager of an EPA Brownfields job training grant, Patrick partnered with and developed the Greencorps Chicago program as a model for green jobs training programs. As a Green for All Fellow, he continues to provide trainings and workshops to engage disenfranchised communities in the green economy workforce.
Patrick is deeply connected to social justice artists / activists across the country and travels often. He loves ‘deep house’ music and enjoys spending time on crowded dance floors. He practices Vipassana meditation at the East Bay Meditation Center and is an active member in the East Bay Church of Religious Science. He lifts his voice with his church choir and is constantly considering how to achieve his dream of becoming a backup dancer for Janet Jackson.
Chagan Sanathu has a long history of engagement with the youth leadership programs — first as a 2010 Young People For (YP4) Fellow and later as a Center for Progressive Leadership Fellow. For 3 years, Chagan worked at the Young People For offices in Washington, DC, where she worked with the 12-person alumni board to help support the YP4 program. Chagan graduated in 2012 from Goshen College with a degree in business and public relations. During her time as an undergraduate, Chagan interned at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities where she researched the effects of child tax credit and earned income tax credit of low-income communities, with an emphasis on women who survived domestic violence.
Chagan is a former board member for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum-DC Chapter, focusing on fundraising to support the chapter’s work on immigration reform, reproductive justice, and other issues impacting the API community.
Since her relocation to the Bay area, Chagan likes to explore the nearby region, cook, ride her electric blue bike and organizing with the local Desi (South Asian) community.
Jamina Ovbude is an educator whose strengths sit at the intersection of curriculum-building, multimedia and materials design, logistics management and customer service. She honed her teaching and curriculum-building skills during the four years she spent working as an English instructor with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. There, she built curriculum that focused on teaching English as a second language through a cultural competency and personal empowerment lens, and also began to develop her passion for bridging knowledge gaps by uplifting learners to engage with their fullest selves.
After she finished her time overseas, she returned to the U.S. to work for the University of California, Irvine as an administrative coordinator for the Office of Global Engagement, where she continued to foster intercultural connections between on-campus leaders and visiting faculty from the campus’ international partners. While there, she became a panelist and coordinating member of the Diversity Development Program 2015-2016 cohort, where she was able to infuse her passion for teaching into a more robust and engaging program for the participating UCI staff members.
Jamina grew up in southern California and received two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Southern California in Communications and Spanish. She is a travel-obsessed fashion enthusiast who likes to spend her time adventuring around her new East Bay home, indulging in good eats, and singing all the 90s R&B songs.
Braelan Murray, a Bay Area native, is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he received his B.F.A. in Film and Video Production. An award-winning filmmaker with over a decade of experience using media as a tool for advancing social change, his portfolio includes work for local unions, progressive nonprofits and cutting-edge media design firms —notably as editor and videographer on Annie Leonard’s world-renowned animated short, The Story of Stuff. As Communications Director at The Greenlining Institute, Braelan has expanded and transformed Greenlining’s use of all forms of media to tell the stories of the issues and communities we advocate for, greatly expanding the organization’s presence in all forms of new media.
When Braelan isn’t working, you can find him in the lab searching for the perfect blend of arts and activism, attempting to recreate the simple brilliance of his Nanna’s Italian recipes, or on the golf course blaming his clubs for his inability to shoot par.
Bruce Mirken brings two decades of journalism and communications experience as well as a long history of activism to his position as Media Relations Director. An award-winning writer who serves as Greenlining’s resident editor and all-purpose wordsmith, Bruce’s work has appeared in wide range of publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Men’s Health, and The Advocate. From 2001 through 2009, he served as Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. In that capacity, he appeared frequently on radio and television, including ABC World News, Anderson Cooper 360, and The Rachel Maddow Show, and was quoted in newspapers and magazines worldwide. His activist career began in the LGBT community (starting just out of college with the campaign against Proposition 6, which would have fired gay or lesbian schoolteachers in California) and quickly branched out to a wide array of social justice issues.
In his spare time, Bruce enjoys hiking, cooking and gardening – hoping that the San Francisco fog will burn off enough to permit a decent tomato crop each summer. He claims to make the world’s best spaghetti sauce, though our Research department considers this claim unverified.
Jane Duong is the Development Director at The Greenlining Institute, where she leads a team responsible for engaging foundations, corporations, individuals and other supporters to raise resources for the organization and its mission. Jane brings 15 years of experience working with communities of color to advance economic opportunity. Previously, she worked at the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD), a social justice organization improving the lives of low-income Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country through a coalition of grassroots organizations. She played many roles, including Director of Programs and Advocacy, where she developed the first national network of AAPI-serving housing counseling agencies in the country. She also supported the growth of asset-building and financial capability programs in the AAPI community and contributed to groundbreaking research on how AAPI communities access financial services and products. Most recently, she served as the Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships, leading efforts to centralize fundraising efforts and grow the organization’s influence.
Jane’s perspective is grounded in her experience working in grassroots , community-based organizations at the frontlines of building community. She worked as the Housing Program Manager for the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), supporting existing and aspiring homeowners in the Latino community. She also spent time working with the East River Development Agency (ERDA) in Long Island City, New York, and at the Chinatown Community Development Center in San Francisco, CA. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and received her Master of Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.
Jane is the daughter of immigrant parents from Vietnam and enjoys spending time in the outdoors with her husband and daughter.
