We have a significant number of people in addition to the people listed here who assist our initiatives in some capacity. For the complete Team list for each initiative please visit: Green For All, #YesWeCode, #cut50 and #LoveArmy.
Van Jones is a social entrepreneur, CNN political contributor and host of The Van Jones Show on CNN. Famous for his heart-felt election night coverage, Jones showed up as “the voice of reason” for people in red states and blue throughout the volatile 2016 political season.
Jones is a Yale-educated attorney. He is the author of three New York Times Bestsellers: The Green Collar Economy (2008), the definitive book on green jobs; Rebuild the Dream (2012), a roadmap for progressives; and most recently, Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came apart, How We Come Together (2017).
He was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act. Signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007, the Green Jobs Act was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs.” During the Obama Administration, the legislation has resulted in $500 million in national funding for green jobs training.
In 2009, Jones worked as the green jobs advisor to President Barack Obama. In this role, Jones helped to lead the inter-agency process that oversaw the multi-billion dollar investment in skills training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors.
Jones has been honored with numerous awards and spotlighted on several lists of high achievers, including: the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation; Rolling Stone’s 2012 “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done”; TIME’s 2009 “100 Most Influential People in The World”; and the Root's 2014 "The Root 100." He is presently a fellow at the MIT Media Lab. Van is a founder of Dream Corps, Rebuild The Dream, Green For All, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of Change.
Vien Truong is a solutions innovator and movement builder who has been a key architect in building an equitable and inclusive green economy. She is the President of Dream Corps, a nonprofit organization working to close prison doors and open doors of opportunity.
She has developed numerous energy, environmental, and economic policies and programs at the state, federal and local levels, and has advised on billions of dollars in public investments for energy and community development programs. Vien co-led the coalition to pass and implement California's landmark Senate Bill 535 (de Leon), a law that created the biggest fund in history for the poorest and most polluted communities. To date, it has reinvested over $800 million in disadvantaged communities most harmed by fossil fuel pollution. She also co-led Charge Ahead California, which will place one million electric vehicles in California in 10 years, ensuring that low income communities most impacted by pollution will benefit from zero tailpipe emissions.
In 2015, Vien became the director of Dream Corps’ Green For All, an environmental action group that works to build an inclusive green economy that is strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Vien was appointed as CEO of Dream Corps in 2017.
In 2016, Vien received the White House Champion of Change award for her work on climate equity. Vien has also received numerous congressional, state, regional and local awards for her work advocating on behalf of those most vulnerable to climate change. She was featured in the SF Chronicle as one of San Francisco’s Top Women Leaders, received California League of Conservation Voters Environmental Leadership Award; and Transform's "Leadership, Innovation, Vision, Equity" award. She was listed on the YBCA 100, which highlights the creative minds shaping the future of culture, and was also recognized as a "Power Shifter" on the Grist 50 in 2016.
Vien is a first-generation resident of Oakland, where she continues to live and invest in. She holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/5661/attachments/original/1492958342/vien.png?1492958342
Nisha joined the team in 2013 and is a veteran fundraiser and consultant with decades of experience in nonprofit development and management. Previously, she was the Director of Development for The Ruckus Society, a national direct action training organization, and for San Francisco Women Against Rape, the city's rape crisis center. Nisha is a senior trainer and consultant with GIFT, the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training. As a certified coach, Nisha is a pioneer in the field of “fundraising coaching.” She provides her clients with a unique blend of coaching through their issues around money while providing high-quality fundraising tools and consulting services. Nisha has also played a public role: interviewing extensively for TV, print and radio and speaking in front of the UN, US Congressional Hearings, press conferences, activist gatherings, protests and more. In addition, her writing has appeared in The Nation, The Grassroots Fundraising Journal and online media.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/5664/attachments/original/1507504669/IP3C0533-3.JPG?1507504669
For the last 14 years, Somer Huntley has honed her organizational and management skills as a leader in the non-profit sector. She began her career at Rainforest Action Network, where she defended the rights of indigenous people and fought corporate power. During her tenure RAN obtained key commitments from America's largest corporations, including Citi, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Kinko's, and Lowe's.At Dream Corps, Somer oversees organizational structure, team management, campaign development and staffing in addition to providing support for president and founder, Van Jones. Somer received a Master's Degree in Ecological Economics from San Francisco State University. Her thesis, Redefining Economics: Offering Solutions to a Sustainable Future" was recently published by Lambert Academic Publishing.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/5663/attachments/original/1537428975/somernew.jpg?1537428975
Jessica Jackson is a human rights attorney who began her career representing California death row inmates in their appeals. She now oversees DreamCorps #cut50 initiative to end mass incarceration. Jessica currently sits on The Committee for a Fair Judiciary, serves as a Board member of the American Constitution Society Bay Area Chapter, represents Congressman Jared Huffman on the Democratic Central Committee of Marin, and serves on the Public Outreach Committee for the Marin Bar Association.
