Meet the Fellows:The 2017 Fellows, who comprise a diverse group including women, immigrants, refugees, Black, Asian Pacific Islander, Latinx and LGBT people, were chosen from communities from Orange County to Oakland. Their voices are critical to shaping a California that honors the dignity, humanity, and self-determination of its people.
XHailing from Guayangareo Valley, Mexico, Katia moved from Morelia, Michoacan to San Jose, CA at the age of three and first stepped into organizing as a freshman in high school. She comes from a family of strong womyn who helped center social justice in her life. Katia, like most of her cousins and siblings joined Californians for Justice (CFJ) as a high schooler. At CFJ she honed her phone banking, canvassing, and leadership skills. She is excited to expand her role at CFJ as a New Majority Fellow, where she will build CFJ’s civic engagement capacity. She sees this as an opportunity to really engage California’s youth in building power and transforming their collective reality. When Katia is not organizing with the baddest team around she enjoys coloring with a nice cup of coffee to relax or even better binge watching Netflix.
New Majority Fellow, Californians for Justice
XAyla Lopez is a 17 years old Mexican American leader from San Bernardino, CA. She is very passionate about her community and has been involved in organizing since her sophomore year of high school. Ayla first became g involved with Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC) three years ago as a young community organizer in charge of recruiting new people for phone banks, canvassing, etc. She knew that she had to fight for what she believes in and organizing at ICUC helped her do that. Ayla is an advocate for education, immigrants right, and health who graduated from Arroyo Valley High School in 2017.
New Majority Fellow, Inland Congregations United for Change
XDavid Aguila is 25 and is from the San Gabriel Valley. He is passionate about working alongside other young folks and shaping the future in our vision. For the past year he has worked at InnerCity Struggle as the Youth Civic Engagement Organizer, and previously as an intern doing Civic Engagement Work, Youth Organizing, and supported with Academic Services. They will be working at InnerCity Struggle as a New Majority Fellow.
New Majority Fellow, InnerCity Struggle
XFahad Mohamed is a 20-years old who was born in Nairobi, Kenya and raised in San Diego, CA. He is very excited to be involved in civic engagement and community organizing because he wants fair and equal opportunities for his people and community. Since early 2017, Fahad has been working at Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA). He was introduced to PANA in the summer of 2016, and became interested in their work after attending some of their events. Fahad became a volunteer at PANA doing some canvassing and serving as team lead for PANA’s Get Out the Vote campaign. Fahad is currently a youth organizer at PANA and is responsible for doing outreach and motivating fellow youth to actively engage in campaigns. He is excited to continue growing his leadership skills in Civic Engagement and youth organizing. During their free time, he enjoys photographing the richness of his community.
New Majority Fellow, Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans
XFred Pinguel is 31 and is from Oakland via Philadelphia. He is excited to help leverage people power to impact institutions through civic engagement. For the past year he has worked at Filipino Advocates for Justice, supporting base building and political work, particularly through civic engagement and with caregivers, tenants and youth. They will be interning at Filipino Advocates for Justice as a New Majority Fellow. Fred’s experiences as an undocumented young person and family history of political organizing feeds his desire for justice led by those most affected. Outside of work, he is an avid karaoke singer and long-time fan of the Philadelphia Sixers.
New Majority Fellow, Filipino Advocates for Justice
XJess Contreras is a 27 year old, first generation Mexican-American from Arvin, California. She is excited about civic engagement because she gets to meet new people while making positive change in her community. For the past 3 years she has been working at the Dolores Huerta Foundation managing their civic engagement programs. She runs teams of paid staff and volunteers engaged in voter registration and outreach. Her teams have done phone banking and canvassing door to door for many non-partisan campaigns.
New Majority Fellow, Dolores Huerta Foundation
XLaneisha is 22 and is a third generation East Oakland resident. She is interested in civic engagement and community organizing because she saw how young people in her own community were making a difference. Laneisha has overcome her self-doubt and pessimism; she now realizes that she has a role in working towards positive change and helping others do the same. Laneisha is committed to fighting the poor educational opportunities, criminalization, gentrification, and other injustices in Oakland and other communities similar to her own. She has been a research assistant at UCSC where she was exposed to grassroots organizing and movement building electoral organizing. As a New Majority Fellow, she looks forward to learning from and networking with others who share similar goals. When not organizing Laneisha likes to be outdoors hiking, ziplining, and exploring nature.
New Majority Fellow, Oakland Rising
XMarinarde Soto is 19 years old and is from Fresno, CA. She is excited about civic engagement because she loves seeing young people of color like herself working towards change not only in their communities but for themselves. For the past year she was working at Fresno Barrios Unidos as an Outreach Worker providing resources to families on “Health For All Kids”. Marinarde currently works with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as a Field Fellow creating a rapid response team and providing “Know Your Rights” Trainings in Fresno County.
New Majority Fellow, Movement Strategy Center
XAmy Leang Horn is 28 and is from Long Beach CA. Amy started her organizing journey as a youth organizer at Khmer Girls in Action in 2004 -2007. She explored and dive into Reproductive justice work and immigration/refugee Rights and addressing the trauma of War, Resettlement and Deportation. She is now a mother of 2 and is very excited about getting back into organizing and civic engagement work. She believes in positive youth development in order for young people to grow up healthy, be safe, and thrive. For the Past year she lead KGA’s field civic engagement program and is building the orgs alumni’s and parents data base. She is most excited about mobilizing South East Asian youth in the Community of Long Beach and building a progressive voter base amongst young voters.
New Majority Fellow, Khmer Girls in Action
XMedha, 22, immigrated from India with her family at five years of age, spending a decent chunk of her childhood in the Midwest before growing up in the suburbs of the South Bay. Medha loves facilitating the politicization of others through community organizing – helping folks name and make sense of their immigrant/diasporic/people of color experiences, build meaningful relationships with their community, and ultimately commit to engagement in local grassroots work to fight for a more liberated tomorrow. She began community organizing last year when building a stronger AAPI youth electorate in Orange County during the 2016 electoral cycle, and since June, has been working as a Field Organizer at San Francisco Rising to mobilize students into campaigns that build power for working class communities of color in San Francisco. She is excited to hone and deepen her skills as an emerging organizer through the New Majority Fellowship.
New Majority Fellow, San Francisco Rising
XNara Kim is 23 and from Orange County, CA, now currently residing and organizing in Los Angeles, CA. She is most excited to continue to build the power of her community and of youth through civic engagement. She has started with the Korean Resource Center as a Youth Organizing Intern and joined as a full time Youth Organizer after graduating from USC. She works with youth to develop their leadership and build power through voter registration and awareness on campuses, phone banking, and canvassing.
New Majority Fellow, Korean Resource Center
XNiquise was born and raised in South Los Angeles, California. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2014 with a major in Urban Studies and an emphasis in Community Development. She joined Community Coalition in 2015 as a Civic Engagement Specialist. She works with her team and local residents to plan community events that improve civic life and runs municipal / state electoral programs to increase voter participation in South Los Angeles.