I’m so excited to be joining Oakland Food Policy Council (OFPC) as Council Director. My greatest passion and professional focus has been in building practical opportunities with and for underrepresented communities. My direct service and policy advocacy experience has always been focused in social justice movements driven by my personal passion to heal any feelings of shame of families isolated in poverty, thinking their problems are their personal fault and not directly realizing that we are all trying to survive, if not thrive, in the context of oppressive systems. Whether it is homelessness, domestic violence, incarceration, gaps in education, barriers to sustainable employment or food justice, I am dedicated, I am activated, I am hopeful.
I bring my passion and strategic thinking to OFPC to carry forward the amazing work Esperanza undertook in her tenure as leader. I’m thrilled to bring an exciting future to fruition to OFPC. I’m joining OFPC after spending time as Director of Career Services at Youth UpRising in Oakland. I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with city and state policy makers and develop and implement programming for youth and young adults throughout Alameda County. I come to OFPC with honed capacity for fostering leadership in community and addressing barriers to economic development. I’m originally from Oakland’s sister city Detroit, Michigan and relocated to Oakland from Chicago, Illinois, where I was directing an economic development program at Growing Home, Inc.
I believe deeply that the most effective approach toward systemic change includes a combination of deep cultural work, strategic thinking, policy change, legislative and community advocacy and creating opportunities for community leaders to take charge. OFPC plays an important role in addressing the systemic barriers to an equitable food system and I’m committed to discovering new ways OFPC can work with and support the Oakland Community at large, especially to those living the reality of food injustice.
I’m grateful to work with an organization that identifies the power of community as a key tool toward encouraging community health and sustainability and am excited about the amazing work to come.
– Shaniece Alexander, Council Director