Intisar Abioto (b. Memphis, TN. 1986) is a movement artist working across photography, dance, and writing. Moving from the visionary and embodied root of Blackgirl Southern cross-temporal cross-modal storytelling ways, her works refer to the living breath/breadth of people of African descent against the expanse of their storied, geographic, and imaginative landscapes. Working in long-form projects that encompass the visual, folkloric, documentary, and performing arts, she has produced The People Could Fly Project, The Black Portlanders, and The Black.
Abioto’s publication Black Portlands documents interviews with Black Portlanders alongside her photographs. She was a contributing photographer to MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora (2017) and her photographs illustrated the Urban League of Portland’s State of Black Oregon 2015. Alongside the five women artists in her family, she is the co-founder of Studio Abioto, a multivalent creative arts studio. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Samantha Bakall is a queer, Chinese American former journalist whose work has centered on amplifying diverse communities through food writing across the Pacific Northwest. Before joining MRG, Samantha worked for The Oregonian from 2013-2018 as the only staffed food writer of color in the state. After leaving the paper, she worked as a freelance writer specializing in diversity-based food issues — predominantly about Asian Americans in the Pacific Northwest — as well as travel and the outdoors. She helped plan and execute Portland International Airport’s fall 2020 – spring 2021 editorial strategy for its ongoing, $2 billion renovation and has mentored underrepresented youth interested in journalism for five years. In 2019 and 2020, she also designed and ran Amplify, a summer internship for high school journalists from underrepresented communities in partnership with Metro and Pamplin Media.
When she’s not writing, you can find her cooking or baking an intricate meal, hiking or kayaking (oftentimes both) across the Pacific Northwest, or heading out on a camping adventure in her home-built camper.
Dani Bernstein brings more than a decade of experience in advocacy, volunteer management and philanthropy to their work on the board. Dani is currently the Executive Director of Multnomah County’s Office of Community Involvement. Their career began working as field staff for marriage equality campaigns, organizing in California, New Jersey and Oregon to build strong volunteer bases to advocate for marriage equality and LGBTQ justice. In 2010, Dani moved to Oregon permanently and started working for the Oregon Bus Project, a youth civic engagement nonprofit. Before joining Multnomah County, Dani served as the Acting Executive Director of the Equity Foundation, a local LGBTQ community foundation.They live in NE Portland with their wife, Rachel, and dog, Asher.
Ryan Curren joined the board in April, 2018 to work through MRG to support groups around the state working for racial justice and beloved community. His job is with the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability where he is leading the development of the SW Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy. His work focuses on where affordable housing policy intersects with land use, economic development, and transit policy. Prior to this position he worked for the Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights leading the city-wide effort to develop racial equity plans for all City bureaus. Before moving to Portland he was a Senior Community Development Specialist for the Seattle Office of Housing where he managed an anti-displacement strategy in Southeast Seattle and worked with the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative to co-develop the City’s Equitable Development Initiative.
Chris (She/Her) does community engagement, organizing and advocacy work at Hunger-Free Oregon. She holds two degrees in Gender, Race and Nations with emphasis on Community Health Equity from Portland State University. Chris has 10 years of lived experience with poverty and food insecurity and is dedicated to surrounding herself in work that supports grassroots social change, women’s empowerment and advocacy, and policy changes that reduce racial, social and gendered disparities. Outside of work, Chris lives in the suburbs of Portland with her two boys, a chocolate lab named Lucy and a wacky great dane mix named Luna, all of which are the center of her universe.
Alessandra de la Torre (She/Her) works at Rogue Climate in Southern Oregon. Born and raised in the Bay Area, her goal is to increase diverse representation and education in Southern Oregon, while intersecting social and environmental movements. Alessandra is a proud Xicana from immigrant parents and a first-generation high school and college graduate. She believes our shared liberation is of upmost importance and it can happen through political advocacy, civic engagement, grassroots organizing, and community healing.
Liz Fouther-Branch, is a retired educator turned consultant that has spent more than 40 years working and volunteering for arts and youth development organizations. The last 20 years have been spent consulting on arts education programming and development, social justice, capacity building and advocacy. Liz has served on several local committees: City Club’s Homelessness Advocacy Committee, Regional Arts and Culture Council’s Mural Committee, McKenzie River Gathering “Justice Within Reach!” and Grantmaking committees, Social Venture Partners, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee and Multnomah County Citizens Involvement Committee (CIC) as well as the CIC-Non-Departmental Budget Committee. She is also a registered Yoga instructor, recently certified as an Accessible Yoga Ambassador and is seeking her “Yoga For All” certification. In her spare time, she enjoys researching family ancestry and crochet.
Ricardo Luján-Valerio is Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio’s Transition Liaison and Policy Director. Ricardo’s background covers immigration, education, election, and criminal justice policy. He previously served as Director of Advocacy at Latino Network, Policy Associate for the ACLU of Oregon, and as Legislative Director for the Oregon Student Association.
Ricardo has been a leader in the passage of various state legislative priorities, such as HB 2015 (Driver Licenses for All) and SB 1008 (Youth Sentencing Reform). Most recently, he was a co-architect of the Oregon Worker Relief Fund, a multi-million-dollar disaster relief program for Oregon’s immigrant community. He previously served as Vice Chair of the City of Portland’s Open and Accountable Elections Commission. He was born in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico, and graduated from Southern Oregon University with a BS in Business and a certificate in nonprofit management. .
Ubaldo works as a community organizer with Columbia Riverkeeper, conducting community outreach on clean water while promoting equity, inclusion, and diversity. Ubaldo has been an active member in the Latinx community in the Columbia Gorge, participating in projects that promote awareness on issues that are relevant to Latinxs in Oregon and Washington. In the last 15 years, he has launched and participated in multiple projects benefiting the Latinx community, including the local community radio station Radio Tierra. In his free time, he enjoys mountain biking, fishing, and hiking in the Columbia Gorge.
Lizzie Martinez was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah; and identifies as a person of Mexican and Spanish descent. She first became interested in issues of social justice while volunteering on an Alternative Spring Break program in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, she has dedicated her career to fundraising for social justice organizations, including national service advocacy and Latino communities in Portland. She currently works as Director of Development and Communications for Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and serves on the board of Willamette Valley Development Officers where she co-leads a Fundraisers of Color group.