Meet our Young Invincibles’ California Young Advocates (#YIWest!)
I am from Fort Bragg, CA, a small beautiful town on the Coast. I am currently a third year at Sacramento State majoring in Political Science and a first generation college student. I hope to attend Law school after I graduate and then work in the legal field representing those who are underrepresented in the justice system.
Lauren is a multi-media artist who integrates technology into their daily work. They’ve worked in technology and design for 5+ years.
My name is Amanda Barba and I am a fourth year student attending Fresno State University. I am a first generation Mexican American and I am passionate about social justice and social change. I enjoy learning and advocating on social issues close to me such as immigration, health care, and comprehensive sexual education.
I am an intern for the Young Invincibles Spring Cohort. Currently, I am a second year student at UCLA majoring in Public Affairs and double minoring in Labor Studies and Education Studies. During my free time, I enjoy watching TV shows, movies, and hanging out with friends and family. I am excited to work and bring change!
Jonathan Isaiah Rodgers
My name is Jonathan Rodgers and I am a dedicated leader with a very diverse set of skills. I have experience with working in a successful group setting in being able to work on Higher Education Conferences, Financial Support throughout my entire institution, and a district-wide internship under Senator Hertzberg. In having these experiences I was able to develop excellent communication skills, team leadership skills, and flexibility for challenges we face.
Abigail is a young advocate that is deeply passionate about using her voice to amplify the needs of young people. With special interests to areas such as Mass-incarceration and Prison-to Pipeline Dilemmas, she is fueled with dedication and drive to stir up change in her community. Abigail has most recently served as the Lead Media & Communication Intern at CURB (Californian’s for a Responsible Budget), where she was able to be a part of viral campaign “#LetThemGo,” which advocated for the release of elders and other incarcerated people that are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
Currently a student at University of California, San Diego as a third-year Psychology student, she hopes to work to end stigmas around mental health and encourage care in her community. Serving currently as a UC Advocate and Campus Leader, Abigail spends much of her time working with other students to promote better relationships with legislators. With ambitions, to one day have her own practice, Abigail is continually inspired to strengthen her leadership and advocacy skills, so that she may positively impact young people in her generation.
Jacob Bramlage is Mesa Community College student and essential worker majoring in Anthropology and Political Science. Coming from a mixed background and spending time in Pacific Islander and Asian immigrant communities taught him the value of people helping each other and standing by for one another. The pandemic has shown how easily people can fall through the cracks and he wants to utilize the skills taught in the Young Advocates Program to help better his community and aid those around him.
My name is Jenavie (Je-nuh-vee) and I am currently a full-time student at Sacramento State University pursuing a degree in Political Science. Since high school I have been extremely passionate about public policy and advocacy. Prior to working with the Young Advocates Program, I was the Finance Director for the College & Career Readiness program at Inderkum High School in Sacramento and an intern for the Sierra Health Foundation, an organization that strives to eradicate health inequities and promote racial justice.
More recently, I have spent my time volunteering at local farmers markets with CalFresh at the Market Match booth in which I work to make fresh and local produce more accessible for EBT recipients. After I receive my bachelor’s degree, I plan to attend law school in hopes of becoming an immigration lawyer but until then I will be continuing volunteering around my community and spending time with my family and friends!
Marisa was born and raised in Hollister, California. A farming town in Central California. Marisa attended the University of Portland to pursue her undergraduate degree, seeking out answers to inequities across the nation and trying to learn the tools for being a change maker. As a student, Marisa interned with Unite Oregon, a non-profit intercultural movement for justice across Oregon. She also worked at her school in the Diversity and Inclusion Programs, helping to create a campus that furthers the success of all students.
Marisa earned her B.A. in Social Work with a minor in fine arts. She currently resides in Sacramento, working as the Senior Policy Fellow at Campaign for College Opportunity.
Bionca is currently a first-year student at the University of California, Los Angeles pursuing a BA in English and a minor in African-American studies. She currently works in the music department of her hometown church in Palmdale, CA, while also handling organizational tasks for the Loving Hands Community Care foundation in Los Angeles. Loving Hands Community Care is known for helping families in the Los Angeles region.
Bionca is committed to helping her community any way she can. Giving back and offering her services to those in need is how she feels she makes the world a better place.
Frankie Michael Bays
Frankie is a full time student majoring in Small Business Entrepreneurship with a focus on marketing and business management at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. He’s also a student at Los Angeles Job Corps Center, a program for low income youth, where he has completed a program in Office Administration and received awards for skills in communication, as well as their Scholar of the Year award for 2020. His long term career goal is to own a funeral home focusing on environmental justice and affordability for low-income individuals.
Frankie grew up the child of an incarcerated parent in one of the lowest income school districts in Florida, was kicked out of his home for being transgender, moved to California to live with a friend, but was unable to find employment and found himself as one of Los Angeles’s homeless youth. He credits his success in overcoming these obstacles to the help of programs like Job Corps, CalFresh, Medi-Cal, and other assistance programs helping him take care of his basic needs to he could focus on getting stable. He now spends his time outside of the classroom advocating for young people like him to have access to the right assistance to meet their needs and help them get to where they need to be.
