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.
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.
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.
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.
Proudly Women of Color led. Meet our Executive Team:
In July 2021, Wendy began as the Co-Executive Director at Forward Together. She first joined Forward Together in January 2019 as the Deputy Director of Operations working closely with the 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. Wendy has been committed to uplifting the experiences of girls and women of color, even before coming to Forward Together. She 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 worked in a number of community initiatives in the Bay Area. She holds a MSW from George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Outside of work, you can find her spending time with her family, reading, doing something creative or cuddling with her one-eyed pug.
Diana Lugo-Martinez is Co-Executive Director of Forward Together. For the last four years, Diana has served as Forward Together’s Movement Strategy Director, supporting the movement building and cultural strategy team. 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 Justice 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. 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.
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. Prior to coming to Forward Together, Christine worked as the HR Manager at a nonprofit 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 Forward Together’s organizational and cultural values, such as rest, spaciousness and care for self and community, and creating and implementing employee support systems, such as equitable compensation, that allows employees to focus on their work while maintaining overall life balance. Christine holds a Bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley, an Master’s in Business Administration from California State, East Bay, and is currently pursuing a law degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
Christine is passionate about Black liberation and reproductive justice, especially for black women, giving a voice to traditionally marginalized communities, and ensuring that everyone has the resources they need to live their best lives.. Christine also volunteers for several nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area focused on helping women and children of color.
Outside of work and school, in her (very little) free time, Christine loves spending time with her daughters and her Yorkie Berkeley, riding horses, napping, all things Disney, and planning her next travel adventure.
Adwoa Agyepong is a Ghanaian feminist living in Chicago. She supports the Cultural Strategy Program as a Network Organizer. 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. She currently organizes with Chicago AfroSocialists and Socialists of Color, P.O. Box Collective, and Silent Majority Ghana. In her free-time, Adwoa obsesses over astrology and has vegan cook clubs with friends.
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.
Aerin Gar-Yun Andriamahefa (they/them) is a Chinese, Malagasy, queer, genderfluid, neurodivergent, child of immigrants from Chicago. They are currently based in the DMV on Piscataway land. As a carebear and writer, they’re committed to our collective and intergenerational healing and liberation and are continually learning how to move through conflict and tend to harm in compassionate and transformative ways. Aerin loves fractals – and uses water as a guide – to see, understand, and learn from the patterns, connections, and relationships between small and large, local and global, and the individual and the collective. With a sense of wonder and curiosity, they enjoy exploring new ways to embody, play, and create through things like tie dying, fiber arts, listening to music, dancing, hiking, and swimming!
Ally Ang is a gaysian poet, editor, and grant writer based on the occupied Duwamish and Coast Salish lands known as Seattle. Ally’s professional and creative work is rooted in frameworks of queer and trans liberation, anti-racism, reproductive justice, abolition, and Community-Centric Fundraising. They hold a BA in Sociology & Asian American Studies from Wellesley College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. Ally is a proud Pisces and is obsessed with their cat, Gomez.
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 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 music. He is an immigrant from India and is based in Tucson, AZ.
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.
As the New Mexico Program Director at Forward Together, Jessica supports the planning, implementation, and evaluation of leadership development, civic engagement, and communication strategies in the state. She enjoys work that places New Mexico families at the center of change and enjoys collaborating on resources and curricula that expand our knowledge and help us grow. Jessica brings nearly 20 years of experience working in nonprofits. 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, taught classes to middle and high school students, and delivered trainings across the country. Jessica has a heart for leadership development, organizational development, and creating beautiful resources that are accessible to communities. When not at work, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading nonfiction, and hiking in the mountains.
Selinda Guerrero is the Network Engagement Co-Manager at Forward Together. As a grassroots human rights activist and organizer, Selinda belives her main work is to “give voice to the voiceless”. 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 the New Mexico chapter Millions for Prisoners, 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.
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.
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.
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. And went back to school to complete her Accounting Certificate. 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 spending time with family, at the farmers market or backpacking.
Leslie Lopez (she/her/ella) is a Black Mexican-American, disabled lesbian living on occupied Jumanos, Kickapoo, Tawakoni, and Wichita lands known as North Texas. She first came to the reproductive justice movement by way of a summer internship placement at the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR). Following this transformative experience, she began leading political education meetings at the University of North Texas with a group of peers. Upon graduating, Leslie worked as Sex Ed with DB’s social media intern then at All-Options in a fundraising and communications role. When not encouraging folks to get involved in movement work, you can find Leslie reading her way through piles of library books and cooking huge batches of soup to share with her friends.
