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100+ Black Leaders for Schools & Communities First

Black futures depend on well-resourced schools and thriving communities

To have a truly prosperous future for California, our Black students and communities must thrive. The Schools & Communities First initiative is a once in a generation opportunity to help address structural inequities that have plagued communities throughout the state for decades.

Black and other communities of color have been hit the hardest by decades of disinvestment from schools and local services, all while corporations have exploited property tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share. And these communities stand to gain by reclaiming $12 billion every year for our classrooms and neighborhoods every year.

In honor of Black History and Black Futures month, the 100+ Black Leaders for Schools & Communities First is comprised of some of the state's most prominent and important Black figures, including educators, clergy, youth activists, small business entrepreneurs, non-profit directors, workplace leaders, philanthropists, and elected officials. Black futures depend on reclaiming the resources we all need to thrive and to build a California future we can all be proud of.

“Right now, our schools and local communities face structural roadblocks to delivering on the promise of a world-class education and safe, healthy neighborhoods – corporations have avoided paying their fair share for years while school funding has fallen farther and farther behind. The Schools & Communities First initiative would reclaim $12 billion every year for our schools and local communities by closing corporate property tax loopholes.” – Tony Thurmond, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction

"We've made a lot of progress in our city, but there's still much more work to be done. We can't afford to continue allowing corporations to avoid paying their fair share while our students and neighborhoods struggle to get by." – Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs

All titles and affiliations are for identification purposes only.

Akbar Bibb, Vice President, Region A, SEIU 1021

Alicia Garza, Principal, Black Futures Lab; Co-founder, Black Lives Matter

Alison Collins, Commissioner, San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education

Alysia Bonner, President, SEIU Local 521

Amber Childress, Trustee, Alameda County Board of Education

Angela Normand, Board Director, California Teachers Association

Dr. Annette Walker, Board President, Hayward Unified School District

Andre Spearman, Member leader, Faith in Action East Bay

Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder in Residence, PolicyLink

Anthony Thigpenn, Founder & President, California Calls

April Verrett, President, SEIU Local 2015

Ben Bartlett, Council member, City of Berkeley

Rev. Ben McBride, Co-Director, PICO California

Rev. Benjamin Briggs, Director of Civic Engagement, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE)

Bill Freeman, Board Director, California Teachers Association

Bobby Welch, President, Association of Santa Clara County Educators

Brandon Sturdivant, Co-Director, Mass Liberation

Byron K. Reed, Senior Vice President of Community Development, Board Director, Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber

Carl Williams, President, California Federation of Teachers Council of Classified Employees

Carolyn Webb de Macias, Board member, Community Coalition South LA

Catherine Bracy, Co-Founder & Executive Director, TechEquity

Chris Wilson, Associate Director, Alliance San Diego

Christina Livingston, Statewide Executive Director, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE)

Clarissa Doutherd, Executive Director, Parent Voices Oakland

Connie Rice, Civil Rights Attorney; former Western Regional Counsel for NAACP LDF

Crystal Irvine, member, African American Caucus, SEIU Local 221

Rev. Damita Davis Howard, Assistant Pastor, First Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist

David Isom, Board member, Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District

Dereck Smith, Executive Vice President, SEIU Local 2015

DeWayne Sheaffer, Board Director, California Teachers Association

Dina Walker, President & CEO, BLU Educational Foundation

Drucilla Willis, member, African American Caucus, SEIU Local 221

E. Toby Boyd, President, California Teachers Association

Edward Robinson, Trustee, Kern County Employees Retirement Association

Dr. Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Executive Director, The Education Trust West

Eric Payne, Trustee, State Center Community College District

Erika Jones, Board Director, California Teachers Association

Folorunso Ashaolu, Education Advocate & Mentor, Fathers & Families of San Joaquin

Fred Blackwell, President & CEO, The San Francisco Foundation

Gaye T. Johnson PhD, Professor of African American Studies, University of California at Los Angeles

Gloria Bruce, Executive Director, East Bay Housing Organizations

Gloria Walton, Executive Director, Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE)

Gregory Freeland, Associate Dean, Inclusion & Research/Creative Scholarship, California Lutheran University

Holly Mitchell, Senator 30th District, California State Senate

Iris Trammel, member, African American Caucus, SEIU Local 221

Ismahan Abdullahi, National Deputy Director, Muslim American Society- Public Affairs & Civic Engagement

Jackie Byers, Executive Director, Black Organizing Project

James Head, President & CEO, East Bay Community Foundation

Jamileh Ebrahimi, Youth Organizer, RYSE Youth Center

Jan Robinson Flint, Executive Director, Black Women for Wellness

Jennet Stebbins, Trustee, Delta Community College of San Joaquin

Jennifer Esteen, Vice President of Organizing, SEIU Local 1021

John Dobard, Director of Political Voice, Advancement Project

Joseph Bryant, President, SEIU Local 1021

Jovanka Beckles, retired Council member, City of Richmond

Julius B. Thomas, Director for California, National Education Association

Justin Cummings, Mayor, City of Santa Cruz

Kamala Harris, California Senator, United States

Kalimah Salahuddin, Trustee, Jefferson Union High School District

Karen Bass, 37th District Congressperson, United States

Keith Brown, President, Oakland Education Association

Keith Carson, Supervisor, County of Alameda

Khalid Alexander, Founder, Pillars of the Community

Kim Carter, Founder, Time for Change Foundation

Kimberly Ellis, Founder, UnBought- UnBossed; former Executive Director, Emerge California

