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Vanguards of the Movement: Supporting Trans Leadership

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 -
10:00am to 11:30am PDT
Zoom Meeting
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A fair and just world is one where those closest to and most impacted by harm are thriving and leading solutions for social, economic, and political change, and when it comes to any movement for liberation, trans women of color have been the vanguards. However, even in this particular moment of mainstream visibility for the trans community, the reality is that Black and brown trans communities are still under-resourced and their leadership is going unrecognized. How can Bay Area funders support trans leadership that is at the forefront of creating safety and bringing dignity to vulnerable communities? 

Join us for a lively conversation with some of the Bay Area’s trailblazing trans leaders who are responding to the urgent needs of transgender, gender non-conforming, and nonbinary communities while centering the leadership of Black, Indigenous, and trans women and femmes of color. This is an opportunity for funders to learn more about the intersections of racial, economic, and gender justice, and about the ways in which trans folks are organizing locally to secure housing and addressing houselessness, leading anti-violence and decriminalization efforts, building trans-led organizations and infrastructure, addressing anti-trans bills targeting trans youth, and more. We will also hear from funder peers who have set a precedent for the ways in which the philanthropic community can strengthen the support of our trans leaders. 


Akira Jackson, Executive Director, TAJA Coalition

Akira Jackson is the Executive Director of the Transgender Advocates for Justice and Accountability (TAJA) Coalition, a coalition of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Trans-serving organizations, including the following: El/La Para Translatinas, Trans March, St. James Infirmary, the SF LGBT Center, Transgender Cultural District, and the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health. The TAJA Coalition is San Francisco’s 1st and one of few non-profits in the nation to be founded and incorporated by a Black Transgender woman. The goal of TAJA’s Coalition is to end all violence against Trans Women of Color. Trans Women of Color experience violence, discrimination and harassment in many ways, including in their families, schools, workplaces, their relationships, the criminal justice system, and their communities. In addition to being a Black Trans woman and recognized leader in the advocacy of Trans rights in the San Francisco Bay Area, Director Jackson is also an expert in the engagement, recruitment and delivery of HIV prevention interventions with Trans Women, especially Black Trans Women.

Aria Sa’id, Founder and Executive Director, The Transgender District

Aria Sa’id is an award winning transgender advocate and political strategist based in San Francisco. She is a founder and executive director of The Transgender District, the world’s first legally recognized district of its kind. Ms. Sa’id is also both a Board member of the Women’s Foundation of California, and an alum of it’s acclaimed Women’s Policy Institute fellowship program. In 2019, she was listed in the annual OUT100 which highlights 100 of the worlds influential LGBT leaders, and she is the youngest Black transgender woman recipient of Resolutions from the California legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom. In 2020, she was featured in Refinery29’s annual “Black is the New Black Power List” as one of 8 Black women in America to watch. Her work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Forbes, Travel & Leisure, The Guardian, CNN, Huffington Post and more. To learn more about her work, visit her website at:

Juniperangelica Gia Cordova-Goff, Associate Director of Gender Justice Leadership Programs, Transgender Law Center/Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network (GSA)

Juniperangelica/Gia Cordova is a queer, trans Latina, mother, and community organizer living in the Bay Area (Ohlone Land), originally from El Monte, CA (Tongva Land). Juniperangelica is currently the Associate Director of Gender Justice Leadership Programs at GSA Network & Transgender Law Center, based in Oakland. Her work with TLC and GSA Network centers the leadership and power of trans and nonbinary youth and is creating space for trans youth power to lead us toward safer schools and futures for our people. Juniperangelica attended Citrus College (‘16) and graduated from UC Berkeley (‘19). She’s raising a seven-year-old named Tiger, the center of her world. 

Nicole Santamaria, Executive Director, El/La Para TransLatinas

Nicole Santamaría has expertise in healing justice and anti-violence work, and has been providing support to survivors of violence for more than 15 years. Nicole's direct work with the LGBTQI community started as a professor of Design & Art Therapy, where she created and conducted art therapy workshops and research projects in her country of origin, El Salvador, for survivors of domestic, sexual, and anti-LGBTQI+ violence, and HIV-positive women. She then went on to co-found Colectiva Alejandria SV, collaborating with NGOs, activists, and government entities in Central America, the Caribbean and the US to create awareness around the violations and realities of LGBTQI communities in these countries, with a specific emphasis on the experiences of transgender women in poor communities. Nicole is now based in the Bay Area and serves as Executive Director of El/La Para TransLatinas. Using a trauma-informed lens, she continues to develop El/La’s diverse programs, while supporting staff development and growth, strengthening partnerships with community allies and organizations, ensuring continued funding and financial stability, and serving as El/La’s spokesperson and representative to the public at large.

Malachi Garza, Solidaire Network

Malachi Garza is currently the Organizing Director for the Solidaire Network. In this role Malachi works with donor organizers to mobilize critical resources to the frontlines of movements for racial, gender and climate justice. Before coming to Solidaire Malachi served as the W. Haywood Burns Institute Senior Strategist and National Network Director building community-based alternatives to juvenile justice systems across the United States.

Malachi serves on the Board of Directors of SONG Power, Auburn Theological Seminary and GLSEN. Malachi is a Rosenberg Foundation Leading Edge Fellow. Malachi’s work in popular education, community organizing, and institution building spanning 22 years. When Malachi is not in a meeting or scheming and dreaming they are in San Francisco hanging out with their Granny.



Aldita Gallardo, Program Officer, Fund for Trans Generations at Borealis Philanthropy

Aldita Gallardo (she/they/ella) is an organizer, facilitator, and resource mobilizer based in Oakland, CA, on unceded Ohlone Land. Currently, she serves as the Program Officer for the Fund for Trans Generations at Borealis Philanthropy, which funds grassroots trans-led organizations in the United States. She has been organizing at the intersections of racial and gender justice, trans/queer liberation, immigrant rights, and youth leadership development for over a decade. She is an alumna of the Grantmakers United for Trans Communities (GUTC) Leadership Fellowship with Funders for LGBTQ Issues and Justice Funders’ Harmony Initiative, and remains committed to equity and shifting practices in philanthropy. A graduate of Northwestern University, Aldita serves on the advisory board of El/La Para TransLatinas and enjoys going on walks with her chiweenie pup, Pepe.

Vanessa Camarena-Arredondo, Program Officer, Akonadi Foundation

Vanessa Camarena-Arredondo is a Program Officer at Akonadi Foundation and jointly manages the All in For Oakland initiative to end the criminalization of young people of color in Oakland. She joined Akonadi Foundation in 2017. Vanessa brings over 20 years of experience promoting social justice in communities of color through her work in philanthropy, the arts and cultural sector, as an organizer, and as a leadership development coach. Before joining Akonadi, Vanessa directed Studio Grand, a multidisciplinary art space in Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood that centered and featured cultural and arts programming produced by people of color in Oakland and allied communities.

Additionally, Vanessa worked as an organizer with the California Faculty Association, and she helped to launch a Fellowship for Leaders in Arts & Culture at Rockwood Leadership Institute. She served as a Multicultural Fellow for Arts & Culture at The San Francisco Foundation. While at The San Francisco Foundation, Vanessa made over 200 grants and raised over $1.5 million to support Bay Area artists and arts nonprofits.

When Vanessa is not working, she enjoys long city or nature walks. She is inspired by the plethora of artmakers and activists inviting us to envision and build a more racially just world inclusive of immigrant communities queer and trans people.

Target Audience

This program is open to NCG members, nonmember funders, co-sponsors, and partners.




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