Emma is a Network Organizer at Forward Together, where she works to build power with multiracial and LGBTQ+ folks of color in Portland. As a queer biracial woman 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. 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 isn’t organizing, Emma can be found at home cuddling with her 3-legged chihuahua, and attempting to bake new recipes.
Michael joined Forward Together in June, 2018, on a temporary basis as executive assistant to Eveline Shen, and subsequently became a permanent employee in mid-2019. Michael’s previous nonprofit experience includes stints at two different Community Development Financial Institutions (one in Seattle, one in San Francisco); shelter staff at the Berkeley Emergency Food Project; and as an intake counselor at a methadone clinic in Santa Cruz, California. His volunteer work includes time with Neighborhood House and the University District Food Bank in Seattle, as well as the Santa Cruz AIDS Project. He holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing (Fiction) from the University of Michigan, and has published thirty or so poems and short stories in a variety of literary journals. He is sincerely looking forward to a time when he and his partner, Danielle, can return to seeing live music on a regular basis.
Aen is an Aquarius; a first-gen, non-binary Salvadoran graduate from San Francisco State University. Growing up in MacArthur x Union District of Los Angeles, Aen’s passion for arts and community justice stemmed in the second grade, as they hand drew (and personally distributed) an activity booklet advocating for the importance of reusing, reducing, recycling for the earth and strength in community power. Aen was greatly inspired by their neighboring Central American and fellow immigrant communities, queer-identities, and they have been disrupting the narrative ever since! Currently, Aen is the Network Coordinator for Forward Together connecting with partners and learning ways to bridge and uplift queer, trans, and BIPOC narrative power. Aen is also a co-founding member of @TransClosetClub, a free gender-affirming clothing service for BIPOC, trans, and non-binary individuals, and a 2021 Media Justice Fellow. Elle disfruta / They enjoy drawing and painting, loves creamy iced chai lattes, cute little pink things, and listening to live music with their partner.
Ari Lima Oliver is an Afro Boricua queer, feminist mama living in her ancestral home of Puerto Rico. She is the Development Coordinator. Ari comes with over 20 years of experience working social justice, valuing the importance of coordination work within our movements. A healer, Ari values ease and rest, compassion and spaciousness, especially as we navigate the fronts of our many fights and intersections of our lives. When she isn’t loving on her babies and wife, Ari enjoys finding joy and softness in gardening, herbal medicine making, and all things astrology and tarot!!
Rosa leads with heart—boldly and unapologetically. Rosa’s role as Co-Director of Development is grounded in fundraising from a belief in abundance, resource mobilization, and positioning BIPOC and TGNC folks from a place a power. She came to Forward Together in 2016 after working at several partner organizations including Illinois Caucusa for Adolescent Health (Development Director) and Western States Center (Development and Communications Manager).
While Rosa resides in Portland, OR, she will always be a Chicagoan at heart. She’s a cis queer immigrant Mexicana and a fan girl of la Guadalupe and Selena. Her favorite hobbies are taking naps in restorative yoga, feeling embodied while weightlifting, and funding abortions/building power 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 twin Mami’s boys.
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 joined Forward Together in 2016 and has worn many hats including Administrative, Movement Building Coordinator, and now Network Engagement C0-Manager. 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 creating deep relationships with partner organizations and guiding her team through short-term and long-term based projects to sharpen Forward Together’s lens and approach around the reimagining of what family means. Maria is passionate about Filipino food, baked treats and envisioning new ways to do work that is joyful, sustainable and based in abundance.
Hunter Shackelford is a cultural death worker whose work is focused on giving breath to the dead, transforming the cultural understandings of dying, and expanding our lexicon for Black gender expansive and abundant bodies. Their research and writing is focused on Death Work, Black Queer and Trans Feminisms, Abolition, Ugly Politics, and Fat Politics. Hunter uses visual art, cultural writing, and data science as a Southern storyteller to curate new understandings of those living at the margins. With an extensive background in communications strategy and transformative campaign organizing, Hunter is the Social Media Coordinator at Forward Together.
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 bridge the gap between minority communities and governmental bodies. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University. When she is not creating spreadsheets of media contacts or working on new angles for op-eds, ChaKiara can be found working on her small business, Broke Bitches Gotta Eat.
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.
Prior to joining Forward Together, 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.
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 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 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, 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
California – main office
300 Frank H Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612
Strong Families New Mexico/Forward Together
400 Gold Avenue SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102
5020 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
Portland, OR 97211
Ph: 510-663-8300 Ext. 348