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Elaine Harvey, Ph.D. | CRRF Steering Committee

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Elaine Harvey, Ph.D. | CRRF Steering Committee

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Elaine (Yakama citizen from the Kamiltpah and Wilawitis bands) is respected for both her professional and educational accomplishments as well as her dedication in the longhouse communities to the culture of the Columbia River Plateau people. Prior to taking on her role as Watershed Department Manager at the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC), Elaine worked in a number of different capacities for the Yakama Nation Fisheries program, including project manager for the Rock Creek Fish and Habitat project, Hydrosystems Oversight Coordinator, and Environmental Coordinator.

Elaine’s work and experience makes her uniquely prepared to combine traditional wisdom and knowledge with Western science in the efforts to save salmon and the rivers where they live. 

She has also served as an Executive Board Member of Columbia Land Trust , board member of the Friends of the White Salmon, and partners with Columbia Riverkeeper, an organization that protects the Columbia River, the environment, and supports tribes to protect treaty-reserved resources.

Elaine holds a BSc in Aquatic and Fisheries Science from the University of Washington; a MSc in Resources Management from Central Washington University; a Certification in River Restoration from Portland State University; and is currently pursuing a PhD in Natural Resources and Conservation from the University of Idaho.   

Roy Iwai | CRRF Steering Committee

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Roy Iwai | CRRF Steering Committee

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Roy is a first generation Japanese American, born in Tokyo and raised in Southern California. His love for Oregon rivers has led to a 20-year career in water quality and watershed management in local government. He leads the Clean Rivers Coalition, a collaborative partnership of public and non-profit organizations, that launched Follow the Water, the first statewide clean water outreach campaign in Oregon. He has a Master’s degree in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, and a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. He is a co-author of The American Highway: Two Voices, a travelogue based on his motorcycle travels across the United States and Canada.

Roselyn Poton | CRRF Steering Committee

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Roselyn Poton | CRRF Steering Committee

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Roselyn Poton is a Filipina American, mother, and first-generation college graduate. The intersection of environmental justice, community focus, and health guides Poton’s work as Water Justice Coordinator at Verde and Coordinating Team Member at Oregon Water Future’s Collaborative (OWF). 

Nurtured over the years, Poton’s motivation to work with water grew through professional roles and academic studies. Her passion began as a healthcare professional where she learned to compassionately navigate complex relationships that required patience, creative problem solving, and collaborative skills to manage and care for diverse populations with different health needs to promote positive health outcomes. Continuing to fuel her passion, Poton earned a MS in General Social Science with a concentration in Environment, Globalization, and Policy and double minoring in Global Health and Global Studies from the University of Oregon (UofO). This experience showed her how important the environment is in influencing health and how policies shape the world around us. Poton’s interest in the environment deepened when she participated in the study abroad program, Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice and inspired her to co-found the student-led group at UofO, Students for Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice (SIREJ). Poton knew after completing the study abroad program that she needed to better understand how to navigate complex environmental issues to achieve her goals. Poton then obtained a MS in Conflict and Dispute Resolution specializing in Environmental Conflicts involving water from UofO.

Poton understands that a healthy environment is the foundation for health and that communities and relationships are key to furthering water and environmental justice. Without access to clean and safe water, land, and air – communities and the life that compose them cannot exist in healthy and balanced ways. To help further water and environmental justice, Poton serves on the Columbia Riverkeeper Restoration Fund as a Committee Member at Seeding Justice and Steering Committee Member at Water, Equity, and Climate Resilience Caucus, and a Board Member for Building Capacity for Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research on Water and Society at Portland State University. 

Mary Lou Soscia | CRRF Steering Committee

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Mary Lou Soscia | CRRF Steering Committee

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Mary Lou Soscia worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency in Washington DC and the Pacific Northwest for 38 years. Protecting human health and ecosystem restoration in Indian Country throughout the US and especially in the Pacific NW was a key foundation for her work: she provided leadership for the Oregon human health criteria to protect high tribal fish consumers, the most protective state criteria in the nation at that time. 

She also created and led the Columbia River Basin Restoration Program which became a Clean Water Act amendment and received $79 million from Congress in 2021 to reduce toxics to protect human health and increase ecosystem resilience. A leader for over 25 years on Columbia River water temperature issues and decisions—which have become more critical and complex with a warming climate—she’s also worked for the States of Maryland, Wyoming, and Oregon; and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. 

Mary Lou has a Bachelor’s in Geography from Virginia Tech and a Master’s in Geography from University of Maryland.

A kayaker floats serenely on an alpine lake with mountains rising in the distance.

Addiction Recovery Assistance Fund

ARAF was created in partnership with Oregon Recovers and MetroPlus Association of Addiction Peer Professionals (MAAPPs) to ensure CARES Act funding kept BIPOC people in recovery housed during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Addiction Recovery Assistance Fund

ARAF was created in partnership with Oregon Recovers and MetroPlus Association of Addiction Peer Professionals (MAAPPs) to ensure CARES Act funding kept BIPOC people in recovery housed during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Funded with an initial Oregon Health Authority grant of $200,000 (all of which was distributed to BIPOC folks within three weeks), ARAF has recently received a $500,000 Measure 110 grant to prevent the loss of statewide housing stock available to people in recovery, especially those affected by drug criminalization.

