EBHO’s Leadership Academy Graduate Profiles
To grow a powerful resident and community organizing base for the affordable housing movement and to change policies and systems, East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO) believes that residents and staff need the knowledge and skills to be effective leaders.
In order to develop these essential qualities, EBHO created a Leadership Academy to help develop this leadership and build our power as affordable housing advocates.
This Leadership Academy is a deep investment in promising and emerging affordable housing leaders who will help shape and grow the affordable housing movement.
Resident & Community Organizing Leadership Academy 2019
“Helping others is my passion. As a resident of affordable housing, I like to help my neighbors in need. Some of them don’t speak the same language, but I look for ways to communicate and make sure that I am able to help them the best way that I can. I feel powerful when I am helping others.”
Taqwaa Abdul Al-Maalik
“On April 07, 2016, I was released from prison after 35 years of incarceration. East Oakland does not feel like home to me anymore. My family has been displaced, my neighbors do not own their homes, and those who are still in Oakland are living in tents. The name Taqwaa means Spiritual Protection, Abdul means Servant Of, and Al-Maalik means The King. My Islamic name represents the man I’ve become, which is a servant to my community.”
“I know I am meant to be a leader. The barriers that prevent me from being the leader I want to be is ‘knowledge,’ and I’m excited to acquire all the knowledge that this leadership academy can give me.”
Ester Ruth Parker
“Concealed in the word ‘home’ is the word ‘om’, which is the sound of peace. Om, symbolically embodies the divine energy, or three main characteristics: creation, preservation, and liberation. This derives a high spiritual and creative power. HOME means a safe, peaceful and nurturing environment.”
Katie Dixon (KD)
“I am proud to represent all formerly incarcerated people. Those are my people. Our struggles are unique, and therefore our fight is unique. We fight a system that is embedded into our nation’s constitution, just like slavery was. Knowing that the system was designed to trap me, this fight is what brings me alive.”
“I’m excited to learn more about affordable housing by listening to the experiences of residents whose buildings underwent a rehab project, and to hear about the planning and execution of it from their perspectives.”
Derek Sean Herbert Jr.
“The main challenge that has prevented me from being a leader are my, at times, introverted personality. Home to me is somewhere where you feel safe, loved, and completely comfortable. I hope to find this and become an effective, out-spoken, and fearless leader through the Leadership Academy.”
“I love building things with my hands and seeing the results of my labor. As a builder I know there is only so much one person can do alone, and so I also love being part of and leading teams of people to build large and complex things. I hope this Leadership Academy gives me the knowledge and skills I need to build teams to tackle the huge problems confronting us.”
“I was homeless for about five years. It was a struggle not knowing where I was going to lay my head at night, not knowing when the police would come by and make me get up and move along. Just as I was about to give up my name came up to get into a home. It felt so good to put my key in and walk into my apartment. I would now like to know more about gettting bills passed for more affordable housing, to help others in need.”
“I feel most alive when I get out with people and have a purpose. I enjoy being with others. I know there isn’t enough truly affordable housing for low-income folk, and I’d like to create housing for the unhoused and help win subsidies for those at the lowest income levels.”
“I grew up in West Oakland amongst violence, poverty, homelessness, and the lack of real opportunity. I always admired the work of Reverend Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and had a desire for community organizing around affordable housing. What makes me the most happy is being of service to those truly in need of help. I hope this leadership academy will help me to better verbally articulate my feelings and thoughts.”
Maria Law de Colombia
“I grew up deeply conscious of social inequities and of the humanity of all children and people because my parents were honest, generous, and loving. During the civil rights movement I helped distribute black panther party newspapers, worked with underprivileged children who taught me more about their reality of racism and poverty, and joined the brown berets…”
Lori Michele Goss
“My given government name is Lori Michele Goss. My Pheonician Hebrew name is Milcah Michele Asthar. Milcah Asthar means ‘Queen Star’, and Michele is a common middle name on my mother’s side of the family. My mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and eldest daughter all share the same middle name ‘Michele’ with only one ‘L’.”
“I moved to Oakland at the age of 26, and struggled with the fast pace of the city. I went to jail, got lost on drugs, and spent many days homeless. Through it all, I’ve always been willing to help others. I began helping out at different churches, feeding people and passing out food. Helping someone with a meal brings me the greatest joy, because life has taught me that if you aren’t hungry, then you can look for work and housing.”
