Eveline Shen, MPH, Executive Director, Oakland
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 Movement Strategy Center and is a member of the Bay Area Social Justice Funders Network advisory committee. 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 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.
Adriann Barboa, New Mexico Field Director, New Mexico
Adriann Barboa is a Chicana, Native New Mexican born and raised in Albuquerque, where she is a single mother of two. Adriann joined Forward Together in March of 2012, but has been closely connected to Forward Together and Strong Families through the partnership and support of Young Women United (YWU). Adriann served as the Director of YWU for the past 8 years and is happy to find a role that can continue to make use of her strengths and attributes in gender and reproductive justice. She has helped to build networks and collaborations across difference in her home state of New Mexico, and in her work with national networks. As Field Director for Strong Families New Mexico, Adriann connects across issue areas, geography and difference to advance the work and capacity that is happening in New Mexico and in connection to the Strong Families national movement work led by Forward Together. Adriann brings 10 plus years experience in the social justice sector, working primarily on issues of gender, reproductive, anti-violence, education and youth justice in communities of color.
Moira Bowman, Deputy Director, Portland
Moira Bowman joined Forward Together in November 2007 and works primarily from Portland, Oregon. As Deputy Director, Moira builds and manages an effective staff team and plays a lead role in the strategy and implementation of the Strong Families initiative. Relying on more than 20 years of experience working with social justice nonprofits, Moira also provides technical assistance to a number of our allies. Moira has been active in the social justice movement for the last two decades on issues of economic and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, and gender justice. She brings extensive experience in movement building, organizing, political education, and technical assistance. As Director of the Gender Justice Program at Western States Center, Moira worked to build regional capacity (in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming) to counter the Right's agenda and to build progressive power for low-income families, communities of color, and LGBTQ communities. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Basic Rights Oregon.
Alicia Walters, Movement Building Director, Oakland
Alicia Walters joined Forward Together as Movement Building Director in January 2014. Her relationship with the organization began when she collaborated on the successful campaign to remove the racist anti-abortion billboards in her Oakland community. Her admiration for the organization grew as FT nurtured her idea of a project where Black women could exercise their thought leadership and build relationships and writing skills. That idea has become Echoing Ida which Alicia is proud to staff now at Forward Together. As Movement Building Director Alicia also focuses on engaging and growing Strong Families, ensuring partners are connected, and staffing a national community driven research project on the impact of incarceration on families. An organizer by training and performing artist by passion, Alicia's vision is to transform social justice movements and improve the lives of people of color with strategic collaborations that alter the dynamics of power. Alicia has worked on projects that center the experiences of women of color while building deeper and more authentic collaborations with allies through communications, policy advocacy, and movement building. She lives and believes in Oakland, CA where she and her partner are the proud owners of a thriving Jamaican restaurant, Kingston 11.
Kemi Alabi, Program Coordinator, Oakland
Kemi joined Forward Together in November 2014, and she's thrilled to work at the intersection of movement building, policy, field and communications strategy as Program Coordinator. Originally from Wisconsin, she earned her B.A. in Political Science & Philosophy from Boston University in 2013 as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar. There, she organized with low-wage labor and LGBT rights campaigns while writing, teaching and touring as a performance poet. She moved to Oakland, CA for queer love, black liberation, weirdo writers and 60 degree winters; it's worked out quite well.
Kelly Francisco, New Mexico Program Assistant, Albuquerque
In August 2013, Kelly joined Forward Together in a temporary Administrative Assistant position and now is the New Mexico Program Assistant. Born and raised in North Eastern Arizona, Kelly is Diné (Navajo) of the Red House Clan and born for the Mexican People Clan. She is fortunate to have been raised in strong Diné teachings and practices by her parents, grandparents, and extended families; Kelly proudly represents herself as a Diné woman. She currently resides in Albuquerque, where she completed her BA in Psychology at the University of New Mexico. During her time at UNM, she was very active in student organizations and community organizing.
Leslie Griep, Director of Finance and Operations, Oakland
Leslie joined the Forward Together team in October 2014 as the Director of Finance and Operations. Throughout her career, she has worked in a variety of not-for-profit organizations in accounting, administrative, and program positions. Her activist interests include affordable housing, economic & racial justice, LGBTQ rights, and anti-violence work. When not in front of multiple spreadsheets, Leslie bikes, runs, eats, and watches movies (with a particular soft spot for sing-along musicals).
Manie Grewal, Policy and Organizing Manager, Oakland
Manie Grewal joined Forward Together as the Policy and Organizing Manager in October 2014. Manie provides 10 years of non-profit experience ranging from housing justice for low-income families to economic justice for undocumented immigrants to justice reinvestment for sex workers. Linking reproductive rights and access to healthcare in her previous role, she worked with incarcerated women to access comprehensive family planning services they desired upon release in one of the largest county jails in the U.S. Manie’s commitment to influence healthcare globally through effective policy and research was forged when she led a community participatory study focused on safe abortion service delivery in central India. As a sexual reproductive health expert, Manie continues to connect decision-makers with the marginalized to foster systematic change. She has a BA in Sociology and Gender Studies from Indiana University, and a MPH in Community Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Outside of work, Manie enjoys trail running, meditating, and bhangra dancing.