 

Monica Cho-Brewer wears an emerald green, collared shirt.

Monica Cho Brewer | Board Member

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Monica Cho Brewer | Board Member

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Monica started as a volunteer with MRG Foundation’s Justice Within Reach annual event and found deep connection to Seeding Justices’ mission and value and supporting the great work of grantees across the state.

Monica’s experience includes social change communication, education and nonprofit management. Her work focuses on connecting people and organizations to mission driven causes and creating lasting community change. She cares for and works to implement change in education, healthcare and environmental justice issues and causes. When not volunteering or at work, you can find Monica hanging out with her family, running, laughing at good sitcoms and enjoying the local food and beverage scene.

Crystallee Crain wears a pink and black plaid shirt and horn-rimmed glasses.

Crystallee Crain | Board Chair

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Crystallee Crain | Board Chair

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Crystallee Crain Ph.D. is a public health scholar and human rights activist. She has academic roots in sociology, political science, and psychology. She specializes in exposing the layers of institutional inequality while supporting communities to shift ways of being and practice to improve life chances. By bridging the worlds of academia and activism, Crystallee’s body of work represents a collective need to strengthen our responses to violence through transformative means, the need for liberation, and a focus on healing as a revolutionary strategy for change.

Crystallee is the Founder & Director of Prevention at the Intersections, an organization that works to prevent violence through community-based research and people centers projects. At Prevention at the Intersections, she publishes two open access journals CATALYST and The Beauty of Black Creation. Dr Crain facilitates trainings with an emphasis on trauma-informed care, prevention science, and community capacity-building. Dr Crain is a Certified Neuro-linguistic Programming Practitioner & Coach and Hypnotherapist. She specializes in working with women of color and survivors of violence. You can learn more about her coaching and survivor work at www.crystalleecrain.org.

Ryan Curren stands at an angle, wearing a blue collared shirt and smiles into the camera.

Ryan Curren | Board Member

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Ryan Curren | Board Member

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Ryan Curren joined the board in April 2018 to work through Seeding Justice to support groups around the state working for racial justice and beloved community. Before moving to Malawi in 2021, he worked with the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability where he was leading the development of the SW Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy. His work focused on where affordable housing policy intersects with land use, economic development, and transit policy. Prior to this position he worked for the Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights leading the city-wide effort to develop racial equity plans for all City bureaus. Before moving to Portland he was a Senior Community Development Specialist for the Seattle Office of Housing where he managed an anti-displacement strategy in Southeast Seattle and worked with the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative to co-develop the City’s Equitable Development Initiative.

Tamia Deary | Board Member

Coming soon.

Tamia Deary | Board Member

Coming soon.

Coming soon.

Wearing a chambray top and short, curly hair, Liz Fouther Branch smiles into the camera.

Liz Fouther-Branch | Board Member

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Liz Fouther-Branch | Board Member

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Liz Fouther-Branch is a retired educator turned consultant that has spent more than 40 years working and volunteering for arts and youth development organizations in Portland. The last 20 years have been spent consulting on arts education programming and development, social justice, capacity building and advocacy. Liz has served on several local committees: City Club’s Homelessness Advocacy Committee, Regional Arts and Culture Council’s Mural Committee, Seeding Justice’s “Justice Within Reach!” and Grantmaking committees, Social Venture Partners, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee and Multnomah County Citizens Involvement Committee (CIC) as well as the CIC-Non-Departmental Budget Committee. She is also a registered Yoga instructor, recently certified as an Accessible Yoga Ambassador and is seeking her “Yoga For All” certification. In her spare time, she enjoys researching family ancestry and crochet.

Ricardo Lujan-Valerio poses in a blue suit in front of his computer.

Ricardo Luján-Valerio | Board Member

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Ricardo Luján-Valerio | Board Member

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Ricardo Luján-Valerio is Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio’s Transition Liaison and Policy Director. Ricardo’s background covers immigration, education, election, and criminal justice policy. He previously served as Director of Advocacy at Latino Network, Policy Associate for the ACLU of Oregon, and as Legislative Director for the Oregon Student Association. Ricardo has been a leader in the passage of various state legislative priorities, such as HB 2015 (Driver Licenses for All) and SB 1008 (Youth Sentencing Reform). Most recently, he was a co-architect of the Oregon Worker Relief Fund, a multi-million-dollar disaster relief program for Oregon’s immigrant community. He previously served as Vice Chair of the City of Portland’s Open and Accountable Elections Commission. He was born in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico, and graduated from Southern Oregon University with a BS in Business and a certificate in nonprofit management.

Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett poses in a periwinkle button up shirt.

Esperanza K Tervalon | Board Member

Pronouns: She / They

Esperanza K Tervalon | Board Member

Pronouns: She / They

Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett is a queer, Afro-Puerto Rican woman, and a native daughter of Oakland, California. She is the founder and CEO of Dancing Hearts Consulting, LLC, a progressive consulting firm that curates innovative ideas, programs, and campaigns to challenge the status quo and test emerging strategies that change the political game to win long-term change for the people most impacted by systemic oppression.

