Vanessa Moses is a powerful Black leader in the Bay Area and our new Executive Director. She was previously Co-Director of Programs at CJJC for 12 years. Vanessa has a long track record of building the power & leadership of working-class communities. She trained as an organizer at the National School for Strategic Organizing with the Labor/Community Strategy Center and Bus Riders Union in Los Angeles. She has served as co-chair of San Francisco Rising, and in 2016 Vanessa’s leadership led to the formation of Bay Rising, a regional alliance of community-led organizations working to address the crisis of inequality throughout the Bay Area and statewide. Vanessa was also one of the co-creators of Bay Resistance, a multi-sector rapid response network of over 50 organizations.
Aspen is currently out on parental leave and will return in late May. Aspen joined Causa Justa as a part of the merger with POWER. She is a queer mama and artist who brings a wealth of knowledge to our organization. Her backstory: she joined POWER’s staff in January 2005. Her prior experience included fundraising, leadership development and grassroots organizing work with youth and community organizations around welfare rights in Atlanta, Georgia. Aspen has worked in Oaxaca, Mexico with EDUCA, a grassroots organization dedicated to sustainable community development and the struggle for self-determination in indigenous communities. She served as the Board Treasurer of the DataCenter for three years and is excited to help make CJJC financially strong for the long haul!
Kate holds decades of grassroots organizing experience. She has participated in national organizations that have directly impacted social change. She contributed base–building expertise to not-for-profit organizations like ACT UP Philadelphia, and Queer Nation LA. She helped to found the Philadelphia, Up Against the Law legal collective. Kate has worked as a lead organizer in several nurses unions and was the program director and grant writer for STOP AIDS Project in San Francisco. She raised funds for Health Initiatives for Youth as the Development Manager. Kate served with a Board of hot shot Directors that helped to pull Lyon-Martin Health Services clinic from the ashes like a beautiful Phoenix. Woo!
Before starting at CJJC, Lorraine studied Anthropology and Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz. After graduating Lorraine worked as Development Coordinator for the Coalition on Homelessness and South of Market Community Action Network in San Francisco. Lorraine believes grassroots fundraising can be a critical tool in sustaining radical social justice movements. Lorraine currently organizes with Babae SF, a grassroots and volunteer-based organization of Filipina women in San Francisco dedicated to supporting and empowering Pinays through critical education, leadership development, and community building.
Rose leads our organization’s communications work. She’s originally from Los Angeles. Her family roots are in El Paso, Texas and Northern Mexico. She is Chicana and Tarahumara. She has worked in both mainstream and community media.
As a Causa Justa member and a long-time St. Peter’s Housing Committee member before our merger, Araceli has showed up everywhere from our local city hall to the U.S. Social Forums do the work of the movement. Now as a staff at CJJC, she’s advising fellow tenants and supporting the tenant clinic’s work.
Mai-Stella has been a member of Causa Justa::Just Cause since 2008 (as part of Just Cause Oakland). She began volunteering for Just Cause Oakland at their 2007 annual event and immediately appreciated their political line. She liked their dedication to member and staff leadership development through high engagement and study; organizational discipline and warmth. Throughout the years Mai-Stella has participated not only as a member leader in the Steering Committee, but also as a volunteer, contractor, and Liberation Ink Program Assistance. She has recently joined the staff full-time as one of the Administrative Coordinators- focusing on Finance and HR- and is eager to contribute her decade plus of administrative experience to building a stronger, more effective and efficient organization and movement for social and economic justice.
I was born and raised in Oakland and identify with many of the issues residents are experiencing — everything from housing, to early education, to the public service systems. I’m a graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in Legal Studies and have known since high school that I wanted to help make a difference. The injustices and inequities I’ve witnessed and been a part of led me to want to see change in our community. It moved me into a life of advocacy and fighting for a quality and equitable life for impoverished communities. Currently I’m Board Chair for Parent Voices Oakland – a statewide grassroots organization that advocates for early childhood education and quality, accessible, and affordable education. I’m also Co-Chair of the Alameda County Early Childhood Policy Committee (ACECPC) – which address policies and systems within Alameda County impacting families with children up to 8 years old. I have used my own voice and testimony at events such as the Human Impact Budget Hearing held by the Alameda County Supervisors, testifying at legislative hearing in Sacramento and leading parent groups at legislative visits. I am a mother of two bi-racial girls — black and brown unity at its finest..! and I love spending time with my family. I’ve also traveled quite a bit and still enjoy when I have the opportunity.
Lynn Vidal was born in Pasadena, CA when about 6% of
California was made up of native Californians. She was a professional musician, music producer
and sound engineer for over 30 years. She was raised by parents who taught their children to
get up off their ass and protest! She was 12 when she marched for Bobby Kennedy and Wilson
Riles. She’s still marching & protesting.
