After a long and thoughtful search process, we’re proud to announce the new leadership team for Californians for Justice: Co-Executive Directors Yasmine (Yasi) Safinya-Davies (she/her) and Mauro Sifuentes (they/them)!
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am thrilled to welcome Yasi and Mauro into the leadership of Californians for Justice. Individually and together they bring a treasure trove of talent, passion, and expertise which we are so honored they have agreed to share with our team, our youth, and the movement for educational justice. Stay tuned for opportunities to welcome them to our community.” – Meredith Fenton, Board Chair
Yasi and Mauro are a self-described pair of dynamic, justice-centered, and transformational leaders and we couldn’t agree more. The pair impressed CFJ staff and youth leaders with their extensive organizing experience and passion for transforming public schools into places of racial justice, empowerment and joy for students. Together they bring more than two decades of experience working alongside CA public schools and youth populations.
Mauro brings a deep knowledge of working alongside public school systems up and down the state and helped establish youth programming spaces centering Black, Brown, Indigenous, immigrant, and LGBTQ+ working-class youth. A Fresno Unified graduate, Mauro also has deep ties to the Central Valley and they bring a much celebrated connection to the Fresno office region and culture.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to bring twenty years of experience working in public education into deeper service to grassroots organizing and statewide policy advocacy. As a queer, trans, and two-spirit leader of mixed and Indigenous descent, I also know that so few of us have the opportunity to see ourselves mirrored in visible leadership roles. I will work hard to ensure I’m supporting students, colleagues, and our beautiful California school communities to stand strong, knowing that all our perspectives, cultures, and legacies are necessary for creating a strong and democratic system of education for all.” — Mauro Sifuentes, Incoming Co-Executive Director
Yasi has decades of experience with advocacy groups and supporting community-based organizations serving people living at the intersections of gender, racial, immigrant, and economic oppression. Yasi’s previous experience includes working in gender justice as the executive director at Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE) and more recently at CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, an organization committed to liberation and nonprofit leadership development.
“I grew up in Oakland during the 80’s and 90’s in a blended, multi-racial family, with parents who dedicated their careers to making higher education accessible to Black, brown, and immigrant students. Learning about the world through this unique lens molded my values so fundamentally that at the center of what I stand for is peace and liberation. Joining California’s young leaders, who continue the work of the many who came before us to advocate for racially just schools, feels like kismet, and it’s an honor.” — Yasmine Safinya-Davies, Incoming Co-Executive Director
Co-Executive Directorship is a new leadership model for CFJ, but one that remains aligned to our values of shared leadership and adaptation to change. We are excited to try on new structures that generate more possibilities for our organization and can’t wait to share more details as Yasi & Mauro join us officially in January 2023!
Early next year we’ll have major news to share about the direction of our next unified campaign, but already we’re closing in plans to push for cultural and material reparations, youth-led democracy and the next phase of Relationship Centered Schools. We can’t wait for Yasi & Mauro to join our staff and youth leaders as we build power together to continue transforming CA public schools into places of joy, healing and belonging for Black and Brown youth and families.
Stay tuned for more updates on Yasi & Mauro in 2023! We’ll be sharing in-depth profiles of each of them and their beautiful vision for CFJ!
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