Recognition as a YBCA 100 honoree is a celebration of an individual’s present efforts and acknowledgment that their work will have future impact. Our YBCA 100 honorees come from the Bay Area and around the world. On this list, celebrities rub elbows with unsung heroes, and activists and artists are as revered as pop stars. It is a list unlike any other.
Abby Wambach is a soccer icon, speaker, New York Times best-selling writer, and activist for equality and inclusion. Wambach is the all-time leading scorer in international soccer history with 184 career goals. After winning the Women’s World Cup in 2015, she retired as one of the most dominant players in the history of the sport. A true leader on and off the field, Wambach is dedicating the next chapter of her career to fighting for equality and inclusion across industries.
ABD Productions / Skywatchers
ABD Productions, a San Francisco–based multicultural organization committed to inspiring social change and awakening our collective humanity through the arts, birthed the Skywatchers Program in 2011. Skywatchers brings artists into durational, collaborative relationships with residents of San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, interrogating the poverty industrial complex and positioning community voices into the civic discourse through the arts.
Adam Savage has worked in special effects on more than one hundred television commercials and a dozen feature films, including Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Alongside Jamie Hyneman, Savage produced and hosted MythBusters on the Discovery Channel from 2003 to 2016, totaling 279 episodes, 1,015 myths, 2,950 experiments, eight Emmy nominations, and 83 miles of duct tape. Today he hosts and executive produces MythBusters Jr. and Savage Builds.
Adrienne Maree Brown
adrienne maree brown is author of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, and the coeditor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements. brown has been facilitating professionally for more than fifteen years, and has worked with hundreds of organizations at all levels of scale, including informal collectives, foundations, national networks, and more. She cohosts the podcast How to Survive the End of the World.
Alexandra (Alex) Bernadotte is the founder and CEO of Beyond 12, a high-tech, high-touch nonprofit that integrates personalized coaching with mobile technology to increase the number of traditionally underserved students who graduate from college. Bernadotte is an Ashoka Fellow, a Jefferson Award for Public Service winner, a San Francisco Chronicle Visionary of the Year award nominee, and a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow. Fast Company has named Beyond 12 one of the ten most innovative education companies in the world.
Ali Wong is a stand-up comic from San Francisco, now living in Los Angeles. She stars in two Netflix stand-up specials, Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife, and her feature film Always Be My Maybe, which she cowrote and costars in with Randall Park, debuted on Netflix in May 2019 to wide critical acclaim. Wong also stars as a series regular on ABC’s hit comedy American Housewife.
Named as a choreographer with “astonishing originality” by the New York Times, Alonzo King has guided LINES Ballet through his unique artistic vision since 1982. King was named a Master of Choreography by the Kennedy Center in 2005, and has received the NEA Choreographer’s Fellowship, the Jacob’s Pillow Creativity Award, the US Artist Award in Dance, the Bessie Award, and the National Dance Project’s residency and touring awards.
ALPHABET ROCKERS make music that makes change in children’s culture. Led by Kaitlin McGaw (she/her) and Tommy Shepherd (he/him), their 2018 album Rise Shine #Woke was nominated for a Grammy Award. Their follow-up album, The Love, features more than sixty artists and collaborators centering LGBTQI+ voices. The group has performed at Lollapalooza, the Kennedy Center, and the San Francisco Pride Festival, and appears at more than fifty schools across the country each year.
Amanda Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Rise, a social movement accelerator, and a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee. She penned her own civil rights into existence and unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights after having to navigate the broken criminal justice system after her own rape. Previously Nguyen was appointed by President Barack Obama to the US Department of State as his deputy White House liaison and served at NASA.
Anicka Yi lives and works in New York. Her work is in several prominent collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Dikeou Collection, Denver; the Cleveland Museum of Art; Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Paris; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In 2016 she was awarded the Hugo Boss Prize.
In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, Anna Sergeeva started the Compliment Project, a small act of kindness that grew into an international movement. Within the first month, tens of thousands of people across the world downloaded the free posters promoting positivity. The New York Times referred to the project as a “marketing campaign for kindness,” and Sergeeva has partnered with Chronicle Books to publish a book inspired by the project, Take a Compliment, which is now available..
Axis Dance Company
For more than three decades, AXIS Dance Company has changed the face of dance and disability by providing integrated dance education and outreach programs that engage people with and without disabilities. Based in Oakland, AXIS has toured to more than one hundred cities in the United States and Europe, and has appeared twice on the television show So You Think You Can Dance. AXIS hosted the first-ever national and regional convenings on the Future of Physically Integrated Dance in 2016.