Kitzia comes from a movement family and began their involvement in community organizing in San Francisco during high school. They were a youth organizer with PODER in their year-long Common Roots program. Latter they supported POWER’s women workers project as part of the SOUL summer school program. Kitzia also participated along with their mom in the “No papers No Fear Journey for Justice,” this past summer. They came back to the Bay Area in 2013 after attending college at UC Santa Barbara and spending two years doing multiracial organizing with the Los Angeles Bus Riders Union and Labor Community Strategy Center. Kitzia has spend the last several years building the member/ leadership development work of the Immigrant Rights campaign and providing space for people from the base to be part of building vibrant Immigrant Justice and Racial Justice coalitions in SF and Alameda County. They have been the Regional Lead organizer for the Immigrant Rights campaign at CJJC since July of 2016. Kitzia recently became the Co-director of the Community Rights campaign which aims to build Black and Blown unity along the issues of criminalization and state violence against Black and Latinx Bay Area residents.
Leticia Arce aka Lety, was born in Portland, Oregon but grew up in the Central Valley in Fresno, California where her parents were farmworkers. She says they always pushed her to get a higher education “so that you won’t work under the sun and the heat for pennies.” She attended San Francisco State University where she graduated in Raza Studies and Race & Resistance Studies. During that time she was introduced to various student and community organizations including MEChA, La Raza Centro Legal, and Clinica Martin-Baro. In her spare time she has volunteered at Clinica Martin-Baro, a free SFSU-UCSF student-run general health clinic which respectfully serves the most under-served population in the Mission district. It’s based on the Cuban medical health care perspective — a preventative health care model.
Born in San Diego and transnationally raised between San Diego and Tijuana, Julio began his organizing with district-wide campaigns to demilitarize San Diego high schools and invest additional college prep resources and counselors into the city’s public education institutions. His involvement in his high school’s MEChA club introduced him to identity-politics and commenced his journey through higher education. He went to UC Santa Cruz where he continued his organizing to retain low-income, first-generation students within the institution. He began his Tenant Rights organizing in Watsonville where he held a legal intern position with the California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA). He helped predominately Spanish-speaking folks against evictions, rent increases, landlord harassment and employment issues. From Watsonville, he wen on to organizing in Stockton. mobilizing youth, educators and parents to pressure the local government to re-think their priorities within the town’s public health needs. He joined CJJC in December of 2017 and is excited to grow within the organization and the cities of San Francisco and Oakland. Julio enjoys hikes, reading, camping, soccer and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Lucas Solorzano was born in Bogotá Colombia and raised in central New Jersey. His dedication to building community power in the face of state violence, neocolonialism and capitalism led him to CJJC. Lucas comes with experience organizing against police violence and for immigrant rights. He is excited to work towards community control of the land in a base-building capacity while providing real tangible support to folks in the clinic.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Molly first became politicized through queer, feminist and global justice organizing in the 1990s. Molly joined the CJJC staff in 2007 and loves the movement-building aspect of their role coordinating volunteers. In addition to working at CJJC, Molly has spent the last decade doing anti-racist organizing with Catalyst Project and is an affiliate trainer with Race Forward. Molly enjoys imagining a world post-capitalism, reading speculative fiction, and hanging out with their two ridiculously awesome kids.
Chris Durazo is a Land Use Organizer and Cultural Worker. She has over 20 years of experience fighting for housing justice, including working as an affordable housing developer, a grassroots community planner, anti-displacement policy advocate and tenant organizer. Chris has previously worked at the South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN), Asian Neighborhood Design (AND), Veterans Equity Center, Japantown Task Force, and Chinatown Community Development Center. She is Japanese and Mexican, and has lived in Oakland for the past 15 years.
Camilo is a first- generation immigrant and a proud Nicoya with roots in San Francisco where he was raised. He first began doing community work in the Mission District by providing direct service, performing outreach, and facilitating summer and after school programs for Latin@ immigrant youth. He co-founded a queer Latina youth support group, Aquellas L.O.C.A.S., and facilitated Latina immigrant support groups at Everett Middle School and International Studies Academy. Camilo is a 1st generation, transgender Nicaraguan immigrant with roots in San Francisco where he was raised and educated. He first began providing services to the Latino community by working with immigrant youth in the Mission District while at Good Samaritan Family Resource Center and Mission Neighborhood Center. While doing this work he saw many youth and their families experience major housing problems that impacted the youth and their families tremendously. Armed with a spirit to fight for stronger housing rights for both Black and Latino communities, Camilo joined Causa Justa :: Just Cause in 2009 as a tenant rights organizer and started their first Tenant Rights Clinic in Oakland. Since then Camilo has gone on to lead organizational basebuilding, and civic engagement work, including leading Measure JJ campaign work in Oakland in 2016 that won at the ballot and saw the largest advancement of eviction protections for tenants since 2002. He’s now the co-director of the housing work for the organization, and currently sits on the Steering Committee for the Regional Tenant Organizing Network and is on the board at the Right to the City Alliance. Camilo resides in Oakland, is a proud District 2 resident, and has love for both the SF Giants and Oakland A’s.
