About Us

Our Vision

Thriving Communities.

We envision a country where we are all at home. A world where we take care of each other, respect each other, and where everyone is better off. Where we recognize the shared leadership and sacrifice of people of color, women, immigrants, LGBTQ and Indigenous people in building this country. When we join together and fight for every single one of us, we can build a nation that works for all of us — a world where all families have the rights, recognition and resources they need to thrive free from oppression.

Our Mission

Forward Together unites communities to win rights, recognition and resources for all families.

We transform culture and policy to work for all of us nationwide. Since our founding in 1989, we have continually fought to dismantle the ways our society marginalizes us based on race, sexuality, and gender. Today, we build courage and foster connection among our multi-racial community of changemakers to secure the rights, recognition and resources all families need to thrive.

Our Approach

At Forward Together, we don’t focus on one sector or issue, we see how all of our lives are interdependent. We focus on changing the ground on which we fight for the rights, recognition and resources for all families and people.


We build the courage of leaders — women of color, non-binary people of color and Indigenous people — to transform the culture of shame and stigma that prevents so many of us from claiming our voice and power. We use art, media and storytelling to counter misrepresentation of our communities and unapologetically tell the truths of our own lives.


Relationship building is the bedrock of our work. We connect individuals and organizations across issues and communities because our movements are stronger when we move forward together.


We believe in people power and know that change starts locally. We work with our grassroots leaders and partners across the country to lead campaigns and create tools people can use to strengthen their own communities. By working with the people whose lives are most impacted by injustice, we build power, transform culture and create policy for lasting change.

Courageous Practice

The visionary and innovative work of building a strong and vibrant intersectional social justice movement requires us to physically move people, move institutions, and change the way the world works. Too often in our work, we are “in our heads,” focusing on conceptual ideas and frameworks while ignoring the physics of social change work. Courageous Practice provides us with a powerful way to learn and gain new insight through physical movement and by reconnecting our bodies with our minds. The practice grew out of Forward Stance, highlighted in the video to the left. Forward Together uses Courageous Practice in all aspects of our work, and also trains allied organizations in the practice to support their movement-building efforts.

Our People


Proudly Women of Color led. Meet our Executive Team:

Wendy Calimag
Wendy Calimag (she/her)
Co-Executive Director

As Co-Executive Director, Wendy works closely with executive team to forward the mission of the organization by maintaining its financial and operational health and by strengthening systems and capacity for the organization’s growth. Over the last 15 years, Wendy has been committed to uplifting the experiences of girls and women of color. Prior to coming to Forward Together, Wendy served in senior and executive roles in girl-serving organizations in Oakland and San Francisco, developing and supporting civic engagement, reproductive health, and college and career readiness programs for middle and high school girls from under-resourced communities.  She believes in the power of collective impact and served in a number of community initiatives in the Bay Area, including the Girls and Women of Color Collaborative (former Breaking the Silence Town Hall Collaborative). When she is not developing systems and thinking about operations, you can find her spending time with her family, reading, doing something creative or cuddling with her one-eyed pug.

Diana Lugo-Martinez
Diana Lugo-Martinez (she/her/ella)
Co-Executive Director, Forward Together

Diana Lugo-Martinez is Co-Executive Director of Forward Together. For the last three and a half years, Diana Lugo-Martinez has served as Forward Together’s Movement Strategy Director, supporting the movement building and cultural strategy team. Diana also supports the organization’s cultural strategy, to expand movement alignment and integration. Diana brings over 15 years of experience in civic engagement, politics, academia and leadership development in a variety of social justice areas. Prior to joining Forward Together, Diana was the Senior Director of Community Engagement Programs at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), where she managed the Community Mobilization department. She previously served as an administrator at New York University, and also served as an adjunct at the school’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, teaching service-learning courses on civic engagement and on women’s movements focused on sexual and reproductive health in the Caribbean and Latin America. Diana holds an MPA in Health Policy and Management and an MS in Global Affairs. When not building with movement folks, you can find Diana reading about reproductive justice, race and class while drinking café, or hanging out with her familia, also while drinking café.


