Ron Dellums, president & Co-Founder

Cynthia Dellums, Co-Founder

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Ron is a transformative world humanitarian and social justice leader who has stood for the rights of all peoples to live in peace, dignity, and security, even when those positions were unpopular.  He has been a leader in movements to end the Vietnam War, apartheid in South Africa, nuclear de-militarization and also an early leader in movements to promote the environment and social justice for women, immigrants, gays and lesbians, AIDS prevention, and boys and men of color.  

Ron's visionary leadership has been responsible for watershed social justice outcomes such as the federal divestment of South Africa's apartheid regime, end to dangerous nuclear weaponry, creation of the Global AIDS Fund and PEPFAR programs to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic, end to genocide in Bosnia, policy solutions to structural discrimination against Boys and Men of Color, and consistently serving as the radical and effective activist in the halls of Congress.

Ron has engaged in public service for over fifty years as a Congressman, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, founder of the Dellums Commission on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, and Mayor of Oakland.

He is renowned for his principled leadership, brilliant strategies, big heart, and bi-partisanship abilities.  He received a Masters in Social Work from UC Berkeley and a BA from San Francisco State University. 

Margaretta Lin

Executive Director & Co-Founder

 Margaretta is passionate about big change solutions, young people leading change, and people coming across divisions to care about justice and one another.  She combines her unique experiences in government, community activism, law, youth development, social enterprises, and collaboration into a force for equity and hope.   She has pioneered innovations and created new community institutions working at the intersections of equitable development, race, class, community healing, government transformation, youth violence, and educational equity.    Fruits of her love and labor include the  Oakland Housing Equity Roadmap , the  Oakland Housing Assistance Center , the  OSNI Collaborative for East Oakland development without displacement , the  City of Oakland's foreclosure prevention ,  foreclosed properties , and vacant lots initiatives, affordable housing in West Oakland and  Oakland Chinatown , the preservation of the historic  West Oakland train station and community reuse plan ,  Youth Together ,  Youth Uprising , and the  Skyline High School One Land, One People Youth Center .  Margaretta served as the Deputy City Administrator and Founding Director of Strategic Initiatives for the City of Oakland and Senior Advisor to Mayor Dellums.  Prior to government service, she served as Director of Community Economic Justice for the East Bay Community Law Center, Founding Director of Youth Together, researcher at ARC Associates, and Staff Attorney at Public Advocates.  Margaretta received a J.D. and Masters in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley, and a B.A. in Asian Studies and Religious Studies from University of Virginia. 

Margaretta is passionate about big change solutions, young people leading change, and people coming across divisions to care about justice and one another.  She combines her unique experiences in government, community activism, law, youth development, social enterprises, and collaboration into a force for equity and hope.   She has pioneered innovations and created new community institutions working at the intersections of equitable development, race, class, community healing, government transformation, youth violence, and educational equity.  

Fruits of her love and labor include the Oakland Housing Equity Roadmap, the Oakland Housing Assistance Center, the OSNI Collaborative for East Oakland development without displacement, the City of Oakland's foreclosure prevention, foreclosed properties, and vacant lots initiatives, affordable housing in West Oakland and Oakland Chinatown, the preservation of the historic West Oakland train station and community reuse plan, Youth Together, Youth Uprising, and the Skyline High School One Land, One People Youth Center.

Margaretta served as the Deputy City Administrator and Founding Director of Strategic Initiatives for the City of Oakland and Senior Advisor to Mayor Dellums.  Prior to government service, she served as Director of Community Economic Justice for the East Bay Community Law Center, Founding Director of Youth Together, researcher at ARC Associates, and Staff Attorney at Public Advocates.

Margaretta received a J.D. and Masters in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley, and a B.A. in Asian Studies and Religious Studies from University of Virginia. 

Dan Lindheim

Senior Advisor & Co-Founder

 Dan is an economist, planner, software developer, attorney, and educator.  He served as City Manager for the City of Oakland and as Director of its Community and Economic Development Agency. Previously, Dan was a senior economist at the World Bank and a policy director for then Congressman Dellums. Dan also headed a regional development office for the Chilean government, taught at the University of Chile, and was a health researcher at Johns Hopkins.  Dan also spent many years in the private sector as President and CEO of two leading high tech video and computer graphic software companies.  Dan currently teaches at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School for Public Policy.  He has a PhD in Regional Economics, Masters degrees in both City Planning and Public Health, and a B.A. in Economics, all from UC Berkeley.  He also has a J.D. from Georgetown Law School and is a member of the California Bar. 

Dan is an economist, planner, software developer, attorney, and educator.  He served as City Manager for the City of Oakland and as Director of its Community and Economic Development Agency. Previously, Dan was a senior economist at the World Bank and a policy director for then Congressman Dellums. Dan also headed a regional development office for the Chilean government, taught at the University of Chile, and was a health researcher at Johns Hopkins.

Dan also spent many years in the private sector as President and CEO of two leading high tech video and computer graphic software companies.