She was elected to the Mill Valley City Council in November, 2013, becoming the youngest ever elected official in Marin County. In addition to her duties on the City Council, Jessica serves as Mill Valley's representative to the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Joint Services Oversight Committee, the Marin County Major Crimes Oversight Task Force, and the MCCMC Legislative Committee.
Jessica earned her B.A in Political Science from the University of South Florida Honors College and her Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law where she received the Dean's Outstanding Student Leadership Award.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/5659/attachments/original/1467321384/00_a_photo_jjackson.jpg?1467321384
Michelle Romero is the Campaign Director of Green For All's Clean Power Plan campaign. In her role, she works to ensure equity has a front seat in the CPP so that it can become a strong vehicle for addressing both poverty and pollution across the country.
Immediately prior to joining Green For All, Michelle worked in the Issues Management and Policy Analysis unit for the President of the University of California system Janet Napolitano. She also spent five years at the Greenlining Institute, leading state strategy to ensure communities of color have a voice in the major decisions that affect their lives. Among her major accomplishments, includes an unprecedented statewide civic engagement campaign to engage people of color in California's 2011 redistricting process and activating and leading a 501c4 organization alongside 501c3 strategies.
Michelle has published research on barrier to voting advised state and local government agencies about effective practices for engaging communities of color in decision-making processes, wrote and lobbied for legislation, and helped catalyze a shift in the election policy community to design programs that are user-centered from the outset.
Michelle's work has been featured in the SF Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, KQED, ABC News, La Opinion, and many other media outlets. Michelle holds a B.A from the University of California at Santa Cruz.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/5679/attachments/original/1537427924/Michelle-red.jpg?1537427924
Kalia Lydgate is Dream Corps' National Coordinator for the #LoveArmy. Kalia is a cultural creative interested in building new models that make the old obsolete. In 2007, Kalia co-authored the first-in-the-nation legislation to fund green jobs training programs in Massachusetts. From 2009-2012, she co-led a green jobs program in New Bedford, MA that developed innovative, whole-systems solutions for environmental, economic and social justice challenges. During that time, she served as a Mayoral Fellow for the City of New Bedford, where she developed partnerships between the city, the local utility company and grassroots organizations to increase access to livable-wage jobs in the Green Economy. Kalia has developed environmental and climate justice curriculum for a number of after school and summer programs using hip hop and creative expression to teach and engage young people. For the past five years, she has been immersed in sustainable agriculture and alternative economies at the local level. Since 2013, she has worked with the Olohana Foundation to restore traditional Hawaiian agroforestry practices as part of a climate adaptation and food security strategy. Kalia graduated from Wesleyan University in 2007 with a degree in Social Ecology. She is a mother, kitchen herbalist, spoken word artist and salsa dancer.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/13746/attachments/original/1485178308/kalia.png?1485178308
Tamyra has 10 years of youth development experience as an impassioned STEM educator, fueled by an altruistic belief in equity for all learners. Her diverse experience in education spans across classrooms in Dallas, Greece, and Oakland, and includes STEM program and curriculum development as well as teacher leadership and professional development. She is also a featured educator on a Stanford University Massive Open Online Course on formative assessment.
Tamyra holds a BA in Sociology from Howard University and a MS in Mathematics Teaching and Learning from Drexel University. Much of her pedagogical practice has been steeped in effective implementation of technology, informative and rich assessment, and student centered design. She has a natural orientation towards innovation and looks forward to embedding insights gained from her practice as an educator into youth development solutions that extend beyond the STEM classroom into the tech industry.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/5674/attachments/original/1499891819/Dreamcorps-0022-Tamyra_Wallker-RT-LinkedIn.jpg?1499891819
Before coming to Dream Corps in 2014, Emily worked as an investigator specializing in criminal defense for 17 years and was responsible for all aspects of the family business. A bay area native and UC Berkeley graduate, Emily’s community commitment is evidenced through her long time work with youth and justice organizations.
