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.
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.
Kelly’s first experience in grassroots organizing came with her membership in Kiva Club, the first Native American Student Organization, chartered in 1952 at UNM. Through this organization she was exposed to social justice, environmental justice, education, anti-violence, and Native American issues on campus, in the community, and in surrounding areas. Kelly continues to be passionate about working cross-generationally and on intersectional issues with Native American communities and Communities of Color. In her free time you can find her playing volleyball and softball, adventuring the landscapes, participating in Diné cultural and social events, and continuing to learn more about her culture and the culture of others.
Deanna Gao, Youth Organizer, Oakland
Deanna identifies as a queer gender non-conforming US-born Chinese woman and has been working for several years with youth of color in Los Angeles and now in the bay area. She started working in Oakland as the youth organizer at Forward Together in October 2013 following work as the youth organizer at Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco. Her passion for an ethics and practice of anti-oppression and justice is very much informed by radical (queer) women of color feminisms and organizing. She believes that transforming conditions of violence and oppression in our world is by honoring the work and experiences of those most impacted and transforming the ways we learn to love and relate to ourselves and each other. She is interested in a practice of loving accountability in her own life and in the relationships she builds with youth. She is also passionate about karaoke and 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 is an American-born Filipino community organizer. He is a chef, guitar player and dance teacher whom is still on the road to success. Ervin began his social justice work in 2008 with Asian and Pacific Islander Youth Promoting Advocacy and Leadership (AYPAL) and transitioned to Forward Together in 2011 starting from the Young Men's pilot Program and has been working on the implementation for a Comprehensive Health Education since the start of the campaign. Ervin's main focus is to help guide young men of color see for themselves that there is much more to a man than being tough and holding emotion in. On his down time he likes to feed the masses and play guitar; not at the same time, of course.
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.
Robin Ryan, Bookkeeper, Oakland
Robin's arrival at Forward Together as Bookkeeper came about as a result of a desire to apply her full-charge bookkeeping skills to the social justice arena. After 15 years as a freelance bookkeeper in San Francisco for individuals, small businesses and Burning Man, the political foreground that Oakland now assumes called her to cross the bridge to non-profit accounting. She believes that a strong staff should be supported by the financial health of its organization, and that both are key elements to building and maintaining a sustainable movement. Robin's activist roots began in her home state of Louisiana, but were transplanted to California via Brooklyn over 20 years ago. She currently lives in San Francisco, where she is raising her daughter and Occupying the streets. She is crazy for Buddhist meditation, bicycling, yoga and home cooking, and is now working towards a certificate in library information technology.
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.
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.