Meet the 2018 Spring Kairos Fellows
Courtney Sebring is a young, Black feminist, queer troublemaker and creative from Durham, North Carolina. She is proud to be a grassroots organizer in a community that tears down statues, empties cages, and wins political power. An artist of many mediums and a student of many disciplines, Courtney pours herself and all the skills she has developed into work that is unapologetically aligned with the liberation of all Black people. She has built family in this movement and feels their support at her back always. She is committed to a lifetime of learning along the way to freedom. Courtney is thrilled to continue this journey as a 2018 Kairos Fellow at Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart).
Courtney is also a design enthusiast and DIY-queen. Honoring Toni Cade Bambara, she is dedicated to making the revolution look irresistible. She spends her free time watching Youtube tutorials, scrolling Pinterest, and doodling in her sketchbook.
Erica Mauter is a retired engineer (and still a STEMinist). She worked for five years as the Executive Director of a community choir organization. She earned her BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership from St. Catherine University, where she wrote her thesis on Ranked Choice Voting. She has extensive experience volunteering for campaigns, candidates, and organizations working in social justice and the arts. She currently sits on the board of directors for the Headwaters Foundation for Justice and the American Civic Forum, is an appointee to the City of Minneapolis capital budget advisory committee, and chairs Stonewall DFL, the LGBTQ+ community caucus of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.
Erica was a blogger for over a decade, publishing several projects on Twin Cities life and minority experiences in Minnesota. She has consulted for nonprofits and small businesses on digital marketing and content strategy. She's an on-again-off-again runner with one full marathon under her belt. She's a season ticket holder for the Minnesota Lynx. Erica lives in the Tangletown neighborhood of Minneapolis with her wife Missy and their two dogs, Peanut Louise and Florence. Erica just finished her first run for office in 2017, seeking to represent the 11th Ward on the Minneapolis City Council.
Huiying Bernice Chan is a creative writer, multimedia storyteller, and cultural organizer from New York City with roots in the Toisanese diaspora. Huiying is the first to graduate with an individualized major in Ethnic Studies from Wellesley College since its founding and co-ignited a student movement for ethnic studies. In 2016, Huiying received the Knafel Fellowship to travel solo to Chinatowns in eight countries around the world, documenting global stories of migration and resilience across the diaspora. Huiying has received fellowships and awards from the Asian American Writers' Workshop, Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation, Seeding Change Center for Asian American Movement Building, and Random House. They currently work closely with the Chinatown Art Brigade and The W.O.W. Project creating community art and programming in the midst of rapid displacement in Manhattan's Chinatown. As a proud water sign, Huiying is in love with Cantonese food and exploring the teachings of the universe.
Jelani Drew is a queer, black, southern organizer and creative who is passionate about social change and storytelling. A graduate of VCU’s Master’s of Social Work program, they focused their academic studies on social work administration, policy, and programming. Jelani has recently relocated to the North and is working to find community in Philadelphia, but continues to stay engaged in Southern organizing communities such as Southerners on New Ground and Virginia Anti-Violence Project. Jelani has been a recipient of VCU’s Black History in the Making award and Richmond’s Black & Bold award. Their passion lies in empowering people of color and queer & trans people to thrive in all aspects of life and organize in creative ways.
I am a Mexican-born photographer and immigration rights activist. I first came to prominence in August 2015, when I released a video statement in response to Donald Trump’s remarks about undocumented Mexican immigrants. In the video, I defend myself, and fellow undocumented immigrants, against Trump’s characterization of us as criminals, drug dealers, and rapists; I was, in fact, working three jobs, one of which was as a busboy in Trump’s own Soho Hotel.
The video quickly became viral, and I was featured in several media, including The New York Times, The LA Times, All In with Chris Hayes (MSNBC), NY1 Noticias, Univision and Telemundo. I finished an Associate’s degree in photography at LaGuardia Community College in Queens and I'm currently working on my Bachelor's degree in Public Affairs at Baruch College. I also started several photo projects in response to anti-immigration sentiment, which I hope to publish in a book one day.
Shireen Nori is a South Indian American, Bay Area born Pacific Northwest raised community organizer, agitator, and educator. Shireen has been committed to reproductive justice for nearly ten years. She has worked closely with Planned Parenthood Federation of America, serving on their Young Leaders Advisory Council, Youth Rising Communities of Color Council and as a National Spokesperson where she served on a committee that conducted endorsement interviews with the 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidates. She worked at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii where she helped flip the Washington State Senate and most recently worked at the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum in Atlanta, GA. Shireen deeply believes in people power and decolonial organizing. In her spare time, she can be found eating food that other people have prepared.
Sijal Nasralla is a activist, artist, and community organizer who is humbly settling in beloved community within Durham, NC. Before joining Kairos, Sijal created art insatiably, mobilized direct actions, and led strategic campaigns for a wide range of social justice work happening locally and globally. His work has tinkered at the intersection of electoral politics, Palestinian-solidarity, Black Lives Matter, and refugee/immigrant communities in NC and the Middle East. He comes to the Kairos fellowship with a passion towards learning, impact, and utilizing digital strategies to make mass work happen in nuanced and beautiful ways.
Tanya Aguilar Garduño is a proud xicana from south Texas, who is passionate about building tech-based and data driven social justice campaigns. Her experience working on redistricting, voter engagement campaigns and community governance campaign led her back to school to pursue a computer science degree at Texas State University. Currently she lives in Austin, TX and in her spare time she likes to roller skate and go on hikes.
Tara Tabassi has been a grassroots organizer for over a decade, from building national strategies to end police militarization with the War Resisters League to community organizing with LGBTQ youth of color with FIERCE NYC. Besides dismantling the Military Industrial Complex one campaign at a time, Tara believes in the power of community gardens, healing with plant medicine and telling stories through graphic illustration.
Cazembe Murphy Jackson is a Black, Working-Class, Southern, Non-binary, Trans person. He is a social justice organizer who believes that ordinary people are capable of doing extraordinary things when we work together for a common goal. He is a commitment to loving himself so deeply that others are inspired to love themselves just as deep. Cazembe is a storyteller, trainer, facilitator, strategist, and writer. He works across movement sectors with many organizations and coalitions including Movement for Black Lives, National Network of Abortion Funds, Southerners on New Ground, and Black Lives Matter Global Network . In his free time, he enjoys listening to a fun mixture of trap and gospel music while reading political non-fiction on his Kindle.