She is a mother to two teenagers and is active in their educational and athletic pursuits.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/19464/attachments/original/1539074248/3.jpg?1539074248
Matt Cherry has been building movements for social change across the world for more than quarter of a century. He spent 13 years as an executive director in the humanist movement, developing many successful organizations and programs to increase the visibility and influence of atheists, humanists and other freethinkers. He served three terms as president of the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, the first non-religious person ever to be elected to that post.
In 2013, Matt moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to become executive director of Death Penalty Focus. In that role he built the support and raised the money to launch a ballot initiative to abolish the death penalty in California. He served as campaign manager for Prop 62, the repeal of the death penalty initiative.
Matt has spoken at meetings and events in more than 20 countries; interviewed extensively for print, radio and TV; and his writings have appeared all over the world, including in the Guardian, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Washington Post. He is the co-author of four books, including one Amazon bestseller.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/22906/attachments/original/1536961921/headshot-Matt_Cherry.jpg?1536961921
Katherine Young has worked to advance social justice and increase opportunities for underserved populations throughout her career. Prior to joining Dream Corps, she was a senior analyst at a public opinion research firm, designing and managing data collection projects to elect female and minority candidates, improve government services, keep businesses and government agencies accountable to public opinion, and pass measures to increase funding for schools and affordable housing. Katherine also has three years of experience in nonprofit funding for organizations supporting low income-youth. She first worked in the development department for Café Reconcile, a nonprofit preparing young people from distressed communities in New Orleans for employment in the culinary/hospitality sector; followed by a role as grantwriter for Junior Achievement, which provides programs of economic empowerment, financial literacy, and workplace skills to Bay Area students at no cost.
Katherine has a Masters in International Affairs with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management from the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego, where she also received a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/22978/attachments/original/1540848909/Katherine_Young_Headshot.jpg?1540848909
An expert generalist with 20 years of experience managing projects & logistics for different organizations, Cricket is ideally suited to assist with the foundational details that keep Dream Corps running smoothly.
Cricket offers daily support to the Chief of Staff and Director of External Relations maintaining the President's calendar, and also supports all staff with events and travel logistics.
She is devoted to people, creating music, dancing, and working with positive focus to make beautiful things happen in the world.
Alex Gudich is Deputy Director of #cut50. He oversees our traditional and social media strategy, manages our website and digital campaigns, and builds partnerships to garner broad-based support for criminal justice reform.
Prior to #cut50, he led collaborative partnerships with cities and counties, working at the intersections of public, private, and social sectors. He worked with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's Office of Civic Innovation, Presidio Institute's Forum on Cross-Sector Leadership, the National Fitness Campaign, Dell's Education Technology and Corporate Social Responsibility divisions, Fairfax County's Office of Public Private Partnerships, and Ashoka's Changemaker Campus Initiative.
Alex was born in Khlemnitsky, Ukraine and is a life-long resident of San Francisco. He graduated Summa cum Laude from George Mason University, where he founded Mason Changemakers - an organization that evolved into Mason's Center for Social Entrepreneurship.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/19460/attachments/original/1508877487/1559462-qnbqjrv0uleey0gw9rzfa_%281%29.jpg?1508877487
Sandhya Kripalani is the Chief of Staff at #cut50. She grew up in Mill Valley, CA, and earned her B.A. at UC Berkeley with a degree in political science, working in corporate and securities litigation at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP before continuing her education, earning her J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law, with honors and a focus in intellectual property law.
Since then, Sandhya has worked in litigation and at various tech companies and start-ups in their corporate legal departments. Given the state of US politics, she wanted to shift her path to an area where she could have a bigger impact on society, and where genuine potential for progress and consensus existed.
In late 2016, Sandhya came to #cut50 to organize and manage #cut50’s first National Day of Empathy. After a massively successful campaign, Sandhya was brought on to continue working on the annual Day of Empathy events, manage the Empathy Network partnerships, and as the Chief of Staff for #cut50.
Topeka K. Sam
Topeka K. Sam is the Founder and Executive Director of The Ladies of Hope Ministries – The LOHM – whose mission is to help disenfranchised and marginalized women and girls transition back into society through spiritual empowerment, education, entrepreneurship and advocacy.
She is also the founder of HOPE HOUSE NYC – a safe housing space for women and girls. Topeka serves on the board of directors for Grassroots Leadership and Operation Restoration.
