Meet the Allies: Class of 2011











Aiden Aizumi

Lifeworks, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center

Aiden is a 22 year old Female to Male Transgender Man who is a Public Ally for LifeWorks at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.  He is passionate about LGBT Equality Issues, especially those involving youth and the Transgender Community.  At LifeWorks Aiden is going out to schools to outreach and tell youth about the safe space that LifeWorks offers.  In addition he helps to facilitate a Transgender/Genderqueer Discussion group that let’s young Transgender and Genderqueer be themselves and talk with their peers.   Aiden became a Public Ally to challenge himself, and grow professionally and personally and after Public Allies plans to return to school to finish his Bachelor’s degree in Social Work.


Daisy J. Amezcua


Daisy is the second oldest of four children and the first in her family to graduate from college. Being raised by two immigrant parents who migrated from Mexico and having gone through the public educational system in Lynwood as an English Learner fueled her passion for social justice and equal education. In 2009, she received her Bachelor Degree in History and Chicano Studies and a Minor in Sociology at California State University of Long Beach. Daisy is currently an Ally for the Public Allies Program in Los Angeles where she serves as Parent Engagement Coordinator for CADRE. She is in the process of applying to Graduate Schools study Public Policy.


Ben Biscocho


Benjamin is a Bay Area born and raised Filipino American, fueled with a Los Angeles consciousness. Ben is placed at FilAm ARTS, whose mission is to advance the understanding of the arts and diverse cultural heritage of Filipinos in the United States. Ben is in charge of Community Outreach to FilAm ARTS’ constituents in Southern California as well as the organization’s communications. After graduating from LMU, Public Allies was the perfect program for Ben to progress his involvement and knowledge around social justice and it has allowed Ben to challenge himself professionally and to advance his personal development. After Public Allies, Ben plans to obtain his Masters in Public Administration.


Myra Blackburn

Legal Aid Foundation

No Bio Available


Justine Calma

Khmer Girls in Action

Justine coordinates the Young Womyn’s Empowerment Program at Khmer Girls in Action.  She is most passionate about gender, reproductive, and racial justice, and is also active in the Filipino American community.  Public Allies has given her a new perspective of Los Angeles and connected her to networks of people implementing real change through asset-based community development.  After Public Allies she will continue as a program coordinator at KGA and will transition into developing the organization’s campaign communications.  With a bachelor’s degree in Literary Journalism, she hopes to continue a career that brings together journalism, community organizing, and social justice.


Stephanie Castro

Youth Mentoring Connection

Stephanie is a recent graduate of UCLA.  Her studies in World Arts and Cultures and Chicano/a Studies, as well as her development as a student activist led her to Public Allies.  As an Ally she has had the opportunity to understand what building community really means and has begun to cultivate her voice as a community leader.  Stephanie is currently serving as the Urban Oasis Film Academy Coordinator and Administrative Assistant at Youth Mentoring Connection.  After Public Allies she hopes to pursue a Master’s in education, rekindle her love for dance, obtain a yoga teaching certification, and continue to serve her community.


George Chacon

LA Conservation Corps

George was born and raised in the city of Los Angeles. During high school, he became involved in the anti-war movement while advocating for equitable access to higher education for under-served communities. As an undergrad in UCLA, he fought against fee hikes and proposed cuts to ethnic studies courses. After receiving his B.A. in International Development Studies, he became a Public Ally. Now working for the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, George develops partnerships with local employers and assists clients in the employment application process in order to increase the hiring of the young adult members in the organization.


David Chavez

Youth Justice Coalition

David is currently placed at the Youth Justice Coalition where he is supporting the students and staff of their education program, FREE L.A. High School, by co-facilitating classes and mobilizing volunteers and resources as a Movement Builder for the organization. David is passionate in working to build a movement to abolish the Prison Industrial Complex and transform the way society address harm and violence. David is a graduate of UCLA, a brother, a son, a partner, and an aspiring “floet” mixing free-styling and poetry to comment and digest the world and movement around him.


