Meet Our Organizers

Lead circle is a selected and elected group of youth leaders who have been the most active in Youth vs Apocalypse but are certainly not the only youth in Youth vs Apocalypse as they represent hundreds of youth in the Bay Area who are in Youth vs Apocalypse as club members or are in our fellowship.

Anaya Sayal

Lead Circle Member
Pronouns: She/Her
Instagram/anaya_salal

Christopher Soriano

Lead Circle Member
Pronouns: He/Him
Instagram/christopherrrrs

 

Zaynab Jawaid

Lead Circle Member
Pronouns: She/Her
Instagram/hellozaynab

Anaya Sayal is fifteen years old, attends Dougherty Valley High School, and lives in San Ramon, CA. She is a campaign coordinator and Lead Circle member for Youth Vs Apocalypse. She became involved with YVA because she had idly watched what’s been happening with our climate for far too long and realized she had to do everything in her power to fight for YVA’s completely plausible ambition of climate justice. She believes that it’s extremely unfair to put future generations into a clearly unsafe situation blindly, while the knowledge and resources available to prevent the progression of this climate catastrophe are present. She also realized that many members of the government which we are being represented by contain habits that are centered around racial inequality, white supremacy, and patriarchy. She strongly believes that we need to rid our community of oppression of all types and concentrate on making our reality match how we envision a sustainable climate. At times, she realizes this can feel like an uphill battle, but having support from other organizations and activists provides her with feelings of comfort and hope. She truly believes we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to, and cannot wait to see our future environment as long as we continue working for and defending what we believe and what matters to us. Being a campaign coordinator in YVA allows her to do this, and what she appreciates most about YVA is how much independence members are given and how comfortable and appreciative everyone is of each other.

This is Christopher Soriano and he is born and raised in the east part of Oakland, CA and Ohlone Land. He is 14 years old and is a rising 9th grader. Christopher got into the climate justice movement when he became a 6th grader and joined his school social justice group, Warriors for Justice. His cousins Angelika and Angeline deeply motivated and inspired him to become an activist. Through the connections between W4J and YVA, he became a fellow organizer with YVA’s CalSTRS, Green New Deal, and No Coal in Oakland campaigns. To him, climate justice means fighting for a better future; for a sustainable and equitable future. It means sacrificing your time to fight for a livable planet for many generations to come. For more than two years now, Christopher has used his passion to fight for future generations and fellow youth to motivate him to continue organizing. Currently, he is the campaign coordinator for the CalSTRS campaign, in addition to being a member of the NCIO and GND campaign. What Christopher enjoys about YVA is that it enables youth to increase their leadership skills, and to have a say for what they want to see in the future.

Zaynab Jawaid is a sophomore majoring in Environmental Science. She lives in the East Bay and learned about YVA from Instagram. She joined YVA in January 2021 as a fellow in the fellowship program. Now she is now Co-coordinator for the Green New Deal Campaign. Zaynab is motivated to organize within her community because bathe effects of the climate crisis do not spare anybody. Islam is also a motivating factor because it stresses the importance of standing up to oppressors and caring for the earth. Zaynab has enjoyed meeting people who share the same passion for social justice at YVA. Before joining YVA, Zaynab did not know many youth who were involved in the environmental movement.

Cemre

Raven Fonseca Jensen

Lead Circle Member
Pronouns: She/Her
Instagram/bigravin

 

Raven Fonseca Jensen is seventeen years old, and lives in Berkeley and Oakland CA (Ohlone Land). She is a campaign coordinator for the Divest CalSTRS campaign. Raven first got into climate activism during the 2021 election, but was inspired at an early age by her radical family. She began to see how our entire society is constructed in an exploitative way, and that we need real systemic change if we want to build a truly just world. Raven is a part of Youth vs Apocalypse because she wants to fight the Climate Crisis in a way that also fights White Supremacy, Capitalism, and all forms of oppression. She believes that Climate Justice is creating a world where people are always put before profits, and everyone is treated with respect. She wants to turn her anxiety about the world into action, and is inspired by all the other amazing activists around her. One of Raven's favorite things about YVA is getting to meet other kids who share her values. She is hopeful for the future, not because it's certain, but because hope is the best tool that an organizer can have! Raven hopes that together, we can make real change in this world

Aniya Butler

Hip Hip & Climate Justice Coordinator
Lead Circle and Staff Member
Pronouns: She/her
aniya@youthvsapocalypse.org

Sofia Palau

Lead Circle Member
Pronouns: She/Her
Instagram/itz_sophie_0806
(510)-909-7349

Aniya Butler is 15 years old and from Oakland, California. She is a spoken word poet and performer. Within YVA, Aniya is a Lead Circle Member, the coordinator of the Hip Hop & Climate Justice initiative, and member of the organizational management team. Aniya joined YVA because we recognize and uplift the connection between the climate justice movement and social justice movement. Climate justice is not only about stopping the progress of climate change. It's also about dismantling the systems of oppression that allowed the climate crisis to happen which are the same systems fueling the other injustices we are fighting against. Aniya wants to help rebuild a world with foundations of equity, sustainability, and love so that every living thing can truly thrive.

