Participants

Ashleigh Hamilton
Community Organizer, Communities of Color United for Racial Justice (CCU)

Ashleigh Hamilton (she/her/ella) is a single mother of two and an East Side Austin native, who recently relocated due to gentrification. She currently works as a Community Organizer with Communities of Color United: Coalition for Racial Justice building relationships with the community to fight against systematic racism and dismantle barriers that support oppression. Ashleigh graduated early from Sidney Lanier High School Health and Science Institute, spending the next 15 years in the medical field working directly with underserved and underinsured communities to ensure quality of care. Coming from a long line of community leaders and activists, Ashleigh understood from an early age the importance of dedication to her community. Seeing her family work to achieve civil rights and to correct health disparities lead her to serve the very neighborhood she grew up in. She continues in her passion to effect global change by improving her small corner of the world. 

Libby McClure
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Occupational Safety and Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill & Data Health Analyst, DataWorks NC

Libby McClure is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Occupational Safety and Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the health data analyst at DataWorks NC, a Durham-based a 501 c 3 whose mission is to democratize data to facilitate an empowered, productive, and equitable community. She recently completed a year contributing to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 response as an occupational epidemiologist. Her research is focused on the ways in which historical and structural inequalities produce health disparities. She seeks involvement in social and environmental justice-focused research that both critically complicates traditional study of health and illness while also supporting social change. 

Carmen Rangel
Visual Artist, Co-Founder of The Mosaic Workshop

Carmen Rangel is a visual artist from Austin, community organizer, and co-founder of The Mosaic Workshop. She specializes in painted murals, mosaics, and collage. Her body of work is focused on exploring Latinx culture, amplifying underrepresented people, and current events. Rangel obtained her BA in Communication from St. Edward’s University, and it was during this time that she discovered the power of public art as a form of visual communication. She has spent the past six years working in the Arts community creating public art, events, and building community. Her career goal is to visually communicate causes and ideas through art, inspire and empower others to do the same with a focus on unity.

Lenny Sanchez
Co-Founder, Independent Drivers Guild of Illinois (IDG)

Before launching the Illinois chapter of the Independent Drivers Guild, Lenny Sanchez worked for years as an Uber/Lyft driver. He co-founded Gig Workers Matter, which focused on bringing awareness to the issues within the rideshare industry, organizing workers and building power to ensure elected officials support common sense reforms that protect the rights, demands and wellbeing of gig workers.  Rage Against the Machine’s Renegades and “Killing In The Name” get Lenny fired up and ready for direct action! Justice for laborers everywhere fuels his soul, while Gene ‘n Jude’s fuels him up. No 3rd classification ever!

Busi Sibeko
Researcher and Budget Policy Lead, Institue for Economic Justice

Busi Sibeko is an economist and researcher at the Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ). She holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Duke University and a Masters in the Political Economy of Development from SOAS, University of London. Busi’s current research focus is macroeconomic policy, including participatory feminist budgeting. She is a co-Chair of the Budget Justice Coalition which is comprised of 14+ civil society organizations. She also provides research support to the labor constituency. She authored The Cost Austerity: Lessons for South Africa and is a co-author of A fiscal stimulus for South Africa. In 2020, Busi was featured in the roundtable series of renowned economists on Rebirthing the Global Economy to Deliver Sustainable Development by the United Nations Secretary General. She considers herself a feminist political economist in training and is determined to be a part of unwinding structural injustice.

Gabriela Torres
Community Organizer, Communities of Color United for Racial Justice (CCU)

Gabriela Torres (ella/she/her/hers) is the daughter of two Mexican bakers and is originally from the southernmost part of Texas. Her transnational upbringing shaped her awareness of community, borders, migration, inequality, and injustice. She has served as a healthcare provider in abortion care, as well as a human rights defender, program coordinator, and regional director for the Fray Bartolomé Center for Human Rights and International Service for Peace in Chiapas, Mexico. Gabriela is a Community Organizer with Communities of Color: Coalition for Racial Justice (CCU), where she builds and cultivates alongside a team of community members to make another possible world. Since 2014, CCU has been advocating for racial equity, public health, and police divestment, and also serves as a BIPOC mutual aid network. She is currently a returning student at the University of Texas at Austin where she is completing her pre-medical studies.

Yolanda White
Executive Board Member of Texas State Employees Union (TSEU)

Yolanda White has worked for the State of Texas as a Direct Support Professional 2 for 17 and a half years: “I am an Essential Worker. My work with individuals who are mentally and intellectually challenged has not been easy; however, it has been rewarding.”

White is a member of Texas State Employees Union, where she has served as an Executive Board Member for four years. She has helped to organize her work place for 16 years, as well as helped to elect people who represent their best interests. She says, “The fight has become more difficult with our current legislators, but it continues.”

White volunteered at her local food banks weekly before the COVID-19 pandemic changed our way of life. She is a member of GirlTrek, a group that promotes healthy black women and girls.

White attended Angelina College more than 20 years ago, for a major in social work and a minor in teaching. She plans to go back after retirement to pursue her personal goals.