Ruby Chevreuil

Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic

Ruby was born in Los Angeles, raised in San Diego, and was politicized in Santa Cruz. I am passionate about LGBTQI issues and ensuring that everyone receives equal and just treatment in our society. I work at the Los Angeles Child Guidance as a Communications and Outreach assistant where I take on diverse projects regarding mental health, primarily for children and families. I came to Public Allies in hopes of applying the theory into practice. After Public Allies, I hope to continue my path into the non-profit world, specifically in the field of communications. In the future I hope to attend grad school for my journalism masters.


Christilily Chiv

Youth Mentoring Connection

Christilily carry many identities – one being a proud Teo Chew-Cambodian American who is constantly seeking to find the balance of connecting to and understanding her roots along with trying to break away from the general norms that society has placed on her. Her passion is in the visual and performing arts and using the arts as a tool to empower and educate the community about differently communities and social justice. She believes in viewing the world through critical lenses and to not to take everything for just the way it is. She is currently working at Youth Mentoring Connection, whose mission is to match up a mentor with a youth so they can learn from one another and provide a safe space for the youth to see their gifts and assets.


Maria Cortez

SRO Housing

Maria is a woman deeply passionate about justice for humanity.  Maria joined Public Allies in order to continue developing her leadership skills, to challenge herself in new ways, and gain valuable experience in the non-profit sector.  Maria has found all of these things  and a whole lot more in this program.  She has come to learn about her own strength, resiliency and capacity for growth as a leader.  Public Allies has given her a renew confidence in her ability to make positive social change.  After the Public Allies program Maria would like to pursue a career in policy or law.


Shonnica Croom

Youth Mentoring Connection

No Bio Available


Fernando Espiritu

Khmer Girls in Action

Fernando came to Public Allies to raise his consciousness on events and policies that impact his community. His current work at Khmer Girls in Action in Long Beach involves leadership development with high school youth. He appreciates the training Public Allies has given him in order to work more effectively with the people he serves.


José A. Fernandez

Community Development Technologies (CDTech)

Jose’s experience with CDTech’s ParentLink Parent Organizing Committee has grown a more profound perspective on leadership and asset-based community development. His passion resides within Immigrant and Civil Rights, Public Allies Los Angeles gave Jose the opportunity to explore untapped talents while collaborating with new people in a different community.  Jose encourages anyone that would like to take the next step in becoming a community leader to apply to Public Allies Los Angeles.


Lucia Garcia

Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic

Lucia works with families of young children who have mental health needs in South and Central LA.  She researches and gathers resources to be made available to families through personal meetings, workshops, and case management as well as providing child care services to clinicians and parent support groups. She is interested in social justice work in public health, housing equity, homelessness, Queer rights, immigrant rights and empowerment of communities of color.


Muneera Shariff Gardezi

Ladership Development for Interethnic Relations (LDIR)

Muneera is a fierce Pakistani Muslim women.  She is passionate about the intersection of identities and wants to help sustain and build a movement within the Muslim community which will address islamophobia in the us context as well as the ways in which Muslim identities are complicated and layered in order to provide support to Muslims within and outside of their communities.


Pedro Gomez

Youth Mentoring Connection

Pedro is a UCSB alumni. He is passionate about at-risk youth and education. Pedro is an assistant programmer at Youth Mentoring Connection. He supports the youth by being there when they need someone talk to or simply be heard. In the future he plans to attend grad school for education counseling in order to become a high school counselor.


Anny Hsu

Girls & Gangs

Anny is passionate and committed to social justice. She grew up knowing the disparities that exists between different cultures and groups of minorities. She joined the nonprofit field after her experience with Public Allies Class of 2008. She was placed at SRO Housing Corporation, case managing homebound seniors. There she learned that all people can be advocates for themselves with the right tools. Prior to joining Girls & Gangs, Anny worked as an Asian American Outreach Coordinator with Breast Cancer Network of Strength. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with an emphasis in International Studies from the University of California, Riverside. She also received a certificate in Community Planning and Economic Development from LATTC during her year in AmeriCorps.


