Qasima Wideman (YOI Field Organizer and Curriculum Associate):

Pronouns: they/them/theirs

Qasima “Q” Wideman is the mixed-up, Muslim genderqueer poet child of two biracial parents, struggling through the confusion of the multiple diasporas, migrations, and class realities that have shaped their family and experience. Q graduated from the Youth Organizing Institute freedom school and started organizing with NC HEAT (NC Heroes Emerging Among Teens) at age 16. They have been active in the movement to stop Wake County’s school-to-prison-pipeline ever since. Q was the only teen speaker at the Moral March on Raleigh in February 2014, an event with an estimated 50,000 people in attendance. Q is now homosteading in Raleigh, and works to develop curriculum for popular education workshops and to create spaces for middle and high school students to develop solutions to the multiple oppressions they experience daily, and organize against the criminalization of immigrant, queer, trans, disabled youth and youth of color in Wake County schools. They are currently a first year at NC State University, majoring in Africana studies. They dream about strengthening and centering the leadership of formerly/incarcerated queer youth of color in the movement for a world without prisons in the U.S. South and building accessible alternatives to violent and carceral forms of mental health”care.”

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 (YOI 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.

beatriceB  Galdamez  (YOI 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.

Babette (Development and Communications Associate):

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 preforming with Queer Youth Circus. Babette is a former graduate and intern at YOI’s Summer Freedom School.

Santos (Campaign Director):

Pronouns: he/him/his

Santos Flores is Director for the “Solutions Not Suspensions” Campaign and a graduate from the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of North Carolina in Greensboro. His background gives him tools from somatic psychology, within a developmental framework of systems theory, to examine peace, conflicts, and social change as it is embodied in “marginal” communities and schools. Prior to working with the Youth Organizing Institute, Santos led Youth Programs in Food Justice, Empowerment, and Environmental Justice, as well as developed operational knowledge and practice in conflict transformation, critical race analysis, restorative justice, and cultural organizing. Santos hopes to develop strategies to promote equity, empowerment, proportionate educational outcomes for “marginalized” youth and spiritual healing in under-served communities/schools as a multi-methodological challenge the School to Prison Pipeline.


Anthony (Volunteer & Event Coordinator):

Pronouns: he/him/his

Anthony is a trickster, a good friend of toddlers & infants, and a detail-oriented organizer, both in the movement and in the living room. He loves his Durham community, his Italian Nonna & Puerto Rican Abuela, and all things that involve the sharing of food. Prior to working at YOI and his other gig with Durham For All, he helped mobilize Durham to elect Jillian Johnson to City Council in 2015, he obtained a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in 2014, and he participated in a range of other movement work, from supporting youth being pushed out of schools to engaging progressive groups in a national census & redistricting strategy.  Anthony feels so much gratitude to be working alongside and learning from youth leaders in the fight for our collective liberation!

Jillian Johnson (Operations Director, SVA & YOI):

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Jillian Johnson is the Operations Director for the Southern Vision Alliance and helps keep YOI organized. She is a mother of two, a neat-freak, a nerd, and a freelance web designer and technology consultant.  Prior to her work with YOI and SVA, Jillian helped organize Triangle Jobs with Justice and Ninas Sin Fronteras, a bilingual after-school day-care that ran out of her home.  She worked as the Office Manager for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (2008-2010) and is the former Director of SURGE (Student United for a Responsible Global Environment) (2006-2008).  Jillian has been a leader in labor-community organizing in the Durham for over 12 years, notably in 2004 when she led the student organization at Duke that made critical contributions toward FLOC’s historic victory to secure a three-way contract between their farmworkers, the NC Growers Association, and the Mt. Olive Pickle Company.