Kalpana Krishnamurthy, Policy Director, Portland
Kalpana joined the Forward Together team in March 2013 as the Policy Director. Working from Portland, Oregon, Kalpana will be helping to develop and implement Forward Together's policy shift and civic engagement strategies. Most recently, Kalpana spent eight years as a field director at Western States Center focusing on building the racial justice and gender justice programs at the Center. She served as the primary author of the Oregon and Nevada legislative report cards on racial equity. She helped to develop and lead the Uniting Communities work, which works to help organizations of color meaningfully engage their own LGBT constituents of color. Prior to Western States, Kalpana worked in philanthropy at both the Third Wave Foundation and the Ms. Foundation for Women. She also brings experience organizing on issues of reproductive health and rights, and youth organizing. Kalpana grew up in Oregon and graduated from the University of Oregon. She is the mother of two fabulous boys, Sachin and Kavi.
Ervin Lopez, Young Men's Organizer, Oakland
Ervin Lopez started with Forward Together in the summer of 2011 through the Young Men's Pilot Program. After getting all the information needed to know that Oakland Unified School District's sex education policy had a flaw in it's implementation, he became fully invested in advocating that a proper and comprehensive sex education is necessary for a healthy student. Ervin's community organizing roots began with Asian and Pacific Islander Youth promoting Advocacy and Leadership and continues to organize and through his leadership, he became the Young Men's Organizer three years later. Ervin is dedicated to developing the leadership of other youth in Oakland and hopes to see a positive change in the community. On his down time, he practices his other passion for music with a band of other community organizers, Mass Bass.
Maria Nakae, MPH, Development Director, Oakland
Maria joined Forward Together in 2006 as a New Voices Fellow and Alliance Building Coordinator. After three and a half years of supporting Forward Together's national movement building work, she joined the development team in 2010. Maria previously worked in community-based research, outreach, and program development on a wide range of issues including reproductive health, domestic violence prevention, parenting and child development, and mental health. Her interest in reproductive justice is fueled by her work with community– and school-based programs to increase access to reproductive health services for youth in low-income immigrant communities and communities of color. She holds a BA in Psychology from New York University and an MPH from UC Berkeley.
Akasha Orr, Events Coordinator, Oakland
Since joining Forward Together in 2010, Akasha has worn many hats, including that of office manager, conference events coordinator, volunteer coordinator, and staff morale booster. Along her path, Akasha has since become a contributor to the Forward Together blog and is currently being groomed as the newest member to join the Forward Stance training team. What she loves most about working with Forward Together is the support and encouragement she receives to develop both personally and professionally, which in turn increases her contribution to the organization. Akasha is a transplant from Los Angeles, where she worked in the entertainment industry as an actress, singer/songwriter, and poet. She currently shares lead vocals in the El Cerrito–based electropop band The Seshen. Her commitment to social justice grew out of participation in various LGBTQ campaigns, as well as environmental preservation efforts and animal rights activism. A yogi and student of naturopathic methodology, Akasha’s journey is focused on bringing harmony to body, mind, and soul through humanitarian work and the performing arts. She holds a BA in Speech Communications from Hampton University.
Sarah Pecora, Operations Specialist, Oakland
A self-billed Child of the Universe, Sarah Pecora is an African American, Native American, Norwegian, Irish and French Canadian mix from the Midwest who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000. She received her B.S. in Architecture from the University of Maryland, and translated her love for buildings into creating spaces and systems that support people in their work environments. As a result, she has spent the past twenty years managing offices, buildings and facilities for private, public, academic, state and non-profit agencies. She joined Forward Together in September 2013 and is happily delving into the depths of operations, HR procedures and paperwork—not to mention moving around office furniture and occasionally using power tools. Sarah and her partner Claudia have two daughters, Natasha and Aviva. Precious free moments are spent making small metal sculptures in her studio.
Javier Ríos, New Mexico Manager of Campaigns, Albuquerque
Javier Ríos was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is a New Mexican of diverse Irish, Mexican, and LGBTQ background. Javier joined Forward Together in April of 2015 bringing 10 years of non-profit and government experience focused in health equity, HIV/AIDS prevention, harm reduction, immigrant health, and cultural humility. In 2013 Javier participated in the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission program Líderes a través de las Fronteras/Leaders across Borders addressing Binational and Border health. Since 2005 Javier has worked in HIV/AIDS prevention with LGBTQ communities of color focusing in community organizing, outreach, and education. His community recognitions include the 2013 Pride and Equality Vincent R. Johnson Models of Hope Award, the 2012 NMCPAG Kahlo Benavidez Leadership Award, and service as a 2012 HIV/AIDS Embajador/Ambassador for the National Latino AIDS Action Network at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. Currently Javier is the communications committee chair for the National Partnership for Action to end Health Disparities Region VI Southwest RHEC. Javier earned his M.A. in Spanish: Southwest Studies from the University of New Mexico in 2005 where he taught Spanish as a Heritage Language. Javier received his B.A. from Creighton University in 2001.
