Justin Pinn believes that his mission and calling in life is to ensure excellent educational opportunities and equitable access for all children. After obtaining his undergraduate degree as a first-generation college student from Georgetown University, Pinn in May of 2013 relocated to Miami, Florida as a Teach for America Corps Member, teaching secondary science at Miami Central Senior High School. After leaving the classroom, Justin transitioned to Breakthrough Miami where he served as the Founding Director of two academies (STEM and Success). Currently, Justin works for Teach for America Miami-Dade as the Director, Strategic Initiatives. In this role, he has the privilege of mobilizing Teach for America’s alumni base towards leadership pathways that have been identified as critical to ensuring more educational equity and social change throughout Miami-Dade county. In his spare time, Justin loves to go fishing, travel, and hang out in Miami with friends and family.
Aimee Ferrer is a semi-native Miamian, who was born here, but grew up moving at regular intervals between New Jersey and Miami. She has a deep love for Miami as a city and believes it’s a better place when everyone who lives here is engaged, represented and involved. Aimee is a double Hoya, having attended Georgetown University for both college and law school. She’s now an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Miami Office of the Federal Public Defender. She believes deeply in ensuring that all members of our community are heard and have opportunities to excel. She’s lived all over, including stints in D.C., New York, Madrid, London, Quito, and Israel. She’s an avid adventurer who likes to explore the world as often as possible.
A proud New Jersey native, Victoria has lived in Miami since 2012. She strongly believes in the power of community and economic development and civic engagement for a more just, equitable society. Victoria is a three-time AmeriCorps Alum and completed her M.S.Ed at University of Miami. She also serves on the boards of Philanthropy Miami and EPIP Florida.
Gustavo was raised in Miami, Fl, after emigrating from Venezuela in 1996. His engagement in local activism started with the passing of Miami Forever Bond, where he joined local groups in advocating for residents to have a real seat at the table and to be the overseers of how the bond and how its funds are being spent. That ended up in Gustavo becoming a member of the oversight board.
Passionate about local government, history, and civic engagement, Gustavo is a proud graduate of Miami-Dade Public Schools and Babson College.
Jude Bruno is a Miami native who has been involved in the non-profit world for more than ten years. Having been among the first to have graduated from Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial High School, Jude is a born believer in the power of collective action. He is a former Student Advisor to the School Board, where he represented the interest of students for the nation’s fourth-largest school district, Miami-Dade County Public School.
Jude is nationally known within PTA/PTSA for his work at a past National PTA Youth Involvement Committee Chair, a position where he curated a Youth Leadership Summit for PTA members with National PTA staff and spearheaded efforts for PTAs’ on the Higher Education level. Jude works for United Teachers of Dade and advocates on behalf of public-school employees and directly supports union members in 34+ public schools and nearly 50+ central and regional offices. He is currently the Chair of Florida PTA’s Student Engagement Committee, serves on the National PTA Board of Directors and on the Legislative Committee.
A Miami native, Cherie’s focus on new ideas and passion around communities has led her to serve in several roles within the private, public, and non profit sector. Cherie has been recognized for changing the image of Miami Girls, and has remained active in her community by supporting and leading initiatives programs that serve as a catalyst for innovation and opportunity. Her parents’ American experience and her pursuit in exploring her personal history and cultural identity led her to become a founder and board member at the CubaOne Foundation, a Miami based-nonprofit seek to foster, encourage, and promote dialogue and cooperation between the United States and Cuba by offering a new generation of Cuban-Americans the opportunity to interact with the Cuban people and experience Cuba through high-impact, curated trips.
Cherie currently serves on the leadership staff at City Year Miami, one of the fastest growing nonprofits in the country with a national footprint and infrastructure focused on addressing the implementation gap in schools needed to keep students on track to high school graduation. You can find her sharing her passion to serve, connect, and spread the good word of cafecito, communidad, and cultura.