Esperanza was the first woman of color to lead a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) & PAC collaborative civic engagement formation focused on mobilizing progressive voters of color in the United States. Her ability to build grassroots power in neighborhoods, at the ballot box, and at City Hall has earned her a solid reputation as a savvy electoral strategist, a seasoned political organizer, and a power-building innovator among Social Justice activists and philanthropic leaders. Esperanza is the co-chair of the Funders Committee for Civic Participation, a network of civic engagement institutions that moves $170 million to the field each year. They also served as the Statewide Campaign Manager for the Oregon Hard to Count Census Campaign that aimed to engage one million people.

Esperanza is married to wife Christine and her proudest accomplishment is her brilliant and tenacious son, Santiago. They live in a ranch in Central Oregon.

Laurie Trieger | Board Member

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Laurie Trieger | Board Member

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Raised in Philadelphia PA, Laurie Trieger has lived in Oregon since 1984. She’s worked on numerous grassroots initiatives related to social and economic justice; with a focus on food security, public health, community improvement, child wellness, poverty reduction, and bold policies to create greater protections and security for mothers and other family caregivers.

Before her 20+ year career in social change nonprofits, she worked many low wage jobs including restaurant work and cleaning office buildings at night. Her political activism began in 1980, at the age of 18, volunteering at a feminist health center escorting women through hostile picket lines as they sought abortion services. First elected in 2020, Laurie now serves on the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

Laurie is the daughter of a Jewish immigrant/Holocaust refugee mother. She and her life partner of nearly 40 years have two adult children, twin grandsons, and are former foster parents. Her sweet orange tabby cat provides comic relief, excellent advice and companionship, and is her inspiration to dance, do yoga, and occasionally slow down and simply marvel at the world outside the window.

Jaylyn Suppah wears a geometric patterned, pink and black shirt.

Jaylyn Suppah | Board Treasurer

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Jaylyn Suppah | Board Treasurer

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Jaylyn is a mother, educator, advocate for social justice and a member of the Confederated Tribe of Warm Springs (CTWS). She was raised in Simnasho, Oregon and is a traditional food gatherer for her Tribe. She is a mother of two beautiful children. Her Indian name is Alish (Ah-lish) which was given to her from her namesake; Margaret Suppah, her grandmother who raised her. Her passion is decolonizing education for herself, her children, her community, and always looks for ways to incorporate her culture into her home, classroom and programming. Jaylyn works for the CTWS as the Community Planner for the Health & Human Services branch advocating and advancing health equity practices and policies. She currently serves on the Oregon Indian Education Association board where she uses her voice to work towards equitable education for all students.

She developed the Papalaxsimisha program which incorporates historical trauma, healing, self-identity, cultural awareness, high school readiness, college and career readiness in a curriculum she and two other native teachers developed. Her background includes Cultural Awareness trainer, Traditional Health Worker, youth mentor, historical trauma facilitator, curriculum development and youth program development.

Chris smiles at the camera with her fist under her chin wearing glasses and a metallic silver ring.

Chris Baker | General Fund and Rapid Response Grantmaker

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Chris Baker | General Fund and Rapid Response Grantmaker

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Outside of her policy and advocacy work at Hunger-Free Oregon, Chris also acts as the Administrator to the Oregon Hunger Task Force, and co-facilitator for Hunger-Free Oregon’s SNAP Client Advisory Board. She holds two degrees in Gender, Race, and Nations with emphasis on Community Health Equity from Portland State University. Chris has 10 years of lived experience with situational poverty and food insecurity and is dedicated to surrounding herself in work that supports grassroots social change, women’s empowerment and advocacy, and policy changes that reduce racial, social, and gendered disparities. Outside of work, Chris lives in the suburbs of Portland with her two grown boys, an absurd amount of houseplants, and her two dogs – all of which are the center of her universe.

Olivia Bormann wears bright red lipstick and a royal blue shirt smiling at the camera.

Olivia Bormann | General Fund and Rapid Response Grantmaker

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Olivia Bormann | General Fund and Rapid Response Grantmaker

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Olivia (she/her) identifies as a queer, biracial Black survivor and is passionate about identifying oppressive and inequitable structures and coming up with transformative solutions. She currently works as a domestic violence advocate and provides holistic support to BIPOC, international, and LGBTQ+ students in Portland State University’s School of Business. She worked in higher education fundraising for 7 years, done community organizing and workplace organizing, and consults with organizations to advance equity for minoritized folks. Olivia holds a master’s in higher education and student affairs and is a master’s in social work candidate at PSU.

Olivia has lived in Portland with her partner since 2019. Prior to living in Oregon, Olivia attended college and lived in the Bay Area for 8 years. In her free time, she loves to cook and eat, sing at the top of her lungs, and soak up every minute of sunshine she can.

Camerina smiles at the camera wearing dark rimmed glasses and a red collared shirt.

