MEET THE STAFF
Isha Clarke, youth staff.
Hey y’all! In 2017 I joined an action with a group of middle and high school students confronting Phil Tagami— a prominent developer in Oakland— who was, and still is, attempting to build a coal terminal through West Oakland. That group of powerful young people, including myself, went on to form a campaign called Youth Vs Coal in which we organized to stop this racist and poisonous coal terminal from being built in our community. That campaign quickly grew into Youth Vs Apocalypse. It has been inspiring to witness YVA grow from a small campaign of tenacious young people to a fully functioning organization with more awe-inspiring young folks who have been able to impact the nation through our local Bay Area organizing.
First starting my work with YVA as a co-founder in 2017, I now act as a liaison for YVA’s collaboration with national organizations and communication with media outlets. Through organizing, like our recent This Is The Time campaign, I help to build coalitions with national climate justice organizations in order to broaden our network and strengthen our impacts. I also help to facilitate healthy, efficient, and anti-oppressive communication between our paid staff and youth Lead Circle so that YVA can be it’s most powerful self in the fight for collective liberation and a livable planet.
Carrie R., youth staff
Hello! My name is Carrie and I work as an Communications Organizer focused education, communications, website, and campaigns Youth vs Apocalypse. Prior to the pandemic I would go to schools and help develop clubs in order to educate youth from elementary to college about climate justice organizing and the importance of fighting for our climate as well as the ways in which intersectionality is the root solution to the climate crisis. As like my colleagues, I would give presentations and bring snacks for the students during club meetings. Now, I do a similar role but virtually and have actually expanded my areas of expertise where it is needed. I communicate with community members, youth, teachers, and local organizations about collaboration as well as offering presentations online, writing our newsletter, maintaining our website, organizing our campaigns and assisting campaign coordinators. I also work on our social media data analysis in order to
further our reach outside California and even the continental United States. As an indigenous woman of color, I have dedicated much of my life to climate organizing to save our mother earth and to provide a future for the next seven generations. I hope to further our reach to indigenous communities at home, from the diaspora, and abroad- so we stand united together in the fight against the climate apocalypse to create a livable, equitable future for the next generation. Thanks!
Coco Peila, adult staff
During my first 6 months I was inspired to focus on the intersection between Hip Hop & Climate Justice after hearing lead circle, co-founders, fellows, and staff repeatedly voice the desire to make YVA’s movement and resources even more accessible to frontline youth and their communities locally and around the country. Through Hip Hop YVA’s unique intersectional analysis of the Climate Crisis becomes accessible and relatable to those who may have never heard of Climate Change or Climate Justice or who previously wrote them off because of the racism and classism within the Environmental/Climate Movement.
As the Director of HH & CJ I develop adaptable recurring programming and project structures, manage department projects like executive production of our stand alone HH & CJ songs, spoken word pieces, and associated media and projects, integrate Hip Hop organizing strategy and culture into our culture, and supporting the HH & CJ youth leadership team’s progress and development. Along with Lead Circle member Sam Saxe-Taller, I’ve supported the development of Listening Circles in YVA based on the “Tools
For Climate Organizers” holding circles for African Heritage/Black youth, Allies to African Heritage/Black People, and an open listening circle for Lead Circle members which has resulted in a plan to offer our 2021 Fellows three new Listening Circles for White Ashkenazi Jewish youth, African Heritage/Black youth, and IPOC (Indigenou & People Of Color) youth.
Carolyn Clara, adult staff
Hey!! My position has evolved as Youth Vs Apocalypse has evolved. Back in 2015, I was an OUSD school employee talking to kids between classes about speaking up to stop a coal terminal in Oakland. For years, I did in class presentations, brought snacks and guidance to school-based clubs around Oakland and San Francisco, arranged school buses to actions, led our fellowship training program and generally coordinated the multiple different aspects of YVA. Now, as Lead Circle evolves to take on more of our organizational coordination, and our staff grows into new roles and responsibilities, I am most excited about distilling and finding ways to communicate the core educational program and leadership supports that have helped build YVA as a force for climate justice.
This spring, I hope to focus on both working on developing ur organizational systems to reflect our commitment to disrupt oppressive dynamics and also in documenting and sharing our tested strategies for education and engagement. I am super excited to develop this spring's 2021 Fellowship and to integrate that successful structure into our newer programming, from Hip Hop workshops, to Listening Sessions, to weekly calls for each campaign. I also plan to help with fundraising and grant writing ;)