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Taking Advocacy to Another Level

IMG_2389Representatives of low-income and marginalized communities and communities of color are often absent from decision-making bodies such as planning commissions, parks boards and other appointed governmental bodies. The Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) identifies, trains, places and supports low-income people, marginalized people and people of color for seats on boards and commissions that influence equity and quality of life in the Sacramento area.

This competitive 6-month, 80-hour program trains participants in policy areas such as land use, public health, economic development and transportation, as well as in the logistical and procedural methods used to conduct public meetings. Graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge to effectively and knowledgeably participate as members of boards and commissions. Following graduation, SHA supports graduates for a seats on boards or commissions.

 Meet the Graduates

Lashawnda  Lashawnda Barker (nominated by Victory Life Bible Church) has worked for over 17 years as a county employee, as a social worker, advocating for the needs and services of individuals, families and children. She serves on the Antelope Community Planning Advisory Council, and her passion is helping people navigate the many different agencies and organizations to access services for housing, education/training and employment. She is also the leader of her church’s women’s fellowship.

Joseph Barry(nominated by Resources for Independent Living) is the Vice Chair of DOGFITE (Disability Organizing Group For the Initiation of Total Equality) and member of the EED’s Disability Advisory Committee (DAC). He is very committed to advocating for social justice and policy change as they apply to persons with disabilities. He hopes to continue leadership in breaking down barriers for persons with disabilities through my activity in Sacramento on various boards and commissions.


Julia Cabrera (nominated by California Coalition for Rural Housing) is a social work student, in her final year, at California State University, Sacramento. Julia aspires to practice macro and mezzo social work through the creation of social services and advocacy. Julia has experience in CalFresh, affordable housing, and school social work. She has joined the BCLI program to learn about policy change and advocacy.


Jeremy Doze (nominated by Volunteers of America) is a staffing professional with 6+ years of experience in the industry and has his hand in several other projects at any given time. His real passion is in the homeless sector; reintegration is his drive and what he would love to call “my legacy.” He is always hungry to learn new things, political, social and otherwise, and can’t wait to jump in and soak up all of the knowledge and experience everyone has to offer.


Crystal Harding-Jenkins (nominated by the Association of Citizens & Friends of Liberia) is community service driven, passionate about being an effective change agent and revolutionary. She earned her Masters of Social Work from CSUS and currently works for a dynamic nonprofit organization – LifeSTEPS. She serves affordable low income housing communities with the mission to empower and build resiliency- providing awareness, support, resources and services.


Xiong Lee (nominated by Ubuntu Green) is a resident in South Sacramento. He is a foodie and is currently in his tamales phase. He is interested in BCLI because he has experienced marginalization since he and his family are people of color and from a low-income background. He wants to advocate on behalf of his family, community of color, low-income community and other communities who are marginalized.


Johnnie Jackson (nominated by Rural Community Assistance Corporation) is an all-time Sacramento native, single mother of four children, who earned a Master’s degree in Special Education while working full time. She served eleven years in the US Army Reserves’ 921st Field Hospital as a Combat Medic and has been working for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation teaching and mentoring incarcerated at-risk youth and adults for fourteen years. She looks forward to having the opportunity to meet, network, and collaborate with game changers and champions for change while learning the rules of the game.


Steven Root (nominated by Mercy Housing) has had the pleasure of working with Affordable Housing Developer/Provider, Mercy Housing, for the last 8 years. This has provided much insight into the lives of Families, Seniors, and Adults with Special Needs. Steven is a proud Father and is looking forward to celebrate the last year of growing into a Multi-Generational Household. For several years prior Steven resided in the South Oak Park neighborhood where several other Young Professional Friends also decided to settle. He also has enjoyed serving with Oak Park Neighborhood Association, Neighborworks Community Leadership Institute, & Harvest Sacramento.


Pamela Warren (nominated by Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment) has been a resident of Oak Park off and on for 65 years. She has returned after a long absence to find her neighborhood has many needs, and wants to contribute all she can to seeing those needs are met by becoming a member of a board or commission planning the present and future of all lower income and homeless people of Sacramento.

Tara Tara Zagofsky (nominated by UC Davis Center for Regional Change) has worked throughout California on environmental justice issues and internationally as a trainer/community engagement specialist focusing on engaging low-income communities and communities of color in local, regional, national, and international decision-making. She currently directs the Collaboration Center at UC Davis Extension and lives in West Sacramento with her husband.


alcira_and_darrylSince 2011, the BCLI program has graduated over 42 leaders from the region who have gone on to serve their communities and the greater Sacramento area. Click on the announcements below to learn more about the graduates of the BCLI program.


2013-2014 BCLI Cohort

2012 BCLI Cohort

2011 BCLI Cohort




For more information on the BCLI Program, please contact Veronica Beaty.

The Boards & Commissions Leadership Institute is made possible through generous support from the  California Endowment and Sierra Health Foundation