Dan currently teaches at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School for Public Policy.  He has a PhD in Regional Economics, Masters degrees in both City Planning and Public Health, and a B.A. in Economics, all from UC Berkeley.  He also has a J.D. from Georgetown Law School and is a member of the California Bar. 

Ise
Lyfe

Senior Advisor & Co-Founder

 Ise Lyfe is a Spoken Word Hip-Hop Theater Artist, author and educator from Oakland, CA living in Los Angeles.      As a nationally renowned artist, justice advocate, businessman, and social architect- this young man has over as decade of experience in performance and education that includes HBO Def Poetry Jam and residencies as a guest lecturer at over 50 universities a year. Invited by both student groups and department chairs, his engagements draw thousands of students, galvanizing both discourse and student action towards creating safe and thriving environments for personal and communal growth.  He’s a contributor for the Huffington Post and   New York Times and his commentary is widely used as educational tools and resources in a number of genres and fields.      Lyfe is simply a unique and powerful asset to the artistic and human rights world.     *In 2012, Ise Lyfe's hometown of Oakland, CA awarded him with one of its highest honors by dedicating his birthday, December 28th, as 'Ise Lyfe Day' in the City of Oakland.

Ise Lyfe is a Spoken Word Hip-Hop Theater Artist, author and educator from Oakland, CA living in Los Angeles. 

 

As a nationally renowned artist, justice advocate, businessman, and social architect- this young man has over as decade of experience in performance and education that includes HBO Def Poetry Jam and residencies as a guest lecturer at over 50 universities a year. Invited by both student groups and department chairs, his engagements draw thousands of students, galvanizing both discourse and student action towards creating safe and thriving environments for personal and communal growth.  He’s a contributor for the Huffington Post and 

New York Times and his commentary is widely used as educational tools and resources in a number of genres and fields. 

 

Lyfe is simply a unique and powerful asset to the artistic and human rights world.

 

*In 2012, Ise Lyfe's hometown of Oakland, CA awarded him with one of its highest honors by dedicating his birthday, December 28th, as 'Ise Lyfe Day' in the City of Oakland.


Ndidi Okwelogu

Social Justice Organizer

 A recent graduate of UC Davis receiving Bachelors of Arts in Black Studies and Sociology, strives to better the condition of Black people in all corners of the globe. Currently assisting her people as the Social Justice Coordinator, she hopes to help propel the Dellums Institue to even higher echelons of service.  As a bibliophile and lover of coffee, Ndidi spends her time reading and raising her acumen. In a constant process of decolonization, she supports others in challenging themselves, critical thinking, and resisting the powers that be. Ndidi agrees with the sentiment of Kwame Turé when he eloquently stated that, “We were aware of the fact that death walks hand in hand with struggle”. She lives by this idea and works to eradicate the systems that oppress her people.

A recent graduate of UC Davis receiving Bachelors of Arts in Black Studies and Sociology, strives to better the condition of Black people in all corners of the globe. Currently assisting her people as the Social Justice Coordinator, she hopes to help propel the Dellums Institue to even higher echelons of service.

As a bibliophile and lover of coffee, Ndidi spends her time reading and raising her acumen. In a constant process of decolonization, she supports others in challenging themselves, critical thinking, and resisting the powers that be. Ndidi agrees with the sentiment of Kwame Turé when he eloquently stated that, “We were aware of the fact that death walks hand in hand with struggle”. She lives by this idea and works to eradicate the systems that oppress her people.

Dom Fernandez

Urban Equity Fellow

  Dominique Fernandez, a native of Inglewood, CA, will be graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with her BA degree in Urban Studies. She is very passionate about people, cities, and how the two intersect. Her passion for people is displayed in her work on behalf of the University of California, Berkeley, where she has created and executed programming to recruit, retain and graduate black students. Dominique is dedicated to global learning as a means for creating cultural understanding and internationalizing her outlook on life. Her most recent interest have been focused on affordable housing and other disparities that are affecting the foundations of cities and the people that reside in them.

Dominique Fernandez, a native of Inglewood, CA, will be graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with her BA degree in Urban Studies. She is very passionate about people, cities, and how the two intersect. Her passion for people is displayed in her work on behalf of the University of California, Berkeley, where she has created and executed programming to recruit, retain and graduate black students. Dominique is dedicated to global learning as a means for creating cultural understanding and internationalizing her outlook on life. Her most recent interest have been focused on affordable housing and other disparities that are affecting the foundations of cities and the people that reside in them.

Rawan Elhalaby

Urban Equity Fellow

    As the daughter of working class refugees, I am all too familiar with the obstacles to achieving self-sufficiency in the United States for low-income, immigrant families. As such, I have spent my professional career addressing these obstacles one-on-one with recently arrived refugees from Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Afghanistan (among others) to San Diego at the International Rescue Committee. Now, I am pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) to gain the skills to address these obstacles--of systematic economic and racial inequity--at the local policy level. During my time at GSPP, I have worked as a policy consultant to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the County of San Diego, the Western Regional Advocacy Project, and the Dellums Institute for Social Justice. In addition, I am a community organizer working towards justice in Palestine and on behalf of Arabs and Muslims facing oppression in the United States and abroad.