Camerina Galván | General Fund Grantmaker

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Camerina Galván | General Fund Grantmaker

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Camerina is a bi+ small business owner. Her people are from Cuautla, Jalisco, México and she comes from a long line of artisans and farmers. She believes her soul’s purpose is to actuate conditions for social change and our collective liberation. She does this by amplifying the work of BIPOC small business owners and BIPOC-led organizations doing anti-oppression work, being committed to her own healing and decolonization, and learning to be an anti-capitalist entrepreneur.

Ubaldo Hernandez stands amongst a crowd of protestors wearing a green and beige beanie.

Ubaldo Hernández | General Fund Grantmaker

Pronouns: He / Him / Ese

Ubaldo Hernández | General Fund Grantmaker

Pronouns: He / Him / Ese

Ubaldo works as a community organizer with Columbia Riverkeeper in Hood River, conducting community outreach on clean water while promoting equity, inclusion, and diversity. Ubaldo has been an active member in the Latinx community in the Columbia Gorge, participating in projects that promote awareness on issues that are relevant to Latinxs in Oregon and Washington. In the last 15 years, he has launched and participated in multiple projects benefiting the Latinx community, including the local community radio station Radio Tierra. In his free time, he enjoys mountain biking, fishing, and hiking in the Columbia Gorge.

Ana Molina wears a dusty rose colored shirt and a backpack while smiling out in the field.

Ana Molina | Board Member, General Fund Grantmaker, CRRF Steering Committee

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Ana Molina | Board Member, General Fund Grantmaker, CRRF Steering Committee

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Ana Molina joined Seeding Justice’s Board in April 2019, having worked through the Seeding Justice Capacity Building Initiative as part of Beyond Toxics. She is now the Movement Building Manager for Columbia Riverkeeper where she advocates for environmental and climate justice, ensuring the voices of the people most impacted are at the forefront and leading our conversations.

Ana lives in Eugene but grew up in South Lake Tahoe, California. Ana moved to Oregon after she graduated from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA where she was involved with student organizing with and for undocumented students on campus and in the community. Ana has a love for both the environment and people because we are resilient, strong and imaginative, and we can come up with solutions when we work collectively centering our communities. On her downtime Ana likes to hike, backpack, read, and check out thrift stores.

Makerusa smiles with his arms crossed outside, wearing a light blue, short-sleeved shirt and a baseball cap in the sun.

Makerusa Porotesano | General Fund Grantmaker

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Makerusa Porotesano | General Fund Grantmaker

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Makerusa grew up in Portland by way of St. Johns, North Portland. He has been student organizing since early in his college days. He is the founder of the Pacific Islander Student Alliance (PISA), which started in 2007 when he was an undergraduate student. He is also the founding coordinator of the Men of Color Leadership Program at Portland Community College, and before that, he was the coordinator of the Pacific Islander, Asian and Asian American (PIAAA) Student Center at Portland State University, the Manager of Continuing Education at the University of the South Pacific, Majuro Campus, and the Director of the Office of Student Activities and Leadership at Chaminade University.

Makerusa is a second-generation American Samoan from the village of Fogagogo. Mak started his college education at American Samoa Community College. He later received his BS from Portland State University, and a Master’s in Education from Chaminade University of Honolulu. Away from his day job, Mak is an organizer with the Pacific Climate Warriors of 350 Pacific, and is the former Chair of the Samoa Pacific Development Corporation, a 501(c)(3) organization for Samoans in Oregon.

Davis Esther Rose wears a rainbow colored long sleeve shirt under black overalls adorned with pins. They're smiling into the camera with blue hair in front of a grove of trees.

Davis Esther Rose | General Fund Grantmaker

Pronouns: They / Them / Theirs

Davis Esther Rose | General Fund Grantmaker

Pronouns: They / Them / Theirs

Davis is a 24-year-old queer femme who likes to put noses on their colon smiley faces :-). Interested in art and design for most of their life, Davis is currently a student. They are bringing a solid commitment to social and gender justice, a desire to learn about activist-led grantmaking, and a “strong Jewish voice” to Seeding Justice’s grantmaking committee.

Alessandra de la Torre smiles at the camera wearing her hair in braids.

Alessandra de la Torre | General Fund and Rapid Response Grantmaker

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Alessandra de la Torre | General Fund and Rapid Response Grantmaker

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Alessandra de la Torre works at Rogue Climate in Southern Oregon. Born and raised in the Bay Area, her goal is to increase diverse representation in advocacy spaces both locally and statewide, while intersecting social and environmental movements. Alessandra is a proud queer Chicana from immigrant parents and a first-generation high school and college graduate. She believes our shared liberation is of utmost importance and it can happen through political advocacy, civic engagement, grassroots organizing, and community healing. In her downtime, she enjoys dancing (a lot), talking with loved ones, skiing, and wishing she had a dog.

Intisar Abioto is caught mid-performance, arms raised in the air and her hair flowing wildly behind her.

