Executive Director

Raul Jimenez
Pronouns: he/him/him

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.



Tavon Bridges
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.

B  Galdamez 
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.


Communications & Development


Beau Cromartie
Pronouns: they/them/theirs

Beau was born in Greensboro, NC and grew up in Detroit, MI before migrating back South in 2012. In 2015, they started organizing with the Queer People of Color Collective (QPOCC) in Greensboro, calling for an end to police brutality and trans hate crimes. They served as the Managing Editor of I Don’t Do Boxes, a queer youth-led zine program of Elsewhere Museum in 2016. Beau is a former member of the LGBT Center of Raleigh’s Youth Board and a former intern at the Youth Organizing Institute’s Summer Freedom School.

Beau is currently an Aerial Teacher for Queer Youth Circus, a political performance group for LGBTQIA folks, and serves on the Youth Advisory Board at the American Youth Circus Organization. They want to explore healing justice & bodywork for the movement at large. Beau is called to this work by their belief in self-determination for young people, queer & trans liberation, and racial justice.



Femi Shittu
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 an extensive background in youth organizing which ranges from mentorship to campaign building around student and youth issues specifically through a queer feminist lens. Femi spends a lot of time thinking about the intersections of organizational structures and wellness. Currently ,she is the 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.

Jayla Hagans

Pronouns: they/them/theirs

Jayla is a 2018 graduate of Leesville Road High School. In high school, Jayla was apart of various on campus clubs including, GOA, Black Student Union, and a revolutionary student cohort, that worked with the most oppressed youth to empower their voices in schools and lead multiple walkouts, protest, and events.

In 2017, Jayla started working with the Youth Organizing Institute, and became a Durham Freedom School Alumni. In 2018, Jayla was apart of the first cohort of NC HEAT fellows and began working as an intern following. Jayla was also an intern for the 2018 Freedom Schools program. Currently, Jayla helps manage the Durham Solidarity Center and is a co-coordinator of the 2019 NC HEAT fellowship. They also do community organizing outside of work.  Jayla values fighting for the liberation of all people, ending white supremacy, and truly investing in the leadership and power of young queer, trans, LGBTQ+, Black and Brown people.