Hero’s name: Vanessa Moses
Home cities: San Francisco and Oakland
Organization affiliation: Causa Justa :: Just Cause
How does the person’s work advance social justice? What is the person’s vision for an equitable world?
“Vanessa is a powerful Black leader in the San Francisco Bay Area and the new executive director of Causa Justa :: Just Cause (CJJC), a regional housing and immigrant rights organization.
Vanessa has a long track record of ensuring civil rights and building the power and leadership of working-class communities.
She has worked for Bay Area Police Watch, a project of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and served as a collective member with the Center for Political Education.
In addition, she worked for eight years with generationFIVE to help build and evolve transformative justice practices and collaboratives.
Before taking on the executive director role at Causa Justa :: Just Cause, Vanessa served as co-director of programs at CJJC for 12 years.
At Causa Justa, Vanessa has lead the creation and development of CJJC’s Tenant Rights Clinics in Oakland and San Francisco.
Those clinics help more than 1,000 low-income tenants a year stay in their homes and live in habitable conditions. The Tenant Rights Clinics are modeled after the Black Panther Party’s “Serve the People” model.
In addition, Vanessa led a program at Causa Justa that experimented with Black organizing on a regional scale and uniting Black-led organizations in the Bay Area. Vanessa has been instrumental in strengthening civic engagement for communities of color in the Bay Area.
She served as co-chair of San Francisco Rising, an electoral alliance building the voting power of low-income communities. Vanessa created a field program that helped reach tens of thousands of voters in San Francisco, increasing voter turnout.
Because of Vanessa’s leadership, there were major progressive local and statewide ballot measure victories, such as Proposition 30 in 2012 in California and Proposition J, the minimum wage increase in 2014, in San Francisco.
Vanessa connects Causa Justa’s work to larger social justice movements.
Vanessa has been a leader in the Movement for Black Lives through her participation and support of the Bay Area chapter of #BlackLivesMatter.
Vanessa was one of the organizers and participants of the ‘Black Friday 14.’ Vanessa helped form Bay Rising, a regional alliance strengthening low-income communities in the civic and public policy throughout the Bay Area and statewide. Vanessa was also one of the co-creators of Bay Resistance, a multi-sector rapid response network.”
Honored by: Ellen Wu of Urban Habitat
Note: This profile is part of Equal Voice News’ special Cesar Chavez Day Community Heroes edition. These submissions were edited for clarity.