Mariah coordinates Greenlining’s Annual Economic Summit, Academy Graduation and various events throughout the year. Prior to joining the Greenlining team, she helped to start-up Insight Garden Program, a nonprofit that builds gardens and offers job training in prisons across California. After receiving a degree in Food Systems, Ethnic Studies and Political Economy from UC Berkeley, her love of traditional foods and non-profit life led her to La Cocina, a food business incubator in San Francisco. It was there that she fell in love with the adrenaline rollercoaster that is event management — helping pull off the San Francisco Street Food Festival, an event that attracts 60,000 attendees to highlight La Cocina’s women-of-color-owned businesses. Mariah is committed to work that helps provide good jobs, meaningful work and economic opportunity to low-income communities.
When she’s not in the office, she likes to incessantly listen to podcasts, experiment with taco recipes, and browse pinterest for her next DIY home-design project.
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Alexis Cureton has grown into an energy-environmental justice equity advocate. Receiving his Bachelor’s in Sociology from Clark Atlanta University while interning with Congressman John Lewis at his Atlanta office in the 5th Congressional District of Georgia, Alexis realized early that to reverse systematically oppressive systems he needed to know the history and current dealings of energy-environmental justice equity work. In studying that history, he went on to pursue his Master’s in Public Affairs from Indiana University. During his time in graduate school, learning of practitioners such as Dr. Robert Bullard, Dr. Dorceta Taylor and Dr. Tony Reames helped set a standard for the impact he seeks throughout his environmental equity career. This inspiration is what brought Alexis to the West Coast. First, doing energy burden research in Seattle for low-income communities to now living in Oakland fighting for equitable access to zero-emission technology in California through managing California’s first Clean Vehicle Grants Program this past year.
As a summer associate with the Environmental Equity Team, Alexis will continue his work of advocating for the investment in, access to, and ownership of zero-emission technology for historically divested communities of color throughout California.
In the long term, Alexis strives to create new educational and occupational pathways for youth and early career professionals.
Antonio Jauregui was born in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico and migrated to California’s Central Valley at the age of five with his grandparents. Recently becoming the first in his family to graduate from college, Antonio received his degree from Fresno City College in Political Science and will continue his undergraduate studies at Cal Poly Pomona in the fall.
Having been afforded the temporary protections of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Antonio has used that privilege to advocate both locally and on a national stage for a pathway to citizenship that does not come at the cost of criminalizing folks. During the 2018 midterms, Antonio successfully led as a Field Organizer in a Congressional campaign. Antonio is working towards continuing to build a strong community relationship, including shaping local policy through the Fresno Youth Commission, all with the hope to one day announce a run for elected office.
When not at the office, Antonio can be found in a coffee shop, on a road trip, or dancing his caffeinated heart out.
Jason was born in Los Angeles, California to two Mexican parents—one from the rural state of Guanajuato and the other from Ciudad México. He spent most of his life in the Los Angeles Unified School District until his father moved him and his family to the suburbs in north LA County where he met some of his dearest friends who helped shape his academic years. Jason firmly believes this move to be pivotal to his life as a scholar. His new friends encouraged him go to tutoring sessions instead of play after school. They showed him what it meant to have college ambitions and the need to make himself more competitive. These formative years shaped his professional interests, and in college they were made even clearer as he leaned into working towards social justice through clubs such as Human Rights Association, Office of the Student Advocate, and interning for immigrant rights groups.
Growing up he realized just how important a zip code can be in defining a child’s quality of life, and in trying to calculate his next move following college, he’s realized that his motives haven’t changed. Thus, he is working towards impacting the lives of kids in underrepresented communities so they may be as equally or more well-rounded than their privileged counterparts.
Most of his four years in undergrad at UC Santa Barbara revolved around attending conferences, doing internships, or cramming readings at the UCSB library, so when he wasn’t partaking in those activities he enjoyed paddle-boarding at the beach or driving to LA to dance with friends—rumor has it he’ll basically dance to any electronic techno beat.
Maria Cecilia Perez is a first-generation Chicana originally from Southern California. Maria completed her undergraduate degree in Business Administration at UC Berkeley where she learned about the social, economic, and political implications of corporate influence in the U.S. After graduating, Maria joined Deloitte where she worked in an advisory role for large technology corporations. Influenced by her exposure to the Bay Area’s housing crisis, gentrification, and displacement, Maria decided to pursue a career in Public Policy to address widespread inequality and work towards a political representation that accurately reflects that of the U.S. population. Maria hopes to further these goals through nonprofit and/or public channels. In her spare time, Maria enjoys dancing, reading, and volunteering.
Neena Mohan was born to South Asian immigrant parents and grew up in a small town in the High Desert of Southern California (the ancestral home and unceded territory of the Yuhaviatam / Maarenga’yam people). As a recent graduate of UC Berkeley with Bachelor of Science degrees in Environmental Sciences and Conservation & Resources Studies, and a minor in LGBT Studies, Neena is also shaped by student organizing experiences in queer/trans people of color and environmental justice spaces. During her undergraduate years, she had the opportunity to work with Earthjustice and National Parks Conservation Association to uplift diverse voices and share critical narratives. Neena’s family story, lived identities, and love for those who fought before her inform her work with a strong sense of justice, deep compassion, and desire for shared liberation.
Tien Tran grew up in a big Vietnamese American Catholic household in Van Nuys, California. She recently graduated from Yale University and received a B.S. in Environmental Studies. At Yale, she studied environmental issues specific to California, such as the history of farm labor organizing and climate change health impacts on the homeless. At the Yale Asian American Cultural Center, she facilitated discussions to empower fellow students to relate their history and identity to their politics. Tien is excited to come back home to California and serve frontline communities experiencing environmental injustices. In her free time, Tien enjoys going to Zumba classes, painting plants, and writing nonfiction and poetry.