Weekend 4 | Grassroots Organizing
August 12-August 14
Housing | Doubletree by Hilton: 1021 Koger Center Boulevard, Richmond VA 23235
Workshops | Doubletree by Hilton: 1021 Koger Center Boulevard, Richmond VA 23235
- On Money and Organizing from Cesar Chavez
- Money as Medicine: Leveraging Philanthropy to Decolonize Wealth excerpts from “Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance” written by Edgar Villanueva
- Social Justice Philanthropy Principles written by Resource Generation
- Shadow Money: How the Right Funds Regressive Movements a webinar by The Social Justice Fund Northwest and Resource Generation
- The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Nonprofit Industrial Complex edited by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence
- Mutual Aid: We Take Care of Us an episode of Race Capitol hosted by Kalia Harris
- What is Mutual Aid an interview with MAMA (Metro Atlanta Mutual Aid) Fund & Black Feminist Future
Weekend 3 | Community Organizing
July 29 – July 31
Housing | Wintergreen Resort
Workshops | Wintergreen Resort
- The Power of Participation excerpt from “Tools for Radical Democracy” by Joan Minieri and Paul Getsos
- Tactics an excerpt from “Rules for Radicals: A Realistic Primer for Realistic Radicals” by Saul Alinsky
- Organizing for Autonomy excerpts from the book written by CounterPower
- Abolishing Columbus and Indigenous Resistance an episode by The Red Nation Podcast
- The Combahee River Collective Statement excerpt written by The Combahee River Collective
Weekend 2 | Storytelling
June 24 – June 26
Housing | The Hilton Arlington: 950 N Stafford St, Arlington, VA 22203
Workshops | Marymount University: 1000 N Glebe Road, Arlington VA 22203
- Circles of My Multicultural Self
- Why Protocol + Personal Equity Narrative
- Story of Self adapted by the work of Marshall Ganz
- We Own All the Language in the World written and performed by Fatimah Asghar
- The Power of Spoken Word Poetry written by Mehroz Baig
- Common Grounds? directed by students at the University of Virginia Center for Politics
- At Yale, We Conducted an Experiment to Turn Conservatives Into Liberals. The Results Say A Lot About Political Divisions written by John Bargh at The Washington Post
- Frame the Debate written by Joel Dignam
- Why Stories Matter written by Marshall Ganz
- My Speech at the Harvard Queer Students and Allies Anti-LGBT Bullying Rallywritten and delivered by James Croft
- How Do We Tell Stories About the Future We Want to See written by Narrative Arts
Weekend 1 | Power + Values
May 27 – May 29
The Westin Richmond: 6631 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23230
- Culture Mapping adapted from The University of Minnesota and the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship
- La Prieta by Gloria Anzaldúa
- (Divorcing) White Supremacy Cultureadapted from the work of Tema Okun, Daniel Buford, and many others
- Love as the Practice of Freedomby bell hooks
- He Saw by Chrystos
- The Flower of Praxis by Rosa Gonzales and Levana Saxon from the works of Paulo Freire
Meet Your Fellow VAPLP Pod Members
Avohom (he/him) is a native of Hartford, Connecticut. He has lived in Virginia for over 20 years now and grew up in the South Norfolk Area of Hampton Roads. In 2010, Avohom graduated from Hampton University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science and History. He currently resides in Ruther Glen, VA which is located in Caroline County. For the past 6 years, he worked for table partners New Virginia Majority and most recently with Virginia LCV where he served as Director of Civic Engagement. Avohom recently embarked on a new adventure as Sr. Program Manager for Everybody Votes Campaign. In this role he oversees the civic engagement operations of 24 organizations in the State of Georgia. He is passionate about voting rights, civil rights, restoration of civil rights, social justice and environmental justice. When not at work, he can be found at a sporting event, attending a concert, watching a movie or doing community service/advocacy work with several organizations.
Berole (she/her) lives in Alexandria. She is a Community Organizer with African Communities Together. Very Excited!
Briana (she/her) currently resides in Richmond, VA. She is a young Black woman who is looking to grow in her progressive mindset and advocacy. She is excited to learn how to advocate from a progressive framework. Briana is looking forward to meeting and learning from other individuals in the policy advocacy space. Fun fact, she shares a birthday with Rihanna.
