Voting Rights Watch 2012’s community journalists are our eyes and ears on the ground in communities where voters are being threatened by intimidation, dubious purges, cut-offs to early voting, and voter ID schemes. While legal battles are decided in courtrooms, everyday people are pushing back, and defending their voting rights–and our community journalists are there to document the process.
FELIPE GUTIERREZ | TEXAS
Felipe Gutierrez works for AT&T full time and is a member of CWA. He fills several roles within CWA, including Legislative Chair, Next Generation, North Texas State Coordinator. Felipe has also been an Election Judge for the past 10 years. He was born in Mexico, immigrated to the United States as child, and currently holds dual citizenship. He’s dedicated to the labor movement, LGBT Issues and Immigration reform.
GEORGE LUJAN | NEW MEXICO
George Lujan began working with the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) while he was a teenager more than 10 years ago. Today, he’s SWOP’s communications organizer, and a contributor and editor for El Grito. He lives in Albuquerque’s South Valley with his fiancée and two dogs.
GRACIELA CATASÚS | FLORIDA
Graciela Catasús is a member of ColorOfChange.org. She was born in Havana, and immigrated to Florida with her family in 1959. She earned her BA from George Washington University, and her MA in Public Administration from Florida International University. Before retiring in 2008, she worked for Miami-Dade County, and was a Fellow for the National Hispana Leadership Institute.
HERMELINDA CORTES | VIRGINIA
Hermelinda Cortes is the queer country daughter of a Mexican immigrant father and a white factory-workin? mama. She is currently a field organizer with Southerners on New Ground, a Southern gaggle of queer heart throbs workings for racial and economic justice in the South. She has recently returned to her homeplace in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her perrito, Manuel, where she continues to pursue her dream of building a multi-racial, multi-generational queer farming familia.
HILLARY ABE | ARIZONA
Hillary Abe works for College Horizons, a national non-profit focused on facilitating the higher education of Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian youth. Based in Flagstaff, Arizona, Hillary is also a videographer and an aspiring filmmaker, and you can see more of his work here.
JAMES CERSONSKY | PENNSYLVANIA
James Cersonsky is a Philly-based writer whose work has appeared at the Nation, In These Times, Dissent, AlterNet, and elsewhere. Before coming to Philly, he served as an immigrant justice activist in New Haven and an organizer with UNITE HERE at Yale. Now, he’s working with Philly’s Teacher Action Group and Asian-Americans United around education policy and community-centered pedagogy. Follow him on Twitter at @cersonsky.
KATE SEDINGER | NEVADA
Kate Sedinger is an intern at Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, a non-profit whose mission is to unite organizations and individuals to work toward social, economic and environmental justice. She is currently working on a Masters in social work at the University of Nevada, Reno.
KEMI BELLO | TEXAS
Kemi Bello was a recent rider on the Undocubus, and is a member of Dreamactivist.org and The National Immigrant Youth Alliance. She was born in Nigeria and immigrated to the U.S. with her family 18 years ago. Now a long-standing Texan, she received her B.S. in Economics from the University of Houston. Kemi is also an aspiring economist, storyteller, writer, and poet. Follow her on Twitter at @la_kemster.
LOLLA MOHAMMED NUR | MINNESOTA
Lolla Mohammed Nur is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, with journalism and political science majors, and an African American and African studies minor. She has written for various media outlets in the Twin Cities and Washington, D.C. Lolla was recognized as a 2012 Minnesota Female Muslim Media Personality in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Her reporting interests include diversity, social justice, and Muslims in America. Follow her on Twitter at @lolula_.
MAEGAN ORTIZ | CALIFORNIA
Maegan Ortiz is the publisher of the Latino political and cultural blog VivirLatino.com. Her work has been published at The Progressive, Latina Magazine, The American Prospect, Univision News and El Diario La Prensa NY. Maegan, a Nuyorican, lives in Los Angeles with her family. Follow her on twitter at @mamitamala.
META MENDEL-REYES | KENTUCKY
Meta Mendel-Reyes is on the Steering Committee of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, a statewide, grassroots social justice organization. She is also a professor at [Berea College ], which charges no tuition, accepts only low-income students, and has a special commitment to African Americans and Appalachians.
MIRACLE RANDLE | MINNESOTA
Miracle Randle is a senior at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and began thinking about voter disenfranchisement while taking a human rights class. She works with TakeAction Minnesota’s Stop Photo ID campaign.
NELSON PIERCE JR. | OHIO
Nelson Pierce Jr. is the pastor of Beloved Community Church, and the lead organizer with The AMOS Project. He is also a doctoral candidate in the Micah program at New York Theological Seminary. Nelson is passionate about exploring the deep connections between faith and public life.
NONI M. GRANT | GEORGIA
Noni M. Grant is a researcher and organizer with the social justice movement building organization Project South. The Chicago native uses her political science and legal background to conduct surveys and research around issues of mass incarceration and education reform. Noni lives in Atlanta with her family. Follow her on Twitter at @IolaPress.
ROSEMARY HARRIS LYTLE | COLORADO
Rosemary has been involved with issues of diversity and inclusion for nearly 20 years — first as a newspaper journalist, as a trainer and consultant and most recently as President of the NAACP Colorado Montana Wyoming State Area Conference.