Meet the Team

Start: Empowerment lives within each member of our team as we come from all manners of being but are bonded by our support of the principles of social and environmental justice, abolition and transformative justice, mutual aid, decolonization, and healing. 

 

Our goal is to use education as a tool to build healthy communities and fight for social and environmental justice and liberation for all. 

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OUR
FOUNDERS

 Our start was the result of our two co-founders visions to empower youth today in order to become the change agents of tomorrow.

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Alexia Leclercq (she/they) is one of the Co-Founders of Start:Empowerment (S:E).

They handle S:E's internal affairs and program operations: our curriculum management, grant program, and communications with all current school and community partners. 

Alexia graduated summa cum laude from NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Studies ('20). Their concentration, titled 'The Politics and Economics of Inequality' combines the traditional fields of politics, environmental studies, and economics to understand the lasting effects of colonialism and perpetuation of structural oppression and their research focuses on environmental justice, political ecology, (post)colonialism, inequality, political economy, and consumerism/commodity culture.

 

Alexia has been involved in grassroots organizing for the past 5 years, leading campaigns from preserving the colorado river, to fighting race-based discriminatory land-use zoning, organizing mutual aid, and shaping national legislation as part of the EJ Forum and EJHA. They continue to organize with PODER to address environmental racism in Austin, TX.

Alexia's work has been recognized by the NYC Department of Education, the Brower Youth Awards and they continue to speak at various events, like the Bioneers Conference, to inspire others to organize. 

When they aren't working with PODER or S:E, they are most likely focusing on fostering kittens (@little.foster.family), helping out and riding at their local therapeutic riding center, spamming our Slack channel with cute animal pics, drawing sunrises and sunsets, or tree climbing.

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 Kier (they/them) is one of the Co-founders of Start:Empowerment (S:E).

They handle S:E's external affairs and administration: our representation on the Climate & Resilience Education Task Force (CRETF) headed by the National Wildlife Foundation (NWF); the management of written, digital, and social media production; and the establishment of new community partnerships.

 

A graduate of International Nonprofit Organizational Management & Development (NYU '20) they are now pursuing an MSc in Environmental Policy and Sustainability with a focus in Environmental Justice at The New School. Their focus is on researching regenerative urban design frameworks for community/neighborhood-centered development and/or environmental planning projects in alignment with #LandBack and black land ownership movements.

 

Their studies are influenced by the work they did supporting multiple organizational sustainability, human rights advocacy, and educational policy projects and initiatives across five countries and on three separate continents.

 

 Notable distinguishments include being a 2020-21 NYC Urban Fellow.

 

 

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OUR
TEAM

 Our work is a part of a team effort. 

We are fueled by a collective of  5 individuals who help us execute our mission day-in and day-out.

Scroll over their pictures for their bios!
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Alysha Berry

(she/hers/herself)

Communications Manager

New Delhi, India

"There is a war that makes us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves."

- Arundhati Roy

I am trying to...

bake and cook my way through the recipes on Smitten Kitchen.

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Kwaku Aurelien

(he/him/his)

**Volunteer**

New Fairfield, CT

Me quoting myself:

"If there's one thing I don't lack, it's confidence."

My advice to you...

Ghanaian cuisine and Ghanaian and Nigerian Highlife (Afrobeats) are undefeated. Don't make the mistake of missing out ;)

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Joshua Joel Anthony

(he/him/his)

**ON LEAVE**

New Delhi, India

"Soil creates things / Art births change / This is the honey / & doesn't it taste like a promise?"

- "This is Honey," Mahogany L. Browne

I love...

watching romantic movies, listening to podcasts, and eating pizza!

  • Instagram
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OUR
BOARD

 Our board is very helpful in terms of steering our strategy. We look for people who bring expertise to the outlook of Start:Empowerment.

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Osbourne Blake

Board Member

Osbourne graduated from Brown University with a Bachelors of Science in Biomedical engineering class of 1991 and from USC school of Medicine in 1995. Currently, he has been practicing internal medicine since graduating from USC until the present with a special interest in Sickle Cell Disease. Since 1998, he has been practicing at Kaiser Permanent where he currently is the Director of the Sickle Disease care program. As a resident of Los Angeles, he has been striving to empower people to live the best and healthiest life possible with the goal of using the least amount of medicine possible.

 

"I feel that our environment plays a major role in our health outcomes and contributes to the health disparities that we see every day. Changing the environment where everyone can thrive will be the best thing for society in the long run."

(Osbourne Blake serves on the founding board with Alexia and Kier.)

"Grassroots groups challenge the 'business-as-usual" environmentalism that is generally practiced by the more privileged wildlife- and conservation-oriented groups. The focus of activists of color and their constituents reflects their life experiences of social, economic, and political disenfranchisement"

-Robert Bullard-