Baratunde Thurston is an Emmy-nominated television host who has also worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show, advised the Obama White House, and cleaned bathrooms to pay for his Harvard education. He’s the host of the iHeartMedia podcast Spit, wrote The New York Times bestseller How To Be Black, and serves on the boards of BUILD and the Brooklyn Public Library. Thurston makes media, delivers keynotes, and promotes action with his unique blend of criticism, humor, and optimism.
Beneficial State Bank
Mission-driven Beneficial State Bank is a state-chartered, federally insured community development financial institution (CDFI) and a “Best Overall” Certified B Corporation® five years running. Headquartered in Oakland, the bank holds to a “triple bottom line” of social justice, environmental well-being, and economic sustainability. More than 75 percent of its outstanding commercial loans support affordable housing, renewable energy, environmental sustainability, education, youth development, and other mission-aligned business structures and ventures.
Billy Porter is a Tony- and Grammy-winning actor, singer, director, composer and playwright from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a recording artist, Porter’s solo albums include his first CD, Untitled; his sophomore album, At the Corner of Broadway + Soul – LIVE; and his 2014 release Billy’s Back on Broadway. Porter currently stars in Pose on FX, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award.
Breaktide Productions is a media company owned and operated by women of color, based in the Bay Area. Alex Bledsoe, Jalena Keane-Lee, and Reaa Puri make films that increase understanding and ignite collective action, spanning social issues from indigenous resistance in Hawaii to environmental racism in Oakland to political organizing in Kashmir. Their writing, directing, and cinematography have earned awards and recognition from Sundance, the Aspen Institute, the Washington Post, SXSW, ITVS, Cannes Lions, and TEDx.
Brett Cook is an interdisciplinary artist and educator who uses creative practices to transform outer and inner worlds of being. His public projects typically involve community workshops featuring arts-integrated pedagogy along with contemplative practices, performance, and food to create a fluid boundary between art making, daily life, and healing. He was selected by the US Department of State to serve as a 2012 cultural ambassador to Nigeria.
Cannupa Hanska Luger
Cannupa Hanska Luger is a multidisciplinary artist of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, Austrian, and Norwegian descent. Through monumental installations that incorporate ceramics, video, sound, fiber, steel, and repurposed materials, Luger interweaves performance and political action to communicate stories about twenty-first-century indigeneity. Luger is the recipient of the 2018 Museum of Arts and Design’s inaugural Burke Prize and holds a BFA in studio arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Captain Moira McGuire
Captain Moira G. McGuire is a nurse officer with the US Public Health Service and serves as Chief of integrative health and wellness at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. She is the founder of the annual Healing Arts Exhibit at Walter Reed, now in its twelfth year, which provides a showcase for those using the arts in their treatment and recovery experiences. She is a founding member of the Public Health Service Choral Ensemble and the National Initiative.
Carolyn Lazard is a Philadelphia-based artist working across video, sound, sculpture, and performance. Lazard has screened and exhibited work at numerous institutions, including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the New Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Lazard’s writings have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Mousse, and Triple Canopy.
Casey Caldwell is a costume and fashion designer based out of Miami, FL and Brooklyn, NY. He specializes in experimental design using unconventional materials to create striking and conceptual pieces. Caldwell studied Design at the University of California, Santa Cruz, receiving degrees in theater production and film and digital media. He enjoys collaborating with like-minded individuals to create wearable art that blurs the lines between costume and fashion, gender binaries, and reality and fantasy.
Chinatown Pretty is a storytelling project founded by photographer Andria Lo and writer Valerie Luu that documents the beauty and ingenuity of seniors’ street style in Chinatown. Since 2014 they’ve photographed and interviewed hundreds of seniors in historic Chinatowns around the country. The project combines urban utilitarianism with unexpected sartorial choices that reveal resilience, personal histories, and cultural values. Chronicle Books will publish their first book in fall 2020.
A human rights and trans rights advocate, Clair Farley has worked across the county and internationally to promote visibility for underrepresented communities. She is a senior advisor to San Francisco Mayor London Breed and director of the San Francisco Office of Transgender Initiatives, the first and currently the only trans-led city department in the country. She has also worked for more than a decade advancing LGBTQ equity and economic development programs for local communities.
Climate Woke Campaign
Climate Woke Campaign is a series of social media videos that center and highlight the indigenous, black, and brown communities who are most impacted by climate change and environmental destruction. Host and investigative enthusiast Layel Camargo, with the occasional cohost, uses satire, comedy, and critical hope to amplify the realities of those facing the brunt of the climate crisis and offer collective solutions for a more sustainable future.
