Alisa Del Tufo is co-founder of Groundswell and member of the Core Working Group. Her work has been dedicated to magnifying the voices, ideas and experiences of marginalized people to support personal and community healing and justice. To this end, she has pioneered the use of a variety of participatory practices including oral history, restorative practices, transformative education and participatory action research. She is the author of several books, multiple articles and is now a visiting faculty member at Bennington College where she teaches classes on Restorative Justice, Oral History and Participatory Action Research. She is the grateful recipient of three fellowships: The Revson Fellowship for the Future of NYC; Rockefeller Fellow and in 2007 was elected an Ashoka Fellow, a global fellowship of social entrepreneurs. She has a BA from Colgate University in Philosophy and Religion and a Masters in Divinity from Union Theological Seminary.
Amaka Okechukwu, PhD is a former Groundswell coordinator and current member of the Core Working Group. She is an interdisciplinary scholar engaged in research on social movements, race, community studies, public history, and Black archives. Her book, To Fulfill These Rights: Political Struggle Over Affirmative Action and Open Admissions is forthcoming from Columbia University Press (August 2019). She has organized with organizations such as Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, The Brecht Forum, Brooklyn Movement Center, the Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, and more. She has also worked as an oral historian, archivist, and researcher at Weeksville Heritage Center and Brooklyn Historical Society. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at George Mason University.
Fanny Julissa García is our Communications Coordinator. She’s an oral historian contributing work to Central American Studies. In her most recent work, Reminiscences on Migration: A Central American Lyric, she intertwines her own migration story using lyric poetry and vignettes with oral history interviews conducted with Central American refugee women who had been released from detention centers at the U.S./Mexico border. She has worked for more than 15 years as a social justice advocate to combat the public health and socioeconomic impact of HIV/AIDS on low income communities, worked closely with organizations fighting for the end of family detention, and supported survivors of sexual violence. She serves as the Communications Coordinator for Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change, a network of oral historians, activists, cultural workers, community organizers and documentary artists that use oral history to further movement building and transformative social change. She also works at the New-York Historical Society, and is co-founder of Social Exchange Institute, a media and education company that uses multimedia tools to produce work that promotes social justice and equity. She’s also on the editorial board for the Oral History Review. In 2017, she graduated from the Oral History Master of Arts program from Columbia University where she received the Judge Jack B. Weinstein Scholarship Award for Oral History and the OHMA Oral History Teaching and Social Justice Award.
Maggie Von Vogt is our Operations Coordinator. She is an independent media maker, popular educator, and activist from Maine. She lived in El Salvador from 2008-2017, working as a workshop facilitator on participatory video and community media focused on social and environmental issues. Since moving to rural northern California in early 2017, the focus of her work has been facilitating communication between (majority Mexican) immigrant and nonimmigrant members of her community and supporting resilience-building in the immigrant community. She co-manages the Anderson Valley Adult School and is working on an oral history and photography project with stories from Salvadorans who have immigrated from and returned to El Salvador. In her free time she loves hiking with her dogs Little and Ramona, swimming, looking for otter, exploring new places, and anything that brings about a laugh.
Nissa D. Tzun is a member of the Core Working Group. She is the Project Founder & Editor-in-Chief of the Forced Trajectory Project (FTP). She is a multimedia artist specializing in illustration, graphic and web design, photography, film, public relations and investigative journalism. In 2009, She founded FTP, an independent media outlet that began as a long-term documentary project illuminating the narratives of families impacted by police violence. FTP has been exhibited across the nation and has received numerous awards and recognitions including the 2015 OHA Emerging Crisis Grant, and most recently the 2018 Resist General Support Grant. In 2014, Nissa supported the inception of Families United 4 Justice, a growing nationwide collective of families affected by police violence. Over the last two years, Nissa and her team have raised over $50,000 to subsidize 150+ family members affected by police violence to convene at FU4J’s first two national network gatherings in Detroit and Oakland. Currently she serves as a family advocate, organizer and board member for FU4J. Nissa's expertise on police homicide and family advocacy has invited her to be a presenter and guest speaker at multiple conferences and on several media outlets including Linc Up Community Spirit Awards, UNLV Center for Social Justice's Radical Consciousness Conference, Allied Media Conference, Left Coast Forum, NPR, Paul DeRienzo's Let Them Talk, The Guy Dawson Show, The 'Ism Hour, and Speak Out with Tim Wise. Nissa’s other works include documenting the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the movement for sustainable solutions for native Haitians, and establishing the guerrilla media arts collective, ACD Media (Studios). She has served as a documentary photographer for movements including Anti-War, the Palestinian Right to Return, Immigrant Rights, Prison Rights, PRIDE and Climate Justice. Her work has been featured on several media outlets including Democracy Now! She is a professor for the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies and writes for the Vice President of the Division of Student Affairs at UNLV. Nissa is a part of the core working group for Groundswell, a national coalition of oral historians working for social change. She serves as a Communications Fellow for the Center for Community Change and publishes on the Change Wire and ArtsEverywhere. Nissa is a 2018 Davis-Putter Scholar and is currently pursuing her Masters’ in Social Work and Journalism & Media Studies at UNLV.
Sarah Loose is a co-founder of Groundswell and member of the Core Working Group. She is an oral historian, popular educator, and community-based organizer based in Portland, OR. Currently, she works as an organizer with the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice and teaches oral history at Portland State University. Originally from Minnesota, Sarah first fell in love with the power and practice of oral history when facilitating a community-based oral history project (sistematización) with popular educators in Santa Marta, El Salvador. In the years since, she’s been romping around the woods, coasts and mountains of the Pacific Northwest, interviewing and organizing for economic, racial and environmental justice. She holds a BA in History from Yale University (2001) and a MA in Oral History from Columbia University (2011).
Shefa Nola Benoit is our Coordinator for the Practitioner Support Network sessions. She is a former executive of a leading national youth development organization who spent 15+ years implementing funder-driven programs from the top down. Discouraged by the growing disconnect of funders and agencies from their targeted communities, Shefa augmented her methodology by collecting unscripted and uncensored narratives to facilitate asset-based, community-driven solutions. Today, Shefa is Founder of Roots and Reasons StoryWorks where she implements independent projects and contracts with reformist nonprofits who are ready for communal prosperity. As a servant leader, Shefa is thrilled to serve as the PSN coordinator since 2017, seeing it as the ideal opportunity for connecting with the larger community and continuing her education in the field.