Board of Directors
Daniel Martinez HoSang, Chair
Daniel Martinez HoSang is an Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Political Science at the University of Oregon. His book, Racial Propositions: Ballot Initiatives and the Making of Postwar California (University of California Press, 2010), explores the history of organizing campaigns around racialized ballot measures in California in the last fifty years and the rise of colorblind racism. He is also co-editor of the volume Racial Formation in the Twenty-First Century (University of California Press, 2012). He received his PhD in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. Before graduate school, HoSang worked as a community organizer and trainer for ten years with the Center for Third World Organizing and People United for a Better Oakland, addressing issues including police accountability, welfare reform, and public education reform. HoSang now teaches courses in racial politics, theories of race and ethnicity, community organizing, and public policy. He is on the board of directors for the Alliance for a Just Society and the Partnership for Safety and Justice, and he joined the Forward Together board in 2011.
Eveline Shen, MPH, President
Since Eveline's leadership began in 1999, Forward Together has become widely recognized for its innovative role in the Reproductive Justice Movement—working with grassroots communities; providing thought leadership; developing effective tools and resources for evaluation, training, and documentation; and organizing for long-term systemic change. Eveline serves on the board of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project and Movement Strategy Center. She has also served as Principal Investigator for two National Institutes of Health grants that explore the intersection between environmental justice and reproductive justice. Women's eNews recently named Eveline one of their 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. She was a 2009 Gerbode Fellow and holds a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley in Community Health Education.
Lisa Russ, Secretary
Lisa served as the Associate Director at Movement Strategy Center from 2002–2009, after which time she became a Senior Fellow. In that capacity, she works with the Strong Families Initiative as a Communications Strategist, which includes leading communications for multiple campaigns, editing the reproductive justice blog, and supporting racial justice leaders in finding and using their voices as writers. Lisa also facilitates the Ford Foundation's Initiative on Sexuality Research. Previously, Lisa spent many years doing capacity building and strategic planning with social justice organizations. She also designed and led programs in experiential education, ranging from hiking and canoeing to studying economics, human rights, and issues related to the U.S./Mexico border. Lisa lives, works, and plays in Oakland with her husband and their two kids.
Kay Fernandez Smith, Treasurer
Kay Fernandez Smith, a former Fulbright Hayes Scholar to the Philippines and a San Francisco Foundation Fellow, has worked with grassroots groups, public agencies, and philanthropic organizations to advance equitable development. She is currently the Director of Community Benefits and Social Responsibility at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, where she oversees the country’s first community benefits program administered by a large public utility. Prior to joining the SFPUC, Kay was Deputy Director at PolicyLink where she launched the Promise Neighborhoods Institute, a national intermediary focused on supporting antipoverty programs modeled focused on the academic and life success of low-income children. She holds a Master in Public Policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She joined the Forward Together board in 2011.
Dimple Abichandani is the Security and Rights Collaborative Program Officer at Proteus Fund, and she joined the Forward Together Board of Directors in 2011. She leads a funding collaborative whose aim is to shift the debate around national security and human rights, and build the capacity of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian community organizations in challenging post-9/11 discrimination. Dimple manages an innovative comprehensive communications infrastructure that serves as a model for the social justice field and serves over 100 human rights organizations with the goal of increasing communications capacity and coordination. Previously, she was the Director of Program Development at Legal Services NYC, where she developed impact-oriented advocacy projects to address the civil legal needs of low-income communities, with a focus on immigrants rights. Dimple founded the Language Access Project to ensure access to justice for limited-English-proficient individuals, and developed a low-wage workers rights project. She currently serves on the advisory committees of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education, and served for six years as a Board Member for the Third Wave Foundation. Dimple earned a JD at Northeastern University School of Law, and a BA in English at the University of Texas at Austin.
Liza is a Senior Project Manager at Ibis Reproductive Health. Prior to that she was a fellow at the City University of New York Institute for Demographic Research, and was a researcher at National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Her research has focused on the effects of immigration and health policies on Latina and immigrant reproductive health, clinician training in reproductive health, and abortion access. She is also interested in issues around the role of social scientists in the movement for reproductive justice. She is the current chair of the board of directors of Reproductive Health Technologies Project, a board member of Forward Together and is a former member of the boards of the National Network of Abortion Funds, New York Abortion Access Fund, and the DC Abortion Fund. Liza is doctoral candidate at the CUNY School of Public Health and has a Master of Public Health from Columbia University.
Edith worked as an organizer with the Service Employees International Union for 5 years. During her time there she developed a knack for strategy and organizing, and learned the importance of leadership. Those 5 years were the equivalent of a degree in the political and economic history of Los Angeles and California through the experiences and political struggles of working people and immigrant communities.
She put her strategy and organizing expertise to work as the Field Director for Choice USA, a national pro-choice organization based in Washington, D.C. She developed the field strategy for over 25 chapters and developed campaigns around sex education, birth control, and health care reform. She brought a distinct perspective to her work as Field Director, developing both the organizing capacity of the organization, and the reproductive justice framework. Her experience as an organizer, a queer woman of color, and a child of immigrants and working class parents helps her recognize and strategize around interconnected issues. In 2011, she helped convene hundreds of parents in Los Angeles, and mobilized them to advocate for key policy changes in education while she was Program Officer in Education and Youth Development at United Way.
So far in her career, she has found training to be the most exciting, challenging and inspiring part of her work. Not to mention, it keeps her on her toes. After several years as a Campus Camp trainer, Edith was hired in the Labor Training Program at Wellstone Action and is currently the Deputy Director for Strategic Capacity Development. She is happy to be back "home" working once again with union members, staff, and leadership.
In 2012 she moved from Los Angeles to Denver for love, inspired by a need to take the "long distance" out of her relationship. Edith was born feet first in Tehran, Iran on the first day of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. She likes to hit the ground running.
Maria Elena Perez
Maria Elena Perez is the Director of Policy and Strategic Partnerships at the National Institute for Reproductive Health and is an experienced national spokesperson on reproductive health and justice issues, appearing in local and national outlets such as CNN, Univision and Telemundo. Prior to joining the staff at NIRH, Maria Elena held positions at Forward Together and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. During her tenure at NLIRH, she served as Director of Community Mobilization, Interim Executive Director and most recently as Deputy Director. She has also worked at several New York City based organizing and advocacy organizations including Make the Road NY and Cabrini Immigrant Services. She currently serves on the Board of Forward Together and holds a Master of Social Work degree from the Hunter College School of Social Work and a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University.