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MEET OUR
TEAM

Our mighty team runs Start:Empowerment's operations but our work is a part of a collective effort.

As a youth and BIPOC-led nonprofit, we rely on the input of fellow youth, organizers, students, our Vanguards, volunteers, community members, teachers, and advisors who help us execute our mission day-in and day-out.

Kier Blake

(They/Them)

Co-Founder and Director of Community & School Partnerships 

For 8 years, Kier has worked as a community-based fieldwork and education advisor in Kenya, occupied Palestine, Lebanon, and amerika. Through various modes of community engagement and co-design, Kier supports the development of Start:Empowerment's holistic education platforms and projects which promote long-term sustainable educational and cultural growth in the communities S:E serves. 

Based on unceded, occupied Lenape-Munsee Canarsie land (Brooklyn, New York)

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Alexia Leclercq

(She/Her)

Co-Founder and Director of Youth Organizing & Campaigns

Alexia is a grassroots organizer, scholar, and artist who has led over a dozen environmental justice campaigns from advocating for an equitable fossil fuel phase out to organizing for mutual aid. At S:E, Alexia is working to builds climate survival and education programs that move towards building new systems that center healing, decolonization, and liberation.  

Based on unceded, occupied Cohuiltecan, Tonkawa, Comanche land (Austin, Texas)

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Alysha Berry

(She/Her)

Director of Communications, Digital Media & Design 

Over the last 6 years, Alysha worked closely with youth in the Bronx, NY and New Delhi, India. During her time at Sarah Lawrence College, she helped develop an educational program that facilitated the long-term educational and personal growth of youth belonging to the refugee community in Yonkers, NY. Alysha is responsible for shaping S:E's visual identity and digital campaigns and supporting the growth of its social media platforms and virtual community. 

Based in New Delhi, India. 

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Kate Sederstrom

(She/Her)

Grants Lead

Kate has been working with words for nearly a decade. After six years in the book publishing industry, she shifted her focus to fundraising and grant writing in 2020. Kate now uses her passion for storytelling to help amplify the voice and mission of community and climate advocates, while learning all the while. At S:E Kate writes grants to help sustain S:E's work and supports copywriting for social media and promotional materials. 

Based on unceded, occupied Lenape-Munsee Canarsie land (Brooklyn, NY).

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Jasmine Butler

(They/Them)

Political Education Specialist 

A black queer southern writer, political educator and afro-futurist abolitionist, Jasmine has spent years working full-time in the climate movement before transitioning to organizing coaching and political education for the Peace Movement with CODEPINK: Feminist for Peace. Jasmine is also a lover of black art and black resistance, and is growing as s movement educator and historian. At S:E, they help create and strengthen its justice-centric curriculum and political education programming. 

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Kianna Pete

(She/Her)

Political Education Specialist 

Kianna is a Diné, a citizen of the Navajo Nation, from Farmington, New Mexico. She earned her BA in Political Science and Ethnicity and Race Studies from Columbia University. At Columbia, Kianna helped implement the first housing building on campus dedicated to Indigenous students and provided mentorship on navigating university life. Kianna helps build S:E's justice-curricula and creates digital toolkits to increase the accessibility of its educational programming. 

Based on unceded, occupied Lenape-Munsee Canarsie land (Brooklyn, NY).

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Meet Our Advising Committee.

In order to frame our work, we rely on leaders in the field to help us navigate the ins and outs of day-to-day operations and meet our mission.

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Dr. Osbourne

(He/Him)

Founding Board Member

Prateek Raghu

(He/Him)

Political Education Advisor & Board Member

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Mohini Govender

(She/They)

Justice Education Advisor

Kristina Unker

(She/Hers)

Branding & Media Advisor

Help spark radical change by becoming a working board member at S:E!

"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

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