Vanessa Moses is a powerful Black leader in the Bay Area and the Executive Director of CJJC. Vanessa has a long track record of building the power & leadership of working-class communities: previously as CJJC’s Co-Director of Programs for 12 years, and before joining the organization. Vanessa trained 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 a queer mama of two incredible kids and an artist who loves mixed media, photography and painting. She also jumps at any chance to dance cumbia or bachata, especially with her wife Karla! She joined Causa Justa as a part of the merger with POWER in 2015 and brings a wealth of knowledge and movement experience to our organization. Her backstory: she joined POWER’s staff in January 2005 as the Development Director. 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!
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.
Lauren is passionate about building community, and the radical and transformative power it brings. She first became politicized through organizing to support LGBTQ rights and education justice in Guatemala. Her understanding of and commitment to grassroots organizing deepened upon moving to the Bay in 2013, where she volunteered with POWER’s Free Muni for Youth initiative and spent two years as an intern with CJJC’s immigrant rights campaign. Over the past several years, Lauren has worked in development as a grant writer and resource organizer; as an archivist documenting queer, indigenous, and Jewish histories; and in the food service industry as a server, cook, and barista. Most recently, Lauren has been running a queer, community-centered popup café, building community and raising funds for social justice causes. Currently based in Portland, Oregon, Lauren was thrilled to join CJJC’s staff in 2020, and is excited to continue learning from and growing alongside CJJC’s incredible members and staff.
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.
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 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.
Hunter brings to CJJC a deep commitment to internationalism, prison abolition, and working-class solidarity against capitalism and white supremacy. They first became politicized through organizing to support Palestinian liberation and global labor rights. Passionate about transformative justice and community self-determination, they are dedicated to defending and creating space for communities to come together to organize collectively for liberation. Starting as a tenant rights clinic volunteer, Hunter joined CJJC as staff in 2016 and strives to resource and amplify the incredible voices and visions of CJJC’s members.
Eleanor joined staff in 2018. Before that, she volunteered for four-plus years in CJJC’s Oakland Tenants’ Rights Clinic, supporting tenants fighting for their rights. That work, and the transformative framework grounding it, made CJJC her political home. Eleanor also helped run the Defend Aunti Frances anti-eviction campaign together with several other Clinic volunteers, and learned that she loved volunteer-coordinating as a way of bringing more people into collective struggle. The rest of what she’s learned about organizing comes from waitressing, teaching youth in three different states, and building a transformative justice practice group. Eleanor is also a writer and loves finding ways to share and make stories with other people.
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.”
Kenia migrated to the U.S. when she was 7 years old with her mother from Mexico to Oxnard, California. She attended San Francisco State University and received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a minor in Race and Resistance. Through her time higher education journey she became politicized. After graduation, she joined Center for Third World Organizing in their Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program, a 8 week long program giving folks the tools to develop as organizers. She spent 6 weeks in New York City working at a union. She is also involved with the Indigenous Peoples Power Project (IP3). Kenia has a deep love and commitment to movement work in all the shapes it takes, from organizing to direct action. “Let the world change you and you can change the world”-Ernesto Che Guevara.
Connie was born and raised in Southern California on Tongva land and is a recent Bay Area transplant. They are passionate about issues of environmental justice, queer and trans justice, and solidarity economics. Prior to CJJC, they were a summer organizer at API Equality – Northern California, a member of the Red Envelope Giving Circle, and a Seeding Change fellow at Asian Pacific Environmental Network. Connie has also been involved in various projects with the Chinese Progressive Association. They are drawn to working on infrastructure building teams that create accessible tools to grow the capacity and efficiency of our movement ecosystem. In their free time, they like to make tea for their friends and share their vision of the world through their photography.
Darion is a queer artist who makes music, is an ethical techie, and student of life, devoted to fighting for the liberation of Black and Brown people. Causa Justa is an opportunity for Darion to further his political growth and use his knowledge to contribute to closing the gap in the digital divide for working class communities of color. Darion is also a music maker. Take a listen on Spotify!
I am a grandmother of two little girls and I have two beautiful daughters, Briana and Elonnah. I am from the Bay Area but moved and lived in Central Florida in 2003, recently relocating back to the Bay in December 2018. I have always been an advocate type and worked in the non-profit sector for over 25 years in social and civic justice and providing services and referrals for those in need. I have worked in the corporate world but always ended back in the social services world, it is my passion and I have the distinct honor of helping others and fighting for what is right for all. One of my other passions is cooking!
Natalia is the first in their family to be born in the U.S. Growing up, Natalia would go to work with her mom who has been doing social work with immigrant and working class communities of color since immigrating to the U.S. Natalia first became politicized through their involvement in youth movements at their university, joining in organizing efforts around rights for students of color. They have been involved in work with refugees and displaced persons fleeing from political corruption, violence, and genocide. They have facilitated education around medical apartheid, and are passionate about food, shelter, and healthcare as human rights. Natalia’s passion for facilitating development of leadership among youth was inspired by the mentorship and encouragement that she had as a youth. Natalia relocated to the Bay Area and joined CJJC in September 2019. In her free time she loves to cook, garden, sew, paint, and dance.