GGJ is committed to an organizational structure under the direction of a Coordinating Committee (CC) elected by the membership, a Board of Directors comprised of current and past member leaders, and a staff team to support implementation of the direction of our work decided on by the membership at Membership Assemblies.

Member organizations play lead roles through our program committee structure to create work-plans, political and popular education materials, consult with members, broader forces and allies, and implement the work. GGJ membership votes to determine the strategic direction of the alliance and elects the leadership through the Coordinating Committee. This structure ensures that the direction of the alliance stays close to the realities of the membership base, engages higher participation from members, and creates an accountability system for the work.

GGJ Team

Adrien Salazar

Policy Director

Adrien Salazar is a climate justice and racial justice advocate who has fought for transformative and equitable climate policy solutions, food and land justice, and environmental justice for over twelve years. He joins GGJ as our first Policy Director. He supports the policy strategy, research, and advocacy of GGJ and our members from the local to national level. His work focuses on redistributive and reparative investments, racial equity in climate policy, and land and resource governance.

As a Steering Committee member of the NY Renews Coalition he supported the development and passage of New York’s landmark 2019 climate legislation. He sits on the board of the Sustainable Economies Law Center and the Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity. His research on the global carbon benefit of indigenous land management practices contributed to the Indigenous People’s Land Management chapter of Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever to Reverse Global Warming (2017, Penguin Press). He was recognized as one of the 2019 Grist 50 Fixers on Grist.com. Adrien is also a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and with Data for Progress. His writing has appeared in Fortune Magazine, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Gotham Gazette, and the Yale Tropical Resources Bulletin. He is from San Jose, California and Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines and enjoys running, caring for plants, and visiting the sacred places of the earth.

Arely Diaz Loza

Logistics Coordinator

Arely Diaz (she/her) is a queer 26 year old from Chumash and Tongva land (so-called Los Angeles, California). She has called Pokanoket, Wampanoag, and Narragansett land (so-called Providence, Rhode Island) home for over seven years, where she lives with her immediate family. She has over four years of ICE deportation defense experience and pol(ICE) abolition work, and very much believes in the power of nonviolent direct action in social movements. She became involved with this work through her own mixed-status family, whose roots are in El Salvador and Nicaragua. When she is not busy scheming on how to bring about the collapse of capitalism, she can be found organizing autonomous direct actions, farming/gardening, reading comic books, or playing video games with her sister, V.

Bridget Brehen

Director of Resource Mobilization

Bridget Brehen (she/they), Director of Resource Mobilization for Grassroots Global Justice, has three decades of experience in community and social justice organizations. As GGJ’s lead fundraiser and funder organizer, she is passionate about returning stolen wealth to the grassroots organizing sector and unlocking how we redistribute resources as internationalists. From 2005–2015 they worked with the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala/NISGUA, where she organized for grassroots internationalism alongside Indigenous and Campesino movements in defense of land, life, water, and historical memory. Bridget currently serves on the NISGUA Board and lives in Huichin (Oakland) in occupied Chochenyo Ohlone territories of CA.

Celina Lee

Communications Organizer

Celina Lee (she/her) is a communications specialist who works with grassroots groups to build power in people of color, Indigenous, and low-income communities. She grew her roots in the environmental justice movement as the communications director at Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE). Celina serves on the board of the Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), a member-led organization that organizes for racial, social, and economic justice. Previously, she worked for a corporate accountability group where she helped organize a union to improve working conditions and confront racism in the workplace. She also holds an art class for incarcerated women, and in her spare time, likes to enjoy her spare time.