Rodney is from Philadelphia, PA, and a son of an Army Veteran. His foundational cultural life experiences were formed by living throughout the nation as a kid, during his father’s time in service. Currently, he serves as the Assistant Director for the City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP). The CIP is department tasked with investigating abusive practices within the City of Miami Police Department. Rodney, is also a military intelligence first lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve. Rodney, is a graduate of Hiram College (OH), University of Dayton School of Law (OH). Rodney is currently working towards his Master’s in Public Administration and Public Health from the University Of Miami (FL). Rodney understands that the function of non-profits in Miami is necessary for a positive future. Rodney is committed to working and influencing aspects of public health, law, and government. In his free time, Rodney enjoys being a restaurateur with his wife Ramona, and playing tennis.
James Lopez is currently the Executive Director of Power U Center for Social Change. An Afro-Latino native of Rochester, New York, James began organizing through legal advocacy institutions. At the Western New York Law Center, he organized participants of their Consumer Debt Clinic, and advocated to change New York state policies around predatory lending, payday loans, and Community Reinvestment issues. Prior to coming to Power U, James was an organizer for VOICE-Buffalo, where he organized with residents and those formerly incarcerated in order to push policy on policing reform and reducing incarceration rates in the city. He was also part of Just Resisting (JR), which is a collective of organizers of color in the city of Buffalo committed to developing transformational organizing in the city of Buffalo.
James is an alum of Black Organizing for Leader and Dignity (BOLD) Directors Training and is committed to assisting in the development of Black and Brown working class leadership necessary to move forward a world void of racism, sexism, and economic exploitation.
Born in Bangladesh, Atqiya was brought to Miami as a child and is a first-generation college student. As a strong advocate of equal opportunity and youth empowerment, she has dedicated her time to seeing these values nurtured within the South Florida community. Atqiya is the founder and CEO of Victor Labs, a non-profit dedicated to giving young people in underserved areas a foundation in computer science. She also spends much of her time volunteering with the Refugee Assistance Alliance and Amnesty International locally. She previously finished as a top graduate from Miami Dade College and is currently studying Political Science, Philosophy, and Mathematics at the University of Miami. In her free time, Atqiya enjoys photography and publishing zines with artwork cultivated by local Miami artists and friends.
Yamile (Yami) Rodriguez is a Miami native and first-generation Cuban-American. A returned Peace Corps volunteer with a passion for travel, the arts, and community development. She served as a Youth in Development volunteer for two years, helping mitigate the spread of HIV/AIDS in Botswana’s youth population. In returning home, she decided to give back to her community by working with under-resourced youth in Miami-Dade County. Her work ensured local students had access to excellent high-schools and experiential learning opportunities to help them become future leaders. She’s currently a communications professional at a local not-for-profit and earning her M.S. in Global Strategic Communications at FIU. She also serves on the Advisory Committee of the Nyah Project.
As a Hialeah native, Maryan’s preferred language is Spanglish. Her immigrant parents made sure she had full exposure to the heart and blight of Miami and instilled a great love of reading and language. Since 2010, she has been an active enthusiast in Miami’s cultural scene through participation and leadership in community events. During this time, she also dedicated herself to practicing Applied Behavior Analysis as a Registered Behavior Technician, working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to help them understand, effectively communicate with, and be understood by the world around them. She hopes to merge all these passions and talents into something sustainable, inclusive, and progressive to benefit and empower people from marginalized communities.
Chris was born and raised in Allapattah, Florida. During his senior year at Coral Gables Senior High, he enrolled in an accounting applications course where he fell in love with accounting and it has been his passion ever since! After high school, he attended Miami Dade College at the Wolfson campus where he worked as a student ambassador at the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy (iCED). They served as a catalyst to propel his education, develop his professional skills, and gave him the tools to have a positive outlook on social change. Currently, Chris is an undergraduate student at Florida State University and plans to continue on in the Master of Accounting (MAcc) Graduate Program. Chris’s hobbies are playing video games, watching the Boston Celtics, eating food, and taking naps.