Selene Chala is a queer woman of color passionate about social justice and identity politics. She was born in Quito, Ecuador but grew up in Los Angeles. Being an AB 540 student through community college pushed her to become active pushing the Dreamers act and learning more about human rights and equality. Once in UC Berkeley, Selene worked in multiple queer spaces including the Queer and Ally Resource Center, Queer womyn of Berkeley, and Gen Eq. After graduating, Selene merged her work in immigrant rights with gender equality through working with Immigrant women and families. Selene comes into Cause Justa:: Just Cause with case management, program coordination and project management experience.
I grew up in San Francisco’s low-income neighborhoods; primarily
the Tenderloin and Bayview Hunters Point. My journey on becoming an organizer stems from 12 years plus experience as service provider in Bayview Hunters Point.
My background has been in workforce development and truancy prevention,
advocating for those who continues to get marginalized out of opportunities to
strive. While growing up in San Francisco, I never had stable housing, mostly homeless, grew accustomed to juvenile detention centers, grew accustomed to being kicked out of schools, and a high school dropout. My personal experiences of hardships, achievements, and education has prepared me to my next chapter of life as the Black
Priorities Project (BPP) Organizer
Sanyika Bryant is the oldest of his parents’ six children and was raised in the city of Los Angeles. Sanyika was trained by the Labor/Community Strategy Center where he worked on the Bus Riders Union and Frontlines Press projects. He is also a graduate of the Strategy Center’s National School for Strategic Organizing, class of 2003. Sanyika’s ideology is rooted in Pan-Africanism, anti-imperialism and internationalism. He is also an artist and an author, and currently spends any free time he has away from his organizing duties working on his novel.
Becki was introduced to organizing and social justice during an internship with Just Cause Oakland (now CJJC) in the summer of 2007. She continued to expand her understanding of the social justice movement by working with organizations in New York City and SOMCAN (South of Market Community Action Network) in San Francisco. Throughout her years working with other organizations, she has stayed connected with CJJC. After becoming a stronger, more confident organizer working with UNITE-HERE in New Haven, CT and Las Vegas, she retuned to CJJC. As the Outreach Coordinator, Becki is excited to be a part of reaching out to residents to let them know of their rights and how to get involved with our work.
Alma first joined Causa Justa as a member in 2008 where she continued her involvement as a volunteer throughout the years and becoming a staff member in 2011. Alma, who graduated with a BS in Biological Sciences from UC Irvine, discovered that science did not feed her soul as much as working with community members in the fight for social justice. In her role as a housing rights organizer she advocates strongly for the rights of tenants who are learning to use their own voices, as well as building up the leadership of our member base. Alma has traveled to Tunsia with the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance representing CJJC as a delegate at the World Social Forum. Says Alma, “I learned that no matter where you go in the world there are people fighting in their communities against injustices and for fundamental human rights — housing, food, land, clean air and water.” She adds, “This organization transformed me.”
Amber is an educator, writer and organizer. She was born and raised in Oakland and is committed to addressing the housing crisis. She is interested in non western methods of organizing, enjoys multicultural, alternative educational settings and facilitating workshops with youth. Amber’s work at Saint Mary’s College of California work has instilled a lifelong passion for creating responsive systems engaged in community building and seeks to provide practical tools to work against oppressive structures (without alienation, shame and fear). In her spare time she enjoys storytelling and reading comic books.
As a queer first generation inmigrante from San Salvador, El Salvador, Carmen is driven by their passion for intersectional social justice, grassroots organizing, and community empowerment. Raised by a single mother of three in Inglewood, CA, they learned the importance of resilience and perseverance rooted and driven by radical love and compassion. They attended UC Berkeley, where they earned a B.S. in Society and Environment and minors in Forestry and LGBT Studies, focusing on Environmental Justice and Racism. During their time in school, Carmen interned at the Multicultural Community Center where much of their energy was dedicated to curating art exhibits, hosting self-care healing circles and programs, and developing intentional skills to cater to the needs of underrepresented and under-served communities. Carmen was active in organizing for immigrant rights and against the marginalization of queer and trans students (of color) on campus, budget cuts and tuition hikes, and against the colluded privatization efforts affecting the California’s education system at large. After graduating, Carmen continued their organizing work joining the Bay Area Restaurant Workers’ Movement with multiple campaigns elevating the needs and voices of immigrant and indigenous workers or color facing labor violations. On their free time, Carmen spends their time exploring their roots in decolonial ancestral healing practices, creating woodburnt or widdled artwork, and imagining alternative magikal futures where their communities thrive.
Yesenia is native to the Bay Area, raised in a family that laid down roots in the Fruitvale district of Oakland upon immigrating from México. She is a graduate of Santa Clara University, where she invested her time in the Ethnic Studies department and grassroots, student-led organizations fighting for racial and gender justice and labor rights. As an undergrad, she engaged in labor and immigrants rights organizing through fellowships with labor unions and immigration clinics. Yesenia joined CJJC as the new Youth in Power organizer. Her drive for youth organizing comes from the desire to be the person she needed when she was younger. In her role, she focuses on challenging narratives and practices that criminalize Black and Brown youth by engaging in transformative organizing that activates youth power.