“My family and my faith are two extremely important things to who I am. I identify as a Chinese American who grew up in a second-generation Chinese family living in the Bay Area. The Bay area is my home, and whenever I return from travel back to the Bay area, I feel like I can breathe again. In Leadership Academy, I hope to learn about the restrictions that prohibit further production of affordable housing. I hope to use this information to educate residents and other networks.”
“I am from a long line of proud Afro American women who worked hard to make change in their Community. I believe being a Black Woman without letters behind your name can really affect the way people see you and hear what you say. I hope Leadership Academy will help me to accept the fact that I have more to offer as a leader than as a worker, and help me use my leadership skills in a way that helps others to lead.”
“I believe we must do our work in community, for the community, until all the people who live in the community are one, without distinction. I am proud to be in the EBHO Leadership Academy, and to learn more about housing and transit oriented development.”
“It gives me a lot of joy to promote self reliance, self worth, and self esteem to young people in impoverished areas. I would like to learn more about the interfaith work that EBHO does through Interfaith Communities United, and I would like to participate in faith-based advocacy to advance housing as a human right.”
“I’m here to make a huge difference in my community. I am dedicated to seeing my community enhanced, NOT replaced. I serve my community through storytelling, and feel that writing and helping others to write is therapeutic. I feel at home empowering myself in order to better serve others.”
“Home means family values, honesty, and safety. I want to learn about housing for homeless people, and I would like to do a video on what their needs are, and what they believe would help them. From Leadership Academy, I hope to learn how to better talk to people and present as a leader.”
Rochelle Le Flore
Resident & Community Organizing Leadership Academy 2018
Cathy Eberhardt, Resident, Noble Tower
“As a living example of what it is to be homeless, I set my future goals to help the homeless and the community.”
Dawn Love, Staff Member: EBALDC LCC + SparkPoint Oakland
“I am single parent and have been a strong Black woman all of my life for my beautiful daughter Akilah… I want to make a difference for my daughter in her life, so she becomes the woman that she can become…”
Denise Norman, St. Mary’s Center
“I use my experience as a low income senior who has lived in poverty and homelessness to educate and mobilize the community to engage in social justice activities. I believe that everyone has a voice, and the more voices that come together, the more powerful we are.”
Don-Neva E. Johnson, ABODE Services, staff
“I am helping my 78 year old Aunt raise her ungrateful-Great-Grandchildren, I spend Sunday afternoons with my Great Uncle King who has been in a convalescent hospital since 2014, and I negotiate with God to let me win the lottery so I can make a financial difference in the lives of my family, the agency I work for and my community.”
Genevieve Sotelo, Building Futures
“I’ve finally found my purpose in life and due to my own experience I’ve learned what my gifts are, which are the passions that I’ve fallen in love with. I love supporting people/women. I’m able to give back what has been freely given to me… I get to carry the message of hope…”
Huiying (Katie) Li, EBALDC
“My passion for working with the low-income community makes me have a strong motivation to improve as an affordable housing advocate. I would like to educate myself to better serve the community and assist our resident leaders.”
Kin Li, EBALDC
“Kin has been inspired by EBALDC’s healthy neighborhood approach which addresses social factors impacting a neighborhood’s health and wellbeing. She wishes for everyone to eat and be healthy, to have more energy to help others, and to build a healthy neighborhood”
Mia Collins, ABODE Services
“I have a passion to advocate for underserved populations and for persons with mental health diagnoses. I’ve worked with veterans and provided case management services, facilitated a substance awareness class, I am active in my church, I serve as a deaconess, and I stay involved in the children’s ministry. Giving back to my community is a great aspect of my life.”
“My name is Robin J. Moore and I am a native of beautiful Oakland… I’ve witnessed my friends, family and community facing the thought of losing their homes withno visible signs of help or support…It is important to know your rights and to fight for them. We live in the richest Country – no one should be homeless and housing should be affordable for all.”
Carey Whiteside, St. Mary’s Center
Dr Theresa Priester, J.D. (Cookie) Allen, Temple Gardens
Judith Ann Christopher
Resident & Community Organizing Leadership Academy 2017
I’m a single mother of three and grandmother with two girls and a boy. My son, who is the youngest, is in his 30s. As a single mom I had a lot of support from older family members but I know what is to struggle, to be homeless with children and to have to do anything you can to get by.