Intisar Abioto | Lilla Jewel Award Maker

Pronouns: She / They

Intisar Abioto | Lilla Jewel Award Maker

Pronouns: She / They

Intisar Abioto (b. Memphis, TN. 1986) is a movement artist working across photography, dance, and writing. Moving from the visionary and embodied root of Blackgirl Southern cross-temporal cross-modal storytelling ways, her works refer to the living breath/breadth of people of African descent against the expanse of their storied, geographic, and imaginative landscapes. ​Working in long-form projects that encompass the visual, folkloric, documentary, and performing arts, she has produced ​The People Could Fly Project​, ​The Black Portlanders​, and ​The Black​. Abioto’s publication ​Black Portlands ​documents interviews with Black Portlanders alongside her photographs. ​She was a contributing photographer to ​MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora​ (2017) and her photographs illustrated the Urban League of Portland’s ​State of Black Oregon 2015​. Alongside the five women artists in her family, she is the co-founder of Studio Abioto, a multivalent creative arts studio. ​She lives in Portland, Oregon.

RaShaunda Brooks, wearing a gray fedora and a black t-shirt, poses with her hand under her chin.

RaShaunda Brooks | Lilla Jewel Award Maker

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

RaShaunda Brooks | Lilla Jewel Award Maker

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

RaShaunda Brooks is a filmmaker and artist based in Portland, OR who creates modern day narratives of Black and Brown people to accurately reflect the truths in their communities. She believes that the more complex, well-rounded stories of Black and Brown people out there, the more these communities are empowered to also write their own histories and experiences. Brooks believes when people aren’t given room to express themselves, it breeds chaos and/or stagnation, but personal expression takes time to cultivate. When Black and Brown people are focused on survival, real creative expression cannot be prioritized, cannot thrive. She organizes under Y.G.B. (Young Gifted and Black / Brown) Portland, is a project coordinator for Open Signal Labs: Black Film fellowship and manages local duo Brown Calculus. These rich connections provide Brooks the room to hold stories of people who often don’t get represented right now in dominant white narrative; to share the lives of those who look like her.

May Maylisa Cat | Lilla Jewel Award Maker

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

May Maylisa Cat | Lilla Jewel Award Maker

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

May Maylisa Cat is a multidisciplinary artist whose work spans new media, performance art, sculpture, and installation. She grew up in Chicago, IL and graduated from Cooper Union School of Art in New York, NY.

Her projects have received support from the Franklin Furnace Fund; Oregon Arts Commission; Open Signal New Media Fellowship; and Regional Arts and Culture Council of Portland, OR. She is a recipient of the 2022 Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship.

May has attended residencies at Chautauqua Visual Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, Fountainhead Arts, Pilchuck Glass School, Wassaic Project, Caldera Arts, and many others. She has spoken as a guest lecturer for Carnegie Mellon University School of Fine Art in Pittsburgh, PA; Yale School of Art in New Haven, CT; Cooper Union in New York, NY; and as a teaching artist for Caldera Arts in Sisters, OR.

Taiko artist Michelle Fujii sits cross-legged on the floor with her arms raised.

Michelle Fujii | Lilla Jewel Award Maker

She / Her / Hers

Michelle Fujii | Lilla Jewel Award Maker

She / Her / Hers

Michelle Fujii is a taiko artist, co-director of Unit Souzou, and educator, creating contemporary work centered in the art forms of taiko and Japanese folk dance. Michelle’s work navigates the multifaceted complexity of identity in our communities, a constant excavation to claim their own identity story. After graduating with a UCLA ethnomusicology degree, Michelle studied in Japan with foremost theatrical folk dance company, Warabi-za through a Japanese Bunkacho fellowship. Michelle has been a guest artist and collaborator with numerous North American and international taiko groups. In 2014, Michelle with her partner Toru Watanabe, fused their unique skills to build Unit Souzou, a Portland-based taiko ensemble creating an expressive blend of taiko and Japanese folk dance, forging new traditions for evolving communities.

She serves on the board of Arts Northwest, Artist Advisory Council of Dance Place, and is the Co-chair of Women & Taiko, a movement dedicated to make visible the contributions of womxn taiko leaders. Michelle has been awarded fellowships from the Oregon Arts Commission and the Jubilation Foundation. Her newest work, Constant State of Otherness, is a National Performance Network, MAPFund, and New England Foundation for the Arts funded project, which centers on the historical and divisive ways that othering has pervasively and insidiously affected our communities.

Marilyn Keller wears a bright, multi-colored top and a necklace while holding her head in her right hand under the chin.

Marilyn Keller | Lilla Jewel Award Maker

Pronouns: She / Her / Gentlebeing

Marilyn Keller | Lilla Jewel Award Maker

Pronouns: She / Her / Gentlebeing

Marilyn T. Keller is a 2016 Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame Inductee. A 38-year veteran of music and stage performance in Jazz, Gospel, R&B, Pop, Blues, and theater, nationally and internationally, her musical roots are diverse. Marilyn has built a career that has taken her as a feature artist to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Russia and the UK for concerts, festivals, nightclubs and recording work. Her voice can be heard on multiple recordings, movie soundtracks, commercials and documentaries. Marilyn’s formative jazz training was as a member of the Mt. Hood Community College Vocal Jazz Ensemble and as the vocalist fronting the award-winning MHCC Jazz Lab Band. She can be seen frequently at clubs, restaurants, festivals and holiday events throughout the Pacific Northwest. She remains active, performing with Don Latarski, Darrell Grant, Tom Grant, Black Swan Classic Jazz Band, Pressure Point Band and the Augustana Jazz Quartet, among many others.