Conrad and Willis Meyers
In 2011, Conrad and Willis Meyers cofounded Aggregate Space Gallery, an artist-run, nonprofit exhibition space in West Oakland dedicated to the exploration and presentation of innovative sculptural and new-media works by regional artists and thinkers. Passionate about the intersection of art and technology, together they envision an Oakland where a diverse community of artists can make and experience art in a safe space with access to production tools and hands-on guidance.
For thirty-six years now, Creativity Explored has facilitated the careers of hundreds of artists with developmental disabilities by offering them space, support, and representation. The artists have seen their work exhibited in museums and galleries in fourteen countries, and have earned nearly $2 million from their art. Creativity Explored artists also serve on the organization’s staff, create alongside artists of all abilities in local art studios, and teach the public.
Daryn Dodson is the founder and managing director of Illumen Capital, an impact-driven private investment fund. Partnering with Stanford University, Dodson’s team reduces implicit biases of investees, thereby unlocking latent return and impact. Dodson previously served as director of university and corporate partnership for Idea Village, where he created a platform to invest more than one hundred thousand hours and $2 million into more than one thousand New Orleans entrepreneurs post–Hurricane Katrina.
Deana Lawson is a contemporary American photographer, capturing her subjects in acutely localized situations, with an empathetic eye and keen anthropological interest in black individuals in their social and physical environments. For Lawson, the artist’s perspective and posture toward subjects are critical to shifting the tone of representation: “It’s about setting a different standard of values and saying that everyday black lives, everyday experiences, are beautiful, and powerful, and intelligent.”
Dena Beard is executive director of The Lab, a San Francisco creative space supporting and amplifying the work of traditionally underrepresented artists and art forms. The Lab is a catalyst for artistic experimentation, engaging diverse communities in the Mission District and beyond. Beard received her MA in art history, theory, and criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was previously assistant curator at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
DJ Brown Amy
DJ Brown Amy has been collecting records since she was fifteen, and her musical career is as diverse as it is extensive. As a drummer and musician, she draws from the post-punk influences of her Tiger Beat years and her Chicanx upbringing. She is a cofounder and resident of San Francisco’s famed queer daytime soul music dance party Hard French. She is a member of the Chulita Vinyl club and has organized with TGI Justice Project.
Born on Jeju Island in Korea, Dohee Lee attributes her creative vision to traditional Korean music, singing, drumming, and dance rooted in Korean shamanic ritual. Since her arrival in the United States, she has been a vital contributor to both the traditional and the contemporary arts landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. She is the founder of Puri Arts, a performance and ritual producing organization.
Dr. Noha Aboelata
Dr. Noha Aboelata is a family-practice physician who formed the Roots Community Health Center in Oakland, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of East Bay residents. Roots supplies high-quality, comprehensive, community-responsive, and culturally appropriate health care to support communities impacted by systemic inequity and poverty. From 2007 to 2012 Aboelata served as consultant chief medical officer for the Native American Health Center in Oakland.
Emmanuel Pratt is executive director of The Sweet Water Foundation, which seeks to integrate hands-on sustainable farming practices with interdisciplinary educational programming. The Mycelia Project has turned a deteriorating shoe factory into an aquaponics farm that uses nitrogen waste from tilapia-filled tanks to fertilize vegetables and herbs. In addition, The Mycelia Project has introduced a curriculum educating students of all ages about sustainability, repurposing, and urban renewal to schools across Chicago.
Eric Ting is an Obie Award–winning theater director and associate artistic director of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut. Ting has directed workshops and readings for the LARK, Vineyard Theatre, Yale Rep, the Public Theater, Hartford Stage, and Prelude in New York; Victory Gardens and Goodman in Chicago; and Marin Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights, and ACT in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a founding member of the artist collective Intelligent Beasts, and his work has been presented internationally.
Francesca Vietor has been a dedicated environmental advocate for more than three decades, from her early days at Rainforest Action Network to directing San Francisco’s Environment Department under Mayor Willie Brown. Vietor currently serves as senior advisor on the environment to the San Francisco Foundation, where she manages the Youth Access to Nature Fund. She is also vice president of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, where she holds the environmental justice and policy seat.
Generation Citizen champions real-world democracy education that equips all young people with the skills and knowledge to effect change, prioritizing students from communities that have been historically excluded from the political process. In the classroom, its Action Civics program inspires robust civic participation by inviting students to engage directly with local issues and institutions impacting their communities. Nationwide, Generation Citizen is activating a movement of young people prepared to lead our democracy.
