Shaketa brings her experience and wisdom to CJJC after years of organizing to defund the police in Buffalo, NY. Her approach to leadership is rooted in the belief that our liberation is interdependent and intertwined, and that when Black and Brown communities win, we all get more free. Shaketa’s fierce commitment to base building comes from the knowledge that only through building real power to transform capitalism can we achieve the changes our communities need and deserve. Shaketa is excited about this new phase of leadership at CJJC because of the opportunity to support organizers and membership. Shaketa loves thinking about how we transform ourselves as we transform systems. When not at work, you can find Shaketa doing yoga, eating fancy ice cream, and finding joy in her family. If reincarnated, Shaketa hopes to return again as a Black woman.
Kristen Cashmore (she/her) was fortunate to be working at Applied Research Center (ARC, now Race Forward) when People Organized to Win Employment Rights – which merged with CJJC in 2015 – was taking its first steps. Kristen’s time with Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training — as an intern, trainer, and Board Secretary — shaped her understanding of organizing and fundraising as sisters in the struggle. She draws on her extensive experience at human rights, public health, and environmental justice nonprofits for her role at CJJC. Kristen is honored to ensure her comp@s have the resources they need to build the power necessary to shift from a system driven by profit to one based on the needs and dreams of the people.
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. In her 8 years at CJJC, Becki has served as the Outreach Coordinator, Housing Land and Development Lead Organizer and is honored to be named Director of Contracts and Services.
Alyssia has been organizing since she was 16 years old, combating tax cuts to her small town high school through her position on student council. Throughout the years, she’s worked on and led student, community and labor campaigns at the local, state, and national level.
She went to City University of New York in Harlem and studied Political Science and Gender Studies, with a focus on social movement theory. After graduation, she received advanced certification in Strategic Corporate Research through the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and AFL-CIO.
Alyssia’s most recent work before joining CJJC was in the labor movement, where she spent three years fighting to raise standards in the airline catering industry through national communications and strategy.
Kenisha’s passion for social justice began at a young age. In high school she graduated with a certificate in construction and electricity, proving to herself and her community that gender would not determine her career choices. Early on, she fell in love with the mission of The Innocence Project, and began her college education in paralegal studies to follow her passion to find justice for those who have been wrongfully imprisoned.
After witnessing firsthand the powerful work of CJJC organizers in action for years (her husband Jon Bean, previously held the position as CJJC’s Outreach Coordinator ), Kenisha joined CJJC in March 2020 as the Executive Coordinator, where she is thrilled to continue supporting CJJC’s pursuit of housing rights, language justice, and building community power to create a better future for us all.
Kenisha is married with 5 children and very involved at their schools, holding the position as Chair of School Site Council (SSC), Vice-Chair in the English Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC) and a participant in Parent Teacher Association. She just received her Certification as a Medical Assistant, and plans to further work with the elderly, specializing in Dementia care and mental health.
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 staff at CJJC, she’s advising and supporting tenants and finds her work deeply fulfilling.
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 as a writer, producer and editor in broadcast and print in both mainstream and community media.
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.
Cynthia has been a part of CJJC since 2019. She brings a passion for community organizing, abolitionist planning, and political education into the community rights team. Cynthia grew up in Southern California but has been in the Bay Area for 10 years with working experience as a labor rights advocate, a San Francisco public school teacher, and as an organizer. She is a recent graduate from UCLA’s Masters in Urban and Regional Planning program where she specialized in housing and community economic development. She understands the importance of building power among working class communities to leverage policies that improve the living conditions of its most vulnerable residents. Cynthia hopes to continue to build community power through extensive political education, expanding community care practices, and strengthening relationships through coalition building.
Gloria comes from a long line of organizers. She is part of a movement family and has been involved deeply in the fight for change since she was an adolescent. She believes that every human being deserves justice, housing, food and education and that together we can work to build a better world.
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.”
Sean Smith was born and raised in Littlerock, California. Having been raised in a small community of Black and Brown, low-income, and working-class folks Sean realized early on the passion they held for self-determination and liberation work. Sean is grateful to the Bay Area for being their springboard into organizing. After spending time learning from and contributing to organizations such as: Excelsior Works!, San Francisco Rising, Bay Rising, and Jobs with Justice SF they are excited to now apply that knowledge to CJJC’s mission.
Amalia brings their background as an Ethnic Studies educator and housing justice organizer to CJJC. Growing up in a first generation Mexican and Vietnamese family, their experience watching their family’s displacement from SF shaped their passion for housing justice. A recent graduate from San Francisco State’s Ethnic Studies M.A. program, Amalia came to CJJC to utilize the organizing skills they learned through the legacies of the Third World Liberation Front. They are heavily committed to transnational solidarity, abolition, transformative justice, and rematriation of all stolen land, and hope to continue building community power at CJJC.
Lucía is a Bay Area based artist who has been working in the community in support of immigrants’ rights. In 2019, she co-founded the Bay Area Chapter of the organization Border Angels, and along with her comrades, eventually co-founded CALMA (Collective Action for Laborers, Migrants & Asylum Seekers). Lucía now brings her experience and background to fight for housing rights as she continues to fight for immigrant rights. As her philosophy is art is healing, she incorporates a social issue in mostly everything her hands create.
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.
Lisa began volunteering with Causa Justa :: Just Cause shortly after moving to Oakland in 2012. Since then, she’s been proud to be part of multiple campaigns aimed at winning stronger tenant protections in Oakland and across California. She loves figuring out how to bring the skills and enthusiasm of volunteers to movement spaces, and in 2021 was thrilled to join CJJC as the Volunteer Coordinator. In her spare time, she supports the data & research efforts of Initiate Justice, an abolitionist organization building the political power of currently incarcerated people and their loved ones, and organizes white people to be part of racial justice movements through Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Bay Area.