I am now living in transitional housing and getting a master’s degree in nonprofit management and fundraising. I am on track to graduate in the spring and want to work in the community through existing non-profits to empower youth, women and families. I hope to recruit retired teachers to work with children who are not doing well in school and get these kids on track.
It is so important that we fight for affordable housing because if people aren’t housed they can’t live a worthwhile life.
My name is Barbara Shingleton. I am a single mother of two wonderful boys, ages fourteen and nine. I have been a resident of the Oakland Housing Authority in East Oakland for almost two years. Being faced with a lot of challenges here in Oakland, I had no plans on staying. However there was a battle that needed to be fought and overcome.
My hometown is Los Angeles, California, but I spent some of my teenage years in San Diego as well. Upon becoming a resident of the OHA, I was immediately interested in advocacy for women and children who have faced and/or are still facing the struggles surrounding domestic abuse and homelessness. I am currently a student studying sociology and am still facing the struggles of being a survivor of domestic violence and trauma, a struggle that my children and I have faced over the last four years. To build on that, I feel it is my duty to educate myself on community issues to advocate not only for my children but the children of our future.
Casie Stone is an organizer, activist and practicing associate architect in Oakland, CA, originally from Virginia Beach, VA. She holds a Bachelors of Architecture from Virginia Tech: College of Architecture and Urban Studies, from where she graduated in 2008. When she isn’t working as a designer, she can be found reading, writing, and studying culture and politics, with the hope of having a hand in the creation of a better world.
I am interested in participating in the leadership program to better the community where I live. I am currently a tenant at one of Bridges’ Apartment communities. I hope to become involved with the residents and property management as an EBHO representative to share the advocacy work that EBHO is accomplishing in Alameda County. My main goal is to enlighten the community on issues of housing advocacy.
Peace ~ Blessings
I used to work as a nurse, caring for a woman for many years. After she passed I was out of work and moving from place to place. My mental illness was terrible and my self-esteem was very low. Then a woman told me about St. Mary’s Center.
They got me mental health services that made all the difference. I am very happy to be here at Saint Mary’s. I keep busy running the Memorial Garden along with the staff and am vice-president of the Elders of Council at St. Mary’s, a group of residents that advises the program to make sure everyone is taken care of.
I want to fight for affordable housing because I know that when you can’t afford rent you have to go without other things. I know how hard that is and I want to make the way for other people, seniors and our children, to make a better life for them.
I am Family Services Coordinator at FESCO Banyan House. I have been the coordinator for the program for over 3 years and have a passion for assisting families in finding long-term housing. I am interested in joining the Academy to gain access to resources, while sharing the resources and knowledge that I have with others. I believe that through advocacy we can support each other and the families we work with in finding long-term affordable housing.
Hello future leadership group,I would like to introduce myself. I am a transgender and my name is ms Fredrica, or ms sweet rica in spanish. I come to this group as a Bay Area transplant, born and raised in the city of angels, Los angeles, CA.
I moved to Oakland in January of 2000. I graduated from San Francisco State University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and have a host of experience in theater arts and public speaking.
From 2005-2013 I was on the Ryan White Planning Council for people living with HIV/AIDS and was co-chair of that council from 2011-2013. I too am a person living with HIV since 1995. I am proud to say I have lived with HIV for twenty-two years. Wow, I amaze myself.
I am truly a survivor. Thank you god.
And lastly I obtained affordable housing in 2015 through HOPWA, Housing Opportunities for People Living with Aids. I owe a lot to faith and persistence and my hardworking case manager who kept me positive and out of jail.
As a resident at one of the low income housing projects in East Oakland, my family and I understand the correlation between stable, affordable housing and the health of the underserved and low-income population. Working as a medical assistant at one of Alameda Health System’s ambulatory clinics, has affirmed these facts. Through my interactions with patients, I have found that having to choose between stable housing and their health is a real concern that plagues the care delivery process. These are the forces that drive me to contribute towards the cause by joining this academy and working towards a viable and equitable solution to these problems.
I was born in Pittsburg, CA and grew up all over the Bay Area. I am currently a field supervisor for a security company. I live in affordable housing and love it.
My life was pretty hard growing up. My parents were absent from my life and I grew up with my grandmother, which was a little rocky. I have been homeless and struggled with housing, but when I secured affordable housing, I could finally save some money and truly have a home.