Raised in Liberty City, Miami, Briyana has always wanted to create a better reality for the people in her community. While finding her voice to speak up about many issues, she realized that she can help others find theirs too. She has been actively serving marginalized populations and fighting for the rights of sexual minorities for a while, but honed her craft (of civic engagement) the past four years while attending Mount Holyoke College, where she graduated with a BA in Psychology and Sociology. She is passionate about economic justice, feminism, affordable healthcare and providing people the tools to speak up for themselves so that they can change the world around them.
Brianna is a Jacksonville, Florida native. In college she developed a deep understanding of and passion for the social issues that disproportionately affect black and brown communities. After graduation, in the Fall of 2017, she taught middle school to begin her journey to end the inequities that exist within the education system. Since then she has dedicated her life to ending social injustices. In her spare time she enjoys coaching and playing soccer, spending time with her family, and relaxing on the beach.
Rebecca (she/her) previously served as the Director of the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy at Miami Dade College’s North Campus and as a leader of the Miami Climate Alliance Steering Committee and completed a M.S.Ed. in Education and Social Change from the University of Miami. Her passions for democracy, justice, sustainability, and learning have grounded her journey, and she is honored to work with the amazing team at Engage building power for Florida’s future with joy and determination.
Gilbert (he/him) grew up between New York City, Santo Domingo and Miami, and was first trained as an organizer while working with Barack Obama’s re-election campaign after finishing high school. Gilbert continued organizing at and graduated with degrees in Political Science and Quantitative Economics from Tufts University in 2016. He joined Engage in 2017 as an Organizer, and has been proud and lucky to have been part of growing the organization’s voter engagement, leadership development and advocacy work. In 2020, he was selected as one of 20 of Miami’s Next Leaders, and hopes he can continue to move this community toward justice with the powerful young people around him. In his free time, Gilbert likes to read books and paint pretty pictures.
Davier was born and raised in Miami. After being the first in his family to graduate high school and earn his B.A. from the University of Florida, he went on to serve with City Year San Antonio. In 2010, Davier moved to Phoenix, AZ where he earned his M.Ed. and M.P.A. while working at Arizona State University. During that time, he also became involved with the trans/queer undocumented rights movement, and he co-created DREAMzone, an award-winning ally training program for educators to better support undocumented students. In 2017, Davier embarked on a 3-year journey around the world, where he traveled and then taught high school History and Psychology in Shanghai, China. He is currently back home working for Engage Miami in order to elevate young people’s civic education and leadership. His life’s mission is to help create sustainable, thriving, and beloved communities.
Jessica was born and raised in Little Haiti. She has always exhibited a spirit of activism in her community, as well as the world around her. A recent graduate of Pitzer College, where she obtained a BA in Human Biology as a first-generation student, Jessica began to explore her identity and find her voice. Through her passion directed towards healthcare reform and the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement, Jessica naturally emerged with an intersectional social justice approach in life, leading her to give back to her own community now with Engage Miami.
Yanelis (she/her) is a Miami local proudly representing Hialeah, where she grew up and most of her family still resides. She is passionate about social justice, racial equity, and elevating community self-determination by making civic participation accessible. She believes that collective action is essential to shaping the future all Miamians deserve. She first got involved with Engage Miami as a member in 2019, went on to join the inaugural class of YPPP fellows in 2020, and now leads issue advocacy work at the organization. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Communications from Florida State University.
isa (they/she) is an intuitive harmonizer that has lived in miami, the occupied land of tequesta, seminole and miccosukee indigenous nations, since 2001. They are a bi-racial colombian-peruvian that is committed to transforming existing material conditions for our collective liberation. At Engage, isa works to improve and implement systems and processes while strategizing and co-creating anti-racist HR commitments that are not just said, but also practiced. Offline, they make art, love many beings, and often daydream.