Edith Sargon (she/her)
Deputy Director of Programs and Organizational Development

Edith Sargon  is the Deputy Director of Programs and Organizational Development. She joined the staff in 2020 and comes to Forward Together after serving for 10 years on the Board of Directors of the organization. She brings 18 years of experience organizing, leading and managing inside of Labor, Reproductive Justice, and Civic Engagement organizations. She most recently served as Executive Director of Wellstone, which trained community organizers, student activists, campaign staff, progressive candidates and elected officials. Prior to that, she worked as Field Director at Choice USA where she developed field strategy for over 25 chapters and built campaigns around sex education, birth control, and health care reform. Sargon began her professional organizing experience with SEIU in Los Angeles in the early 2000s. In addition to her work life Edith is an auntie, a dog parent to Freddie Sargon, and a student of Biodynamic Cranial Sacral Therapy. She is a cis queer immigrant woman of SWANA descent. Her first home was Tehran, Iran, she grew up in Victoria BC, Canada and snuck out to see Rage Against the Machine shows in high school in Los Angeles. She has many homes and many people she calls family all across the US and internationally. She currently stays in Brooklyn.



Adwoa Agyepong (she/her)
Echoing Ida Program Coordinator, Chicago

Adwoa Agyepong supports the Echoing Ida program as its coordinator. A former-student-organizer, Adwoa’s goal is to support the work of all marginalized peoples in both her personal and work-life. Prior to joining Forward Together, Adwoa worked for the Environmental Justice Program at NAACP. In her free-time, Adwoa obsesses over astrology and has vegan cook clubs with friends.

L’lerrét Ailith (she/her)
Echoing Ida Manager, Los Angeles

L’lerrét is a Black trans writer, digital organizer, and storyteller originally from Baltimore, MD. She currently serves as the Echoing Ida Manager for Forward Together where she contributes to the development of a comprehensive media hub to foster and uplift the radical vision of Black narrative strategists. She got her start in organizing in Chicago as the Communications Manager for BYP100 where she was integral in building out a comprehensive communications infrastructure to support Black queer feminist youth organizing. After years of honing her skills through the Reframe Mentorship Program and working within the movement for Black Lives, she then moved to Los Angeles and served as the Communications Coordinator for the Black AIDS Institute before joining the Forward Together team. She is deeply devoted to cultural work and relies on writing and acting as her resistive mediums.

Isabella Baker (she/her/ Ella)
New Mexico Field Intern, Albuquerque

Isabella is a young Chicana organizer that primarily works on reproductive justice work with Forward Together in New Mexico. She has been involved in community organizing and social justice work since she was about 8 years old with her stepmom who was also a community organizer in New Mexico. She started her own work in community organizing at 14 years old and has had the opportunity to work with many organizations with diverse issues but, has always focused on engaging young women of color in all areas of her work. She was able to experience empowerment as a young person to tell her story and work to create change and she feels it’s important to pass that on to young people in her community as well. When she is not working she enjoys being with family, friends, and her pets.

Adriann Barboa (she/her)
New Mexico Policy Director, Albuquerque

In 2012 Adriann Barboa pioneered Forward Together’s first state based program, Strong Families New Mexico.  Adriann works with families and communities across the state of New Mexico to bring about culture shift strategies that recognize the many kinds of families across her home state, and create new policies centered in the lived experiences of everyday New Mexicans. Adriann is a connector, an organizer, a trainer and loves to spend her time with families and communities working together toward building the world we all want to live in. She brings together a strong network of organizations and individuals in New Mexico that are modeling how to leverage their people power for the greater good. Adriann brings 15 plus years experience in the direct service and social justice sectors, working primarily on issues of gender, reproductive, anti-violence, education and youth and criminal justice in indigenous and communities of color. She is a proud mother of two loving young adults that bring her so much joy and keep her grounded.

