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.
Orson Aguilar is the President of the Greenlining Institute, one of the nation’s largest and most successful multi-ethnic, advocacy and leadership development nonprofits. Greenlining envisions a nation where race is never a barrier to economic opportunity and communities of color thrive. Because people of color will be the majority of our nation’s population by 2040, Greenlining believes that America will prosper only if communities of color prosper.
Under Orson’s leadership, Greenlining has become a leading voice in the movement to fight redlining by advocating for greenlining policies, particularly in the areas of the economy, the environment, health, energy, voting, and telecommunications.
Orson’s leadership has been featured in major media such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Univision, La Opinion, NPR, Politico, The Huffington Post and many others news outlets. He meets regularly with major Fortune 100 CEOs and with many of our nation’s economic leaders. His op-eds on diverse topics impacting communities are regularly featured in small and large newspapers throughout the country.
Orson’s work has been recognized by the New Leaders Council, Latino Leaders Magazine, La Opinion, The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and several other prominent organizations. He is a board member at the California Women’s Foundation and also sits on Bank of America’s Community Advisory Committee. He is also a past member of important local boards and committees, including the Mission Economic Development Agency and the City of Oakland’s Budget Advisory Committee.
Orson received a BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MPA from The University of Texas at Austin. Orson is a product of Greenlining’s leadership academy. He was also a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellow.
Orson’s passion is fueled on his experiences growing up in the working class neighborhood of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. Orson lives in Oakland, CA with his wife Claudia, and their three children, Emilio, Nayeli, and Danilo.
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.
Kenya is the first Facilities Manager of Greenlining’s Downtown Oakland and Downtown Berkeley buildings, where she serves as a charming representative of the organization in her interactions with vendors and tenants, negotiates contracts and oversees the implementation and successful completion of ongoing maintenance and improvement projects. Kenya has performed tasks and worked in close proximity to facilities-related personnel for over a decade.
Prior to Greenlining, she worked at an international consulting firm as the assistant to an Office Manager as well as the West Coast Senior Systems Administrator for more than two years. In that role, she established and maintained relationships with vendors and neighboring businesses, created internal solutions to improve efficiency, and improved office organization in all areas. Kenya’s attention to detail, critical thinking and innovation are proven necessities to ensure the facilities are clean, safe, and secure for staff, tenants and visitors who work in social justice. She graduated from CSU East Bay with a B.S. in Business Administration with options in Accounting and Information Technology Management.
Joe is dedicated to advancing racial equity and social justice so that people of color have every opportunity to heal and thrive. As Greenlining’s Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Joe advocates for racially equitable recruitment, contracting and retention of employees of color and minority-owned businesses. He approaches this work from an intersectional lens and always stays mindful of the compounded vulnerabilities of dis/ability, economic status, gender, immigration, and/or race. Joe brings more than 10 years of experience in education (both direct service and policy-driven) and workforce development serving transgender job-seekers. He studied Gender Studies at U.C. Davis. Joe’s lifelong commitment to social justice is informed by his own experiences as an African American transgender man with a learning “disability”, who navigated juvenile justice and foster-care systems in his youth.
In his free time, Joe loves watching Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead – and he tries to get some Civilization IV gaming in from time to time. Backyard BBQs are a thing in the summer – as Joe loves to get his grill on for family and friends.
As Greenlining’s Economic Equity Director , Kỳ-Nam leads our efforts to build wealth in communities of color through a variety of strategies, including housing policy, financial empowerment, bank accountability, and investing in people of color-owned businesses and nonprofits. He has over a decade of experience working at the intersections of housing, financial reform, and equitable economic policy. Prior to Greenlining, Kỳ-Nam worked at national nonprofits and in the U.S. Congress, where he served his hometown district in the office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, handling transportation and infrastructure, voting rights, foreign affairs, defense, intelligence, and judicial issues. He served as Student Body President at U.C. Hastings College of the law, where he was a founding editor of the Race and Poverty Legal Journal. He received his Masters from the London School of Economics, and graduated with honors from U.C. Berkeley, where he competed on the national champion rugby and heavyweight rowing varsity teams.
Kỳ-Nam serves on the Language Access Advisory Committee for the California Secretary of State, a body charged with developing best practices to ensure that the 2.6 million Californians who are Limited English Proficient have equitable access to civic participation. Kỳ-Nam has a top-secret clearance and has passed into the Foreign Service as a candidate to become a political officer. He lives with his wife and two kids in beautiful, diverse, and delicious Oakland, California, and spends his free time playing with his children, jogging, and listening to NPR podcasts.
Sharon Velasquez is an advocate for economic equity currently exploring the nexus between racial justice, nonprofits, and policy. As the Economic Equity Manager, in addition to providing logistical support to the Economic Equity Team, Sharon works to leverage the voice and clout of The Greenlining Coalition to successfully advocate for wealthier and healthier communities of color. Sharon believes every decision is political and she works towards the day in which race and zip code will not determine one’s life opportunities. In the past, Sharon has worked with nonprofits to measure and track their social and political impact on low to moderate income communities, in the labor movement to elevate the stories of workers of color, and with policy advocacy and community organizing campaigns in Los Angeles and Riverside County.