Idris (he/him) lives in Woodbridge, Virginia. He is a community leader in Prince William County leading a coalition for faith groups and non-profits that serves people in need. In his spare time, Idris loves reading, listening to podcasts, biking, traveling, watching a good TV series and listening to music. He is Jamaican-American and a vegan foodie. He is excited to learn and grow with VAPLP and become more confident in public speaking. A fun fact about him is that he ran for public office.
Irene (she/her) serves as the Executive Director of the Virginia Civic Engagement Table (VCET), which promotes civic engagement in marginalized communities in Virginia. Prior to VCET, she served as the Senior Director at Crowdpac, a tech platform focused on combating the influence of big money in politics.
Recently, Irene was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, becoming the first Korean American woman to serve in the General Assembly. She also serves on the Boards of NAKASEC, the Competitive Commonwealth Fund, and Sister District Project.
Irene is most looking forward to meeting the participants! Hands down, the people of VAPLP is what makes it such an amazing program.
Irene, her fiancé, and dog live in the Town of Herndon. In her free time, Irene enjoys… wait what? Free time? What’s that?
Fun fact, Irene learned to play the ukulele and bake sourdough during the pandemic.
Jack (he/him) grew up in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit with a rich history as the center of the American labor movement. After volunteering for a number of progressive and Democratic causes, including Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign, he fell in love with organizing and political campaigns. Jack moved to Washington, DC to attend American University and quickly got involved in local politics across the DMV region. He graduated in 2015 with a Bachelors in Political Science and in 2016 with a Masters of Public Policy focusing on Space & Science Policy. He currently lives in Fairfax County and serves as Executive Director of the local Democratic Committee. Jack is excited to be a part of VAPLP to further develop his organizing skills and meet fellow progressive advocates from across the Commonwealth. A fun fact about him is that he plays bass in a punk band, Donut Boy. Check out “The Before Times” on Bandcamp.
Jolicia (she/her) is an advocate, activist, former candidate for Virginia House of Delegate in District 99 and a full-time healthcare professional for Virginia Commonwealth University Surgical Medical Center. Prior to activism and politics, she received her bachelor’s degree in mass communication from The University of Virginia, College at Wise and her master’s degree in Entrepreneurial Management from Stratford University. Jolicia then worked for The Department of Defense Civilian, Defense Health Agency and for The United States Army at multiple Military Treatment Facilities. It was an honor to provide Medical Care for active-duty service members, reserves and military family members. Layered by activism, healthcare, education and politics, she is known for her willingness to risk her own personal needs to manage the urgent needs that all people should have equal access to wealth, health, well-being, justice, privileges and opportunity regardless of their legal, political or economic circumstances. She is a proud board member of The Ralphe Bunche Art and Humanity Center, member of the KG NAACP, Administrative Assistance for Rural Urban Bridge Initiative and has worked alongside many organizations such as The African American Redress Network and Resolutions Addressing Systemic and Structural Racism. Jolicia considers herself a powerful leader and true representative of our American Democracy, but she knows VAPLP can make her even better.
Kristin (she/her) lives in occupied Powhatan land, the Museum District neighborhood of Richmond, VA. Professionally, she is a “social worker” by trade, but identifies as a connector, convener, helper, advocate/activist, and listener. Personally, she is a cisgender, bisexual, first-generation Filipina-American. Kristin identifies as an abolitionist, and she is a lover of radical rest through books, food, journaling, long meandering walks, and being as playful as possible. She is super excited to meet like-minded folx with similar passions and values! Kristin loves building community with folx, especially in a world that feels increasingly individualized and divisive. She is eager to learn and discuss more strategies for leadership, organizing, community-building, and storytelling with a focus on equity and justice. Her fun fact is that she met Lizzo once! It was at NYC Pride several years ago, just before she got really popular. She was lovely and she hugged Kristin! So if you hug Kristin, you can say you’ve hugged Lizzo by proxy.
Leah (she/her) graduated from Virginia Tech in 2017 with a degree in Environmental Policy and started her career working in the nonprofit sector. She quickly learned that her talents lie in nonprofit operational management and is shaping her career around helping nonprofits become well-established and streamline management practices. In her free time she likes to cook elaborate meals, tend to her plants/garden, and go camping.
Luis (he/him) currently resides in Alexandria, Northern Virginia, he is a graphic designer, photographer, communicator and community organizer who has worked with communities for over 9 years in El Salvador. Luis is excited to enter this pod to understand how to work with communities in the United States since he will have been living here for just 3 years, Luis is very new to community work here and of course is willing to learn. A curious or funny fact is that people think he is very serious, but it is because of his facial expression, in reality he is very happy, positive and motivating.