Kirk Samuels, Civic Engagement Coordinator, Community Coalition South LA

Kyra Greene, Executive Director, Center on Policy Initiatives

L. Karen Monroe, Superintendent, Alameda County Office of Education

L. Lacy Barnes, Senior Vice President, California Federation of Teachers

La Tonya Harris and Janel Bailey, Co-Executive Directors, Los Angeles Black Worker Center

Lamar Thorpe, Council member, City of Antioch

Larry Griffin, Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs, IFPTE Local 2

Lateefah Simon, District 7 Director, Bay Area Regional Transit (BART)

Leslie Cooper Johnson, Vice President of Organizational Development, Community Coalition South LA

Linda Dent, Vice President, SEIU Local 721

London Breed, Mayor, City of San Francisco

Loren Taylor, Council member, City of Oakland

Ludovic Blain, Director, California Donor Table

Malkia Devich Cyril, former Executive Director, Center for Media Justice

Marcus Williams, Vice President Region E, SEIU Local 1021

Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Council member, City of Los Angeles

Maurice Goodman, Trustee, San Mateo County Community College District

Maya Walker, Executive Board member, Association of Educational, Office, and Technical Employees of Hayward; State Council Representative, California Teachers Association

Melvin Willis, Council member, City of Richmond

Michael Lawson, President & CEO, Los Angeles Urban League

Michael McAffee, President & CEO, PolicyLink

Michael Tubbs, Mayor, City of Stockton

Neva Walker, Executive Director, Coleman Advocates

Nicole Taylor, President & CEO, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Patrisse Cullors, Los Angeles artist and organizer

Pauline Brooks, Vice President, California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA)

Pecolia Manigo, Executive Director, Bay Area Plan Action Network

Pete White, Founder & Executive Director, Los Angeles Community Action Network

Pharaoh Mitchell, Founder, Community Action League- Antelope Valley Chapter

Ramla Sahid, Executive Director, Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans

Renee Crawford, Vice President, Stanislaus County Chapter SEIU Local 521

Riley Talford, Chapter President, SEIU 521 Fresno County; Board member, Fresno County Employées’ Retirement Association

Robert Ellis, Board Director, California Teachers Association

Robert Paige, Youth Program Director, Urban Peace Movement

Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto, Council member, City of El Cerrito

Dr. Ruby Durias, Chair, Education Committee Ventura NAACP; retired math teacher

Saa'un Bell, Strategy Director, Californians for Justice

Pastor Sam Casey, Executive Director, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE)

Sandra Davis, Small business owner, Oeste

Shamann Walton, Supervisor, County of San Francisco

Shana McDavis-Conway, Co-Director, Center for Story Based Strategy

Shanell Williams, Board Trustee, San Francisco Community College

Shari Davis, Co-Executive Director, The Participatory Budgeting Project

Shelly Gupton, Board Director, California Teachers Association

Sheryl Lane, Executive Director, Building Blocks for Kids- Richmond

Stephane Medley, Director of Education and Justice, RYSE Youth Center

Steven Pitts, Associate Director, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education

Stevon Cook, Commissioner, San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education

Stevonna Evans, Council member, City of Adelanto

Susan Burton, Founder & President, A New Way of Life Reentry Center

Sydney Kamlager, 54th District Member, California State Assembly

Taisha Brown, Chair, California Democratic Party African American Caucus

Tamisha Walker, Executive Director, Safe Return Project

Taunya Jaco, Director for California, National Education Association

Teresa Cox, Trustee, Ohlone Community College Board

Tony Thurmond, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of California

Tonya Bealey, Chair, African American Caucus SEIU Local 1000

Tshaka Barrows, Chief Executive Officer, The W. Haywood Burns Institute

Tyler Okeke Youth activist, Power California; college student

Tyller Williamson, Council member, City of Monterey

Vanessa Moses, Executive Director, Causa Justa::Just Cause

Walter Wilson, CEO, Minority Business Consortium- Silicon Valley

Wendy Sims-Moten, Trustee, Santa Barbara Unified School District

Pastor William D. Smart, President & CEO, Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California

Y-Vonne Hutchinson, Founder & CEO, ReadySet

Yvonne Walker, President, SEIU Local 1000

Zachary Norris, Executive Director, Ella Baker Center ED; Author of "We Keep Us Safe"

Zerihoun Yilma, Associate Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)

Zima Creason, Board member, San Juan Unified School District Board of Education

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