A UCLA alumna, Sharon graduated with a B.A. in English Literature and Public Affairs. She is a native of southern California and currently lives in San Francisco. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, exploring, and attempting to cook.
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 and economic 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 has 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 Advisory Board for the California Consumer Protection Foundation and Skyline College’s Paralegal Studies Program, and has 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 loves to cook, eat, knit, explore her adopted hometown of Oakland, and spend time with her sprawling family and exuberant dog.
Growing up in Metro Detroit, Madeline first became passionate about environmental justice while witnessing and organizing against discriminatory water shutoffs. She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan Honors College and her JD from the George Washington University Law School. Madeline started her legal career as an attorney with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, where she worked with residents impacted by oil and gas pollution in the San Joaquin Valley through litigation, administrative advocacy, state policy work, organizing and storytelling. Her litigation and work experience includes anti-discrimination, land use, climate change, extreme energy extraction, and the intersection of environmental and racial justice. She comes to Greenlining committed to ensuring that low income Americans and communities of color benefit from a just transition away from fossil fuels.
Madeline is admitted to practice law in California, has been published in the Vermont Journal of
Environmental Law with a piece on her former clients in the Native Village of Kivalina entitled Fighting for Home in the Melting Arctic, and has appeared as a fracking legal expert on Al Jazeera America numerous times. In her leisure time, Madeline enjoys riding her bike, playing outside, cooking and eating beans of all kinds.
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’s work is grounded in the belief that all telecommunications policy has racial equity impacts. He represents Greenlining at the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, advocating for underserved communities’ access to affordable and reliable telephone, video, and Internet services. While at Greenlining, Paul has successfully opposed the highly anti-consumer proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, fought to preserve critical consumer protections for telephone service, and helped shape the evolution of state and federal Universal Service Programs. Paul currently represents the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) as a member of the Federal Communication Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee, ensuring that communities of color have a voice in proceedings before the Commission.
Paul received his Juris Doctor degree from John F. Kennedy University School of Law, and his Legum Magister degree 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 work on criminal defense and Constitutional law issues as a private attorney.
In his spare time, Paul enjoys cooking and creating welded, forged, and cast metal sculpture and kinetic art. 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.
Haleema is a sociologist, public servant and change maker driven by her commitment to the collective liberation of all people. She was born and raised in the Silicon Valley in a South Asian immigrant household. Uplifted by generations of women of color in her family, Haleema centers her work in compassion, justice, and service. Following the teachings of the Quran, which says, “stand firm in justice even against yourself and your parents,” Haleema speaks truth to power, practices freedom daily, and decolonizes her mind. She believes in the power of people to make positive change and is motivated to work towards a world free of gender-based violence through policy advocacy and organizing.
As the Telecommunications and Technology Fellow, Haleema advocates for cutting-edge policy at the intersection of technology and racial justice.
Outside of her work at Greenlining, Haleema serves as the Bay Area Regional Director of Malikah, a nonprofit that supports women, and as a board member for the Muslim Democrats and Friends Club of Alameda County, a PAC that civically engages the Muslim community and holds public officials accountable.
Haleema earned a B.A. in Sociology with Departmental Honors from Seattle University, where she founded the Gender Justice Center, a student-led community center serving gender non-conforming, trans*, and female-identifying students. Her work was featured in the Seattle Times’ #UsToo story in April 2018, after #metoo went viral, highlighting the voices of women of color. Prior to her time in Seattle, she worked at the Council on American Islamic Relations in the Bay Area under the leadership of Zahra Billoo and at the Juvenile Justice Courthouse in Santa Clara County, where she served as an analyst for the Gender Responsive Task Force. In her free time, Haleema enjoys weightlifting, drinking boba, and spending time with family and friends.
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 helps lead the Environmental Equity team’s work tracking state implementation of SB 535, which directs at least one quarter of California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund investments to disadvantaged communities. Emi works to engage stakeholders and advocates around opportunities to access climate investments in communities of color and low-income communities, where the impacts of climate change and pollution hit the hardest. Prior to joining Greenlining, Emi supported grassroots community improvement initiatives, primarily in low-income neighborhoods across New York City. She oversaw over 60 micro-grants yearly, facilitated capacity-building workshops focused on community organizing skills, and engaged in outreach efforts. Emi has also worked as an ESL teacher in northeastern Thailand, living amidst lush rice fields in a small village community, and fell in love with the mountains while living on the South Island of New Zealand.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Emi moved to the Bay Area to pursue her commitments to social and racial justice, as well as to soak up the sunny skies of California. She 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. When not diving deep into justice work, she enjoys slow travel, hiking, and scouring out the cheapest eats.
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 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.