I want to participate in the leadership academy because it’s important for people to be able to afford a comfortable place to live. Affordable housing residents like myself need to be involved in the fight for affordable housing because we understand the situation through our personal experience. Through this work I hope to learn how to make my voice heard and understand the opinions of others.
I am a Social Service Coordinator at St. Mary’s Garden senior apartment home in West Oakland. I would like to join the Academy to learn more about affordable housing, resident and community leadership, and tenant rights. I want to learn more about affordable housing because I can identify with the struggles of high rent and the economic demands of the rental market in the Bay Area. At the University of California Davis, I studied socio-cultural anthropology. I would like to help with the preservation and development of affordable housing throughout Oakland and the Bay Area people of all different ages, both of the present generations and those to come.
My main concern is I’ve almost been homeless. It’s not a good situation when you don’t know where you’ll end up. I want to learn about housing resources and housing rights so I can help others. If landlords think you don’t know your rights they’ll run you over. If I ever find myself in a hard situation I’ll know how to deal with it.
My own housing search had me discouraged. I applied to housing all over the Bay Area and for years heard nothing back. I feel blessed to have a place now.
Whatever I can do, I’ll help. During Thanksgiving I helped give out Blessing Bags to the homeless with hygiene essentials and food. It was amazing to see how you can put a smile on people’s faces. It makes me feel good to give back because that could be me.
I see new construction happening alongside homeless communities, what is that about? I dream to one day walk out and see no homeless people because they’ve all been housed.
I was born in Greenville, SC but moved to NJ around age eighteen. I have been a minister since the age of sixteen, have counseled young men, performed as a professional gospel musician and, now that I’m retired, I’m in the process of writing a book about spiritual dreams.
I am a father of five children, four boys and a daughter and I have ten grandkids.
I am on social security disability and unable to work. I was sick and homeless, but with my income I wasn’t approved for senior housing. It shouldn’t be this hard for a disabled older man to get a safe place to live.
I am excited to join the Leadership Academy because I’m concerned that what’s called “low income” housing is not really for low income people. Housing should be for people who need it not for making landlords rich. The system is broken and the system needs to be fixed.
I was born and raised in Oakland, CA, but since my stepdad was in the service, we moved all over the world when I was growing up. We traveled through Spain, Italy and Austria and lived in Germany, as well as France.
We finally settled back in Oakland where I went to cosmetology school and worked as a hairdresser until my son was in preschool. At that point I began volunteering at his school and working at Children’s Hospital.
I stopped working when I got married and, when my husband and I separated, I became a single woman on a limited income. I sold our house to support myself and my foster children and began applying for senior housing.
I quickly realized how difficult it is for senior citizens and single moms like myself to live in Oakland. Because of my experience, I want to make sure that there is a faster way for seniors, single moms and the homeless to secure a place to live.
I Luwana Evans, would like to become a voice with EBHO, for the homeless and displaced. I was homeless, and as a graduate of the Community Leadership INstitute (CLI), I have a strong desire to take on a resident leadrership role within the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA). I am also currently active with the OHA Resident Advisory Board Meetings, and volunteer with the Oakland Unified School District breakfast program My vision is to work with people who are focused on health and wellness, eduation, public safety and civic engagemnt within the housing justice movement, as I am dedicated to this work to serve my communtiy.
Yo tengo 10 años viviendo en Posada de Colores en el Fruitvale de Oakland. Siempre he tratado de llevarme bien con mis vecinos; mi mamá también vive aquí en el edificio. Yo estoy involucrada en nuestra comunidad residencial, primero empecé organizando y rezando el Rosario. Siempre he tratado de ayudar a la gente. Más recientemente me metí con el presidente del comité de residentes para organizar una cena al mes; los residentes deciden la comida y yo ayudo a prepararla. Tenemos juntas regularmente donde pedimos la cooperación de los demás vecinos para la cena y otras actividades. Para servir yo sola no se puede.
Hace varios años estuve muy involucrada con mi propio negocio en el área Fruitvale cuando hubieron muchos cambios por BART. Desafortunadamente tuve que dejar ese negocio pero me siento orgullosa del esfuerzo que hice por la comunidad y lo que ganamos. Yo quiero participar en los talleres de liderazgo para seguir ocupando mi mente y sentirme útil; cosas que tiene que hacer uno para seguir adelante.
