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, and #cut50.
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 to building an equitable green economy. Vien has developed numerous energy, environmental, and economic policies and programs at the state, federal and local levels. She has advised on billions of dollars in public investments for energy and community development programs. Most recently, Vien co-led a 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 to California in 10 years, especially ensuring that low-income communities most impacted by pollution will benefit from zero tailpipe emissions.
She is a board member of US Climate Action Network, Clean Energy Works, and MegaPhone Strategies. She previously led The Greenlining Institute’s Environmental Equity program, Chaired the City of Oakland’s Planning Commission, and taught New Business Practicum at UC Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law.
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 also received YBCA 100 which recognizes the creative minds that who are making the provocations that will shape the future of culture and was recognized as a "Power Shifter" on the Grist 50.
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
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/1522689249/038.jpg?1522689249
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
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
Shaka is a writer, mentor and motivational speaker whose story of redemption has inspired youth and young adults at high schools, universities, and conferences across the nation. He is founder of the Atonement Project, a recipient of the 2012 Black Male Engagement (BMe) Leadership Award, a 2013 MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, a Fellow in the inaugural class of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Community Leadership Network, and teaches a course on the Atonement Project at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In March 2014, Shaka shared his story on the world-renowned TED stage and in just four months his talk reached more than 1,000,000 views.
Shaka transformed his life and discovered his love for writing while serving nineteen years in prison, time he spent examining his life and the decisions that led him to spend his youth in a 6′ x 8′ cell. By sharing his story, Shaka has inspired mothers of murder victims to forgive, inspired young men in the streets to choose a college degree over a prison number, and shifted the thinking of tough-on-crime advocates from the lock-em-up-throw-away-the-key mentality to believing redemption is possible. Shaka has written a memoir about his life titled Writing My Wrongs (Drop a Gem Publishing, 2013) and published a collection of essays and poems about his abusive childhood and his life in the streets and in prison titledLive in Peace: A Youth Guide to Turning Hurt into Hope (Drop a Gem Publishing, 2012).
Anyone who has heard Shaka's story has been moved; and once they read his memoir they are challenged to question every system, from education to corrections, that touches the lives of people all over the country.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/5672/attachments/original/1467322152/00_a_shaka.jpg?1467322152
Whitney has over 25 years of experience in the leadership of innovative and progressive projects and organizations. She specializes in bridging the gap between dynamic non-profit organizations and cutting edge for-profit companies to achieve the highest social good.
Whitney is also the visionary Founder of Girls For A Change and scaled the organization from 10 girls in the US to over 20,000 girls globally during her 13-year tenure as CEO.
She has been acknowledged for her accomplishments by NPR, named one of the most Influential women in the Silicon Valley and featured as one of the first 100 women in the PBS/AOL documentary project Makers. She was selected to attend Harvard Business School’s Nonprofit Strategic Management Program and awarded a scholarship to Hewlett Packard’s Leadership Initiative Program.
A tireless advocate for social justice and the unlimited potential of girls and women, Whitney speaks frequently to diverse audiences on collaboration, social change, youth development, and girls and women in leadership.
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/1467323123/00_a_MichelleRomero_headshot.jpg?1467323123
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
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
Roger is a Bay Area native with a passion for helping the underserved. He graduated from California State University, Fullerton with honors and subsequently earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Prior to The Dream Corps, Roger worked at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Office of the Medical Director, where he coordinated the Human Subjects Research Committee, supported the Countywide implementation of an electronic health record system, and worked toward hope, wellness, and recovery for all Angelenos suffering from mental illness and substance abuse. Roger has written for the City of Los Angeles, and has also published research in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion and Health and Social Work. Roger loves coffee, music, Bay Area sports teams, and staying active.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/7598/attachments/original/1501604139/Roger.jpg?1501604139
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
Kim builds and manages relationships with the Administration, Congress, and with national environmental and progressive organizations and coalitions. She also helps shape the organization's national policy agenda. Prior to this role, she served as an executive aide and program associate for the organization. Kim attended Fort Valley State University and received her B.A. in Mass Communications. She has spent the majority of her career assisting children and families as a parent educator and later as a program manager and training director for resource centers in the Maryland Child Care Resource Network. She is passionate about making sure children are in a safe environment and families have access to available local, state and federal resources. Kim also enjoys photography and reading and is an avid walker.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/5676/attachments/original/1467322780/00_a_photo_knoble.png?1467322780
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
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.
