Who We Are

Meet Wayside’s Board of Directors

Roberto Tijerina is a queer, Latino, first-generation child of immigrants, keeper of the heart-space, androberto2 closet diva. In his early adolescence he realized two things: that language – and language barriers – impact access to power and that his dream of a charro wedding would only work if he was marrying Vicente Fernandez or Lee Majors. Since then he has worked as an activist – in Chicago and in the South – with his three mainstays being queer, immigrant, and language justice.

His never-boring political path includes working for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund supporting diverse LGBT communities around civil rights issues, coordinating the Highlander Center’s Multilingual Capacity Building Program, serving as the Director of Finance and Administration for the Audre Lorde Project, and spent the last decade building language access infrastructure in movement spaces. He currently serves as Deputy Director for Southerners on New Ground (SONG).

When he’s not doing work work, he can be found doing freelance interpreting, bartending, and converting folks to the miracles of mole and mezcal.  Mostly though, he listens – at the experience of elders, at the inspired vision of young folks, at the magic of queers – to keep his work grounded and true.

Kiara Redd-Martin is a fearless, out-loud and proud black revolutionary who made her way to kiarareddmartinorganizing when a local injustice struck close to home.  In 2014 she co-founded Operation Social Equality (O.S.E) an organization that works cohesively with members of the community along -side social institutions to sever the social inequalities that result from white-supremacy patriarchy which hinders groups from being empowered to their full potential.  O.S.E has worked closely with The University of Maine’s Political Science Club to highlight accomplishments of Black Activist and conduct workshops on present day struggles against police violence. In addition to  organizing several initiatives to bring awareness to police brutality and discriminatory practices in social services, she has been a guest speaker at the University of Virginia and The Grace Tinsley Scholarship Fund.  She currently is working towards an M.S.W at Virginia Commonwealth University where she focuses on bridging the gaps between cultural relativism and therapeutic interventions for people of color.  In July of 2016, O.S.E published a guidebook entitled, Culturally Affirming Safe Spaces: A Guidebook for de-centering whiteness in safe spaces for LGBTQ Youth of Color.  She centers her activism in being unapolegetically Black and is thrilled to join with Wayside Center for Popular education to keep on pushing on in the fight for Black Liberation.

Taylor Janay is a sometimes frilly sometimes shaved-head boyish feminist. She is ready to burn Taylor Janayeverything to the ground but believes so very deeply in dreaming about what the world looks like when we are liberated. She wants to live in a world where love, compassion, and empathy are first nature and where dehumanization is not mainstream. Her artistic voice and colorful perspectives always bring new ideas and new ways of thinking. This creativity is exemplified in her journalism and poetry. Taylor was a writer for the Virginia Defenders newspaper and recently published her own book of poems, PART. She has also been published by For Harriet, Amendment, Medium, and more. Taylor’s organizing experience began only a year ago after there was no indictment for Darren Wilson and a crowd of protesters swept her off the street. She began student organizing around issues of living wage, tuition hikes, and campus accessibility. During school, she was a leader in Students for Social Action, and Student Power. Ever since then, Taylor has enjoyed organizing with groups who value her creativity for more than poster making. her work is focused on the empowerment and liberation of Black people, specifically her queer & trans fam. She has been involved with Southerners on New Ground, Rise Up, and Sister Song.

Anup Gampa came to Charlottesville, VA to pursue a PhD in Marxist social psychology. In AnupGampaProfile3-resizedCharlottesville, he started organizing with the Living Wage Campaign at the university, and through that process began to embed himself in the wider community and its struggles.  He has worked with mothers and grand mothers in Charlottesville organizing against disproportionate placement of Black children into foster care and adoption. And, he is currently helping with research on gentrification in order to inform the community about the current state of housing needs amongst the families with low incomes.  Anup also participates in anti-Islamophobia and anti-caste work.  In his community and academic work, Anup is driven to understand the nexus of capitalism, racism, sexism, imperialism, and other oppressive forces in order to help dismantle them.  He is honored to be part of the Wayside Center for Popular Education.

Josh Diamond has been part of the Wayside family since its founding. He is from Virginia and has lived Josh Diamondthere most of his life. He currently lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia just over the mountain from Wayside. Josh has been an educator, community organizer, youth worker, and interpreter in various capacities over the last 10 years. He helps organize Wayside’s youth camp and is a trainer in the Interpreting for Social Justice workshop. He believes in the power of listening, language, good interpretation, humor, and love in action.


Meet Wayside’s staff

Deborah Kushner, Rentals and Operations Coordinator

Deborah began protesting during the Vietnam era and continues in the areas of environmental justice, climate disruption and governmental misdeeds. She most recently worked for a local community services board working 1:1 with people diagnosed with serious mental illnesses. Deborah moved to Virginia for an internship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia and fell in love with the quiet rural beauty of the area, particularly in comparison with wild Atlanta, where she grew up. You can contact Deborah at: deborah@waysidecenter.org

Rachel Blanton, Capital Campaign Director

Rachel comes to Wayside as a long-time advocate for reproductive rights. After working for several years at an abortion clinic and abortion fund, she has seen first-hand the injustice that people endure when it comes to making a reproductive choice. She feels a calling to address injustices and defend the right to choose. As a firm intersectional feminist, it is her responsibility to act as an ally, listen, support, and take action where needed.

Rachel has a Bachelors of Science in Public Policy from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and has years of experience as a nonprofit fundraiser and grant writer. She currently lives in the Atlanta, GA area raising a young radical-in-training with her partner. You can contact her at: rachel@waysidecenter.org