Cindy Stella Wiesner

Executive Director

Cindy Wiesner (she/her/ella), a 35-year veteran of the social justice movement in the U.S. and internationally, is the Executive Director of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) and Grassroots Global Justice Action Fund (GGJAF). She helped co-found the Climate Justice Alliance and has been active in many movement building initiatives, including World March of Women, Social Movement Assemblies, International Council of the World Social Forum, U.S. Social Forum, the Peoples Climate Movement, the People’s Bailout, The Frontline, and, currently, It Takes Roots, the Rising Majority, Green New Deal Network. Cindy is a lesbian of Salvadoran, Colombian, and German descent and a grassroots feminist, internationalist, and movement strategist and lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Jaron Browne

Organizing Director

Jaron Browne is the Organizing Director, supporting the organizing team and leadership of GGJ members across our areas of work.  Since joining the GGJ team in 2015, Jaron has been building out GGJ’s Just Transition, climate justice and anti-militarism campaigns, including support for CJA’s Our Power Campaign, and other national and international climate justice and new economy campaigns.  Jaron has organized several GGJ and ITR international delegations in coordination with many of our global movement allies, and was a co-author of the report We Are Mother Earth’s Red Line, analyzing the impact of Paris Climate Agreement.  Jaron has also worked with GGJ member organizations to coordinate a series of Just Transition Assemblies and Strategy Labs in Detroit, Mississippi. Vermont, Seattle, and Rhode Island  Before joining GGJ, Jaron was an organizer with POWER and Causa Justa::Just Cause for nearly 13 years, building the power of working class Black and Latino families in the Bay Area.  

Kelly Archbold

Assistant to Executive Director

Kelly Archbold joined the GGJ team in January 2018 as the Executive Assistant to Cindy Wiesner but has loved and worked with GGJ for many years.  In 2015, she helped with logistics prep for the It Takes Roots delegation to the UNFCCC COP21. In 2010, while on staff at the Labor/Community Strategy Center, she participated as a GGJ member in the International Caravan for Life, Resistance, and Environmental Justice in Mexico that traveled to Cancun for COP16.  At LCSC, Kelly was the office manager, big events coordinator, and director’s assistant for 10 years. She has focused on infrastructure-building, administration, logistics, event coordination, data entry, and assistance support in grassroots movements for over 15 years. She also loves to dance, especially in community and with her child.  With family roots in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Illinois, Kelly grew up in the Los Angeles area.

Kereknaan Fiannaan

Resource Development Organizer

A migrant and third-culture kid originally from Nigeria, Kereknaan/KK’s (she/her) global perspective was formed early in her life and has shaped her approach to social justice to this day. Shortly after her time studying Sociology and International Development in college, KK returned to Nigeria for a year during which she did a service year at the National Commission for UNESCO in Abuja. She has spent the past few years operationalizing fundraising systems and building donor relationships at a nonprofit that supports Rwanda’s first and only college for women. KK’s political education has deepened over the years as she continues to see the desperate need for decolonization and overall systemic solutions to structural violence. She looks forward to building more relationships, moving people to action, and growing politically with the GGJ community. When KK’s not working, she’s often curating music, listening to an audiobook/podcast (she particularly enjoys podcasts that debunk health and wellness myths), designing clothes, or finding and cooking new recipes.

Kitzia Esteva-Martinez

Grassroots Feminisms National Organizer

Kitzia (they/theirs) is originally from Mexico. Their family migrated to the U.S. due to environmental racism in their home town that devastated their nephews’ health. They come from a movement family that has supported movement building both in Mexico and in the California Bay Area. They have been involved in the immigrant rights and anti-criminalization movements for the last decade. And have a trajectory of 17 years of involvement in social justice movements in the U.S. since their arrival from Mexico as a youth. They are the former Community Rights Director for Causa Justa::Just Cause, a member organization of GGJ.

Margaret Kwateng

National Green New Deal Organizer

Margaret Kwateng is the National Green New Deal Organizer at Grassroots Global Justice, where she is working with members to build toward a regenerative feminist economy. Prior to joining GGJ, Margaret worked for years as a community and labor organizer in working class communities of color and with rank and file nurses. In 2014, she co-founded Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson (now For the Many), a multi-issue community organization in upstate New York. Since joining GGJ in 2020, Margaret has been leading GGJ’s national campaign work at the intersection of climate & racial justice, care work, and demilitarization with a shared framework of divestment from harm and investment in care. Margaret is on the Coordinating Team of the Green New Deal Network, and leadership within the national grassroots United Frontline Table. She is also an active member of the Women & Gender Constituency within the UNFCCC.