Vivek G. Bharathan (he/him)
Information Technology Manager, Oakland

Vivek is the Information Technology Manager at Forward Together and supports us as we use technology in our work, maintaining our current resources and finding new ways for us to fulfill our mission across our various locations. He came from roles in web development, web strategy and IT at Race Forward, Diablo Valley College, the University of Pennsylvania and Brooklyn Law School. When he’s not crawling under desks or talking his colleagues’ ears off about digital security, Vivek plays tenor sax with the Laney College Jazz Orchestra. He is an immigrant from India and grew up in Tucson, AZ. If you’d like to send Vivek a PGP-encrypted email, you can find his public key at https://keybase.io/vbharathan/key.asc (fingerprint: BE1E 57B9 3818 3451 0C61 55E5 218A C601 5924 9436).

Bianca Campbell (they/she)
Movement Building Senior Manager, Atlanta

Bianca Campbell is the Movement Building Senior Manager at Forward Together. She started as, and continues to be, a participant of our Echoing Ida program for Black women and gender non-conforming content creators. She has worked in reproductive justice work since 2011 with organizations like SPARK Reproductive Justice Now! and the National Network of Abortion Funds. She has also been a doula for births, abortions and personal transformations.  Now, she helps members of our Strong Families Network connect with one another and explore holistic strategies that move us all forward together. She also shares her commitment to holistic mind and body wellness through the Instagram page Carib Healing Collective, managed by fellow Echoing Ida members.

Claire Ciraolo (she/her)
HR and Operations Assistant, Oakland

Claire works with the Operations team to keep things running smoothly and support cross-departmental projects and field work. Prior to joining Forward Together, Claire worked as a researcher and videographer collaborating on projects like Mano en Mano’s Needs Assessment and Impact Study investigating the economic and cultural contributions of the Latinx community in Washington County, Maine. She is interested in organizing and policy work that centers the experiences and expertise of communities of color to drive transformation. Claire holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Oberlin College and a Master’s Degree in Sociology and Demography. Outside of work you can find her backpacking, cooking with friends, and playing bass in an otherwise octogenarian blues band.

Jessica Lopez Collins (she/her)
New Mexico Program Director, Albuquerque

As the New Mexico Program Director at Forward Together, Jessica oversees the program to ensure that it is moving policy and culture shift work that meets the needs of all New Mexico families. Jessica manages the planning, development, and evaluation of year-round civic engagement strategies in the state. Prior to joining Forward Together, Jessica spent twelve years at Media Literacy Project where she led a program for young women of color that centered on reproductive justice and video production. She has designed curriculum, taught classes to middle and high school students, and trained nationally and internationally in media literacy and media justice. Jessica has a heart for leadership development, organizational development, and creating beautiful civic engagement resources that are accessible to communities. When not at work, Jessica enjoys spending time with her two sons, reading nonfiction, and hiking in the mountains.

Manuela Delnevo (she/her)
Development Coordinator, Oakland

As the Development Coordinator at Forward Together, Manuela manages the donor database, leads donor stewardship programs, and works closely with the Development team to build and implement a people-centered fundraising vision grounded in our organizational values. Prior to working at Forward Together, Manuela completed her Master’s degree in Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University. As a graduate student, her research focused on the colonial underpinnings of global development initiatives, particularly those centered on women and girls’ empowerment in the global South. She previously worked as an English and Spanish teacher in Vietnam, the UK and Gabon, learning with and from students of all ages and backgrounds.

Manuela is Colombian and Italian, but grew up in many different places around the world. When she is not crafting thank-you letters, she loves to dance, sing, Skype her family and friends, and eat delicious food with her partner.

Kelly Francisco (she/her)
New Mexico Administrative Coordinator, Albuquerque

Kelly is the New Mexico Administrative Coordinator at Forward Together. She passionately works to increase visibility of the Strong Families New Mexico program by strengthening and documenting efficient information systems, relationship building, and event planning to amplify staff capacity and partner networks.