Girls Garage, founded in 2013, is the first design-build workshop for female youth in the United States, providing no- and low-cost classes in carpentry, welding, architecture, engineering, and activist art to a diverse community of 180 girls per year. In their workshop in Berkeley, under the guidance of a highly skilled all-female staff, girls work on real-world building projects, from furniture for women’s shelters to greenhouses for urban farms.
Greta Thunberg is a Swedish activist who, at age fifteen, began protesting outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018 about the need for immediate action to combat climate change. On March 15, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million students in 112 countries around the world joined her call in striking and protesting. Thunberg has received various prizes and awards for her activism. In March 2019, three members of the Norwegian parliament nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Hasan Minhaj is an American comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and television host. Minhaj came to prominence for his work as senior correspondent on The Daily Show from 2014 to 2018. His first Netflix stand-up comedy special, Homecoming King, received a Peabody Award in 2018. He now hosts Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj on Netflix. In April 2019, Time magazine named him among the one hundred most influential people in the world.
Located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, Hospitality House provides opportunities and resources for personal growth and self-determination to homeless people and neighborhood residents. They build community strength by advocating policies and rendering services that foster self-sufficiency and cultural enrichment. Founded in 1967 in response to the large influx of homeless LGBT+ youth in the Tenderloin, Hospitality House has a long history developing peer-based and culturally appropriate programs for the communities they serve.
Ileana Mercedes Cabra Joglar, better known as iLe, is a Puerto Rican singer, composer, and vocalist who began her career as the sole female singer of Calle 13, along with her brothers René Pérez Joglar (Residente) and Eduardo Cabra Martínez (Visitante). Her first solo production, iLevitable, won a Grammy for Best Latin Rock, Urban, or Alternative Album in 2017, and also garnered her a nomination for Best New Artist at the Latin Grammy Awards.
Instituto Familiar de la Raza
Instituto Familiar de la Raza (IFR) began as a small outpatient mental health clinic, and developed into a community leader in community violence prevention, school-based mental health consultations, family programming, culturally based integrated HIV services, and indigenous/Maya wellness programs. For more than forty years IFR has provided a seamless continuum of health and wellness programs for Chicanos/Latinos in San Francisco.
Jaboukie Young-White, a comedian originally from Chicago, is the newest correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He appeared in the Sony feature Rough Night and the Netflix feature Set It Up. He was selected as a Comic to Watch at the 2017 New York Comedy Festival, was named one of Rolling Stone’s 25 under 25, and has performed stand-up on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Previously he was a staff writer on Netflix’s American Vandal and Big Mouth.
Joan Jonas is a world-renowned artist working across video, performance, installation, sound, text, and sculpture. Since 1968 her practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of rituals, and the authority of objects and gestures. Jonas has exhibited, screened, and performed her work at museums, galleries, and large-scale group exhibitions. In 2018 she was awarded the prestigious Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest private award for global achievement.
Joan Osato, an arts and culture community organizer, has played a pivotal role in local and national theater for more than two decades. Osato produces live performance events for Youth Speaks, the Living Word Project, Life Is Living in Oakland, and the acclaimed theater group Campo Santo. As a cultural organizer she works on behalf of the National Performance Network and the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists.
Joe Talbot is a fifth-generation San Franciscan and an award-winning filmmaker. His feature-length debut, The Last Black Man in San Francisco—adapted from the life of childhood friend and longtime collaborator Jimmie Fails—won the 2019 Sundance Film Festival Directing Award, as well as a Special Jury Prize for Creative Collaboration. The New York Times called it “heart-skipping, astonishing and exultant”; Rolling Stone hailed it as “the best film of 2019.”
A descendant of a Chinese undocumented immigrant (“paper son”), Jon Jang works to represent a chronology of Chinese American history in San Francisco. Jang’s music piece Island: The Immigrant Suite No. 2, written for the Kronos Quartet and the Chinese American Symphony, pays tribute to the Chinese immigrant laborers who built the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. Jang’s work has also been presented at academic institutions, including Columbia University.
Juliana Huxtable is an artist, poet, performer, and DJ who uses her own body, gender fluidity, and identity as her primary subject. She reflects upon her gender transition, often linking her own physical evolution to a dialogue concerning avatars, science-fiction, radical black and queer movements, and aboriginal tribes, among other social phenomena. She has performed at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among other venues.