Mark Liu

HR and Finance Manager

Mark Liu was born and raised in Boston, MA. Chinatown is his emotional home where his father’s side of the family first settled and where he spent much of his childhood. Prior to coming to GGJ, Mark spent 12 years working at the Chinese Progressive Association in Boston, first as the Green Justice Organizer and later as the Operations and Development Director. Mark drew inspiration from the courage of youth, workers and tenants standing up for their individual and collective dignity. Mark enjoys time with his family and finding beauty in the ordinary.  

Raisa Abdeen

Assistant to Deputy Director

Raisa Abdeen (she/her) comes to the GGJ team as the Assistant to the Deputy Director after working on the language interpretation team for the International School of Feminism in 2021. In addition to her language justice work as a Portuguese interpreter, Raisa has also worked in a domestic violence shelter and healthcare in various capacities. She has spent the last couple years teaching a Brazilian style of dance called forro from a feminist lens and organizing forro events in the Boston area. She studied Expressive Art Therapy at Lesley University and is specifically interested in the connection between colonization and state violence and complex trauma. Raisa also believes that art is a way to build collective power and that cultural resistance is a key part of liberation struggles. Raisa draws her inspiration from her family in Palestine. When Raisa is not working, she enjoys writing and performing her poetry, making Kanafa, and believes in movement and freedom of movement.

Ramón Mejía

Anti-Militarism National Organizer

Ramón Mejía is from Dallas, Texas. At the age of 18, to support his family, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and in 2003 participated in the initial invasion of Iraq. This experience led to self-reflection, converting to Islam, and becoming an outspoken advocate and organizer against U.S. wars and the growing militarization of our communities. Over the last 10 years, as a member of About Face: Veterans Against the War, Ramón’s had the opportunity to join international delegations: to build with, deepen his commitment, and learn alongside communities in Palestine, Philippines, Chile, and Cuba. Ramón earned his Bachelor of Arts in History & Religious Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. Ramón served on GGJ’s Coordinating Committee before coming on as National Organizer.

Roxanne Lawson

Co-Deputy Director, Organizational Strategy

Roxanne Lawson (she/her) has worked previously as a trainer, community organizer, global justice advocate, lobbyist, and policy analyst. She is the former Co-Executive Director of Youth Rise Texas, an organization that works to develop generations of leaders that heal communities. Prior to that, she was their Director of Programs at Rethink New Orleans where she supported young people training peers in community organizing and participatory defense. In the early 2000s, she worked as the Director of Africa Policy at TransAfrica Forum transforming U.S. Foreign Policy to create political, economic, and cultural sovereignty for African people in seven nations. Prior to that, Ms. Lawson was an International Policy Campaigner for Friends for Earth-US, promoting community rights related to natural resources and the environment on the African continent.

She also worked for the American Friends Service Committee as the National Liaison to United for Peace and Justice, Stop the Free Trade Area of the Americas Coalition, and as the National Coordinator of their Life Over Debt Campaign to cancel the illegitimate debt of African nations. She was the first staffer for the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition (NYSPC) and a founding member of United for Peace and Justice. As a trained media analyst, she was a featured commentator on National Public Radio’s News and Notes with Farai Chideya and as a spokesperson for print, television, and radio outlets including PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lerher, BBC World News, Al-Jazeera, and Voice of America. She is currently a member of LeftRoots and of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Samudra Kiné Weerasekera Randazzo

Logistics Organizer

Samudra lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she grew up in a movement family, growing up around internationalist politics and first learning about Just Transition as a young teenager. She volunteered with GGJ at the 2010 U.S. Social Forum in Detroit at the age of 12, which was one of her first experiences in collective movement-building. In May of 2019, she graduated from a global studies program where she had the opportunity to work with and learn from Global South artisan networks and fair trade collectives, feminist organizers, migrant rights activists, regenerative farms, and Indigenous land protectors around the world. She interned in Senegal for Africans Rising while studying intergenerational dynamics of Senegalese feminist movement before coming to GGJ staff. Samudra identifies as a queer, mixed woman of Sri Lankan, Sicilian, and Ukrainian heritage. She treasures the ocean, the California Redwood trees, full bellied laughter, popular education frameworks, Marxist class politics, building out movement ecosystems, and maintaining a constant curiosity of the world.