Dalia Rubiano Yedidia, Movement Building Manager, Oakland
Dalia Rubiano Yedidia joined Forward Together as the Movement Building Manager in February 2015. Born and raised in San Francisco, Dalia’s organizing roots are in the domestic worker movement, where she organized nannies, housecleaners, and caregivers to seniors and people with disabilities in New York, Chicago, and the Bay Area. She worked on the New York and California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights campaigns, and, alongside thousands of immigrant women of color, fought and won these groundbreaking statewide policies. As a mixed Colombian Jew still living in the city she grew up in, Dalia maintains an unwavering belief – and over eight years of experience to know deeply – that organizing works. Outside of work, she enjoys attempting to write creatively, knitting estilo colombiano the way her abuelita taught her, and relishing the exceedingly beautiful Bay Area views on hikes with her partner.
Jeanine Shimatsu, IT Specialist, Oakland
Jeanine is a mixed Chinese/Japanese book artist who joined Forward Together in 2011 as the Executive Assistant and is now the organization's IT Specialist. Originally from Southern California, Jeanine moved to the Bay Area to attend UC Berkeley. Having both studied and worked at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health, Jeanine is especially interested in issues related to health care access and reform. Their commitment to social justice grew out of their experience case working at the Suitcase Clinic, a student-run clinic that provides medical and social services to underserved communities in the East Bay. Jeanine is a strong advocate for library programs and services and serves on Oakland's Library Advisory Commission, where they represent the 81st Avenue Branch. Outside the office, you can find them working on bookbinding projects, writing letters, reading fiction, or out on some sort of food adventure.
Jainan Singh, Senior Accountant
Jainan joined Forward Together in August 2014. He gained his professional experience in Business and Accounting with diversified businesses including nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jainan is highly efficient, detail oriented and passionate about business and accounting. He is also used to producing high quality work in a time sensitive environment. Jainan received his Bachelors of Accounting and Economics at University of the South Pacific in Fiji where he gained most of his professional experience. He is excited to learn, grow his skill set and provide quality service to the organization. His favorite recreational activities include cycling, golf and movies.
Amanda Wake, Field Director, New York
Amanda started at Forward Together in 2008 as the Youth Organizer running Forward Together's Asian youth programming in Oakland, CA. Now she in living and working in New York City as Field Director. She has taken her passion for youth organizing to a national scale coordinating the Strong Families Youth Cohort.
Amanda is yonsei, fourth generation Japanese American, and a third generation community organizer. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz in American Studies in 2006, where she was an active student organizer and Co-Director of the Engaging Education Center. She previously worked as a social worker for a mentoring program for children who have a parent in the prison system. Amanda brings over 10 years of community organizing experience to her work.
Turner Willman, Development Assistant
Turner Willman joined Forward Together in April 2014 as the Development Assistant and is excited to help mobilize resources for the empowerment of our communities. Turner is a proud mixed race, second-generation Filipin@ and utilizes these experiences to guide their work. Turner holds a BA from Smith College in Environmental Science & Policy and is interested in the intersections of environmental justice and reproductive justice. Before joining the Forward Together team, Turner worked with organizations on issues relating to food justice, post-9/11 racial profiling and immigrant rights, and nail salon worker advocacy. In their spare time, Turner can be found cooking with friends, hiking on sunny days, and hanging out with cute animals.
Jonathan Wong, New Mexico Program Coordinator, New Mexico
Jon joined the Forward Together family in August 2013 as the New Mexico Organizer and Program Assistant for Strong Families New Mexico. Born and raised in Southern California, Jon graduated with a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine. Wanting to spread his wings in political advocacy, he spent a couple years in Washington, DC where he worked with an environmental justice organization and developed his knack for database management at a progressive fundraising firm. In 2012 he moved to the Land of Enchantment and fell in love with the state of New Mexico as a fundraiser and field organizer for Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham's campaign. In his free time you can see Jon eating at different Asian restaurants for his blog and exploring the scenic beauty of the Southwest.
Janna A. Zinzi, Digital Organizer
Janna A. Zinzi joined Forward Together as the Digital Organizer in September 2014. She began working with the organization as part of the Mamas Day 2013 press team, and again to support the Mamas Day 2014 online campaign. Now as the Digital Organizer, she is responsible for coordinating online campaigns and engaging our audiences to take action, particularly through e-mail and social media. She has an extensive background in strategic communications including public relations, social media strategy, and promotional writing. Since 2007, Janna has been doing communications work for reproductive health and justice organizations including the Guttmacher Institute, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice and National Advocates for Pregnant Women. She also has contributed to a variety of progressive and feminist blogs including AlterNet, Feministing, Racialicious and RH Reality Check. When she’s not on the internet, you can find Janna dancing or traveling or both.