Silver grins wearing a light gray turtleneck and printed fedora in front of a wooden lattice fence.

Silver | Lilla Jewel Award Maker

Pronouns: They / Them

Silver | Lilla Jewel Award Maker

Pronouns: They / Them

Silver (he/they) is an AfroIndigenous, Non-binary Creative Polymath: an Interdisciplinary Artist, Visionary, and Advocate. Silver’s work is a means to explore self-expression, sovereignty, and mysticism. His creative process is rooted in the academy and his dynamic life experience. In 2020, Silver was featured via National Geographic, Willamette Week, and Oregon Public Broadcasting for their efforts in the Movement for Black Lives. Further, they were the 2017 Lilla Jewel Award winner of Oregon’s Seeding Justice. His work has also been featured in the San Diego Union Tribune, on The Today Show, and on KUSI news. From San Diego, CA, Silver has lived in Portland, OR since 2015. Visit Patreon.com/SilverChalice to become an exclusive Art Patron!

Samantha Bakall | Communications Director

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Samantha Bakall | Communications Director

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Samantha Bakall is a queer, Chinese American former food journalist whose writing has centered diverse communities across the Pacific Northwest. Before joining Seeding Justice, Samantha worked for The Oregonian and was the only staff food writer of color in the state. After leaving the paper, she worked as a freelance writer specializing in issues of diversity in food, particularly about the AAPI diaspora. She mentored historically excluded youth interested in journalism for five years, and in 2019 and 2020, designed and ran Amplify, a summer internship for high school journalists from historically excluded communities in partnership with Metro and Pamplin Media.

When she’s not writing, you can find Samantha baking or cooking intricate meals, hiking or kayaking (oftentimes both) across the West, or heading out on a camping adventure in her home-built camper.

Samantha lives in Portland with her partner, and more plants, kitchen equipment and house projects than she should; she started at Seeding Justice in 2021.

Wendy Cluse | Development Support Manager

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Wendy Cluse | Development Support Manager

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Wendy has spent much of her working life in the conservation realm protecting sea turtles on the North Carolina coast. Though gratifying, she was ready for a new adventure after 12 years in the field. In 2013, she and her wife embarked on a cross-country drive from the rural South to Portland. After some much needed time off, she started volunteering with local nonprofits, learning that her strengths were in playing a supportive role. Wendy has since worked at a veterinary surgical center and for an engineering firm.

Wendy now volunteers as a data squad leader for UU the Vote, a national voter engagement initiative, and is on the ground floor of the organization’s expansion into mobilizing faith communities to fight for climate justice, LGBTQ+ rights, gender justice, and decriminalization. She’s excited to bring her organizational skills, love of spreadsheets, and desire to disrupt to Seeding Justice.

She lives with her wife and their very fluffy and social cat Alice, and enjoys smelling the forest, admiring mountains, soaking in pools of water, and eating all the food.

Wendy joined Seeding Justice in August 2021.

Se-ah-dom Edmo | Executive Director

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Se-ah-dom Edmo | Executive Director

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Se-ah-dom (Shoshone-Bannock, Nez Perce and Yakama) brings deep experience in community organizing for racial and social justice work across the nation. Prior to joining Seeding Justice, Se-ah-dom served as the Sovereignty Program Director at Western States Center where she was the coalition convener of Tribal History: Shared History (Senate Bill 13, 2017) in Oregon, which established and funded the teaching of Indian History and Sovereignty in K – 12 schools across the state. Se-ah-dom is also the co-editor of the Tribal Equity Toolkit 3.0: Tribal Resolutions and Codes for Two Spirit and LGBT Justice in Indian Country and American Indian Identity: Citizenship, Membership & Blood. A hallmark of her career has been fostering relationships and collaborations between tribes and organizations doing social, racial, environmental, and economic justice work across the region. She is an ALF Senior Fellow and a member of the Steering Committee of Oregon Recovers and the chair of the board of Oregon Consumer Justice.

Se-ah-dom’s ancestors are from Celilo, a fishing village along the Columbia River and one of the oldest known settlements in the West. She lives in Gresham with her husband James and their children Siale, Imasees and Miyosiwin, as well as her parents, Ed and Carol Edmo.

Se-ah-dom joined Seeding Justice in December 2018.

Sandee Huang | Finance and Operations Director

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Sandee Huang | Finance and Operations Director

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Sandee is a financial professional passionate about dedicating her skills and knowledge to the nonprofit world. Sandee grew up in mainland China and joined KPMG, a “Big Four” accounting firm, as a financial auditor after finishing her master’s degree. Though she loved auditing, she found she wanted to do more to help those in need. Sandee came to the U.S. in 2012 and received her master’s degree in public policy at the University of Kentucky while working on the finance team at Save the Children Foundation. She later took over as Director of Finance and Operations for the International Center at the University of Kentucky from 2015-2021. As a queer, Chinese, and first-generation immigrant, Sandee finds Seeding Justice as her happy start in Portland where she can put her love of Excel and data analytics together while working for a just and joyful world.