Sandra Morán

International Feminist Political Education Coordinator

Sandra Morán, lesbian, revolutionary, feminist, militant and defender of women’s rights, sexual diversity, Indigenous Peoples, and youth. Artist, political scientist, and popular educator. She has founded and has belonged to several grassroots women’s organizations; and she cofounded the Alianza Política Mujeres (Women’s Political Alliance) in 1994, which contributed to visibilizing women’s proposals in the Peace Accords. After the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996, she has been part of the Women’s Forum Organizing Committee, a nation-wide body organized to ensure the fulfillment of the 28 commitments made to women in the Peace Accords. She was a member of the World March of Women’s International Committee between 2011-2015. From 2016 to January 2020, she was a Representative to the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala, being the first lesbian elected for that post in the history of Guatemala. Currently, she is coordinating the construction of an International Feminist Organizing School, a proposal driven by a coalition of which GGJ is part. This is a political education proposal for propelling the Feminist Economy as an alternative model in which we place the sustainability of Life at the center of our actions and struggles. In Guatemala, she has been organizing the Movement of Women with Constitutional Power to propose the elements for a New Constitution from the perspective of women, Indigenous Peoples, and sexual diversity.

Sha Grogan-Brown

Co-Deputy Director, Infrastructure

Shaun (Sha) Grogan-Brown has worked to strengthen movements for social justice since the late ’90s, and is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and self-sustaining capacity of grassroots organizations. He worked with Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) from 2001–2008, was the Grassroots Fundraising Coordinator for the U.S. Social Forum 2010, and then joined GGJ staff in 2010.

Sha currently serves on the boards of Grassroots International, Justice Funders and CISPES. In the past he has served on the boards of Resource Generation and Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT), and was the Art Editor for the second edition of Trans Bodies Trans Selves: A Resource Guide for the Transgender Community. Sha is an anti-racist white queer transman and dad from the Washington, D.C. area, where he is currently based.

Siwatu-Salama Ra

DemilitaRISE Organizer

Siwatu is a mother and organizer who was born and raised in Detroit. She grew up in the environmental justice movement, and served as the co-director of East Michigan Environmental Action Council. In addition to her work locally and across the country, Siwatu represented Detroit and the United States at global social justice and climate justice events in France, Turkey, and Senegal. She also led youth organizing and media justice work including the Young Educators Alliance and Detroit Future Youth. 

In March of 2018 Siwatu was incarcerated for defending herself, her mother, and daughter. At the time she was in her third trimester of pregnancy and was forced to give birth to her beautiful son during her imprisonment. After nearly nine months at Michigan Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, Siwatu was released in November 2018 on bond, in order to appeal her unjust conviction and was reunited with her family. In August 2019 she won her appeal and her conviction was reversed. In February 2020 she won her total freedom. She continues to advocate for the liberation and dignity of thousands of women and people inside Michigan’s Women’s prison, as well as organize for environmental justice, climate justice, and a world without prisons or militarism. FreeSiwatu.org

Sunyoung Yang

Political Director

Sunyoung Yang (she/they/ella/elle) is the Political Director overseeing the Political Formation School development and Political Education programming for GGJ’s membership base. Prior to GGJ, Sunyoung worked close to a decade at the Labor/Community Strategy Center(LCSC) and Bus Riders Union (BRU) based in Los Angeles, as the lead organizer for their transit justice and climate justice campaigns. She took a five-year sabbatical farming in Hawaii, learning about food sovereignty as it relates to the struggle for Hawaiian sovereignty against U.S. military occupation and Monsanto takeover/poisoning of the people’s land and water resources. They participated in the UCSC Center for Agro-ecology and Sustainable Community Systems’s horticulture apprenticeship and worked as a food justice organizer. They are also part of a collective of Korean diaspora activists bridging Korean social movements and US Korean diaspora to connect around reunification, peace, and justice. They enjoy sharing a hearty homecooked meal and making treats from her herb garden. She currently lives with her intergenerational family in central New Jersey.

