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 is the National Campaigner at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights where she works with communities and policy makers on ending mass criminalization and incarceration. As the daughter of two formerly incarcerated parents, Azadeh is intimately familiar with the intergenerational impacts of imprisonment. She brings a lifetime of personal experience and over 10 years of advocacy and research experience to her work, having focused specifically on juvenile justice, women in prison, 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...
Technology and Administrative Specialist
In his role as Technology and Administrative Specialist, Eric brings a wealth of expertise in database management and is helping grow Ella Baker Center's technology infrastructure. Prior to joining Ella Baker Center, Eric was an office administrator at UCLA's Graduate Division - Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Admissions. As an undergraduate student at UCLA, Eric found his passion for helping end mass incarceration while doing research that focused on the effects of incarceration on...
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...
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 Finance and Operations
As the Director of Finance and Operations for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Payal works to maintain the organization's administrative efficiency and financial health. She is responsible for refining and implementing policies and practices in the areas of finance, operations and human resources. Payal comes to the organization with years of experience in leadership, operations, and human resources in both for-profit and not-for-profit settings. Payal's passion for the work the...
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...
Director of Communications
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,...