Sophia Kandell

Esperanza Community Housing Corporation

No Bio Available


Maria Lemus

SRO Housing

Maria is a 1st Year Public Ally who is passionate about social justice, particularly in the areas of youth advocacy, women’s rights and homelessness. Maria is currently a Case Manager at SRO Housing Corporation, an organization committed to building and preserving a vibrant community for homeless and low-income individuals living in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. Maria came to Public Allies Los Angeles to develop and polish the leaderships skills needed of a dynamic community leader. At Public Allies Los Angeles, Maria is learning to connect and serve the Los Angeles community with integrity, compassion and an unbounded admiration.


Natalie Morgan

Youth Opportunity Movement Watts

Natalie is a 2nd year ally working as an educational mentor and advocate. She came to Public Allies with an interest in service and discovered a passion and career path in education and youth development. Through the PALA program, she has explored her connections with and contrasts to others around identity, experience, and communication, to create a more centered and rooted self from which to grow and collaborate. She will continue her work by pursing graduate education and community practice in multicultural counseling and education policy.


Asia Murray

Child Guidance Center of Los Angeles

No Bio Available


Andy Nsiele

SRO Housing

Andy is an African-American male who defines himself as a truth-seeker. He is passionate about music, basketball, and social justice. He works as a case manager for Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Housing Corporation where he assesses clients situations and help to develop plans for the homeless in achieving self-sufficiency in finding affordable housing.


Agueda Rivas

Youth Mentoring Connection

No Bio Available


Ruby Rivera

Legacy LA

Ruby is a recent Graduate of UCLA in Chicana/o Studies and Labor and Workplace Studies. She is currently serving as a Leadership Coordinator and Academic Support at the Youth Based Organization, Legacy LA, where she serves the youth of the Ramona Gardens Housing Projects and its surrounding community. Through her work with the leadership program, Dream Big, Ruby has been able to raise social awareness and empower youth to begin the process of making positive changes to bring about a happy and healthy Ramona Gardens. She hopes to continue her studies and ultimately devote her life to serving youth through Social Work.


Kanchan Sakhrani

After School All Stars

Kanchan is the national program assistant for After-School All-Stars, an organization which provides free daily after-school programs to over 80,000 students in 450 schools in 12 cities across the US. Kanchan has tutored students, taught English in Brazil and volunteered at orphanages in third world countries. Kanchan held public policy internships with former Speaker of the California State Assembly Karen Bass and United States Senator Barbara Boxer. With a passion for social and economic development, Kanchan plans to pursue a dual Master’s degree in Social Work and Public Policy where she can apply her work experience towards further inquiry and research in civic affairs.


Sophia Sanchez

Families in Schools

Sophia is a 2nd year ally continuing her work as the program assistant to the College Awareness and Preparation Department. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA in Psychology and a minor in Education and Chicana and Chicano studies. As a native to the Vernon-Central neighborhood, Sophia has the wonderful opportunity to serve her community by focusing on education. She is driven to ensure that every student has equal access to higher education. Sophia plans to pursue her goal of attaining a Master’s degree in School Counseling where she hopes she can further influence the educational world and promote higher education to students in her community.



Krithika Santhanam

Legacy LA

Krithika is a recent college graduate who is working as a Youth Leadership Coordinator. She has a background in Criminology, an avid interest in Critical Race Theory and a strong desire to eventually work in the Public Sector advocating for Criminal Justice reform. Her current position allows her to foster the social awareness, leadership capacity and personal development of youth between the ages of 13 to 22. Krithika plans to continue working within the field of youth development graduate school for a Masters in Public Policy.


Briseida Solis

Youth Mentoring Connection

No Bio Available


Mai N. Thai

Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA)

Mai is a youth trainer/organizer that develops and facilitates political education curriculum for high school youth in Chinatown and Lincoln Heights.  She joined Public Allies because of her passion for community justice work and is learning about the ways that effective professional leadership starts from challenging oneself on a much deeper and personal level.  Mai intends to pursue work in the education field through teaching and advocacy.


Damon Turner

Mercado La Paloma

No Bio Available


Ashley Yang

Gender Justice LA

No Bio Available