Sofia is a 17 year old senior from the East Bay. She's a proud anticapitalist and part of the green party. Social justice and climate justice has been her passion since she went to her first protest at 11 years old. She found YVA as a junior and got involved in the Black Rock campaign, which che now co-coordinates. She says that organizing youth is what gives her hope for a better future. She states: "YVA brings youth voices to the climate justice movement, a group who are traditionally overlooked in politics. I want everyone to know that you have a voice here, so use it!" 

Lizbeth Ibarra

Social Media Coordinator
CA Youth Vs Big Oil Coordinator
Lead Circle and Staff Member
Pronouns: She/Her

Angelika Soriano

Lead Circle Member
Pronouns: She/Her

 

Cemre Gonen

Lead Circle Member
Pronouns: She/Her

Mariah Lazalde

Lead Circle Member
Pronouns: She/Her/They/Them

Dulce Arias

Education and Organizing Coordinator

Hannah Estrada

Lead Circle Member
Education & Organizing Coordinator (SF)

Pronouns: She/Her

Isha Clarke

Lead Circle Consultant and Co-founder
Pronouns: They/Them

Carolyn Norr

Co-Founder
Programs Director
Pronouns: She/Her

René Revolorio Keith

Education & Organizer Coordinator (Oakland)
Pronouns: They/Them

Miguel Diaz

Education & Organizing Intern
Instagram/miguel.d.m_

Marlay'ja

Education & Organizing Intern 
Instagram/Mar1ayja.h

Mahder Aklilu

Education & Organizing Intern 
Pronouns:She/her
mahderaklilu1234@gmail.com

Ajene Snaer

HH&CJ Team Member
Pronouns: He/him
Instagram/thereal_kabid
dlajene05@gmail.com

Simren Sandhu

TikTok Co-Coordinator, Hip Hop & Climate Justice Social Media, and Outreach Organize
Pronouns: She/Her

Lizbeth is 17 years old and lives in Richmond (occupied Ohlone Territory). She enjoys being outdoors, cooking, drawing, and learning. Within YVA, Lizbeth co-coordinates our social media, the CA Youth Vs Big Oil campaign, and trys to get involved wherever she can! Lizbeth has always been conscious of the issues we’re facing as a society, specifically climate change, but didn’t get into climate justice organizing until learning that it isn’t a purely environmental issue. She started organizing and became a part of the movement after another person in YVA described:"...how you don’t need to know everything in order to make an impact, it’s okay to ask questions and be uncertain because at the end of the day we’re all still continuously learning."She decided to get into climate justice organizing after realizing that all of the problems and suffering we’re facing is not normal, they all intersect and have proven that another world is possible. She is motivated to continue organizing when she sees other young people that look like her and are from her own community join the movement.

 Angelika is a 16-year-old climate activist from Oakland, California. She found out about YVA through a student-led social justice club called Warriors for Justice. Angelika has been organizing with YVA since learning about the fight against a coal terminal in West Oakland. She says that being part of YVA has helped her realized that hervoice matters and the huge impact we all could make on this planet we call our home. She states: "It has inspired and empowered me to work with young people in building a better, healthier world. Climate Justice is important because the people I care for and my community have faced and suffered the effects of climate change (our planet is literally on fire!!). Climate justice is also about how climate change is interconnected and rooted in oppressive systems. To stop the climate crisis, we have to address and fight together to take down these systems of oppression."

Cemre is an 18-year-old UC Berkeley student double majoring in Society & Environmental and Political Economy. Cemre is a Turkish immigrant living in occupied Ohlone Territory. Cemre's family in Turkey was always very political and growing up in that environment pushed them to become interested in law and politics. In high school, they started to become more aware of different social issues and began organizing with various international organizations and local mutual aid orgs. Cemre joined YVA the day after the March 15, 2019 climate strike because: "...that's when everything, like the true interconnected off all systems of oppression and the climate crisis, truly clicked for me. White supremacy, patriarchy, CAPITALISM, and colonialisms are all systems that not only perpetuate one another, but also cause other systems of oppressions, the climate crisis, and other problems. Environmental and social degradation is connected because it's all based on the idea that some life, some people and the environment, are disposable. I believe in environmental justice, intersectional analysis, sustainability, justice, collective liberation, that no one is disposable, and everone deserves human rights."

Mariah is 16 years old from Oakland, California. They enjoy going on hikes, playing video games, reading comic books, watching movies, and fighting for our planet. Mariah has been with YVA since she was about 12-13 years old. They got into YVA through their activist work with another group called Warriors4Justice. Mariah has been with YVA since the beginning and is considered a Co-Founder of YVA. She states: "Climate justice is important to me because my family and community have been affected by the effects of burning fossil fuels, fracking, oil drilling, and many more ways our earth has been hurt. But it not only affects me it affects all of us, so let's fight for a healthy planet together."