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/1508798065/temp_headshot.png?1508798065
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
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 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
Michael was sentenced to adult prison as a young person. At 15 he was told that he had no hope of changing and would spend the rest of his life in prison serving a life sentence. Through redemption, education, family support, and smart policy (SB 260), Michael would demonstrate his transformation after 17 years and prove that we can safely reduce our prison population.
Prior to joining #cut50, Michael worked at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice as a case manager. He worked with families and at-risk-youth on probation to provide wrap-around services and help bridge gaps to their needs. As a member of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, he collaboratively works with a group of members who were also formerly incarcerated or impacted by the criminal justice system to build safe neighborhoods and policy that promotes equity. In addition to working on several campaign steering committees on smart policy, he also conducts workshops for people who are currently incarcerated. His work within the walls of confinement provides hope and resources that will help them regain their humanity within our societies.
In 2017, Michael will have completed his B.A. in political science at San Francisco State University and will continue to pursue a higher education.
Follow Michael Mendoza on Twitter: @Mikael_Mendoza
Kerene N. Tayloe Esq.
Kerene N. Tayloe Esq. is a social justice advocate who has worked tirelessly in the area of Environmental Justice, Civil Rights, and voter protection. Kerene is driven by the desire to ensure that the needs of communities of color are not overlooked. She has worked in many political arenas but is most proud of helping to elect New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first African American to represent the city of Yonkers in the State Senate and the first woman in New York State history to lead a conference in Albany, NY.
Kerene comes to Green For All from WE ACT for Environmental Justice and where she coordinated the Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change. Before that she was a legal fellow engaging in voting rights initiatives at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She is a fitness enthusiast, a practicing yogi, and a burgeoning comedian.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/19457/attachments/original/1508792982/kerene.jpg?1508792982
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.
Mariam Hosseini brings more than a decade of experience as the Dream Corps’ Communications Director, leading communications strategies that advance the organization’s mission to solve America’s toughest problems. Mariam oversees strategic communications, press outreach, online advocacy, framing, messaging, planning, and publications. Prior to the Dream Corps, Mariam created high-impact campaigns across twenty-five countries as the Director of Marketing at Give2Asia, an international leader in community-led development.
Previously, Mariam was the Director of Communications at the Asian Law Caucus, the nation’s oldest Asian American civil rights organization, amplifying campaigns from the local level at San Francisco City Hall to the national level at the Supreme Court. At ALC, she led the organization’s communications strategy, public relations, social media, and media relations, exponentially growing the organization’s national media coverage. Before joining ALC, Mariam worked with a diverse set of stakeholders around the world at Parsa Foundation, a philanthropic organization in Silicon Valley dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurship.
An early adopter of new media, Mariam has been blogging since 2001, was a contributor to NBC Bay Area, and speaks frequently at events about the power of digital media and social impact. She holds a Master and Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from San Francisco State University.
Jessie Torrisi comes to #cut50 from Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, where she helped raise millions of dollars to protect the rights of women, children, LGBT people, refugees, and people with disabilities. While there, she launched online storytelling campaigns for the ACLU affiliates in Louisiana and Texas on the school-to-prison pipeline and issues affecting communities after Hurricane Katrina.
She now runs #cut50’s fundraising efforts, and assists with writing and communications strategy to smartly and safely cut our prison population.
She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University, and her M.S. from Columbia University’s School of Journalism, during which time she worked for National Public Radio in New York. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she is involved in exploring ways that music and social justice can fuel one another.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/19667/attachments/original/1512895953/Jessie_Torrisi_-_headshot.jpg?1512895953
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