June Grant’s research-based design studio in Oakland, Oak!LAB, creates environments that respect cultural aspirations, are environmentally responsible, integrate emerging technologies, educate local populations, and affirm the latent spirit of underrepresented people. Thirty percent of the studio’s projects are long-term build initiatives supporting neighborhood regeneration. Grant is the current president of the San Francisco chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects.
La Cocina is a San Francisco–based nonprofit working to solve problems of equity in business ownership for women, immigrants, and people of color. They provide talented entrepreneurs with affordable commercial kitchen space, mentorship, and access to market opportunities. La Cocina has trained hundreds of students, graduated more than sixty entrepreneurs into sustainable businesses and restaurants, and will open the nation’s first women-owned food hall next year: the La Cocina Municipal Marketplace.
Laura Zabel is the executive director of Springboard for the Arts, a national community development agency run by and for artists. Based in rural and urban Minnesota, Springboard creates systems that help artists make a living and a life, and helps communities connect to the creative power of artists. Zabel has been honored with numerous awards, including the Gard Foundation Award of Excellence and fellowships from the Bush Foundation, BALLE, and Arizona State University.
Lizzo, born Melissa Jefferson in Detroit, is a rapper and singer and a founding member of indie hip-hop groups The Chalice, Grrrl Prty, The Clerb, Ellypseas, and Absynthe. Her debut album, Lizzobangers, was released in 2013. In 2015 she released her sophomore album, Big Grrrl Small World, to critical acclaim.
Loco Bloco was founded in 1994 in the traditions of the Afro-Blocos of Brazil by community-based artists and activists seeking to provide low-income youth of color with high-quality and culturally relevant arts experiences. Loco Bloco’s Afro-Latino arts education programs and original productions encourage youth to use music, dance, and theater as tools for overcoming oppression, catalysts for their own empowerment, and ways to positively engage with the world as leaders and activists.
mak-’amham, Ohlone cafe
A Native American, Ohlone-run organization, mak-’amham – Ohlone cafe operates in the indigenous homelands of the Ohlone people. All food served is indigenous to the Bay Area—all of the primary ingredients would have been recognizable and attainable in the traditional Ohlone world before contact with outside forces. The organization envisions a full revival of Ohlone Indian food traditions as a part of a larger, ongoing cultural restoration empowering Ohlone people.
Marcus Shelby is a composer, bassist, and educator based in San Francisco whose work focuses on the history, present, and future of African American lives, social movements, and music education. Currently he is an artist in residence with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, and he will be a new resident artist director for the San Francisco Jazz Festival in 2019–20. Shelby has served on the San Francisco Arts Commission since 2013.
In May 2016 at the age of eight, Mari Copeny wrote an open letter, published in the Los Angeles Times, to President Barack Obama challenging him to visit Flint, Michigan, and see the water crisis and state negligence firsthand. Copeny has raised more than $500,000 for her Flint Kids projects and has given away more than a million bottles of bottled water. She has been featured in many publications for her vocal opposition to the injustices of environmental racism.
Maria Jenson is recognized as a leader in the arts for advancing innovative strategies to sustain creative communities in the midst of rapidly changing urban environments. As creative and executive director of SOMArts in San Francisco, Jenson has deepened the organization’s commitment to racial equity, expanded SOMArts’ public programs, and fostered groundbreaking exhibitions. Prior to joining SOMArts she was a key member of SFMOMA’s External Relations team and the founding director of ArtPadSF, an independent art fair launched in 2010.
Marvin K. White
Marvin K. White is the minister of celebration at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, and a recent Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Equity Fellow (2016–17). He is the author of four collections of poetry: Our Name Be Witness, Status, and the Lammy-nominated collections last rights and nothin’ ugly fly. He is a former member of the critically acclaimed theater troupe The Pomo Afro Homos.
Meklit is an Ethiopian American vocalist, singer-songwriter, and composer known for her electric stage presence, innovative take on Ethio-jazz, and fiery, emotive live shows. She is a National Geographic Explorer, a 2019 artist in residence at Harvard University, a TED senior fellow, a cultural instigator, and an in-demand performer and speaker. Her TED Talk has been watched by more than 1.2 million people.
Mica Sigourney (also known as VivvyAnne ForeverMORE) is a choreographer and drag maker focused on performance, social art, and community building. His works manifest as traditional stage performances or participatory events and happenings that take place in theaters, nightclubs, drag bars, museums, and public places such as parks, public transportation, and storefronts. Sigourney is also a worker-owner at the Stud, the first worker-owner cooperative queer bar in the United States.
