SPARK! TALKS

David Azevedo

Moving LA into an Age Friendly Future

 A native Californian with a seven-year public service career in Los Angeles, David enjoys the fine art of turning progressive talk into meaningful action. As a senior campaign and advocacy specialist with AARP, David empowers and equips older adults and their families, specializing in policy areas of transportation, housing, and the built environment. In David’s Spark! Talk, he’ll use this perspective in exploring how to make the case for progressive causes among a population that can be critical of change. David also serves on the City of Pasadena Accessibility and Disability Commission and the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition steering committee.

 

 

Ravesa Bajo

Refugee Blues: The Art of People Powering

Ravesa’s  Spark! Talk, entitled Refugee Blues: The Art of People Powering, will discuss the intersection of her refugee experience and civic engagement through personal storytelling. Ravesa is currently the Research and Evaluation Manager for NYC Service, a division of the Mayor’s Office of New York City dedicated to inspire and empower New Yorkers to serve each other through nonprofits, businesses and city agencies. Ravesa is a 2018 NLC NYC fellow, a multicultural polyglot, a public servant and a budding social entrepreneur.

Natasha Baker

Children in Chains: Why We Need to End Shackling in the Juvenile Justice System

Natasha’s Spark! Talk is entitled Children in Chains: Why We Need to End Shackling in the Juvenile Justice System. Natasha is an attorney in Washington, D.C. where she works as a Skadden Legal Fellow at Open City Advocates, representing system-involved youth in post-sentencing and re-entry matters. She is a 2012 NLC Silicon Valley Fellow and a Senior Fellow for the Millennial Policy Initiative’s Criminal Justice Commission.

Julie Barton

Why Progressives Should Care About Kids' Books

Julie's Spark! Talk, entitled Why Progressives Should Care about Kids' Books, will explore the role of diversity and representation in children's literature. Julie is the Development Director for Tandem, Partners in Early Learning, a Bay Area nonprofit dedicated providing books and training to thousands of families and children every year, and has a Ph.D. in Literature and a MA in Children's Literature. She is a former NLC San Francisco fellow, the current NLC San Francisco finance co-chair, serves on the National NLC Advancement Committee, and is a Life Entrepreneurship Trainer for NLC institutes. However, she is determined to never be too old (or too busy!) to read books written for children.

James Chan

The Rising Power of the 'Quiet' Asian Americans

James' Spark! Talk, entitled "The Rising Power of the 'Quiet' Asian Americans," will explore the growing political and economic power of the fastest growing racial group in the United States. His talk will also discuss recent trends and the urgency for the progressive movement to take actionable steps to include this group or risk losing them to the conservative movement. James has worked in Florida politics for years and currently works with more than 50 progressive, nonprofit organizations in the third largest state to increase civic engagement, particularly with the new American majority. James currently serves as the Chapter Co-Director for NLC Tampa Bay and Programming Chair for the East Central Regional Council for Leadership Florida.

 

 

Chris Chu de León

 Universal Basic Income: Eliminating Extreme Poverty and Reclaiming Racial Justice

Chris' Spark! Talk, entitled Universal Basic Income: Eliminating Extreme Poverty and Reclaiming Racial Justice, will explore UBI as an engine for promoting greater economic and racial justice—ultimately, affirming autonomy and dignity for recipients through social citizenship. Chris currently serves as the Legislative Director for a senior member of the New York State Assembly and is a 2018 NLC NYC Fellow.

 

 

Joy Dixon

Power Rising: Women of Color and the Path to Leadership

Joy's Spark! Talk, entitled Power Rising: Women of Color and the Path to Leadership. Joy will explore the value of female leadership, as well as how progressives can support and benefit from minority perspectives in the progressive movement. Joy is a Health Systems Manager, Primary Care from American Cancer Society and a former NLC Tallahassee Co-Director and Fellow. She currently serves as the National Board Representative for New Leaders Council and is a board member for the Democratic Club of North Florida.

 

Travis Escobar

Power of Millennials

Travis' Spark! Talk, entitled Power of Millennials, will talk about how an NLC capstone project to organize millennials in Rhode Island has changed negative stereotypes against the generation but has had impact on progressive policies. Travis is the Founder and Board Chair of Millennial Rhode Island, a generational network that inspires millennials to live, work, and grow in the state. Travis is currently the Project Manager, Public Policy at United Way of Rhode Island and sits on the board of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, Rhode Island College Foundation, and Grow Smart Rhode Island.