Kelly proudly represents herself as a Diné Woman, residing from northeastern Arizona, she is Kinłichíi’nii (Red House Clan) and born for Naakaii Dine’é (Mexican People Clan). She presently lives in Albuquerque, where she completed her BA in Psychology from the University of New Mexico (UNM). While at UNM, she was very active in various capacities with several student organizations and in community organizing. Kelly currently serves as an active board member of the Native American Voters Alliance Education Project and is a co-author of Native Americans and the University of New Mexico. Outside of work, she enjoys being outdoors, playing volleyball and softball, and watching the sunrise.

Jeana Frazzini (she/her)
Director of Philanthropic Partnerships, Portland

Jeana is the Director of Philanthropic Partnerships at Forward Together and works primarily from Portland, Oregon. As the Director of Philanthropic Partnerships, Jeana is passionate about building relationships to mobilize financial resources that power the work of Forward Together and our movement. Most recently, Jeana served as Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon, where she successfully built the organization into a nationally recognized LGBTQ powerhouse, known for innovation, intersectionality and bold policy wins. During her tenure, Jeana led a transformative process to integrate racial and transgender justice into the organization’s culture and priorities. She positioned the organization to play an essential role in the national strategy to win the freedom to marry and worked statewide to advance transgender health access, immigrant rights and economic justice campaigns. Jeana built relationships across the LGBTQ and allied movements, channeling the influence, resources and energy of partners toward education and policy campaigns that profoundly shifted the landscape for LGBTQ people, couples and families. Outside of work, Jeana enjoys 80s dancing and pinball with her husbian, Collin, and adventures with their two amazing sons, Emmett and Griffin.

Selinda Guerrero (she/her)
New Mexico Field Organizer, Albuquerque

Selinda Guerrero is the  New Mexico Field Organizer at Forward Together. Selinda as an organizer says her main work is to “give voice to the voiceless” as a grassroots human rights activist and organizer. She is the National Action Coordinator for Save the Kids, a national all-volunteer organization building a movement to end the school-to-prison pipeline. She leads Millions for Prisoners, the New Mexico chapter, a national movement to abolish the loophole in the 13th amendment that allows for the continuation of slavery through the criminal justice system. As an organizer for Justice for Jaquise Lewis (“Albuquerque’s Trayvon Martin”), she is continuing our fight for justice. All of her work is intersectional with focus on issues concerning police violence, injustices within the Prison Industrial Complex while addressing underlying issues of generational poverty, access to housing, education, employment, and healthcare. She is a single mother of 6 with deep roots in New Mexico. She became active and motivated to work for change by building networks of community alliances over the last 24 years. She is always in the community and when not intentionally organizing she can be found at the dominoes table and spending time laughing with her children.

Evelyn Guzman (she/her)
Oregon Field Organizer, Portland, Oregon

As an Oregon Field Organizer, Evelyn works directly with our community to ensure that people are empowered to imagine a world where we’re all our whole selves. She is excited to build and connect with people as we continue to shift the narratives created for us by organizing and building community together. Prior to joining Forward Together, she worked with the Oregon DACA Coalition, a grassroots organization she has volunteered with since 2016 where she helped build power for our immigrant community. She graduated from Western Oregon University in June of 2019 with a Bachelor in Business and double minor in Spanish and Legal Studies. Evelyn is rooted in community and deeply believes that our struggles are interconnected. Outside of work, Evelyn enjoys spending time with her family and friends, dancing, traveling and reading good books.


Raj Hajela (he/him)
Director of Finance, Oakland

As part of the Operations Department, Raj works closely with the leadership team to further the mission of the organization by positioning the financial health of the organization for future growth. His lifelong belief that true diversity is natural and critical to the success of communities and humanity, and that equality and inclusiveness are rights that belong to everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, sexual orientation or preferences, have brought him to Forward Together. He enjoys working with people and teams to find creative, cost-effective solutions aimed at growth and continuous improvement and believes that his experiences in operations, development and finance in the private, public and non-profit sectors have positioned him ideally to fulfill his role here.

In his spare time, Raj enjoys the outdoors where you can find him biking, hiking or kayaking. He also plays the electric bass, guitar and ukulele and occasionally dabbles in building stringed musical instruments.