Topeka is a Beyond the Bars 2015 Fellow and a 2016 Justice-In-Education Scholar both from Columbia University, a 2017 Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow working on Probation and Parole Accountability, a 2018 Unlocked Futures Inaugural Cohort Member , the host of 'Last Mile, Second Chances' on SiriusXM UrbanView Channel 126 which airs at 9am est on Sundays and former national organizer for the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/22966/attachments/original/1539075492/oYxP670T_400x400.jpg?1539075492
Michael Deegan-McCree is the Policy Associate for #Cut50. Michael helps to lead our criminal justice reform legislative and campaign efforts on both the federal and state levels.
Michael comes to us as a political adviser, researcher, and passionate criminal justice reform, advocate. Prior to working at #Cut50, Michael worked as a District Representative for California State Senator Nancy Skinner, where he worked on Public Safety and Public Health issues that impacted the East Bay Area. In addition, Michael also worked as the staff assistant for Congresswoman Barbara Lee.
Michael was born in Oakland, California and was raised in the East Bay. He graduated from Saint Mary's College of California as a Politics major with a concentration on Public Policy.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/22886/attachments/original/1537304419/MichaelSide.jpg?1537304419
Olivia McLarnan joined the #cut50 team in 2017 as an administrative assistant. She is a Bay Area native who enjoys hiking and exploring every corner of San Francisco. She received her B.A. from the University of Oregon in Political Science with a minor in Communication. Prior to #cut50 she spent 3 years working in office administration at Ardelyx Inc. in Fremont, CA.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/19684/attachments/original/1515756595/Oliva_McLarenphoto.jpg?1515756595
Louis Reed is the National Organizer for #Cut50. He brings to #Cut50 years of experience in government, criminal justice expertise, policy advocacy, business, and public health.
Louis holds degrees in criminal justice and psychology, and is a board-certified addictions counselor and licensed alcohol & addictions practitioner. Prior to joining #Cut50, Louis was the Connecticut Policy Strategist for the Katal Center for Health, Equity and Justice where he worked on SB-13, and ran his own addiction and mental health practice in Bridgeport, CT, serving clients across Southern Connecticut.
Louis's experience in government includes conceptualizing and serving as director of the Mayor's Office for Reentry Affairs in the City of Bridgeport, CT. There, he developed systems and practices for the City to coordinate employment, housing, access to treatment, and other services for all persons impacted by the criminal justice system both in and returning to the City after incarceration.
His policy reform experience includes working with the Connecticut legislature for successful enactment of legislation related to reforms to pretrial practices, expanding access to licenses for people living with criminal records, limiting asset forfeiture practices by law enforcement, and strengthening reentry practices and services for people returning from prison.
Louis is a Huffington Post contributor on Prison Traumatic Stress Disorder, has appeared on C-SPAN and MSNBC, and in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other publications. He has also consulted for the White House, United States Department of Justice, Fortune® 100 Corporations, private, state and federal agencies, and is a 2017 JustLeadershipUSA fellow.
Louis has received many awards recognizing his work and leadership, including the US Senate recognition for Professional of the Year; 2017 Best Innovative Practices by the US Conference of Mayors; and a 2018 citation from the Connecticut State General Assembly for his statewide contributions on best reentry practices and community service.
Louis lives in Connecticut, consults in special projects management, and also operates his practice part-time.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/22225/attachments/original/1531884091/Louis_Reed_headshot.jpg?1531884091
Natalia Chung is a digital communications and social media specialist who has been working locally and internationally to spread the word about the importance of sustainability, climate justice, and environmental conservation. As the Digital Organizer for Green For All, Natalia provides messaging guidance for campaigns, develops compelling and engaging social media strategies, and cultivates content that captures the impact of climate pollution in our communities. Previously, Natalia worked to develop sustainability education initiatives impacting 5 million children and served as the international voice behind the 2020 Tokyo Olympics campaign in Japan. Natalia holds a B.A. in technical writing from Loyola University Maryland and currently resides in Mechanicsburg, PA.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/20000/attachments/original/1527636725/NataliaChung.png?1527636725
Mychal is an innovative designer of unique and inclusive experiences, events, programs, organizational processes, and curriculum, both on & offline. He supports imaginative leaders in gaining deeper awareness through their work, to accelerate their engagement & impact, and help put their values into practice. Mychal has worked closely with organizers and activists from around the world, helping strengthen the connective tissue between various movements and support these changemakers in amplifying their work. As an experienced international facilitator and educator, he works to provide access to immersive and creative cross-cultural learning opportunities, both inside and outside traditional education environments.
He views the world through an intersectional lens, believing that all oppressions are interconnected and must be dismantled in conjunction with each other, because as Audre Lorde said, "There is no such thing as a single issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives."
