Community Sources: Featured Speakers on Social Equity

Speakers at local conferences, rallies, and radio programs addressing social equity

Juliet Ellis, Executive Director, Urban Habitat

Juliet EllisJuliet Ellis,
Executive Director, Urban Habitat
Juliet is the executive director of Urban Habitat, an environmental, economic and social justice organization working on building power in low-income communities and communities of color throughout the Bay Area. Prior to becoming Executive Director of Urban Habitat, Juliet was the Associate Program Officer for Neighborhood and Community Development at The San Francisco Foundation and was responsible for all aspects of grantmaking in the areas of workforce development, housing, homelessness, economic development, community development, and neighborhood planning. Juliet has served on numerous regional and local boards and committees, including the Oakland Homeless and Low-Income Taskforce, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the San Francisco School of Volunteers, and the Alameda County Public Health Disparities Taskforce. She currently serves on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the Boards and Steering Committee of Transform, the David Brower Center, the Partnership for Working Families, the White House Environment and Climate Taskforce, and Green for All. Juliet holds a Master of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in environmental and urban studies from San Francisco State University.

Listen to her presentation at the Bay Area Social Equity Caucus Quarterly Meeting on Local Hire.

Joshua Arce, Executive Director, Brightline Defense Project

Joshua Arce, Executive Director, Brightline Defense ProjectJoshua Arce is the Executive Director of Brightline Defense Project, an advocacy organization that promotes sustainability and opportunity in traditionally underserved communities. Brightline’s key areas of focus are in advancing environmental justice, ensuring job creation and retention, and advocating for the development of fair, affordable, and sustainable housing. Josh has done a lot of work on local hire in San Francisco and recently co-published the report “The Failure of Good Faith: Local Hiring Policy Analysis and Recommendations for San Francisco,” which documents San Francisco’s failure in meeting its goal of 50% local resident hiring on public works projects paid for by the City. Josh is an attorney by training and holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and received a B.A. degree in Political Science from U.C.L.A.

Listen to his presentation at the Bay Area Social Equity Caucus Quarterly Meeting on Local Hire.

The Social Equity Caucus Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute at the U.S. Social Forum, June 26, 2010

People of color and poor people have historically had little say in urban planning, yet they are most burdened by these policies. The Social Equity Caucus Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute at Urban Habitat responds to this inequity. This San Francisco Bay Area program has as its mandate that poor communities will not only have information about metropolitan planning, but that they will also take part in decisions. Our graduates are seated on, for instance: in San Francisco, the Citizen's Committee in Community Development; in Richmond, the Planning Commission and Community Development Commission; and, in Oakland, the Rent Board, Housing Authority, and Planning Commission. Participants are organizers, nonprofit workers, and union members. They are supported through nomination from environmental justice, faith, housing advocacy, economic justice, and labor groups. They are people of color and low-income community members who reflect the legitimacy of their constituencies in important urban planning decisions. In this workshop, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities of running an “outside-inside” game, share stories of political transformation, and provide information about how our program works.

Guillermo Mayer, Senior Staff Attorney, Public Advocates

Guillermo Mayer, Senior Staff Attorney, Public AdvocatesGuillermo Mayer, Senior Staff Attorney, Public Advocates Guillermo Mayer graduated from the UCLA School of Law in 2004 with concentrations in Critical Race Theory and Public Interest Law & Policy. As a law student, Guillermo helped immigrant workers in Los Angeles file wage claims against abusive downtown employers, and co-authored a paper cited by the California Legislature in passing wage-protection legislation for car wash workers. He was also selected as a 2001-2003 fellow by the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, and served as a summer law clerk for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and for Hadsell & Stormer, Inc., a public interest law firm in Pasadena. Prior to attending law school, Guillermo worked in the California Senate, first as legislative aide for former Senator Hilda Solis, and subsequently as legislative director for former Senator Tom Hayden. At Public Advocates, Guillermo focuses on transit equity litigation and advocacy.

 Listen to his presentation to the Bay Area Social Equity Caucus about the Oakland Airport Connector

Shireen Malekafzali, Senior Associate, PolicyLink

Shireen Malekafzali, Senior Associate, PolicyLinkShireen Malekafzali, Senior Associate, PolicyLinkShireen Malekafzali brings together urban planning, transportation, and community design in innovative ways to create healthier environments. Through the PolicyLink Center for Health and Place, she researches and promotes new strategies to advance healthy environments particularly in low income communities and communities of color. She previously worked with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and has taught environmental health and research methods at San Francisco State University.

Listen to her presentation to the Bay Area Social Equity Caucus on federal stimulus funding and job equity in Minnesota.

Bob Allen, Director of Transportation and Housing Programs, Urban Habitat

Bob Allen, Director of Transportation and Housing ProgramsBob Allen, Director of Transportation and Housing Programs, Urban HabitatHis background and experience include community planning and policy work both in the United States and overseas with international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). While at UH, Bob led the successful 2008 Campaign to help pass a regional measure, Measure VV, which raised funds to keep bus passes affordable for seniors, youth, and disabled riders. Currently, Bob is leading UH’s efforts on federal and state transportation advocacy. Bob received both his Bachelors Degree in Political Science and History and his Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers University.

Listen to his presentation to the Bay Area Social Equity Caucus about the Oakland Airport Connector

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