Dulce is a 20 year old aspiring rapper, educator, artist and a student at DeAnza community college. Born in Michoacan Mexico and raised in the Bay Area (Ohlone territory) currently living in the south Bay. She is in favor of: "...a new system that will prioritize the people and the very own reflection of ourselves--the EARTH" Dulce says she would not be organizing if she didn't think that these systems were possible. She fell into organizing after discovering the root of climate change and the intersections of it all. She states: "As a shy, mostly introverted person, my organizing would NOT have been possible without young people just like me setting an example. She wonders “How could I not fight back? When my community is constantly being treated as disposable by those sitting in positions of power."

Hannah is an 18-year-old organizer from San Francisco (occupied Ohlone Territory). She got involved in organizing when she was 15 years old initially through Girls Inc. in Oakland, California. From there she found YVA and learned about how almost all of the injustices seen today are connected and root from the same system. Since learning how all of these injustices are connected, Hannah has found herself dedicating the majority of her time towards organizing. She states: "If I'm not with my partner, my puppy Bear, or doing school work, I'm organizing. I love every second of it. I learn and teach and grow connections with others all while working to secure a livable and just future for my people and for the generations after me."

Isha is 17 years old and born, raised, and educated in The Town (Oakland/occupied Ohlone Territory). Isha is a Co-founder of YVA and loves to dance, write spoken word, and listen to music. Before they became an organizer they believed that climate issues were a "white" thing centered in saving the polar bears and rainforests. They state: "I've since learned that climate change is the result of foundational systems of white supremacy, colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchy. We are in a state of climate crisis because communities of color, indigenous people, poor people, and many others have been deemed disposable. CLimate justice is about dismantling these systems of oppression in every way that they exist- whether that be through environmental racism, police brutality, or conectration camps at the border. Join us in this fight for collective liberation!"

Carolyn Norr is honored to be a co-founding adult supporter and Program Director at YVA. After over 10 years working in OUSD schools and afterschool programs, she began bringing youth to speak their truth about a proposed coal terminal at Oakland City Council meetings in 2015. From there, her collaboration with young people working for their rights and those of their community and planet has taken many new forms. She is so pleased to be supporting the next generation of climate leaders, as they in turn use class presentations, clubs, creativity, and strategic campaigns to build a powerful, frontline-led community acting for climate justice. Her role at YVA is to hold the background organizational tasks so that youth can devote their brilliance to organizing, and to provide support, mentorship, and resources to YVA youth leaders. Carolyn is the parent of two amazing elementary school kids, a partner, a daughter, and a sister. She is grateful to live on Chochenyo Ohlone land and loves plants, birds, and speaking truth to power.

René Revolorio Keith is 22 years old, and currently lives in unceded Chochenyo-Ohlone land, also known as Oakland, CA. Rene is a lifelong activist and land rights organizer as well as a multimedia visual artist, poet, and aspiring herbalist. They were born into a family of activists and was raised in the struggle for human rights of Indigenous and Third World Peoples. Rene is a queer nonbinary chingonx who hates gentrification, disposability politics and the incessant violence against the Earth and its inhabitants. But they are also a person who fiercely and passionately loves their family, their community, the mangroves and the coral reefs, and wants only the best for them as they only want the best for Rene. Rene likes YVA because they get to work with kickass young people who are fighting for climate justice in their own community.

Miguel Diaz is a first-generation college student and a Richmond, CA resident (occupied Ohlone Territory). He is an activist who strives for an equal and healthy world for all. Miguel became involved with YVA to help fight climate change and its sources, he also wants to represent and educate vulnerable communities on the importance of climate change. One of his goals is to teach future generations the importance of fighting against inequalities in their communities.

Marlay'ja is 15 years old. She is born and raised in Oakland and is currently attending a public Oakland HS. She's been apart of YVA for 2+ years. 

Mahder is 17 and from occupied Ohlone land also known as San Jo. She's: "...a nerd who is hopeful to have a healthy world that I can be an educator in." Poetry workshops introduced her to YVA and now, amongst other things, she helps host them! She states: "I cherish that art can be a coping tool for climate anxiety and inspire others to take action."

Ajene is a 15 year old from Oakland. He got involved in the climate justice movement from his love of animals and nature as a whole, and how fossil fuels are destroying them. He is a part of the HH&JC team, where he uses his music & writing skills to fight for change.

Simren Kaur Sandhu is a 15-year-old activist from San Pablo, California (occupied Ohlone land). As a young Punjabi-Sikh American, her passion to make change has stemmed from her cultural identity. Learning about her peoples’ history inspires her to use her voice for change. Subsequently, Simren began getting involved in activism after learning about different social justice issues through social media. Her first experience with environmental justice was through the Climate Justice Club at her school. From there, she became involved with YVA, where she currently works as a TikTok Co-Coordinator, “Hip Hop & Climate Justice” Social Media and Outreach Organizer, and Lead Circle Member. She believes that climate justice is not just about the climate, but is about centering the voices of those who were most harmed by the impacts of climate change and dismantling the systems that were built to poison their environments.

Email: ssandhu@mwacademy.org

IG: @simrennnnnnnn