 

As the daughter of working class refugees, I am all too familiar with the obstacles to achieving self-sufficiency in the United States for low-income, immigrant families. As such, I have spent my professional career addressing these obstacles one-on-one with recently arrived refugees from Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Afghanistan (among others) to San Diego at the International Rescue Committee. Now, I am pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) to gain the skills to address these obstacles--of systematic economic and racial inequity--at the local policy level. During my time at GSPP, I have worked as a policy consultant to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the County of San Diego, the Western Regional Advocacy Project, and the Dellums Institute for Social Justice. In addition, I am a community organizer working towards justice in Palestine and on behalf of Arabs and Muslims facing oppression in the United States and abroad.

Founding Board of Directors

Inter-generational leaders from government, community service, business, cultural arts and entertainment, and labor serve on the inaugural Board of Directors

   Congresswoman Barbara Lee  ,  Co-Chair , long-time political and social justice leader.

Congresswoman Barbara LeeCo-Chair, long-time political and social justice leader.

   Dan Lindheim  , economist, planner, software developer, attorney, and educator.

Dan Lindheim, economist, planner, software developer, attorney, and educator.

 Arnold Perkins is a longtime community and health equity leader and co-founder of the Brotherhood of Elders. 

Arnold Perkins is a longtime community and health equity leader and co-founder of the Brotherhood of Elders. 

   Ise Lyfe  , social marketing entrepreneur; award-winning spoken word performer, artist, and recording artist; and founder of Lyfe Productives.

Ise Lyfe, social marketing entrepreneur; award-winning spoken word performer, artist, and recording artist; and founder of Lyfe Productives.

   Marisol Lopez ,  chief of staff at Kenwood Investments, former chief of staff to Mayor Ron Dellums.

Marisol Lopez, chief of staff at Kenwood Investments, former chief of staff to Mayor Ron Dellums.

   Carl Anthony  , co-founder of environmental justice and regional equity movements and organizations including Breakthrough Communities and Urban Habitat.

Carl Anthony, co-founder of environmental justice and regional equity movements and organizations including Breakthrough Communities and Urban Habitat.

   Margaret Gordon  , long-time environmental justice activist, co-founder of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, recipient of President Obama's Champions of Change.

Margaret Gordon, long-time environmental justice activist, co-founder of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, recipient of President Obama's Champions of Change.

  boona cheema is a longtime homeless advocate and the former Executive Director of     Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, or BOSS, an Alameda County nonprofit organization serving poor people with disabilities and special needs since 1971. BOSS seeks to help homeless, poor and disabled people achieve health and self-sufficiency, and fight against the root causes of poverty and homelessness. As executive director, Cheema has forged partnerships with faith groups, schools, business leaders and service providers, and has worked with equal commitment alongside policy makers and poor and disabled community members. Cheema was born and raised in India in a Sikh family. After working with wounded children in Vietnam during the war, she immigrated to the United States in 1971. A trained Unitarian Universalist Minister, she holds a B.S. in economics and master's in journalism and divinity. She was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanitarian letters for her work as an urban minister. She has an extensive portfolio of political, social, and economic justice work. 

boona cheema is a longtime homeless advocate and the former Executive Director of  Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, or BOSS, an Alameda County nonprofit organization serving poor people with disabilities and special needs since 1971. BOSS seeks to help homeless, poor and disabled people achieve health and self-sufficiency, and fight against the root causes of poverty and homelessness. As executive director, Cheema has forged partnerships with faith groups, schools, business leaders and service providers, and has worked with equal commitment alongside policy makers and poor and disabled community members. Cheema was born and raised in India in a Sikh family. After working with wounded children in Vietnam during the war, she immigrated to the United States in 1971. A trained Unitarian Universalist Minister, she holds a B.S. in economics and master's in journalism and divinity. She was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanitarian letters for her work as an urban minister. She has an extensive portfolio of political, social, and economic justice work. 

Congresswoman Barbara LeeCo-Chair, long-time political and social justice leader.

Dan Lindheim, economist, planner, software developer, attorney, and educator.

Arnold Perkins, longtime community and health equity leader and co-founder of the Brotherhood of Elders.

Ise Lyfe, social marketing entrepreneur; award-winning spoken word performer, artist, and recording artist; and founder of Lyfe Productives.

Margaret Gordon, long-time environmental justice activist, co-founder of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, recipient of President Obama's Champions of Change.

Marisol Lopez, project manager at Platinum Advisors, former chief of staff to Mayor Ron Dellums.

Carl Anthony, co-founder of environmental justice and regional equity movements and organizations including Breakthrough Communities and Urban Habitat.

boona cheema, homeless advocate, former Executive Director of  Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency.

The Dellums Institute for Social Justice