Kentucky life has heavily influenced Sandee’s life —she likes woodworking, carpentry, BBQ, eating fried chicken, and drinking bourbon with bourbon chocolate, to name a few. She also enjoys taking walks with her partner, learning guitar, drawing silly cartoon characters, reading art and architecture history, learning foreign languages, and talking to her cat.

Sandee joined Seeding Justice in July 2021.

Angelie Kebede | Programs Coordinator

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Angelie Kebede | Programs Coordinator

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Angelie grew up in Portland, Oregon and has been active in the local nonprofit scene for 10 years. Originally interested in children’s therapy, she ended up finding a good fit in disability supports back in 2013. She has provided consultations related to accessibility and racial equity in the workplace, and has dabbled in general social services — finding early on that she much preferred work that wasn’t systems-focused, and sought out positions where she could connect with people on a human level without having to uphold systemic inequities for those seeking support. Much of her work has been community and relationship centered.

Approaching her work from a relationship-based, person-centered point of view, Angelie has always found it important to take people’s identities & experiences into account — why might people think or communicate in certain ways? Which life experiences have led us to the beliefs that we hold now? How can we adjust our language so that certain concepts or ideas are more accessible to a wider variety of people?

Throughout her working journey, she has found the best fit in places that recognize some of these universal needs: to see and be seen, and to know and be known. In her free time you can find her listening to music, working on an art project, playing Switch games, or finding a nice patch of grass to relax in.

Angelie joined Seeding Justice in June 2023.

Jody Marshall | Co-Director of Programs

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Jody Marshall | Co-Director of Programs

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Jody Marshall spent time in Michigan, Ohio, Idaho and Florida before arriving in the Pacific Northwest after college. Struck by the area’s natural beauty, she decided to make Portland her home in 2003.

After stints in the advertising and retail industries, Jody found her way to philanthropy. At Meyer Memorial Trust while working on the program team, she focused on the Housing and Building Community portfolios and gained deep knowledge and understanding of grantmaking policy and practice. She also supported Meyer’s Justice Oregon initiative and served as the director of grantmaking liaison through the organization’s strategic redesign. 

Jody serves on a number of national planning committee workgroups at PEAK Grantmaking and in an advisory capacity for the Portland Business Development Group (PBDG).

In her free time, Jody enjoys cuddling with her two kitties, Safari and Huarache, laughing with her partner, Aaron, and traveling with friends.

Jody joined Seeding Justice in January 2023.

Violeta Rubiani | Co-Director of Programs

Pronouns: She / Her / Ella

Violeta Rubiani | Co-Director of Programs

Pronouns: She / Her / Ella

A passionate advocate for social justice and a proud immigrant from Paraguay, Violeta has more than 15 years of experience improving access to opportunities, services and programs for excluded communities. Before joining Seeding Justice, Violeta worked in various fields including private philanthropy, labor and immigrant rights, community economic development, financial education, and state government.

Outside of work, she is serves on the board of the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project.

Violeta lives in SE Portland with her partner and their cat, Lola. She loves growing food in her community garden plot, feeding birds and squirrels in her backyard, and traveling around the world to spend time with loved ones.

She joined the crew in February 2019.

Kathleen Saelor | Programs Coordinator

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Kathleen Saelor | Programs Coordinator

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Kathleen (Kathy for short) is a queer, Sino Cambodian, child of refugees, born and raised in Los Angeles. Prior to joining Seeding Justice, she spent the majority of her adult and professional life in the Bay Area working in higher education as a media + resource coordinator and as a community organizer challenging displacement and gentrification through coalition building, tenant rights education and community advocacy.

Kathleen moved to Portland with her partner and their dog in 2021. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, spending quality time with her little family, solving jigsaw puzzles, and searching for desserts to satisfy her sweet tooth.

She joined Seeding Justice in June 2023.

Ray Seed | Executive Assistant + Board Liaison

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Ray Seed | Executive Assistant + Board Liaison

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Ray is the son of a Rwandese mother and an American father from Long Beach, California. He spent most of his formative years in eastern and southern Africa, came to Portland, Oregon in 2013 for college and has remained ever since. Having grown up in diverse communities as a result of the international schools he attended, Ray found a passion for student activism in college which informed his later career choices.

The majority of his adult and professional life have been spent as administrative support for city and federal government. Ray interned at both the City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human rights and the City of Portland’s Office of the Mayor, supporting efforts to bring awareness to issues like juvenile incarceration and its disproportionate impact on the black community. This inspired a transition into government where Ray worked as a Staff Assistant/Constituent Services Representative for Mayor Charlie Hales and then Congresswoman Bonamici (OR-01), where he developed an intricate perspective into what matters most to Oregonians.

