Oakland vs Big Soda - Sparking Conversations

Oakland vs Big Soda – Sparking Conversations

By Aurora Castellanos My grandmother used to tell us that our inheritance will unfortunately be the diabetes that has affected our family for generations. Even at the young age of five I remember seeing my tia Lupe, my grandmother’s older sister, battling diabetes as the disease took the last breath...
A Love for the Cause

A Love for the Cause

By Claudia K. Haro-Contreras Elotes, Churros, Raspados, Fruta Picada, Hot Dogs, Ice Cream, Paletas, and Quesadillas. There is no doubt that “The Mission” in San Francisco has it all. Hearing the “buenos dias” and “good morning” greetings while walking down Mission Street sure makes me feel homesick. I never imagined...
My New Organizing Family

My New Organizing Family

By Roger Saechao “This will be a very intense sixteen week fellowship,” said TOLA Director, Christian Garcia, during my initial TOLA interview. Without a doubt the first two weeks at TOLA have been challenging. However, the experience also has been inspiring, positive, and motivating. I have had the privilege to...
"Never stop learning. Never stop laughing."

“Never stop learning. Never stop laughing.”

Interview of Angela Kline, TOLA 2 Angela Kline, is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. While in graduate school, Angela researched innovative payment system reforms to ensure that Americans receive value in healthcare dollars. Additionally, Angela was Public Policy Fellow at United Way of the Bay...
TOLA Alums Improving Access to Healthcare

TOLA Alums Improving Access to Healthcare

Interview of Deyanira Nava, TOLA 7 Dey is a recent graduate of the TOLA program and UC Davis. Before TOLA, she interned at Latino Coalition for a Healthy California where she worked to advance the shared vision to increase healthcare access for all Californians and also ensure that the social and...
TOLA Alums in Action

TOLA Alums in Action

Interview with Giuliana Martinez After graduating from The Organizing and Leadership Academy in 2014, Giuliana was hired as program coordinator for ‘Healthy Hearts SF’ in the San Francisco Department of Public Health. As part of the TOLA 6 class, Giuliana worked on the successful Berkeley vs Big Soda campaign, the...
Latest entries
Inicando Conversaciones

Inicando Conversaciones

Por Aurora Castellanos Mi abuelita nos decía que su herencia, desafortunadamente, seria la diabetes que ha afectado a nuestra familia por generaciones. Aún recuerdo que a la edad de cinco años, observé como la diabetes le quitaba la vida a mi tia Lupe, la hermana mayor de mi abuelita. Al escuchar las conversaciones en mi...
Watch NEW Berkeley vs Big Soda Film!

Watch NEW Berkeley vs Big Soda Film!

In November 2014, Berkeley became the first US city to pass a measure taxing distributors of soda and other sugary drinks. One year later, Berkeley’s soda tax has generated over $1.5 million for community nutrition and health efforts! Concerned about skyrocketing type 2 diabetes rates among children, many communities throughout the United States and the...
Part II - TOLA Alums on Presidential Campaign Trail

Part II – TOLA Alums on Presidential Campaign Trail

Interview of Mary Janet Ramos, TOLA 7 Q: Tell us about your involvement with the Hillary Clinton campaign in Nevada?  A: As a field organizer, I was responsible for daily voter contact outreach including attending community events, doing door to door work, and organizing daily phone banks. Every day I had conversations with people in...
Part I - TOLA Alums on Presidential Campaign Trail

Part I – TOLA Alums on Presidential Campaign Trail

Interview of Lynn Wiggins Q: Tell us about your involvement in the Bernie Sanders campaign in Nevada?  A: I was a Field Organizer in Northern Las Vegas on the Bernie Sanders campaign, responsible for organizing Nevada Assembly Districts 7 and 17, a total of 68 precincts. Q: What inspired you to work on a presidential...
Organizing is the Art of Discipline

Organizing is the Art of Discipline

By Mercedes Del Carmen Carreto Vasquez Organizing is an art and discipline is the tool that will help you create a masterpiece. Creativity seems to come from scattered thoughts, and as long as I remember, I have been creative. Learning to balance a sense of creativity with the need for discipline has been the biggest...
Self-Discovery in a Complex City

Self-Discovery in a Complex City

By Bobby Rodriguez Donoso One aspect of the TOLA program that I appreciate most is that fellows are not selected based solely on their experience in community organizing. Candidates are also evaluated on their personal attributes and qualities that can potentially make them an effective community organizer. Some of my peers in the program had...
Turning Conversations Into Opportunities

Turning Conversations Into Opportunities

By Jesus Alonso From my very first day in TOLA, I realized that to be a great organizer I must turn every conversation into an opportunity. In order to do this, I knew I would have to take more risks, learn to be a better listener, think outside the box, and move further outside my...
Fighting for What Matters ... People

Fighting for What Matters … People

By Mary Janet Ramos This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the 50th Anniversary of the Delano Grape Boycott, a non-violent nationwide movement that not only unified Filipino and Latino farm workers, but also brought together other ethnic groups who fought for justice, dignity, and respect. Under the leadership of Cesar Chavez, the...
Beyond Labels: A Young Organizer's Journey

Beyond Labels: A Young Organizer’s Journey

By Gabriela Andrade When I first heard about TOLA, I knew I had to apply. I was hungry for a program that could teach me the how, the why, and the who of organizing. Before TOLA, my experience as an organizer consisted of shadowing other organizers without fully understanding what I was doing or how...
A Game Changing Community

A Game Changing Community

By Deyanira Nava After three short weeks, I have found that TOLA keeps pushing us to step outside our comfort zones. With only one week of curriculum and canvassing work under our belts, we headed to Watsonville, California, to raise awareness of the health consequences of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages.   In my previous work with...
A Little Push Goes A Long Way

A Little Push Goes A Long Way

By Gabriela Mares TOLA, The Organizing and Leadership Academy, has been such an amazing and challenging experience for me. To say that the first four weeks have been intense would be an understatement! In the span of only four weeks, I have been pushed beyond my limits. So far the Fellows have been assigned to...
Welcome TOLA 7 Fellows!

Welcome TOLA 7 Fellows!

Dear Friends, Many thanks to those of you who referred so many qualified candidates to TOLA this year. We hope you will continue sending more applicants for future classes. Please join us in welcoming the TOLA 7 Fellows, who will begin their 16-week training and fellowship on July 20th. Jesus Alonso Gabriela Andrade Robert Rodriguez...

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