Just Communities New Board Organizational Structure - And Why it Matters

Just Communities New Board Organizational Structure - And Why it Matters
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Source: Just Communities

Your 16-year-old son says to you that racism doesn’t exist - at least in California - anymore. Your 7- year-old daughter overhears a racist, anti-immigrant slur on the playground, and asks you what it means. You are invited to a concert by a friend, but you know the venue doesn’t offer bathrooms that are safe and accessible to you, both physically and because of your gender identity. When you look around your workplace, you see that women serve only in support roles while men fill all the leadership positions. Finally, you read another newspaper article about our nation’s current administration that worries - even scares - you, and you’re left wondering: “But, what can I do?”

First, what you do matters. Second, we at Just Communities - our staff, supporters, and board members - are here to help.

At Just Communities, we envision an equitable and inclusive Central Coast where all people are connected and respected and where all people have value and voice. For over 16 years we have worked to strengthen Central Coast communities and advance social justice by partnering with local school districts, colleges, universities, non-profit organizations, political organizations, law enforcement institutions, corporations, and more to bridge differences among those of diverse backgrounds and cultures and dismantle all forms of prejudice, discrimination, and oppression.

Just like you, we too have felt the urgency of this political moment. We have long discussed how we can be more responsive to the Central Coast, its communities, and its needs. In particular, though we were formed to be a tri-county organization, we have not yet fully served the needs of Ventura County, San Luis Obispo County, and North Santa Barbara County. Today, we are announcing that this will, and has already, changed. 

In 2017, we have undertaken a major restructuring of our Board of Directors in order to enable us to better serve, and be more responsive to, the diverse needs and communities throughout the Central Coast. Our board has more than doubled in size. We have moved from a single board of about 10 individuals, mostly South Santa Barbara County residents, to a group of 25 dedicated community members from across all three counties, individuals who have answered the call of: “What can I do?”

Our board is now both broken up, and expanded into, three regional boards: 1) Ventura County, 2) North Santa Barbara County / San Luis Obispo County, 3) and South Santa Barbara County. These board members, in addition to our dedicated staff, are here to respond to your needs. They provide our organization with local expertise and insight. They are also, essentially, “Rapid Response Teams” that will help you to mobilize and respond to injustice. They, and we, will work with you to dismantle any and all forms of prejudice, discrimination, and oppression in your community.

Please join us in welcoming the 2017 Just Communities Board of Directors*, both its returning and new members:

● Ventura County

o Jennifer Bailey - New

o Carmela Carreño

o Marlene Cohen - New o Chiany Dri - New

o Yvonne Lomeli - New o Jose Villafania - New

● North Santa Barbara County / San Luis Obispo County o Lynn Becerra-Valencia - New

o Vanessa Cantu - New

o Leola Dublin Macmillan - New

o Emma Fay - New

o Maria Larios-Horton o Cuca Silva - New

o Amber Walz - New

● South Santa Barbara County

o Dennilson Alvarez

o Simone Baker - New

o Dave Cash - New

o Annette Cordero

o Alma Flores - New

o Mark French

o Greg Horton

o Isabel “Izzy” Huerta - New o Jacob Lesner-Buxton

o Marcus Lopez - New

o Viviana Marsano 

o Jack Rivas

o Monique Snowden - New 

*This list applies through June 30, 2017; at the start of our next fiscal year - July 1, 2017 - some adjustments may be made. 

As always, our Executive Director Jarrod Schwartz and the entire Just Communities staff are also here to serve your needs. 

So, what can you do to join the movement toward a more just, inclusive, and equitable Central Coast? 

  • ●  Join us: Learn more about us: www.just-communities.org. Find a program that fits your needs. Contact us at 805-966-2063 or info@justcommunities.org to inquire about joining our board. Support us: donate or volunteer. 

  • ●  Support our sister organizations: Keep Santa Barbara Great Again! A Practical Guide to Protecting the Things We Hold Dear. 

  • ●  Support your local representatives and/or hold them accountable: 

o City Councils 

o County Boards of Supervisors 

  • ▪  Ventura County 

  • ▪  San Luis Obispo County 

  • ▪  Santa Barbara County 

o California State Assembly 

o United States House of Representatives 

Join us to make the Central Coast a more just community. 


About Just Communities:

Just Communities was established in 2001 as a local chapter of The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). Now a fully independent local organization, Just Communities is the only multi-issue social justice organization on the Central Coast that uses evidence-based education and organization development processes to effect whole systems change and produces measurable results. We are experts in understanding diversity, equity, and social justice and the process of transformative change at individual, organizational, and systems levels. We create multi-lingual, multi- generational, multi-stakeholder spaces that empower diverse groups of people to work together in authentic ways to address society’s most challenging issues. Our expertise in human relations uniquely positions us to serve people and organizations in the education, healthcare, non-profit, government, and business sectors. The breadth of our vision statement to "ensure that all people are connected, respected, and valued" does not limit our service to a single constituency. Whether we are training health care providers on cultural competency, facilitating a diverse collaboration of service providers to address youth violence, or empowering at-risk teens as leaders in their schools, Just Communities continues to bridge differences among those of diverse backgrounds and cultures to strengthen the local community and advance social justice. 

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