Gaby Hernandez (them/they)
New Mexico Field Manager, New Mexico

Gaby Hernandez is the New Mexico Field Manager at Forward Together. They work with families across the state on issues affecting them and their loved ones to make the shifts needed for every New Mexican to thrive. Gaby is a queer non-binary immigrant, who’s identities profoundly shaped their commitment to making a change so every person has the room and freedom to live in dignity. Prior to joining Forward Together, Gaby has organized on various issues such as immigration, trans & queer liberation, reproductive justice, and healthcare. As an artist, they have been able to create visuals that translate the stories and visions of communities. Outside of work, Gaby enjoys runs with their dog, gardening, and cooking for their loved ones.

Kalpana Krishnamurthy (she/her)
Program Director, Portland

As the National Field and Policy Director at Forward Together, Kalpana directs our state-based organizing and civic engagement program, in addition to our national policy work. From 2005 to 2012, Kalpana directed the racial justice and gender justice programs at Western States Center, including developing two state-based report cards and a program to support LGBTQ people of color. Kalpana has been a youth organizer and reproductive rights organizer and worked in philanthropy at both the Third Wave Foundation and the Ms. Foundation for Women. She remains active in philanthropy and currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity. She is a knitter, cook and avid reader. She is the mother of two fabulous boys, Sachin and Kavi.

Alanna Kwoka (she/her)
Individual Giving Manager, Oakland

Alanna is the Individual Giving Manager at Forward Together. She is excited to inspire and thank people who invest in grassroots organizing and community-led change. Most recently, she stewarded donor-advised fund holders at the San Francisco Foundation and worked with them to give locally. Previously, Alanna worked at The Boston Women’s Fund, which makes grants to grassroots social justice organizations led by women of color. She earned a BA in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brown University. Alanna can often be found going on lunchtime walks or curled up with a fantasy novel. She would like you to consider making a donation to Forward Together today.

Rebeca Lagos (she/her)
Human Resources & Operations Coordinator, Oakland, CA

As the HR & Operations Coordinator, Rebeca provides information and assistance to employees regarding human resources activities, processes, policies and procedures. She is also responsible for preparing various correspondence, coordinating activities and keeping our Oakland office location running smoothly. Before joining the Forward Together team, Rebeca obtained her BS in Business Administration with a Concentration in Human Resource Management from Cal State East Bay University. She is passionate about creating diverse and equitable workplaces for women, people of color, immigrants, queer, transgender, non-binary & nuerodiverse people and hopes to establish this through her work in HR. In her spare time, she likes to advocate for the unhoused community of Oakland and likes to learn about ways she can improve her community. Rebeca is an avid lover of documentaries, comedy movies, Oakland taco trucks and Mexican Music.

Janet Leung (she/her)
Staff Account, Oakland, CA

As Staff Accountant at Forward together, Janet works closely with the accounting team to ensure the accuracy of the organization’s financial documents.  Prior to joining Forward Together, Janet worked in the for-profit world in administrative and accounting positions. She earned her BA in Feminist Studies and Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.   She is the second-generation of immigrant parents and is excited to contribute to an organization that advocates for the community. In her free time, you can find her with her family, at the farmers market or hiking as she has recently completed a thru-hike from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Diana Lugo-Martinez
Diana Lugo-Martinez (she/her/ella)
Co-Executive Director, Yonkers, New York

Diana Lugo-Martinez is Co-Executive Director of Forward Together. For the last three and a half years, Diana Lugo-Martinez has served as Forward Together’s Movement Strategy Director, supporting the movement building and cultural strategy team. Diana also supports the organization’s cultural strategy, to expand movement alignment and integration. Diana brings over 15 years of experience in civic engagement, politics, academia and leadership development in a variety of social justice areas. Prior to joining Forward Together, Diana was the Senior Director of Community Engagement Programs at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), where she managed the Community Mobilization department. She previously served as an administrator at New York University, and also served as an adjunct at the school’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, teaching service-learning courses on civic engagement and on women’s movements focused on sexual and reproductive health in the Caribbean and Latin America. Diana holds an MPA in Health Policy and Management and an MS in Global Affairs. When not building with movement folks, you can find Diana reading about reproductive justice, race and class while drinking café, or hanging out with her familia, also while drinking café.


