Staff

 

THE PRAXIS PROJECT STAFF

 

Xavier Morales, Executive Director


Prior to becoming executive director of The Praxis Project, Xavier Morales was executive director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and was in his second year of serving on the Praxis board of directors. He is a longtime advocate for community-driven initiatives to achieve health equity and environmental justice. Taking an expansive view of what constitutes good health and community wellness, he diligently works to enable opportunities for youth development, workforce development, college access, prisoner reentry, early childhood development, affordable housing, and expanding access to culturally and linguistically appropriate heath care for all. Xavier currently serves on the boards of The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network and the Urban Peace Initiative. He was a member of the Berkeley vs. Big Soda steering committee that passed the first local tax on sugary drinks in the country to begin to address the diabetes epidemic in vulnerable communities. He has been a leader in the campaign to pass legislation to create a dedicated revenue source to combat diabetes and other preventable chronic diseases at the state level in California. Xavier often provides testimony in the California State Legislature and is a frequent speaker at legislative briefings, health conferences, health justice gatherings, and in college/university settings. Xavier, a former Peace Corps volunteer (Hungary), is originally from Sanger, California and studied environmental sciences at the University of California, Berkeley and city and regional planning at Cornell University.

 

Sylvia Castillo, Deputy Director

Sylvia has combined her passions for public policy and grassroots organizing for the last 20 years by serving as District Director to the Congress member Karen Bass and former California Assembly Speaker and by being a founding leader of the Community Coalition, a community institution that involves thousands of grassroots activists to create, influence and change public policy.

 

Salimah Salaam-Muhammad, Finance and Personnel Director

Salimah Salaam Muhammad is a native Washingtonian and serves as the Chief Financial Officer for the Praxis Project.  Her primary function is to act as the financial liaison for the organization and to provide administrative and fiscal management.  She also works directly with the Praxis Project Fiscal Sponsor in the capacity of  fiscal manager to institution of color at the local and regional levels to provide technical assistance in the areas of budget development, planning policies and procedures and accounting.

Hailing from a varied business background that spans over two decades, her experience includes managing the Abundant Life Clinic, an inclusive and non-sectarian community-based holistic health clinic serving health care needs to underserved and disadvantaged communities, to a management stint at Citibank.  Prior to working at Praxis, Salimah was professionally employed with various financial planning, investment and community based fundraising to individuals and small businesses.  She holds a master’s degree in business finance from the University of the District of Columbia and she completed her undergraduate work at Howard University.

 

Kim Diehl, Communications Manager

Kim helped build a healthcare workers union in Florida for seven years as Communications Coordinator at 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. She is a former co-director of Southerners On New Ground and currently serves on the board of Critical Resistance. Kim's writings have appeared in Color Lines and Southern Exposure magazines and Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption (South End Press).

 

Miles Parish, Technology Manager

Miles began his organizing career at a young age when he began volunteering in election campaigns before he was ten years old.  As a college student at Morehouse, he worked in the Obama For America campaign, designed websites and technology applications for independent musicians and produced short viral videos and other promotional materials.  Miles coordinates digital outreach for the CCHE Get FReE initiative, which focuses on networking, support and tools for youth-led organizing nationwide.

Now in his fifth year at Praxis Miles has stepped into the role as Technology Manager adding to his multimedia credentials through various accredidation programs and independent study on how to use the web more effectively for organizing and also speaking at gatherings on the importance for people of color to use available technology to better their communities by taking ownership in its development.

 

LaTanya Lowe, Office Manager

LaTanya Lowe is native to the DC Metropolitan area, where she was raised in Silver Spring, MD. She brings more than 15 years of operations, project and administrative management experience to The Praxis Project. 

LaTanya has worked with international and local non-profit organizations, such as the American College of Cardiology as well as The Family Restoration and Healing Center, where she currently volunteers.  She earned her undergraduate degree in English with an additional concentration in African Diaspora at the University of Maryland and earned her Master’s Degree in Organizational Management.  LaTanya strives to demonstrate hard work and social justice principles in every aspect of her life. She is passionate about applying her work ethic to achieve social, medical, economic, and educational justice for communities of color throughout the country.

 

 

Chris Bufford, Field Manager

Chris Bufford was raised on the south side of Chicago and has been organizing for the past eight years around education, juvenile justice reform, mental health, and the right to affordable housing.Chris developed his skills as a youth organizer at the Southwest Youth Collaborative where he worked with young people to dismantle the school to prison pipeline and juvenile justice reform.

Chris is a Restorative Justice Circle Keeper trainer, practitioner and advocate. He is also trained in facilitation, Kingian nonviolent direct action and the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child and Advancing Youth Development curriculum.

He serves on the Advisory Council for The Community Justice Network For Youth and the National Coordinating Council for Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100). 

 

Gabriella Ramos, Program Associate (California)

Gabriella was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio by her mother and a loving village of relatives where values of social awareness and community service were instilled in her at a very young age. She moved to the California Bay Area in 1991 and now shares her values by being a loving member of multiple villages, where she has spent time mentoring and empowering the youth in her chosen family and community.  As a licensed spiritual counselor and mentor, she co-leads a weekly pre-teen and teen program at her church. The experience Gabriella brings to Praxis includes over a decade of volunteer recruitment and management as well as a diverse conference and event production skill set.  She is committed to social justice, equality and a world that works for everyone.

 

Marisol Ocampo, Capacity Development and Training Manager

Born and raised in Mexico City, Marisol has been involved in various grassroots leftist organizations in Mexico and the U.S. since the late 90's. Alongside her work at Praxis, she is currently an active member of LeftRoots, Black and Brown Latinxs in Solidarity (BLIS), The School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), and Calpulli Huey-Papalotl, where she supports the ongoing needs of political education, direct action and organizing skills curriculum development and popular education trainings. As a working class-queer-immigrant and single parent, Marisol has had deep and tangible experiences of oppression which, thanks to the amazing work of radical educators, organizers, healers and freedom-fighters of all times, have translated into a strong commitment to fighting for social justice locally with a global lens. As the Capacity Development and Training Manager, Marisol brings her years of experience and commitment to building healthy communities from the bottom up.