Staff

Gabriella Anais Deal-Márquez is the Research and Policy Associate. Originally from Veracruz, Mexico, she graduated from Macalester College with degrees in American Studies, International Studies, and History. Prior to joining OAP, she was at HACER (Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research), where her research and policy work looked at health and education equity in the Latino community and across communities of color. Gabriella has been involved with the Education Equity Rubric Pilot Project since 2012. She brings skills in coalition building, youth work, research, and advocacy to her work at OAP. A musician and poet, she is also the founder of the Border Voices Poetry Series, which creates a platform for local poets to build community by speaking to their immigrant experiences. Email marquez@oaproject.org

Julia Freeman is the Senior Organizer for Racial Justice. She was raised in Detroit and has lived in Minnesota since 1984. She worked as a labor organizer for over 12 years, most recently as Organizing Director for SEIU Local 26. She has a long history of leadership in community organizing efforts and is currently President of the board of the Community Stabilization Project. Julia leads multiracial strategy groups and convenings. She is a grandmother of nine and education is her passion, which she brings to her work coordinating strategy for the Education Equity Organizing CollaborativeEmail freeman@oaproject.org

Mónica Hurtado is the Racial Justice and Health Equity Organizer. She grew up in Colombia where she was trained as a family medicine doctor. From 2002-2013, she worked with Aquí Para Ti/Here for You, a program funded by the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative. She is one of the founders of ARCHé (Alliance for Racial and Cultural Health équity), where she has been part of efforts like the Race Ethnicity and Language (REL) Data Workgroup. She is a 2011 graduate of OAP's racial justice apprenticeship class. Mónica brings skills in policy, public health, and community organizing to her work at OAP. Email hurtado@oaproject.org

Vina Kay is the Interim Executive Director and Director of Research and Policy. She was raised in Omaha and is a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Minnesota Law School.  She worked for several years with john powell at the Institute on Race and Poverty, first as Legal Fellow and then as Senior Researcher and Director of the Racial Justice and Regional Equity Project. Vina is also a writer of poetry, creative nonfiction, as well as a documentary filmmaker.  Her current project, Building the Pink Tower, reimagines schools and learning through the lens of Montessori education. Vina strives to create accessible and relevant racial equity research Email kay@oaproject.org

Salvador Miranda is the Associate Director and Director of Training.  He was raised in St. Paul. He has a degree in Chicano Studies from the University of Minnesota and went on to be the second Chicano from St. Paul to attend the U of M law school. Salvador was a founding board member of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, organized in faith communities with JMP, Interfaith Action, ISAIAH, and, on a national level, the Gamaliel Foundation. He also organized with Latino Economic Development Corporation to help create the Mercado Central.  Salvador coordinates racial justice training for leaders, organizers and organizations. Email miranda@oaproject.org

Beth Newkirk is the founding Executive Director (currently on leave) of the Organizing Apprenticeship Project.  She was raised in Ohio, but has lived in Minnesota for over 25 years. Beth has organized with the United Handicapped Federation, was the founding director of All Park’s Alliance for Change and served for four years as Campaign Director of what is now the Community Solutions Fund. She is a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont and received her Masters in Mass Communication, with a focus on Mass Communication and Social Change. Email newkirk@oaproject.org

Nelima Sitati is the Education Equity Rubric Pilot Project Coordinator. She grew up in Nairobi, Kenya and has lived in Minnesota for 15 years. Nelima brings skills in community organizing, policy leadership, and work with youth, parents, and community leaders from diverse communities to her role in leading this innovative project. She has been a lead organizer at the Harrison Neighborhood Association and has led collaborative projects around housing, education, and employment. She is a current policy fellow with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and serves on the Metropolitan Council's Housing Policy Planning Work Group. Nelima was one of the founders of the Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition and of the Northwest Community Collaborative. As project coordinator for the Equity Rubric Project, she works with community organizations and school districts to build a shared analysis, assessment, and action plan to strengthen equity practice and leadership in schools. Email sitati@oaproject.org

Additional Consultants

Brett Buckner is a Policy Consultant working with OAP to develop local and statewide racial justice policy strategies. He is a third generation, life-long resident of North Minneapolis. In twenty plus years of service throughout the state of Minnesota, Brett has served with the Minneapolis NAACP as its president from 2003-2004, assisted Congressman Keith Ellison’s campaign as his executive assistant in 2006 and Field Director in 2008, and with the U.S. Census Bureau as a partnership specialist covering 46 cities and communities in the first, second, fifth, sixth and seventh congressional districts. A graduate of Metropolitan State University, Brett is the principal owner of BasePower US LLC, a consulting company dedicated to the political advancement of the ALANA (African, African American, Latino, Asian, and Native American) community in Minnesota. Email brettdbuckner@gmail.com