There’s been some heavy lifting done by volunteers and interns at Liberty Hill lately. Here are highlights of the contributions of individuals who’ve supported social justice by sharing their time and talents with us in recent months.
Pictured above are two of our summer interns, Melissa Montalvo and Justin Ko. Melissa, a student at USC, undertook projects including documenting Liberty Hill-sponsored policy briefings on education reform and on school discipline policies. She reported on and wrote a blog post about Liberty Hill grantee Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA)‘s innovative cell-phone moviemaking program and created a Liberty Hill “Message Map,” a helpful tool for strategic communications. Justin is now a senior at Village Christian High School preparing to apply for college. He has a strong interest to learn about the convergence of business and environmental justice philanthropy. Justin worked with the Development and Donor Services Department, researching prospective foundation partners for our programmatic work.
Jodi Epstein was an intern with the Clean Up Green Up campaign from January-May, before she graduated with her Master of Public Administration at USC. Her assignments included strategic communications, ally outreach, managing the website and database, and providing
administrative support. She signed up volunteers to our Environmental Health and Justice Campaign at a Healthy African American Families Conference on air quality and interviewed leaders from Communities for a Safe Environment, Union de Vecinos and Pacoima Beautiful for a community narrative on cumulative impacts.
Photographer Warren Hill was matched with Liberty Hill through the L.A. Fellows program. A former television production management professional, Warren has moved into photojournalism. He has not only curated photos for our social media platforms, but has undertaken photodocumentary projects around organizers from grantee groups People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER) and Youth Justice Coalition that will be seen as photo essays in a variety of media.
William Hill is a firefighter who was studying for his Captain Exam and working on an Antioch University master’s degree in Sustainable Communities when he volunteered. His project focused on reviewing just-published research reports and compiling from them data and sources to be used by Liberty Hill ambassadors in pubilc presentations. Simone Novarr, a USC undergraduate, was our social media marketing assistant for a semester. Mollie Weiss researched conference models around the state to help inform Liberty Hill’s development of a new social justice program.
We have been lucky to have Rachel Lipton as part of the Wally Marks Leadership Institute for Change team. She has been an important player in the redesign of the Research and Development process for the Institute. Rachel also helped with research and interviews for our Workers Rights Landscape Analysis. Christofer Rodelo, currently a second-year student at Yale University, was assigned to research the education landscape in Los Angeles. His work was helpful to us in grasping the general structure of LAUSD, the broader network of groups involved with education reform in Los Angeles, and what specific policies they are advocating for.
Ron Agarwala, an Information Technology security expert, helped Liberty HIll’s Finance and Administration staff develop our first-ever cloud-based disaster recovery plan. He helped us analyze our IT systems to determine which were the most critical and advised on how to replicate our systems in a cloud-based environment.
As a CORO fellow, Jennifer Kamara came to L.A. specifically to work with Liberty Hill through this national leadership training program. Matched with the Communications department, she took in hand an effort that had been languishing for years — to implement Google for Nonprofits for online search ads. This valuable marketing tool, a byzantine, seemingly impenetrable system, had stymied us — but Jennifer finalized our verification process, launched our Google ads effort and assessed whether Google Earth was a platform we could and should use for documenting our work. Also in Communications has been USC graduate student Joe Edwards, a guy who said he didn’t know much about social media or websites, but can figure out absolutely
any platform in about 30 seconds flat. He’s currently focusing on the ne plus ultra of web-based challenges: to figure out the new Knight Digital Media timeline platform. In his spare time he’s learning Raiser’s Edge and interviewing other foundations about their donor communications.
Kudos for your achievements, Liberty Hill volunteers, and thanks to you all for your dedication to social justice.