I have been a resident of St. Mary’s Gardens for seven years. SMG is an affordable senior apartment. I know very well what affordable housing means for people of lower incomes. When CCH (Christian Church Homes) organized some residents to advocate for affordable housing, I joined the group and, together with my apartment social work coordinator, I went to Sacramento to meet the secretary of a legislator to talk about the problems facing lower income people, especially seniors. I’d like to work with others to help all the people who need affordable housing.
I am an Operations Assistant at Satellite Affordable Housing Associates. I want to participate in this leadership academy because I’d like to learn more about affordable housing policy, the history of housing, and community building. I enjoy working in a place where we provide housing for people with low incomes and special needs.
My background in Sociology has helped me understand individuals and groups in our society. Given what I’ve learned, I’m inspired to be involved in an organization that fights for housing justice and social change. My vision is to continue to work in a place where I can provide my time and services to help others.
Shalin works with the Non-Profit Housing Association (NPH) as Administrative & Membership Associate. She comes to the Academy with the intention of strengthening her foundational understanding of the affordable housing movement and industry so that she can be a better advocate. Her background in community organizing and personal experience with housing insecurity have driven her academic studies in UC Berkeley’s Ethnic Studies Department and continue to motivate her work with NPH. After studying carceral geographies as an undergraduate, she is excited by the ways housing can provide space for supportive services that address the unique needs of a community.
After working in the print and broadcast media for 30+ years in Bangladesh, I retired. There I started the first ever battered women’s home, and edited a monthly women’s rights magazine for seven years. Then in 2000, I decided to leave Bangladesh, and emigrated to the USA, where I earned a certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language from UC Irvine. I worked for Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and then Upwardly Global, a nonprofit that helps College educated immigrants find suitable professional jobs, which, surprisingly, is not easy. Looking back, what I consider the high point in my life is when I served as the Lady-in-waiting, for Mrs. Carter. When the Carters visited Bangladesh for three days, I spent most of that time with them, hosting the majority of their activities.
Now I am active in the field of co-operative and other housing for seniors. I volunteer for the Berkeley Central Library, North Berkeley Senior Centre, and in the senior community of Helios Corner, where I live.
I have been working in the community for the last seven years. I have done work with my daughter’s Head Start, different parent groups through my daughter’s school and through Parent Voices Oakland, of which I’m a member. I am also working in the community talking about PrEP. I really enjoy working in my community and being a resource for information that isn’t often shared. Thank you for giving me a chance to be a part of the process.
Ms. Wendolyn Dorsey
I have been a resident of San Leandro and Hayward for about seven and a half years. I was born and raised in Oakland and I’m in the process of moving back there. I started being a housing advocate in 2011 when I participated in trainings at the California Hotel. The reason I became an advocate was because I’ve been having problems of my own with housing, trying to find housing with my physical disability. I’ve been going to different advisory boards to make my voice heard; I just began participating in Oakland Housing Authority’s Resident Advisory Board.
I’ve been doing a lot of outreach because I want better housing for me and others. I want landlords to be accountable for handling their property, like repairs, to ensure good quality of life for residents. I’ve faced many injustices in my search of adequate housing and I don’t want others to face the same.
I’m from Toledo, OH and I first came to CA for the weather. I got a job as a property manager of affordable housing and did that work for twenty-five years. During that time, I saw how people were struggling with the price of housing and saw the joy in their eyes when I handed them the keys to a nice, clean, safe place to live.
When I retired in 2011, I went from having a comfortable income to being on social security, which barely covered my rent. I was burning through my savings and had sold everything I owned. My landlord evicted me and it was like a miracle when my application was accepted at Allen Temple Arms.
I’m now on the resident council and resident agenda committee, involved in a program that takes Seniors out shopping, and was active in the A1 housing bond campaign. Through the leadership academy I hope to learn how to better speak with legislators, understand how bills are passed and how to get more affordable housing in the Bay Area.
Ya San Wu
I am a Resident Services Coordinator at Lion Creek Crossings with East Bay Asian Local Development’s (EBALDC) Neighborhood Economic Development (NED) Department. I have about two years experience in affordable housing; about a year in leasing and now more than a year in resident services. Nevertheless, I am aiming to learn more about affordable housing and to be able to help more low income families and seniors. Hopefully by participating in the Leadership Academy, I will be able to accomplish more for affordable housing.