Jesid Acosta

Associate Organizer, HOPE in Tampa, Florida

Born in Ecuador, Jesid has lived in Florida since he was 11 years old. As an undocumented teenager, he grew up feeling helpless in the face of the injustices faced by his family and community.  It wasn’t until he enrolled at Florida State University that he learned about DART, community organizing and the power of collective action

Clarissa Epps

Senior Organizer, BREAD in Columbus, Ohio

As a high school student, Clarissa developed an interest in local government and how ordinary citizens could have a say in the decisions that were made in their communities if they got involved and got organized. At age 15, she witnessed a local rec center, which was heavily used by the black community, get torn down and turned

Ben MacConnell

Lead Organizer, Justice Matters in Lawrence, Kansas

Originally from Bay Village, Ohio, Ben graduated from Indiana University Northwest in Gary, Indiana in 1995. After college, Ben became a fulltime volunteer with the Brethren Volunteer Service, as part of the wider mission of the Church of the Brethren. While in volunteer service, he first worked at a café serving the homeless

Josh Everett

Associate Organizer, ICARE in Jacksonville, Florida 

Josh‘s interest in social change was sparked by experiences he had while in high school in Leeds, Alabama. He witnessed several young black students either fall short of graduation or be pushed out of school through punitive discipline policies. What bothered him most was that this was

Virginia Donnal

Associate Organizer, PEACE in Palm Beach, Florida

Originally from Virginia, Virginia spent her high school years babysitting, coaching swimming, and working to serve other through many volunteer programs at her church and school. Having grown up with parents that stressed the importance of giving back to the community, Virginia figured she would be a teacher

Treva Williams

Lead Organizer, CAJM in Charleston, SC

Growing up as a preacher’s kid, Treva saw the best and the worst of congregational life and swore she would never be employed by a church.  Instead she pursued her passion of music and pictured herself as a college music professor and even better, a back up singer in her twin sister’s band.  However, after two years of volunteering in her church with youth and

Lea Whitehurst

Lead Organizer, RISC in Richmond, Virginia

Lea grew up in church.  She served in many different aspects of church life from children’s ministry to overseas missionary work but often felt that the work was not dealing with the root causes of people’s problems.  Spending time in teaching in orphanages in Africa wasn’t changing the foundational problems that the people were facing.  Lea stumbled