Jaspreet is based in the Bay Area in California and part of the Young Advocates Program for YI West. She is currently pursuing a Bachelors in Communications with a minor in Deaf Studies.
Since she was young, Jaspreet always tried to help as many people as she could. In the past, she has volunteered with the Out of Egypt Network in raising awareness of the dangers of human trafficking among the youth. More recently, she co-founded the Coalition for Fair and Equitable Student and Community Housing in efforts to help students be released from leases during the COVID-19 pandemic. In her down time, Jaspreet enjoys cooking and spending time with her dog.
Kalkidan Alemayehu is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Political Science and double minoring in Global Studies and Entrepreneurship. In her undergraduate career so far, she has pursued public service at various levels, from local grassroots organizing to interning for federal offices.
As a strong advocate for single-payer health care, she has joined organizations such as Healthcare For All, Los Angeles chapter in an effort to pass Medicare For All in California. Through this initiative, she has worked on multiple local elections to help new progressive candidates unseat incumbents who no longer represent the values of their constituents.
On the federal level, she interned for Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33rd) during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and worked to help constituents who faced health, immigration, and housing crises.
Kalkidan hopes to continue organizing throughout her life and plans to enter the international relations field and advocate for the most vulnerable on the global scale.
Stephanie Bennett grew up in California’s Central Valley. Stephanie is currently a Graduate student at Fresno State studying History. She also works as a Substitute Instructional Aide and has been a student mentor to high school students with Fresno State. As a student mentor, Stephanie learned about various issues, such as mental health or financial needs, that would keep young students from attending higher education. Her goals are to become an advocate for those students and help them achieve their goals, whether it is through teaching or policymaking. Having taken the long road to obtain a Bachelors, she understands how to overcome mental health roadblocks. Her interests include roller skating, video games, eating pickles, and Hot Cheetos, and she loves long naps.
Brandon grew up with his Grandmother in Mexico City. He moved to Los Angeles around 16 years ago where he got to experience life as a low-income class immigrant and everything that comes with it. He was a youth homeless who dropped out of high school at a young age, and by 18 had become a father. His experiences drove him to pursue meaning in his life through education, and to advocate for youth in his community not to go through what he did.
Brandon Prior to YI, Brandon worked on promoting equity based changes to the Los Angeles Community College District system by working for and with organization like the American Federation of Teachers, RISE, Immigrant Rising, Korean Resource Centers, CARECEN, Foundation for California Community Colleges, Student Senate for California Community Colleges, and served as President of his campus student government. His work ranged from protecting undocumented students rights to advocacy for food pantries at all community colleges.
Now, he is a graduate from Los Angeles Trade Tech College, and is currently pursuing a bachelor degree in political science at Cal State LA. He works full time at a homeless youth center, and continues to represent Los Angeles in the Student Senate. He is truly passionate about advocating for community colleges, and hopes to build a career in the advocacy field for public education. His goal is to improve the education system by eliminating barriers for low income students, and to improve the curriculum to better serve all communities.
Jazmin Brianna Chism
During her time in high school, she spent her time working with programs that advocated for marginalized communities. She started her own chapter of Girl Up, that was founded by United Nations Foundation to empower young women globally. She was also an Intern at the Upward Bound Math & Science TRIO Summer Academy where she aided first generation and low-income high school students through summer school and reached out to colleges to talk to the students about admissions. Additionally, she was an intern at Loma Linda University through the Apprenticeship Bridge to College Program where she worked in the Center for Health Disparities & Molecular Medicine to collaborate on a project addressing Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) to aid marginalized communities who are more likely to contract Peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC).
As a Freshman, she continued her interest in advocacy with various programs she was involved in. She became an Intern with the Academic Supports Program that is a student run program that advocates for Black student retention at UCLA. She also performed a student research project through Melanin and Medicine under the Woman and Community Health Pathway where her team created a brochure providing affordable resources for maternal and child health in low income communities. The brochures are currently being resourced at Martin Luther King Hospital in Watts, California.
Edgar Oseguera Martinez
Edgar grew up in the working-class community of East Oakland where he navigated multiple economic, educational, and political hindrances as a formerly undocumented immigrant. As a first-generation college student in his third year at UC Berkeley, studying Public Policy, Business, and Education, he utilizes his lived experiences and knowledge to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the education system.
In his spare time, Edgar enjoys watching anime and reading manga. As well as hiking, kayaking, and playing soccer with friends and family.
Estela Najera is a first generation college student at Sacramento State who was born and raised in South, Los Angeles. She is majoring in Chicano studies and Women Studies and aspires to become a professor in the future. She is a student activist, Aztec dancer, community organizer, and poet who is very passionate about social justice.
Ruben Vela is one of the many Young Advocates for YI West in California. They is very passionate about creating change wanting to help communities out and get their voices heard. They have been a part of two leadership academies for two distinguished non-profit organizations in the Central Valley, one for The Source LGBT+ Center and the other for ACT for Women and Girls. They are currently a second year student at Fresno City College studying Sociology. They hope to go to Fresno State and get their Bachelors of Art in Sociology and hope to also get their MSW to become a Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist to help others out in their mental health.
Hi there, my name is Shelbi and I am currently completing my Multiple Subject teaching credential. I am a student leader at Cal State Long Beach and hope to continue to make a difference in my career and my community.