Michael W. Twitty
Michael W. Twitty is a food writer, independent scholar, culinary historian, and historical interpreter personally charged with preparing, preserving, and promoting African American foodways and its parent traditions in Africa, the African diaspora, and its legacy in the food culture of the US South. Twitty highlights food’s critical role in the development and definition of African American civilization, and the politics of consumption and cultural ownership that surround it.
Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, LFAPA, Hon AIA, is a professor of urban policy and health at The New School in New York. She has conducted research on AIDS and other epidemics of poor communities, with a special interest in the relationship between the collapse of communities and declines in health. From her research she has published numerous articles, books, and monographs. A third edition of her book Homeboy Came to Orange: A Story of People’s Power was released in 2018.
Nicholas Galanin is a Tlingit/Unangax̂ multidisciplinary artist based in Sitka, Alaska. Galanin’s practice includes embedded incisive observation and critical thought, and investigates and expands intersections of culture and concept in form, image, and sound. The works are vessels of knowledge, culture, and technology—inherently political, generous, unflinching, and poetic.
Nigel Poor & Ear Hustle
Nigel Poor is a visual artist whose work explores the various ways people leave behind evidence of their existence. Her work resides in museum collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the de Young Museum, San Francisco; and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC. In 2011 Poor began volunteering as a teacher at San Quentin State Prison for the Prison University Project. She is the co-creator and cohost of the award-winning prison-based podcast Ear Hustle.
Pati Navalta Poblete
Pati Navalta Poblete is a longtime San Francisco Bay Area journalist, previously serving as an editorial writer and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, where she was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Poblete is executive director of The Robby Poblete Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to reduce gun violence through a gun buyback program, and to transform the weapons into instruments of hope and opportunity through art and vocational programs.
Pedro Reyes studied architecture but considers himself a sculptor, although his works also integrate elements of theater, psychology, and activism. In 2008 Reyes initiated the ongoing project Palas por Pistolas, in which 1,527 guns have been collected in Mexico through a voluntary donation campaign to produce the same number of shovels to plant 1,527 trees. In 2015 he received the US State Department Medal for the Arts and the Ford Foundation Fellowship.
PowerCA is a multiracial civic engagement organization of twenty on-the-ground community partners, mobilizing two hundred thousand young voters of color annually and registering and preregistering nearly fifty thousand young voters of color. By changing culture, building digital power, and shifting narratives, PowerCA changes how young people of color use their political power as well as how they are valued as leaders and decision makers.
Project Drawdown is a research organization that identifies, reviews, and analyses the most viable solutions to climate change, and shares these findings with the world. They then partner with communities, policy makers, nonprofits, businesses, investors, and philanthropists to deploy climate solutions as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible. As a thought leader and communicator, Project Drawdown is shifting the global conversation about climate change from fear and despair to one of possibility, opportunity, action, and empowerment.
Queens of the Castro
Founded by four drag queens in San Francisco in 2010, Queens of the Castro is a nonprofit dedicated to disrupting the gender binary and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community in local high schools and universities. They have worked closely with LGBTQ+ youth and drag performers to organize drag shows as school-wide assemblies. They have also established a fund that has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships, giving LGBTQ+ youth in California the financial freedom to pursue a variety of postsecondary opportunities.
Mamone, creative director at Queer Appalachia, is a maker and artist living in the coalfields of West Virginia. The project’s collective social media communicates daily with more than 250K rural queers and allies living below the Mason-Dixon Line. Mamone’s #whichsideareyouon is a contemporary manifesto examining the intersectional fallout of race, class, ability, privilege, sustainability, and ecology of Appalachia’s opioid epidemic. #whichsideareyouon is currently showing at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC.
Founded in 2003, RADAR is a Bay Area queer literary arts organization creating and supporting a community of queer artists of color through commissioning, developing, and presenting groundbreaking literary work. RADAR’s programs give voice to innovative queer authors and spoken-word artists whose work challenges mainstream concepts of queer culture, feminism, race, and class. The programs include a monthly residency at the San Francisco Public Library, the legendary Sister Spit tour, and an annual literary and visual arts collaboration.
Raquel Willis is a writer and activist dedicated to elevating the voices of transgender women of color. She is the executive editor of Out magazine and the director of Black Trans Circles, a project of Transgender Law Center dedicated to supporting black trans women’s leadership and finding solutions for safety, support, and solace in areas of high violence.
Rita Moreno has won all four of the most prestigious awards in show business: the Oscar, the Tony, two Emmys, and a Grammy. Moreno has starred on Broadway and London’s West End, and appeared in more than forty feature films and countless television shows. Moreno has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts, served as grand marshal of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, and received the Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to US culture.