Emma Martinez (she/her)
Oregon Field Organizer, Portland

Emma is the Oregon Field Organizer at Forward Together, where she works to build power with  multiracial and LGBTQ+ folks of color in Portland. She helps lead programming and base building primarily in N/NE Portland. As a queer biracial womxn who comes from an immigrant family, Emma holds the values of intersectionality and what it means to navigate space while holding all the pieces that make up who we are. Emma is excited to learn how people envision change in the world, and how she can support folks in their journey to collectively organize towards that change. Before joining the Forward Together team, Emma worked alongside organizers at Freedom to Thrive to organize a healing and empowerment program, and continues to find home in her organizing with local anti-imperialist grassroots collectives. She is always down to learn and try new tools for centering and grounding, and how to take care of one another in the movement. When she is not organizing with fellow QTPOC/migrant/1st gen. community, Emma can be found at home in her studio apartment cuddling with her 3-legged chihuahua, and attempting to bake new recipes (usually things that include chocolate & peanut butter). 

Rosa Yadira Ortiz (she/her/ella)
Senior Grants Manager, Portland

Rosa leads with heart—boldly and unapologetically. She came to Forward Together in 2016 after working at several partner organizations, Western States Center and Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, and admiring for afar the magic of the Strong Families Network that Forward Together has created. Rosa’s role as Senior Grant Manager is grounded in fundraising from a belief in abundance, relationships based on shared values and authenticity, and positioning BIPOC and TGNC from a place a power.

While Rosa resides in Portland, OR, she will always be a Chicagoan at heart. She’s a proud immigrant, queer femme who loves all things Guadalupana and Selena. Her favorite hobbies are taking naps in restorative yoga, feeling embodied while weightlifting, and funding abortions as a Board Member of the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Rosa is grounded in her love for given and chosen family and is proud to be a Mami’s girl raising two Mami’s boys.


Christine Pauley (she/her)
Director of Human Resources and Operations, Oakland, CA

As the Director of Human Resources and Operations, Christine works closely with the Deputy Director of Operations and is responsible for the overall management of the human resources, facilities management and general business operations at Forward Together. Christine is passionate about bringing forward and giving a voice to traditionally marginalized communities, ensuring that everyone has the resources they need to live their best lives and protecting the rights of women to have self-determination over their bodies and reproductive choices.

Prior to coming to Forward Together, Christine worked as the HR Manager at a nonprofit serving minority children and as a paralegal in the labor and employment legal atmosphere, bringing many years of human resources-related experience to Forward Together. She especially enjoys putting together policies that align with organizational cultural values and creating and implementing employee support systems that allow employees to focus on the work at hand.  Christine has always been interested in social justice issues of people of color, and volunteers for several nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area focused on helping women and children of color.

Outside of work, Christine loves spending time with her two daughters, her family, and her horse Ginger, and planning her next travel adventure.

Michele Ruffin (she/her)
Oregon Political Director, Portland

Michele Ruffin is the Oregon Political Director at Forward Together.  Based out of Portland, she leads the Oregon state-based program toward policy wins and culture shift campaigns that center the stories and lived experiences of Forward Together’s multi-racial base.  In 2018, Michele led Forward Together’s canvass team to defeat an anti-abortion ballot measure by building relationships with voters of color and having long-form conversations about abortion stigma. The measure was fiercely rejected with one of the highest voter turnouts in Oregon’s history.

Prior to joining Forward Together, Michele spent over two years on Governor Kate Brown’s team managing campaign schedules, cultivating relationships with organizational leaders, and assisting policy development. She comes from a strong campaign organizing background in both issue advocacy and state elections, but her heart has only one mission, to build political power for queer and trans Oregonians of color and their families. Michele believes that political work is most satisfying when done alongside those who share an analysis of power, a vision and hope for the future. When she’s not door-knocking or phone banking, you can find Michele at home spending time with her wife, Rachel, or planning her next camping or backpacking trip.  

