Roberto Tijerina is a queer, Latino, first-generation child of immigrants, keeper of the heart-space, and 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 or 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 organizing 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.
Adelina Nicholls Since 2001, Adelina Nicholls has overseen, coordinated, and carried out the efforts of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) to develop grassroots leaders and organizations within Georgia’s Latino immigrant communities in order to defend and advance Latinos’ civil and human rights. Originally from Mexico City, Adelina received a degree in sociology from the Autonomous National University of México (UNAM), where she later taught courses in sociology, social theory, social research techniques, and methodology in the Political and Social Science College.
In 2001, Adelina co-founded and served as President of the Coordinating Council of Latino Community Leaders of Atlanta—the organization out of which GLAHR grew. In this role, Adelina facilitated community organizing workshops and leadership development seminars for Latino immigrants, as well as coordinated a campaign that acquired over 30,000 signatures to demand for undocumented immigrants’ right to obtain driver’s licenses. Adelina later served as a lead organizer for the First Latino March for Dignity in Georgia, during which more than 5,000 people gathered to demand driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. She was also a spokesperson and co-organizer of the March 17 Alliance for Immigration Reform (Alianza 17 de Marzo), which took place on April 10, 2006, and mobilized more than 70 thousand people.
Adelina has received recognition as well as a number of awards for her work in community organizing and human rights, including the MALDEF Award Community Service (2001), the ACLU Georgia Civil and Human Rights Award (2008), and Mundo Hispánico’s Best Organization of the Year (2013).
Taylor Janay is a sometimes frilly sometimes shaved-head boyish feminist. She is ready to burn everything 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.
Tanya González sees Wayside as a space of healing, community building, and movement. She grew up on the Texas-Mexican border and has lived in Richmond, VA for twenty-two years. She has worked within Richmond’s Latino community for over fifteen years in various capacities. She is currently the Executive Director of the Sacred Heart Center in Richmond. She has a B.A. from Brown University in Latin American Studies. She is currently in the Masters of Public Administration program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Tanya has also taught various forms of dance for over twenty years and sees dance and music as a powerful tool for social justice. Currently, in her free time, Tanya coordinates a dance group of children and youth that performs traditional Latin American and Spanish dance in the Richmond area.
Anup Gampa came to Charlottesville, VA to pursue a PhD in Marxist social psychology. In Charlottesville, 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 organize 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.
Netfa Freeman is Events Coordinator at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).Prior to this position, for 10 years he was Director of IPS’s Social Action & Leadership School for Activists (SALSA). Currently, in addition to being a facilitator and board member for Wayside, he is also an organizer in Pan-African Community Action in Washington DC and a facilitator/trainer for Train the Movement: A Trainers of Color Collaborative and radio co-host/producer for the program Voices With Vision on WPFW 89.3 FM, Washington DC.
Josh Diamond has been part of the Wayside family since it’s founding. He is from Virginia and has lived there 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.