Yahaira Zapanta-Rosales

Administrative Coordinator

Yahaira Zapanta-Rosales joined the GGJ team in 2019. She identifies as a queer mexicana chingona and calls many places home. Organizing for social justice through community, policy, and creative interventions since 2007, she believes that individuals affected by social (in)justice should share rich complex stories through organizing and art. Yahaira graduated from Mills College with an MFA in Literary Translation and currently lives in Kansas City, tends to her garden and family, does herbalism, writes and translates.


GGJ Coordinating Committee and Staff, May 2019

It Takes Roots Team

Nico Udu-gama

ITR Operations Associate

nico [at] ittakesroots [dot] org

Nico Udu-gama comes to the It Takes Roots family as Operations Associate after years of providing language justice interpretation work to ITR and other movements. He draws his political education from his ancestors, his time in communities in Colombia, the Middle East, NYC and DC, and is always eager to kick it with friends and kick down a capitalist’s door. Growing up alongside a little person in this moment, gardening, capoeira, biking and having fun consume a large part of his life.

Randy Jackson

ITR Organizational Development Coordinator

 randy [at] ittakesroots [dot] org 

Randy Jackson is a long-time strategist, organizational development facilitator, organizer, fundraiser and overall organization builder seeking solutions to the issues of racial, economic and climate justice. Prior to becoming the Development Coordinator for It Takes Roots, Randy worked as a consultant for transformational resource generation and organizational development working with national alliances, statewide base-building groups, and a national movement lawyering outfit. Previous to this, Randy worked in wide variety of settings including grassroots workers’ centers, statewide voter engagement organizations, and national networks wearing a number of hats in all of them.

Randy has experience in program development, strategic planning, financial operations, fundraising and development. He has participated in the development of various progressive movements over the years – from the growth of no- and low-wage workers’ centers, the emergence of the immigrant rights organizations, to the anti-war and peace and justice movement.


Coordinating Committee

Alma Santana

Alma Santana, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, represents Mujeres Unidas y Activas on the Coordinating Committee.


Board

Diana Seales

Diana Seales professional background is in climate and environmental justice advocacy, environmental project management, and community organizing. Diana earned her BS in Tribal Natural Resource Policy at The Evergreen State College, and her MS in Environmental Justice at the University of Michigan. In 2004 she was hired as the Executive Director of East Michigan Environmental Action Council were she has been active in forming coalitions between environmental organizations, community and environmental justice groups to win environmental justice and health victories. She currently serves on the board of Grassroots Global Justice as President and on the Women’s and Gender Studies and Women in Learning and Leadership Advisory Board at the University of Michigan Dearborn. She is currently adjunct faculty in Marygrove’s Social Justice Program in Environmental Justice and at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work and Semester in Detroit program.

Sara Mersha

Secretary, Boston, MA

Sara Mersha has been Director of Grantmaking and Advocacy at Grassroots International since 2010. She works to build and maintain long-term relationships with partner organizations and social movements led by peasants, Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant communities, women, and youth in the Global South, and coordinates Grassroots’ work within US-based alliances. Prior to this, Sara was Executive Director of Direct Action for Rights and Equality, a grassroots organizing group in Providence, Rhode Island.

Tammy Bang Luu

Vice President, Los Angeles CA

Tammy Bang Luu is a social justice consultant focused on strategy, leadership and movement building. She’s worked with the Climate Justice Alliance, Building Equity and Alignment for Impact Initiative, CA Delivers’ Equity Caucus and the California Endowment. Prior to this, she was the Associate Director at the Labor/Community Strategy Center which housed the Bus Riders Union and Community Rights Campaign.

Simone Senogles

Treasurer, Bemidji, MN

Simone Senogles, Board Treasurer, is an anishinaabekwe from the Red Lake Nation of Ojibwe in northern Minnesota. She earned her bachelors degree in philosophy with a minor in Ojibwe language at Bemidji State University. She has worked at the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) for the past 18 years, serving in a variety of roles for the organization including grant writing, operations management, and community organizing, particularly focused on food sovereignty, sustainable communities, and on building the leadership of indigenous women. Simone is currently serving on the leadership team at IEN. She has one grown child and a cat named George.