Staff

Loan Tran (Director):
Pronouns: they/them/theirs

Loan Tran is a queer writer with a background in coalitional organizing across the U.S South. Loan has worked on issues of migrant justice, LGBTQ liberation, economic and racial justice and for an end to all interpersonal violence. They co-managed the “Drop the I-word” Campaign in Charlotte, NC to challenge media representation of undocumented immigrants and was a lead organizer with the March on Wall Street South Coalition, which mobilized thousands to protest money in politics at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in 2012. Loan was a featured speaker at Historic Thousands on Jones St. (HKonJ) mobilization in 2013 and has had their writing featured on Black Girl Dangerous, Waging Non-Violence, {Young}ist, New York Times and The Advocate. Currently they are a freelance writer and consultant who provides organizational development, trainings and workshops to organizations and institutions across the country. Loan envisions a movement for liberation and justice to be one that leaves no one behind so one day we can all be our authentic selves, lead full lives and be free.

Tavon Bridges (Youth Organizer):
Pronouns: he/him/his

Tavon Bridges is a 2014 graduate of Knightdale High School. In high school Tavon was a leader in the successful campaigns to stop the placement of armed officers in every elementary school and to get the school board to sign a new MOU with law enforcement. Tavon began working with the Youth Organizing Institute and is an alumni of the 2014 Summer Freedom School. Tavon is currently an Ignite NC fellow, working with YOI on School-To-Prison-Pipeline issues and the criminalization of Black and Brown youth.

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B  Galdamez  (Youth  Organizer):
Pronouns: they/them/theirs

B Galdamez  is  a  freshman  at  Peace  College  in  Raleigh,  NC.  B  attended Youth  Organizing  Institute’s Summer  Freedom  School  in  2012  and  has been  a  leader  in  the  teen  activist  group,  NC  HEAT.  In  the past  few years,  B  has  been  instrumental  in  the  NC  Queer  Youth  Power  Coalition, helping  to  organize the  annual  Queernival,  a  celebration  of  queer southern  youth  liberation.  This  past summer,  B  was  an intern  for Summer  Freedom  School.  Currently  they  are working  on  the  Solutions  Not  Suspensions  Campaign in  Wake  County.

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Babette (Development and Communications):
Pronouns: they/them/theirs

Babette is a lifelong unschooler and student activist, currently attending Durham Tech. Their own experience with school push-out and growing up with family in BAMN influenced their decision to leave school for unschooling. They want to explore healing and self-determination as a way towards liberation for all. Alongside YOI, they are pursuing their passion of art and social justice performing with Queer Youth Circus. Babette is a former graduate and intern at YOI’s Summer Freedom School.

Femi Shittu (Program Coordinator):
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Femi is a Black queer femme born and raised in rural North Carolina via Caswell County. She completed a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Africana Studies.

Femi has a extensive background in youth organizing which ranges from mentorship to campaign building around student and youth issues specifically through a queer feminist lense. Femi spends alot of time thinking about the intersections of organizational structures and wellness. Currently she is the eastern/triangle Field Organizer for IGNITE NC and the Fellowship Coordinator for YOI in which she continues her passion in helping to build power among younger communities through leadership development. Femi’s global initiatives is centered around building with Black LGBTQ immigrants and undocumented people.

RJ Bio Pic YOI 2017

Raul Jimenez (Co-Director):
Pronouns: he/him/his

Raul Mauro Arce Jiménez was born in Ecatepec de Morelos, México State, México. He is the son of
migrant farmworkers and a former farmworker himself. In 1997, at the age of six, he migrated to North
Carolina with his family as an undocumented minor. After living in North Carolina for three years, he
moved back to Mexico where he stayed for three years, and later returned to North Carolina where he
has been living since 2003.

In 2010 Raul joined the Youth Organizing Institute (YOI) and Raleigh Fight Imperialism Stand Together
(F.I.S.T.). While in the YOI, he organized students into what is known as NC Heroes Emerging Among
Teens (HEAT). After YOI he worked as an organizer for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO in
Dudley, NC. As a FLOC organizer he reached out to farm workers across North Carolina, working
together to build union membership, improve living and working conditions, educate workers on labor
rights, and ensure all farm workers a voice on the job. In October 2017, Raul joined the YOI as their first
Co-Director. Working together with YOI staff and organizers, Raul plans to continue building the current
base and strengthen the organizing work in schools and communities across the triangle.