He is a learner, explorer, and a problem solver that gets things done by prioritizing people over projects.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/22830/attachments/original/1532757523/Mychal-Estrada-photo.jpg?1532757523
Adrienne Orilla is a program and events coordinator with a background in event management and marketing communications. Her experience includes her work for the State of California where she served as the Media Specialist and Executive Assistant for the Governor's Office of Planning and Research, The California's Strategic Growth Council, and California Housing and Community Development. Her strong ties to the State of California include advocating for city and county communities on awareness of climate change, sustainability, water/drought issues, and land use planning. Her recent work includes coordination of the Global Climate Action Summit and its affiliate event, Science to Action day in San Francisco, California. She is also an avid volunteer for many community engagement programs, specifically in elementary schools and communities of color in Northern California. Her hope is to expand her work in environment and social justice not only to local communities in California but to communities nationwide.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/23010/attachments/original/1543620374/AdrienneOrillaHeadshot.PNG?1543620374
Faiza Farah was born to Ethiopian parents, Faiza was raised in Rome, Italy and Vancouver, Canada. She has been a proud Oakland resident for more than a decade. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a Political Science major. She has 15 years of experience in the non-profit and for profit sector. The focus of her work has been rooted in community organizing through media, technology and economic equity.
She developed a media startup called Third Space Media. Third Space started as a web-series highlighting folks of color entrepreneurs and creatives who were thriving in the San Francisco Bay Area despite displacement and gentrification. It has grown into a media company focused on impacting culture and disrupting the status quo.
As a Black Muslim woman, Faiza is keenly aware of lack of representation and misrepresentation of marginalized groups in the media and technology and how it affects the way those groups are perceived. She has made it her mission to center the voices of folks that have marginalized from conventional media and technology.
When Faiza is not doing all of that, she is traveling the world and cooking Ethiopian food for her friends and family.
Lizzy Jean leads the distributed organizing and political education program at #LoveArmy. Lizzy is a queer, multi-racial and mixed-class Latinx organizer who specializes in building diverse goal-based groups and coalitions. Getting their start in the anti-globalization movement, Lizzy has also worked against war and gender discrimination, and for environmental justice, power and dignity in the workplace, racial justice, and digital civil rights and security. This diverse set of experiences has led them to the understanding that movement building without a racial and economic justice-based framework is not sustainable.
Since 2014, Lizzy has been the co-director if the Deep Abiding Love Project, a militant nonviolent direct action training collective.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/19472/attachments/original/1508876835/LizzyHeadshot.jpg?1508876835
Tem Blessed is a socially conscious Hip-Hop Artist that has been making relevant music with a message for over a decade. Born in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa to Cape Verdean parents, Tem currently resides in Hadley, MA. His music and message is about social justice and sustainability. Tem Blessed is a Green For All fellow and 350.org Artist in Residence.
As the Arts and Culture Organizer at Love Army, Tem engages the Love Army members and public through creating original content and producing the weekly show Love Report that airs on Thursday evenings at 7:30pm EST. The Love Report is designed to inform, educate and inspire with topical discussions and by promoting Love Army philosophy: "Grow love + power through education, connection and action."https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/19466/attachments/original/1508878071/Tem_Blessed_Power_%282%29.jpg?1508878071
Augusta "Gus” Alexander is executive assistant to Van, working in the Dream Corps Office of the President (or, “Team Van”).
Gus graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), with a BA in Community Studies and Politics and a focus in public health. She came to us after working with a health equity research and advocacy group called Human Impact Partners (HIP), in Oakland, focusing on the social determinants of health. There, she developed an interest in research ethics, specifically research for social justice. Learning from the great researchers at HIP and pulling from the structural-level thinking of Community Studies (questions of power and position), Gus devoted her final university work to researching the historical implications – the beautiful and the ugly effects – that outside researchers can have on communities of people that they’re not intimately connected with.
Gus’ experience includes work with the California Rural Legal Assistance in Watsonville; two years as co-chair of an international clean-water organization; and four years as an active member of the UCSC African Student Union, where (as a white woman) her understanding of race and racism in the US was transformed. Gus is one of the three recipients of the 2016 UCSC Herman Blake Award for "outstanding scholarship and deep commitment to service and social justice." She is determined to approach the rest of her work with the same (and even deeper) type of heart, reflexivity, and active listening that got her to this opportune position.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/13715/attachments/original/1508793539/unnamed.jpg?1508793539