Robert Liu-Trujillo is a lifelong Bay Area resident. Born in Oakland to student activist parents, he soon fell in love with graffiti, fine art, illustration, murals, and children’s books. Through storytelling he scratches the surface of untold stories. Liu-Trujillo is the author and illustrator of Furqan’s First Flat Top.
Ronald Rael & Virginia San Fratello
Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello draw, build, 3D print, teach, and write about architecture as a cultural endeavor deeply influenced by craft traditions and contemporary technologies. They are founding partners of the Oakland-based make-tank Emerging Objects. Their drawings, models, and objects are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Cooper Hewitt, New York; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Ruby Ibarra is a Filipino American rapper, music producer, and spoken-word artist. She raps in Tagalog, Waray, and English about her cultural heritage and her experiences as an immigrant to the United States from the Philippines.
Salinas LatinX LGBTQ Film Festival
Salinas Latinx LGBTQ Film Festival is an educational and celebratory film gathering that raises awareness about the Latinx lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) community. Their screenings and visual and performance-based artworks center LGBTQ+ Latinx identities, focusing on themes of empowerment, resilience, and community.
Samuel Getachew is a sixteen-year-old poet and writer from Oakland. He is the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam champion, and the 2019 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate. He is a 2019 YoungArts Winner in Spoken Word, and his poetry and nonfiction have been published in The New York Times, the San Francisco Guardian, and various anthologies. He serves as the youngest member of American Eagle’s AExME Youth Council.
SF Urban Film Fest
The SF Urban Film Fest leverages the power of storytelling to spark discussion and civic engagement around urban issues with a diverse, engaged audience. SFUFF stages events throughout the city, including film screenings, storytelling workshops, and place-focused gatherings that connect physical and social spaces. SFUFF is in its sixth season, with events throughout the year; its next weeklong festival will take place February 2–9, 2020.
She the People
She the People is a national network connecting women of color to transform our democracy. They are elevating and amplifying the voices and power of women of color as leaders, political strategists, organizers, and voters. She the People is building an inclusive, multiracial coalition driving a new progressive political and cultural era.
Shonda Rhimes is the writer, executive producer, and creator of the hit ABC series Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and Private Practice, and executive producer of the ABC dramas How to Get Away with Murder and Station 19. Her numerous awards include a Golden Globe for Outstanding Television Drama, a Peabody Award, GLAAD Media Awards, and numerous AFI Awards for Television Program of the Year. In 2018 Rhimes was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
St James Infirmary
St. James Infirmary is a peer-based occupational health and safety clinic for sex workers of all genders. They meet the needs of people engaged in the sex trade through advocacy, direct services, and social justice. St. James Infirmary challenges the conventional health care model that divides patients and providers and fosters unhealthy power dynamics. Our peer-based model creates a safe, trusting, honest environment in which to provide services, and empowers our community to define our own well-being.
Stephanie Ybarra is an artistic producer whose work aspires toward antiracist, community-informed, civically engaged theater. She is currently in her first season as artistic director at Baltimore Center Stage, her career spans two decades and includes roles at Dallas Theater Center, Yale Repertory Theater, and Two River Theater Company, as well as seven years at the Public Theater. In 2016 Ybarra cofounded the Artists’ Anti-Racism Coalition, a grassroots effort to dismantle systems of exclusion and oppression in the Off Broadway theater community.
Los Angeles–based artist Suzanne Lacy is internationally renowned as a pioneer in the field of socially engaged and public art, working collaboratively within the traditions of fine art performance and community organizing. She has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Bellagio residency program, the Guggenheim Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and more. She is currently a professor at the University of Southern California and a resident artist at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, California.
Terisa Siagatonu is an award-winning touring poet, teaching artist, and community activist born and rooted in the Bay Area. Her voice in the poetry world as a queer Sāmoan woman has granted her opportunities to perform in places such as the White House (Obama administration), the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, and the San Francisco Women’s March. She received President Obama’s Champion of Change Award for her activism as a poet and organizer in her Pacific Islander community.
The Bigger Picture, Youth Speaks
The Bigger Picture is a partnership between spoken word organization Youth Speaks and UCSF’s Center for Vulnerable Populations, the only educational initiative to merge the arts with public health in the diabetes-prevention landscape. The Bigger Picture’s youth leadership model changes perceptions and amplifies the voices of young people who are taking on the sugary drink industry, which disproportionately targets low-income communities of color.
Trinidad Escobar is a storyteller from Oakland. She is an alumnus of San Francisco State’s poetry program and a fellow of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics MFA Poetry program. She is the recipient of the Olympiad of the Arts Award and the Frances Jaffer Poetry Prize given by the Poetry Center of San Francisco, and a Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation fellow.