Nick (he/him) is a 21-year-old organizer living in Ashburn! He just graduated from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR with a BA in Political Science and Rhetoric, and is excited to be back in Virginia and be a part of VAPLP. He is passionate about organizing everywhere, scaling on the digital side, and urban design and transportation policy. He has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights in Loudoun County since 2017 and loves to work with his community to move us forward. At VAPLP, he is most excited to connect with other folks from across the Commonwealth and build connections and learn from others. A fun fact about Nick is that he climbed (and promptly fell down) Mount St. Helens.
Nico (they/them) currently resides on stolen Powhatan land (Richmond), and recently joined VCET in January of 2022. They support the Virginia Progressive Leadership Project, Staff of Color Roundtable, and other programming at VCET. Passionate about social justice, collective liberation, and community solutions, Nico finds home in collective and visionary spaces woven together by queer and trans people.
Having settled in Manahoac land (Loudoun County) in a middle-class home with a single mom, they engage in a lifelong process of undoing the effects of growing up in a society rooted in white supremacy culture. Nico learned some of their most important political lessons outside the classroom and was politicized by the work of the Louisville Project in policy debate and their own Filipinx and Puerto Rican diaspora. They cut their teeth as a young organizer & facilitator through student organizing and service at James Madison University.
As a facilitator, Nico draws on the teachings of Paulo Freire and bell hooks with a lens of popular education and experiential learning. They are invested in co-creating loving spaces and considers relationships & community to be the basis of their work. Nico is most excited to learn from, grow with, and have fun with all the beautiful people of this year’s pod. Fun fact, Nico can’t twerk but deeply aspires to get there one day. Open to lessons.
While Niki (she/her) is originally from Miami, FL, she lives in Lorton, VA. Niki has a son who is 16 and a student in the Fairfax County Public School System. She is a full-time DoD Budget Analyst and a Soldier in the Army National Guard. Niki is also a Social Justice Advocate with her activism work focusing on Veterans issues, Education, Criminal Justice, Disabilities and issues that plague the minority communities. She currently serves as the 2nd VP for the Fairfax County NAACP, Niki is also the Economic Development Chair for the branch. Niki is the Criminal Justice Chair for the Virginia State Conference NAACP as well as being Governor appointed to the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities. Niki is excited about the opportunity to meet new like-minded people who are taking steps to learn the necessary tools and resources to become elected officials and grassroots organizers.
Puja (she/her) lives with her family in Loudoun County. She is looking forward to meet and interact with a diverse group of people. She is excited to share her progressive values with the cohort. To learn together will be her goal. Fun fact about Puja is that she loves animals ❤️
Sarah (she/they) currently lives in Portsmouth, Virginia. She is a pansexual, Korean American, maybe autistic, neurodivergent, woman/non-binary person who is trying her best. They like food appreciation, nature, humans, writing, and art! Sarah is excited to learn, to meet and connect with new people, and to experience! Fun fact, they recently realized she’s allergic to pollen and that manifests by them gagging (Sarah always thought being allergic to pollen meant sneezing, but she doesn’t sneeze- she just gags).
Shirtiera (she/her) is a native Richmonder, hailing from Northside of the city. Lover of Art, Culture, Food and Music, oh and Kids too! She is a “Joi of ALL Trades” as she is always active in any and everything. God has blessed Shirtiera with many gifts that she fully tries to supply to whoever needs them. Her middle name is Joi, which she can go by or you may hear Shirt at any other moment. She is Shirtiera, a “boy mom”, she has a 20, 6 & soon to be 2 year old. Shirtiera’s life surrounds her guys and she now includes her other guy, her husband as well. Careerwise, she has been in the education field for 18 years, from the class, to coaching cheerleaders, to central office and wrapping services for her babies. Her passions are kids, community and just trying to get it right. She has intermingled her education, social and criminal justice and community engagement interests together to curate her unique career path thus far.
This opportunity to be included in pod 8 for VAPLP is a blessing as she was literally praying for an opportunity to be included in more leadership and skill building moments to advance in her work in the community. Shirtiera is grateful to have been chosen and looks forward to the different weekends to learn, grow, travel and network with some more great individuals. She never gets a moment away from “her guys” and this is the chance to focus on her and her career growth. Shirtiera is super ecstatic about these next couple of months.