Pathways to Housing Justice Session 3: Accelerate Action!
Alexandra Desautels joined The California Endowment as Program Manager for Strategy Development in January 2014, and has since moved into the role of Senior Program Manager, Power Infrastructure. In this role, Desautels is responsible for working with staff across the foundation to sharpen the core elements of the BHC strategy. Desautels also manages portfolios related to building the state’s power infrastructure, from building narrative power to increasing the strengths of networks and alliances.
Prior to joining The Endowment, Desautels served as the Local Policy Manager for the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD). While there, she oversaw the implementation of Place Matters, ACPHD’s first local policy initiative for advancing health equity through social and environmental policy change in criminal justice, economics, education, housing, land use, and transportation.
Other positions held at ACPHD include serving as the Community Health Advisor to Oakland Mayor’s office where she advised the Mayor and his staff on the health equity implications of various policy issues and serving on numerous technical advisory boards, including the West Oakland Specific Plan, a Metropolitan Transportation Commission study on health facility locations and access to transit, Oakland Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Advisory Council.
Before joining ACPHD, Desautels worked in youth development in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. She is the recipient of the Mabel Goode Management and Planning Award and the Davenport Research Award for Public Policy. Desautels earned her B.A. in American Studies, with honors, from Wesleyan University in Middleton, CT, and her Master of Social Welfare (MSW) with a Management, Planning and Policy focus from the University of California, Berkeley.
Lorena Melgarejo, Executive Director, Faith in Action Bay Area - Lorena Melgarejo has served as the the Executive Director of Faith in Action since 2017. With over 20 years in community organizing experience, Lorena started her career as a union organizer for Justice for Janitors and later worked as a faith-based organizer for Faith in Action National. In 2005, she became Lead Organizer for San Francisco Organizing Project. Before she stepped into her Executive Director position with Faith in Action Bay Area, Lorena coordinated parish organizing and immigrant solidarity for Faith in Action and the San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese’s Office of Human Integrity. Lorena is a longtime resident of the Mission District in San Francisco
Jazmin is the Director of the Fund for an Inclusive California, and brings over twelve years of experience in immigrant rights and social justice movements in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors. She has a passion for racial and social justice and a deep commitment to grassroots organizing, advocacy, and movement building to bring about systemic change for low-income, immigrants and communities of color.
Before joining Common Counsel Foundation in 2017, Jazmin worked at the San Francisco Foundation where she developed and launched the foundation’s first Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building, providing timely resources to grassroots organizations that are on the front lines of organizing around issues of racial and economic justice in the Bay Area. Jazmin worked across the Foundation’s departments including the Development and Donor Services team to increase resources for immigrant and youth-led grassroots organizations. Prior to her work at the Foundation, Jazmin was the Policy Manager at Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC). Under her direction, E4FC developed its first advocacy platform and created a leadership team of undocumented youth who led a successful statewide policy campaign to make career licenses accessible to all Californians regardless of immigration status. She also worked as a Policy Advocate at Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN) where she co-led a diverse coalition of immigrant rights, criminal justice, and faith- based groups to pass one of the most progressive immigration detainer policies in the nation which later became a catalyst for the California Trust Act.
Jazmin’s commitment to building community power is inspired by her family’s immigration journey to the United States. She grew up in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles and graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Political Economy. Currently, she sits on the Board of Directors for the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley and is a former commissioner for the Human Relations Commission of Santa Clara County
Khanh Russo serves as the Vice President of Policy and Innovation. In this role, he leads a policy & innovation agenda focused on accelerating racial equity, economic inclusion and systemic change towards a more just society. Khanh’s expertise focuses on advocacy, power building, grantmaking and policy. Previously, Khanh lead San Jose Mayor Liccardo’s strategic initiatives focused on education, workforce development, innovation, performance management and budget. He also worked in the private sector leading social responsibility initiatives for Cisco Systems and Kaiser Permanente. Khanh received his MS in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and B.S. from Santa Clara University.