 

Kristin Garcia

Imagining an Equitable Future for Workers

Kristin’s Spark! Talk, Imagining an Equitable Future for Workers, will explore the role of unions in advancing economic justice and how to ensure that workers continue to have power in a twenty-first century economy. Kristin is an attorney at Altshuler Berzon LLP, where she represents McDonald's workers and unionized homecare workers and bus drivers, among others. She is a Co-Director of NLC San Francisco and a former law clerk to Judge Stephen Reinhardt. Kristin previously worked in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs under President Obama, on the Obama Campaign in Ohio, and as an organizer in Boston.

 

 

Mark Greene

Help Wanted: Progressive Voices on Wall Street

Mark's Spark! Talk, entitled "Help Wanted: Progressive Voices on Wall Street" will explore how progressive voices can impact traditionally conservative spaces. Mark is Director at SafetyNet, a company creating innovative solutions for those underserved by the financial services industry. Mark is the appointed Chairman of Madison’s Economic Development Board and an Air Force pilot with over 170 overseas combat missions. Mark is a graduate of Wisconsin Law School and United States Air Force Academy.

 

 

Amy Handler

The Scarlet Letter

Amy's Spark! Talk, entitled The Scarlet Letter will explore stigma and shame associated with abortion stories that span generations. Amy received her Master's in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and is the Program Evaluation Manager for Provide, Inc, an organization that works to increase abortion access in the South. She is currently an NLC fellow in North Carolina, serves as a precinct chair for the Durham Democratic Party, volunteers for the Carolina Abortion Fund, and is a semi-professional bachelorette and wedding attendee. 

 

 

Debbie Origho Manigat

Your Life Matters

Debbie's Spark! Talk, entitled "Your Life Matters", will illuminate the incredible neuroplasticity of the brain. She is a Motivator and Freedom Coach for Mental Health awareness. She volunteers as a Different Brains, Inc. Board member, YouMoms, Inc. Advisory Board member, and Women of Tomorrow Mentor. She also serves as the Co-Chair/President of the Palm Beach Association of Marriage & Family Therapy. She works for a special taxing district for children's services and manages their Touchpoints, Infant Mental Health, and reflective practice training initiatives. Her passion is researching the prevention of adverse childhood experiences through holistic practices such as mindfulness.

 

 

Andrea McChristian

The Bordentown School: A Prison-to-School Pipeline for New Jersey’s Youth

Andrea’s Spark Talk!, The Bordentown School: A Prison-to-School Pipeline for New Jersey’s youth, will explore New Jersey’s broken youth justice system through the lens of the Bordentown School. The school was an elite, state-run boarding school for Black youth that is now home to Hayes, the state’s girls’ youth prison. Bordentown is the school-to-prison pipeline realized, serving as a metaphor for how the jailhouse has replaced the schoolhouse for far too many of our state’s Black youth. Andrea is Associate Counsel at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, a legal policy and advocacy organization located in Newark, New Jersey.

 

 

Ashley Nealy

Don't Flee the Feds

Ashley's Spark! Talk, entitled Don't Flee the Feds makes a plea to progressives to join the ranks of the federal government instead of running away from non-elected public service on a national level. Ashley is 2015 Fellow of NLC Atlanta. She has served as an IT Specialist for the federal government since 2010 and is the President of Young Government Leaders - Atlanta.

 

Mx. Naushaba Patel

Global Health Through a Pakistani Queer Muslim Immigrant Backpacker's Perspective

During Naushaba's talk, they will share about their solo backpacking experiences in Asia and Europe; the lessons they learned about shared humanity and humility in regards to global health and human rights advancements; and the painful unlearning they had to do of their "ivory tower" American academic training. Naushaba is a queer Pakistani Muslim American immigrant and activist, and works at the Montrose Center with Queer Women and Trans programming, focusing on reducing health disparities and building intersectional spaces particularly centered around qtpoc (queer trans people of color) communities. 

 

Aviva Rosman

Let's Get Down(ballot)

Aviva's Spark! Talk, "Let's Get Down(ballot)"  will discuss trends in downballot voting and candidates based on data and trends Aviva has observed as the COO and co-founder of BallotReady. A little over three years old, BallotReady makes it easy to vote informed on the entire ballot and this fall will be live down to the local level in all 50 states. 

 

Maria Town

Three Generations of Abelism is Enough

Maria's Spark! Talk is entitled Three Generations of Abelism is Enough. 

Kimberly Weaver

We Live in a Place

Kimberly's Spark! Talk, We Live in a Place, puts a spotlight on Rural America, specifically her home state of Montana. Kimberly is currently the Co-Director of NLC - Montana and was a 2017 fellow. She currently works for a local business, The Montana Scene, as the Director of Sales & Marketing.

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