Our Team

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights boasts a staff of world-class human rights activists, based in our headquarters in downtown Oakland, CA. Meet our team.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Zachary Norris is the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and a former director of our Books Not Bars campaign. Prior to rejoining the organization, Zachary co-founded and co-directed Justice for Families, a national alliance of family-driven organizations working to end our nation’s youth incarceration epidemic. During the seven years he led the campaign, Books Not Bars built California’s first statewide network for families of incarcerated youth, led the...
National Campaigner
Azadeh brings over 10 years of experience working with and advocating for families caught up in the justice system to her role as National Campaigner. Prior to joining the Ella Baker Center team, Azadeh was a Soros Justice fellow at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children in addition to internships with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and Justice Now. She also served on the legal team representing Pelican Bay prisoners in their class action lawsuit challenging long-term solitary...
Local Organizer
In his role as Local Organizer, Darris leads Ella Baker Center’s effort to build a coalition of families negatively impacted by the criminal justice system in the Bay Area. Darris brings to his current work past success as a certified addictions, domestic violence, and violence prevention counselor and victim advocate with local organizations, including City Team International and Allen Temple Baptist Church. In addition, his experience as both a formerly incarcerated person and a police...
State Field Director
In her role as State Field Director, Emily oversees state and local campaigns, develops a statewide membership structure, and builds and coordinates relationships with other state organizations, community leaders, allies, and key local and state officials. Emily has served as the Statewide Coordinator for Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) , a coalition of 65 anti-prison organizations (including theElla Baker Center), for four years. Her prior work experience includes working...
Director of Finance and Operations
Hayes Morehouse is the Director of Finance and Operations of the Ella Baker Center and has been improving the way nonprofits use technology since he graduated from college. After working at a childcare center and then as a technology consultant, Hayes came on board at Ella Baker Center with the mission of reshaping the agency's technology infrastructure. After revamping the agencies technology infrastructure, Hayes went to work advancing Ella Baker Center’s online presence and...
Director of Programs
As the Director of Programs, Jennifer leads Ella Baker Center’s policy agenda and manages the Center’s programmatic areas. She began her career at the Center as a volunteer and policy intern while in law school after watching the film “System Failure.” She enjoys research, data analysis and regards legislative writing as “legal poetry.” Jennifer’s past experience includes working with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and organizations such as...
Director of Development
As the Director of Development, Jocelyn leads Ella Baker Center’s fundraising efforts. She partners with foundations, individuals, and other supporters to secure the resources necessary to sustain and grow the Center’s work. Informed by prior experience in organizing and direct service, Jocelyn’s approach to development work is that it is but one of the many forms of collaboration necessary to strengthen the organization and the broader movements of which we are a part...
Communications and Operations Associate
Lauren Mateo is a 22-year-old graduate from Rutgers University in New Jersey. At Rutgers, Lauren pursued a degree in Journalism and Media Studies, Social Justice and Documentary Film. Lauren shoots and edits short form documentaries, facilitates group discussions, spaces of healing and encourages education through collective knowledge. She gained experience with organizing by working with women at Rutgers (Speak Out: Exploring Womanhood), temporary workers and migrant families in New Brunswick...
Program Manager
Restore Oakland
Nwamaka is excited to bring over 10 years of experience in working on social and economic justice issues and campaigns that help support the sustainable and equitable development of thriving and prosperous communities as th e New Economy ​ Innovation Fellow for Movement Strategy Center. ​Through a strategic partnership with Movement Strategy Center, Nwamaka serves as the Program Manager for Restore Oakland - a joint initiative of the Ella Baker Center and Restaurant Opportunity Centers United...
Director of Special Projects
In her role as Director of Special Projects, Patrisse is working to build an online and on-the-ground rapid response network to combat law enforcement violence in communities of color. Patrisse is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter. In 2013, Patrisse co-founded #BlackLivesMatter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. She is also the founder and board member of Dignity and Power Now , an organization dedicated to protecting incarcerated people and their families in Los Angeles. Her writing...
Local Advocate
Tash Nguyen is a Local Organizer at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights based in Alameda County, where she works to amplify grassroots movements led by people most directly affected by prisons and policing to elevate our vibrant communities. Prior to joining the Ella Baker Center, Tash organized in movements against the privatization of California higher education and later co-founded Sin Barras, a community-based organization that advocates for families implicated by the criminal justice...
State Advocate
As State Advocate, Taina works to advance the goals of the Truth and Reinvestment Campaign, building the capacity of communities throughout the state of California to prevent and respond to state violence and mass criminalization through community organizing and coordinated rapid response. Prior to joining the Ella Baker Center, Taina co-founded the Coalition for Jail Reform in Monterey County and worked for the California State Assembly, where she helped draft legislation aimed at helping...
Communications Director
In her role as the Ella Baker Center's Communications Manager, Zaineb is focused on amplifying the organization's message that we must end mass incarceration by moving resources away from prisons and punishment and towards jobs, education, and healthcare. Prior to joining the Ella Baker Center, Zaineb Mohammed was a journalist working at the East Bay Express . She has also written f or Mother Jones , San Francisco magazine, and New America Media, covering politics, the environment,...