Raised in East Portland, Diego is a first generation college graduate with a deep passion for social justice. As a child, Diego attended six elementary schools and three middle schools throughout the Portland Metro Area, and his early experiences inspired his desire to work for racial equity and systemic change. In 2013, he became the youngest and the first Latino elected to the Reynolds School Board. In 2014, he was appointed to the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs. Diego is a founding Board Member of Momentum Alliance, and after serving as Board Chair, he became MA’s Co-Executive Director at the age of 26. Diego earned his bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies and political science from the University of Oregon and his master’s degree in social work from the Portland State University.

When Vanessa was 13, her mother was put into deportation proceedings after a raid at her workplace. Beginning to get in fights and give up on school, Vanessa decided instead to join the “Papers Youth” Crew, students who helped produce and distribute the documentary film, “Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth” which led to the founding of Momentum Alliance three years later. She became MA’s first Youth Director at 18 and then MA’s youngest Co-Executive Director at 21. Vanessa is a Skidmore Prize Finalist and a Freedom Fighters Awardee. As a high school student, she appeared on national Nick News with Linda Ellerbee as an immigrant rights activist. Vanessa is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree at Portland Community College.

Karla is a Parkrose High School graduate and currently attends Mt. Hood Community College. She was a member of the Parkrose water polo team and the unified Special Olympics Oregon team, where she partnered up with an athlete with a disability. She was the president of a school service club and organizes her school’s Multicultural Festival. Karla raises money each year for Special Olympics through the Polar Plunge and formally served on the Momentum Alliance Board for over a year. She is also coordinating our We Are Brave reproductive rights work with Western States Center. Karla has testified in the state capital in support of Tuition Equity.

Emily moved to Portland from Taipei, Taiwan in 2008 to attend Reed College. After earning her degree in political science, Emily worked and interned for various Portland nonprofits including the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon. Emily has also lived and worked in New York City for Columbia University’s High School Summer Program and Pine Ridge Reservation South Dakota for an Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe organization that provides tribal court representation and cultural programs for Lakota children. Emily is passionate about youth organizing and social justice. Emily’s goal is to become well versed in two types of breaking: breaking the vicious cycles of inequity and break dancing! As Momentum Alliance’s Reproductive Justice Cohort Coordinator, Emily organizes young people for social justice and advocacy - while paying close attention to how gender identity and sexuality intersect with all aspects of our lives. She was previously a program participant and now she is leading the project.

Jaime has been in the United States since he was 12 years old, and he has dedicated his life to the fight for immigrant and social justice because he wants a better world for his parents, children and community: a world where all people live a life without fear, are treated equally and with respect. After advocating for the DREAM Act in 2010, Jaime co-founded the Oregon DreamActivist with the intention of elevating the voices of undocumented young people. In 2011, Jaime was one of the first Student Alliance Project crew members, and his work led to the founding of Momentum Alliance. Jaime continues to inspire young people to make powerful change for themselves and in their communities as MA’s SAP Coordinator & Youth Coach.

Rebecca has been a social justice activist for more than twenty years. She produced the film “Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth” with her partner, Anne Galisky, and the “Papers” Youth Crew, which led to the founding of Momentum Alliance in 2011. Since co-founding MA, she has happily transitioned from Co-Executive Director to Leadership Development Coach, training Momentum Alliance emerging leaders to learn the administrative and programming skills required to run the organization from strategic planning and budgeting to finance and fundraising to program design and evaluation. Before her roles at Momentum Alliance, Rebecca provided consulting services to government agencies and nonprofits. Rebecca earned her bachelor’s degree from Lewis & Clark College and she has a master’s degree in public administration from Portland State University with a focus on non-profit management and community development.

Sarah’s passion for social justice brought her to Momentum Alliance. In college, Sarah gravitated toward on women’s issues, globalization, and sexual and reproductive justice. She taught sixth graders in New York City through Teach For America while earning her master’s degree in teaching, and then spent six years in Boston conducting research in women’s health and running marketing and communications for HouseWorks, a private home care company dedicated to re-imagining what it means to age. In 2014, Sarah returned to her hometown of Portland and met the Momentum Alliance crew. She became an MA ‘groupie’ and soon after welcomed the opportunity to be MA’s first Development & Communications Director.

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