Prerna Sampat (she/her)
Director of Communications & Digital Strategy, Long Beach, CA

Prerna Sampat is the Director of Communications & Digital Strategy at Forward Together and she is based in Long Beach, California and has roots in Mumbai and Chicago. Over the past decade, she had previously helped shape a number of campaigns for economic justice, racial justice, immigrant rights, worker rights and trans liberation. Working at the global LGBTQ rights organization All Out, Prerna led a culture shift campaign to make digital spaces more inclusive for TGNC people, resulting in the expansion of Facebook’s gender categories from two to more than seventy. At ALIGN, Prerna led digital communications for a pivotal campaign that mobilized thousands of workers and community leaders, successfully driving Walmart out of New York City. At The Worker Institute at Cornell University, she wrote and edited articles interrogating the labor movement’s role in the immigrant rights movement. Prerna was among the founding members of the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC) and Trikone Chicago. She has previously served on the Movement Building Team at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and the Board of New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG).

Maria A. Santos (she/her)
Movement Building Coordinator, Oakland

Maria joined Forward Together in 2016 in the role of Administrative Coordinator but is excited to transition into the role of Movement Building Coordinator. Born in the Philippines, Maria immigrated to the United States when she was seven years old, settling with her family in Arizona and eventually moving to the Bay Area in high school. Maria earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University’s College of Ethnic Studies. Prior to joining Forward Together, Maria worked with multiple community-based organizations in San Francisco providing support and facilitation of services ranging from after school programs to workforce development training. At Forward Together, Maria’s role includes supporting the Movement Building Team in building capacity to ensure the Strong Families Network is supported and uplifted. Maria is passionate about Filipino food, baked treats and envisioning new ways to do work that is joyful, sustainable and based in abundance.

ChaKiara Tucker (she/her)
Media Strategist , San Diego

As the Media Strategist at Forward Together, ChaKiara amplifies Forward Together’s programmatic work through the implementation of strategic media efforts. As a Black femme woman who is also a member of the LGBTQ community, ChaKiara is committed to empowering communities of color to collaborate and mobilize. Prior to joining the Forward Together team, ChaKiara was the communications coordinator at Alliance San Diego, a social justice non-profit. During her tenure there, ChaKiara provided communications support for multiple non-profit entities to help bring the gap between minority communities and governmental bodies. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from National University. When she is not creating spreadsheets of media contacts or working on new angles for op-eds, ChaKiara can be found hiking and spending time with her 9-year-old son.

Cecy Velasco (she/her)
New Mexico Field Manager, Albuquerque

As the New Mexico Field Manager, Cecy engages and builds with members across the state through events and workshops and digitally through email, text and social media. She also helps grow and support the Strong Families New Mexico statewide network. Cecy earned her BA in Psychology and Family Studies from the University of New Mexico (UNM). While at UNM, she organized on campus for immigrant rights and education access, mentored freshmen students, and interned for the Strong Families New Mexico program. Cecy is the proud daughter of hard-working Mexican immigrants. After growing up and living all over the Southwest, she is happy to call Albuquerque home as it holds a special place in her heart. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her orange tabby cat named Chubby, taking long naps, listening to audiobooks from her local library and binge-watching shows on Netflix.

Jennifer Vu (she/her)
Senior Accountant

Prior to joining Forward Together as the senior accountant, Jennifer worked in high tech and biotech industries as a corporate accountant specializing in SEC Reporting and Technical Accounting for over 10 years servicing large multinationals in the San Jose and Bay Area. She holds a Bachelor in Accounting. For more than five years, she has volunteered with various nonprofits, including Fish and Loaves and other nonprofit organizations serving the underprivileged in Thailand and Vietnam. Having experienced the short term and long term challenges of immigrating to the United States, she uses her multiple faceted skills to listen and work toward empowering families to break the generational cycle of poverty.

Jennifer enjoys hiking and bicycling on the weekend and on summer nights with her family. She also loves snowboarding in the winter. During her leisure time, she can often be found sipping red wine while watching foreign movies. Her most precious moments are those she spends with her family and friends.