Tyra Fennell is the founding director of Imprint City, an organization activating underutilized areas in San Francisco with arts projects, encouraging increased foot traffic to support local economies. Imprint City is hyper-focused in the Bayview—Hunters Point, and since 2015 has attracted more than twenty thousand event goers and 150 artists to the neighborhood. In 2018 Fennell coauthored legislation designating the Bayview as the African American Arts and Cultural District. Fennell is also a member of the San Francisco Film Commission.
UltraViolet is a rapidly growing community of people mobilized to fight sexism and create a more inclusive world that accurately represents all women in all realms, from politics and government to media and pop culture. Through people power and strategic advocacy, they work to improve the lives of women and girls of all identities and backgrounds, and all people impacted by sexism, by dismantling discrimination and creating a cost for sexism.
United Playaz is a San Francisco–based violence prevention and youth development organization. It provides a comprehensive range of services to prepare vulnerable youth for higher education, employment, and healthy living within a safe, nurturing, and collaborative environment.
Vania Luna Gutierrez
Vania Gutierrez, also known as Luna, is a Xicana poet, performer, organizer, and first-generation scholar hailing from Chicago’s Humboldt Park. She uses poetry as a tool for navigating a life rooted in justice, healing, and global community. Luna is also an alumna of Kuumba Lynx in Chicago, and a recipient of the BP Citizens of Tomorrow scholarship and the John Vietnam Black and Brown Activism Award.
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Viet Thanh Nguyen is a Vietnamese American novelist. He is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and a professor of English and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Nguyen’s debut novel, The Sympathizer, won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, among other accolades, including the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in Fiction. He was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2017.
Wanda Dalla Costa
Wanda Dalla Costa, AIA, LEED A.P., is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation and has spent more than twenty years codesigning with Indigenous peoples. Dalla Costa was the first-ever First Nation woman to become an architect in Canada. She is the director and founder of the Indigenous Design Collaborative at Arizona State University, an organization that works with local tribes in Arizona on design and design-build projects.
Way to Win
Way to Win is a home base for progressive donors and organizers seeking a strategic approach to funding that advances transformative policy, wins elections, and builds lasting power in the states. Way to Win works with a coalition of funders and organizations embodying a shared ethos of political funding that brings together near-term strategic wins and long-term power building.
Wolfman Books is a bookstore, small press, and event space in downtown Oakland supporting diverse, underrepresented, and emerging artists and writers. Founded in 2014 to create a sustainable home for the Bay Area’s vibrant underground culture, Wolfman Books hosts events, workshops, and performances while publishing books and the arts magazine New Life Quarterly.
Womxn* Art Handlers
Based in San Francisco, the Womxn* Art Handlers is a group dedicated to the support and growth of POC, queer, nonbinary, trans, and womxn* identifying individuals working in the professional arts industry as preparators, art handlers, technicians, fabricators, and other support roles. W*AH provides professional art handling and installation training in partnership with local institutions, maintains a regional hiring list, and conducts surveys to encourage equitable and transparent hiring practices throughout Bay Area art spaces.
Youth V. Gov
Youth v. Gov represents the twenty-one young plaintiffs suing the federal government to defend the rights of youth and future generations. The youth-led climate lawsuit known as Juliana v. United States was filed in 2015 against the US government in the US District Court for the District of Oregon. Their complaint asserts that the government’s affirmative actions that cause climate change have violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights.
YR Media is a national network of young journalists and artists, collaborating with peers around the country and top media professionals to create content that matters. For twenty-five years YR Media’s nonprofit production company has invested in future generations—championing young voices and those who came before—to build critical skills in journalism, arts, and media.
Zendaya is one of the most prominent and influential names in the entertainment industry today. Born and raised in Oakland, Zendaya launched her career as an actress on the Disney Channel before moving to the big screen, starring in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Greatest Showman, and HBO and A24 hit series Euphoria. Zendaya has established herself as a fashion authority, gracing the covers of Vogue, Marie Claire, CR Fashion Book, Essence, and InStyle.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Jr.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is a visual artist, performer, curator, and drag queen who goes by the alias Faluda Islam. Bhutto’s work explores complex histories of colonialism that are exacerbated by contemporary international politics. In the process he unpacks the intersections of queerness and Islam through a multimedia practice based in traditions of storytelling, textile crafts, and video. Bhutto has been a curatorial resident at SOMArts Cultural Center and has exhibited in galleries, museums, and theaters globally.