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, Denise June Garcia grew up in a neighborhood surrounded by landfills, polluting industrial sites, and three heavily congested freeways. Due to her and her community being exposed to a disproportionate amount of pollution, Denise wanted to pursue a career in environmental justice. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies with a minor in Spatial Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her M.A. in Urban Affairs from the University of San Francisco. During her time in undergraduate and graduate school, she had the opportunity to intern at different levels of government, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the cities of Goleta, San Dimas, and Oakland. She is interested in serving communities of color who have historically endured environmental and transportation injustice. She hopes to use her educational background, personal narrative, and work experience to advance policy to help diminish environmental injustices and empower disinvested communities.
During her spare time, Denise enjoys dancing, traveling, and listening to 90s hip-hop and R&B.
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.
A daughter of Caribbean immigrants from Brooklyn, Asia carries her intersecting identities into her racial equity work. Asia recently completed a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship where she interviewed non-citizen, Afro-descendant immigrant women in countries where contemporary formal and informal immigration policy limited their pathways to citizenship. She found that barriers to accessing safe and secure health services for themselves and their families was a consistent issue for Black immigrant women. As the Health Equity Fellow, Asia draws on the narratives of these women to construct methods of breaking barriers for women and girls of color to access non-discriminatory medical schools, inclusive health careers and responsive health services free of racial bias. In her free time, Asia enjoys singing in spaces that celebrate Black musical contributions.
Asia is a graduate of Vassar College where she earned her B.A. in Political Science and Africana Studies with honors. She is also a proud product of race-conscious college scholarship programs including The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship and The Magic Johnson Foundation, Taylor Michaels Scholarship. At Vassar College, Asia co-founded and led UJIMA: A Groove Society, which continues to be Vassar College’s only music collective inclusive of student of color musicians and vocalists specializing in Soul, Jazz, R&B, and Gospel music.
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.
Joshua started his nonprofit career at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, working in the Community and Leadership Department. From there, he spent close to five years supporting the legal and project team at the National Center for Lesbian Rights as the Senior Legal and Project Assistant. Joshua was lucky to support the filing of the 2008 marriage cases, assist the Youth Project on issues pertaining to foster care and juvenile justice, and work with an amazing team of attorneys and advocates. Joshua was the 2012-2014 Education Fellow at The San Francisco Foundation, assisting in grantmaking for Early Childhood Education, Community Schools, and Equity program areas. While at The San Francisco Foundation, Joshua oversaw the LGBT fund grantmaking to LGBT organizations in the Bay Area.
Joshua is currently the co-chair of the Pride Law Fund (PLF), which funds new leaders and civil rights lawyers in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and HIV/AIDS communities. Joshua also currently sits on the Leadership Council and Fundraising committee of Somos Familia, which supports Latino families with children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ*) and conducts education to create family and community acceptance. Joshua also provides social media assistance to the Chicana/Latina Foundation.
Originally from southern California, Joshua has called the Bay Area home for the past 8 years. Joshua enjoys reading nonfiction by authors of color, staying in and watching television, and cocktail hour with friends.
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.
Revé has over eight years of fundraising and operations experience for local and international NGOs and academic institutions. She is excited to apply her background to the equity and racial justice work of The Greenlining Institute. Having worked most recently at Code2040 and previously The Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund, she has long utilized her passion for conservation and diversity in her career but had been frustrated by the ways in which they did not seem to overlap. Being from South Los Angeles, Revé has viewed the inequity of resources and development in communities of color first hand. While studying Politics and Ethnic Studies at the University of San Francisco, she received an education steeped in social justice making her more committed to pursuing opportunities for service and intervention where possible.
Revé serves on the board of the Oakland based nonprofit, Her Footprints, which takes middle school girls of color on outdoor excursions and provides exposure to nature. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., she supports young women of color in their personal and professional development. She is the proud mother of a Chihuahua mix, Giselle, and lover of all most animals. An avid traveler, she has been to South Africa and Mozambique and plans to visit every country in Africa.
Sonia leverages strategy and relationship-building to grow Greenlining’s capacity to drive investments into communities of color as Development Manager. For Sonia, justice lies at the intersection of asset building, gender equity, and uplifting youth of color. Sonia manages event sponsorships and employs creative and strategic planning for Greenlining’s Annual Economic Summit and various events throughout the year. She also works closely with the Leadership Academy team, pursuing grant funding to empower the vital work of leadership development. Prior to joining Greenlining, Sonia coordinated youth programs and served as an educator for the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In her time in nonprofit spaces, Sonia has intentionally developed her relationship to fundraising as a tool to empower liberation and self-determination for the communities most impacted by structural inequity.
Sonia has begun to study Kingian Nonviolence and feels passionately about building Dr. King’s Beloved Community, which maximizes compassion and empathy and also leads to health and well-being for all people. When she is away from the office, Sonia enjoys camping and spending time with her nieces. Sonia holds a bachelor’s degree in Society and the Environment from UC Berkeley.