Cindy Yang (she/her)
Data Strategist , Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

As the Data Strategist at Forward Together, Cindy helps teams leverage data in their everyday work and strategies. She breaks the traditional ways of looking at data, and runs a people centered data program. In addition to her work, she’s committed to bringing more BIPOC folks into movement and political data. From her experience in political campaigning, community organizing, and running a statewide data program she’s ready to incorporate everything she’s learned into her data work at Forward Together.  Cindy joins us from TakeAction Minnesota, a statewide progressive political organization. Cindy says there’s lots to learn and she’s ready to win and fail forward. 



Rosie Abriam
Board Chair

Rosie is the former President/CEO for The Center for Asian Pacific American Women. “The Center” is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building leadership capacity within our communities. Previously, her career spanned multiple disciplines across government and corporate entities. Rosie holds multiple patents in manufacturing, software and laser applications and led projects in the US, Europe, Asia and South America. She left the technical sector to provide opportunities for women and our communities.

Rosie has taught martial arts for over 25 years and is a Gura Fifth Degree of the Kamatuuran School of Kali. She is a 2002 Fellow of the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute (APAWLI). As a result of her APAWLI project, she co-founded Rosemary Pai, Inc., a small business focused on marketing and distributing products from artists and startup businesses. She is a recipient of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in America award.

Yee Won Chong
Board Treasurer

Yee Won Chong is a trainer, strategist and social entrepreneur. His consulting practice aims to increase organizations’ abilities to fulfill their purpose by focusing on movement building, becoming more strategic, and creating inclusive organizational culture. He has trained employees of government agencies and colleges to create transgender-inclusive workplaces, coached community-based organizations on using racial equity strategies, and led nonprofits through real-time strategic planning.

Yee Won is passionate about using storytelling to change hearts and minds. His TEDx Talk, Beyond the Gender Binary, is used widely to spark discussions about gender. He is currently working on Trans Dudes with Lady Cancer, a film documentary highlighting his personal experience navigating the healthcare system as a transgender patient. Yee Won’s Say This, Not That startup is an award-winning idea dedicated to bringing greater language consciousness and compassion to communication.

Latonya Slack
Board Member

Latonya Slack, certified executive coach, trainer and facilitator, is principal and founder of Slack Global Consulting, specializing in co-creation, visioning and assisting individuals and organizations with planning and navigating critical decisions. She served as Senior Program Officer for California Democracy Program supporting civic engagement, community organizing, voter engagement and capacity building with the James Irvine Foundation for seven years. While at the foundation, she was elected vice chair then chair of the Southern California Grantmakers board.

Prior to working in philanthropy, she was Executive Director of the California Black Women’s Health Project, where she created a comprehensive policy advocacy program, a mental health initiative and an Advocate Training Program. She has also worked for SEIU as a community political organizer, engaging community, religious, labor and health organizations on healthcare justice. After graduation from UCLA School of Law, she worked with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles as a Consumer Law Advocate, and through the AmeriCorps Legal Corps, helped community groups in South Los Angeles establish nonprofit organizations.

Additional Affiliations: Los Angeles Social Justice Consultants Network, Liberty Hill Foundation, California Association of Nonprofits

Liza Fuentes

Liza Fuentes is a Senior Research Scientist at Guttmacher Institute. Her research has focused on access to contraception, the evaluation of abortion restrictions,  clinical training in reproductive health, and workplace sexual harassment. Before joining Guttmacher, she was Senior Project Manager at Ibis Reproductive Health. Previously she was Senior Research Associate at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. She is a former member of the boards of directors of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, National Network of Abortion Funds, New York Abortion Access Fund and DC Abortion Fund.

Our Offices

California – main office

Forward Together
300 Frank H Ogawa Plaza
Suite 700
Oakland, CA 94612
Ph: 510-663-8300

New Mexico

Strong Families New Mexico/Forward Together
400 Gold Avenue SW
Suite 900
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Ph: 505-842-8070


Forward Together
5020 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
Portland, OR 97211
Ph: 510-663-8300 Ext. 348