With a passion for community, Ray enjoys Portland for its vibrant music and food scene. Always open to try new things, on the weekends you can find him at a live show or cooking/BBQing with friends and family. As someone who grew up in a warmer climate and close to the coast, you can find him floating on the Clackamas river in the summer and by a fire in the winter.

Ray joined Seeding Justice in June 2023.

Ramón Valdez | Director of Strategic Initiatives

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Ramón Valdez | Director of Strategic Initiatives

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Ramón Valdez grew up in Los Angeles in a mixed-status family from Mexico and El Salvador. He is an advocate, communicator, and full-stack developer who is passionate about community self-determination, storytelling, and closing the digital divide. 

Prior to joining Seeding Justice, Ramón worked as Director of Strategic Initiatives at Innovation Law Lab and as a freelancer on a range of nonprofit and business needs; including project management, front-end software development, and strategic communications. 

Through his work as an immigrant rights advocate, Ramón helped to design, launch, and manage some of the largest and most forward-thinking humanitarian, pro bono legal representation, and disaster relief initiatives along the US-Mexico border, in the Midwest, and Pacific Northwest. 

Outside of work, you can find Ramón listening to and creating music, watching documentaries, and spending time with his wife, dog, and two cats. He is also proud to serve as a board member of Pueblo Unido PDX and the ACLU of Oregon. Ramón started at Seeding Justice in 2022.

Amanda Whalen | Interim Chief of Staff

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Amanda Whalen | Interim Chief of Staff

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Hailing from the South Side of Chicago, Amanda moved to Portland two decades ago. After finishing law school, she served briefly as a juvenile defender before abandoning the formal practice of law to focus on education. She spent 15 years working in school districts, including as the Chief of Staff at the Portland Public Schools where she provided leadership and strategic support for key district policy initiatives.

Amanda entered the world of philanthropy as the Chief Impact Officer at the United Way of the Columbia Willamette, where she led programming and strategic community investment in culturally specific and culturally responsive organizations through grant making, convening, policy work and volunteerism.

Prior to joining Seeding Justice, Amanda was a consultant and supported a number of Seeding Justice’s community funds.

Amanda is an avid reader, runner and makes homemade ice cream. She and her husband Jim live with their three children, Jed, Willa and Levi and two dogs in Southeast Portland where they enjoy all things soccer. She started at Seeding Justice in 2023.

Ryan Wight | Business Support Manager

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Ryan Wight | Business Support Manager

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Ryan is a neurodiverse, cisgender, gay white dude; people enthusiast; and recovering colonialist from Boise, Idaho (of all places).

The nonprofit sector has always been an important part of Ryan’s life. After taking a break to finish a degree in piano performance in 2014 – still an active sidenote passion – Ryan entertained the thought of a career in academia before plunging headfirst into nonprofit development. This, among other factors like a global pandemic, led to the opportunity for him to join the staff at Seeding Justice. Ryan is excited to pivot his career, moving from local, youth-focused organizations to supporting justice movements across Oregon.

When not at work, Ryan can be found people watching, writing, reading nonfiction, spending time with friends and family, listening to niche early-20th Century art music, and playing DOS video games. Pray for his most recent endeavor to learn Spanish.

Ryan joined Seeding Justice in 2022.

Dena Zaldúa | Development Director & Chief Astrology Officer

Pronouns: She / Her / Ella

Dena Zaldúa | Development Director & Chief Astrology Officer

Pronouns: She / Her / Ella

As a bilingual, bisexual, Jewish, Latina daughter of an immigrant, Dena Zaldúa’s passion for social justice is very personal and the driving force behind her 20-year career working in philanthropy and with non-profits and educational institutions. Before joining Seeding Justice, Dena was the Operations Manager for the Center for the Study of Women in Society at the University of Oregon, Development Director at Parenting Now and the Associate Director of Development at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Dena also works as a consultant to help individuals, groups, and organizations check their race, class, gender, and other privileges and learn how to truly walk the talk of equity and justice. Dena is a member of Hispanics in Philanthropy and the Williams College Latinx, and Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Alumni Associations.

Dena is a certified 21/64 advisor and lives in Eugene.

She started at Seeding Justice in March 2019.

Rochelle Zirdum | HR & Operations Manager

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Rochelle Zirdum | HR & Operations Manager

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Rochelle (Tlingit, Haida, and European descendent) was born and raised on her Mother’s ancestral lands in rural Alaska. It’s been nearly two decades since she was drawn to Portland to complete her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. With a rich professional history spanning 17 years, Rochelle has made meaningful contributions to non-profit sectors in the fields of mental health and higher education. Prior to her role at Seeding Justice, Rochelle was involved in delivering outpatient drug and alcohol treatment, offering essential mental health support to homeless youth, coordinating care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and cultivating connections and developing pathways for facilitating field learning experiences for aspiring educators and therapists. Rochelle’s approach to her work is characterized by her genuine passion for both systems and people.

Joys outside of work include time spent outdoors, taking art classes, and the goodness of time together with friends & family.

Rochelle joined Seeding Justice in July 2023.

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