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.
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.
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.
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 and supporting tenants.
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.
Eleanor joined staff in 2018. Before that, she volunteered for over four 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.
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.
Juan Duran is a graduate of SF State’s Health Education program and strives to follow a transformative organizing model in their work. Juan has been part of the Housing Land and Development team as well as the Immigrant Rights committee and is currently part of the Community Rights team. Juan has been a co-conspirator in the formation of mutual aid groups on Yelamu and Huitichiun unceded Ohlone territories. Growing up in the Central Valley, Juan has experienced the social determinants of health that affect working-class families like theirs and hopes to return to the Central Valley one day to organize.
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.
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 now very excited to be the Associate Director of Development.
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!
Susana was born and raised in the East Bay by a giant immigrant family. They graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a dual bachelor’s degree, one in Feminist Studies in Science, Technology & Medicine, and the other in Environmental Studies with a focus in Conservation Biology & Agroecology. Having witnessed first-hand, the efforts of immigrant parents, their blood and queer family, fighting to not only remain and survive here in the Bay Area — but also to form and nurture the communities responsible for the vibrant culture of art and resistance — she was committed to struggle for liberation early on in her life.
Susana has been involved in a range of movement work including indigenous farmworker resistance struggles in Watsonville, student organizing against fee hikes at Santa Cruz, and anti-policing work with Critical Resistance Oakland. They hope to continue supporting the struggle against anti-Blackness in Latinx communities and seeing through the abolition of the caging and surveillance of our communities worldwide, as well as humanity’s shift to being right with the Earth.
They value all forms of life and often spend their time nerding out about plants, insects, and non human ecology, they are inspired by land struggles around the world, and are committed to an anti-racist abolitionist framework. In her free time she enjoys dancing, cooking, and practicing harp and violin.
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.