Frances Lucerna, Founder, Global Justice Institute
Frances is the Executive Director and Co-Founder El Puente, and founding principal of El Puente Academy for Peace & Justice. Frances is a pioneer of community arts & education. She holds a B.A. in Education & Dance from Hunter College and M.A. in Education & Supervision from Bank Street College. She danced professionally for 10 years before returning to her community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where she founded the Williamsburg Arts & Culture Council for Youth in 1980 and co-founded El Puente in 1982. In 1993 Ms. Lucerna broke new ground on the frontier of national school reform as the Founding Principal of the El Puente Academy for Peace & Justice. It was the first school in the country dedicated to Human Rights and is a nationally recognized model for “CBO Schools.” Ms Lucerna has served on the Advisory Committee to the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities and the Community School Task Force for the White House Conference on Character Building for a Democratic Civil Society. She was on the Board of 651Arts and served on the Community/Youth Development Guide Team of the National Network for Youth. Awards include: Celebrating Success (Children’s Defense Fund), Arts Advocate Award (Brooklyn Arts Council), Lo Mejor de Nuestra Comunidad (Comite Noviembre, 2010) and Mujeres Destacadas (El Diario, 2010). Frances received the 1998 Heinz Award for the Human Condition with her partner Luis Garden Acosta, and El Puente received the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ Coming Up Taller Award in recognition of its outstanding community arts programs.
JLove Calderón, Senior Advisor, Global Justice Institute
JLove is an activist, author, and conscious media maker who has spent over two decades working on issues of social justice, race, and gender. She has co-created and written numerous unscript¬ed TV shows including Ride or Die, Voices for Change, Green Mama, and Denver Earth¬ships. Her short film, Asia-One; Expect the Unexpected, was screened at the 2013 X Games and the Hollywood Film Festival and she completed her second film, From Gangs to Gardens, which premiered at the 2014 Hollywood Film Festival, and is a finalist for a SIMA Award. She is a co-producer on the feature film 11:55 Holyoke, as well as a film about her life story, That White Girl. Addition¬ally, JLove has authored and co-edited five books. Her book Conscious Women was nomi¬nated for a NAACP Image Award, and Occupying Privilege won the social change category of the National Indie Excellence Awards. JLove consults with technology, entertainment and lifestyle companies as a Social Impact Strategist connecting and curating innovative, transformative products, live events and experiences with a triple bottom line impact: people, planet, profit.
Clara Parker, Director, Global Justice Institute
Clara is a community-based artist and researcher whose work focuses on education and human development. Clara received her M.S. Ed in 2012 from Bank Street College of Education in Leadership in Community-Based Learning. Her integrative master’s thesis, Leadership at the Threshold, focuses on the role of the arts, voice and agency, and mentoring relationships in providing opportunities for "enhanced participation" in areas that lead to the development of leadership capacity. She received her B.A. in 2004 from NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study in Community Education, Latin American Studies, and Studio Art. At El Puente since 2005, Clara is passionate about how the arts and participation in social justice movements develop our humanity.
Rosa Scott, Certified Trainer and Consultant, Global Justice Institute
Rosa is a Leader in the field of Youth and Community Development. Her passion for this work began at El Puente where she started as a member and grew to be a Program Director. There she built up multiple programs and traveled internationally to do organizing around environmental injustice, wellness and human rights education. Rosa stands for advocating for those without a voice and creating sacred spaces to create a culture where people are empowered to thrive in.
Jana Lynne “JL” Umipig, Certified Trainer and Consultant, Global Justice Institute
Jana Lynne “JL” Umipig is the artistic Director of El Puente Three Kings, and a consultant at El Puente for the Edward and Sally Van Lier Arts Fellowship through the New York Community Trust. She received her Masters degree from New York University, Steinhardt's Educational Theatre Program, received her Bachelors doubling in Theatre and Humanities with a concentration in Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine, as well as studied intensive Physical Theatre and Commedia work at the Accademia dell' Arte in Arrezo, Italy. She has also developed her own community performance projects including organizing and execution of curricula for the programs and performances of The Journey of a Brown Girl and Culture Shock: the Culture of Gender Violence.
Stephanie Jackson, Certified Trainer, Global Justice Institute
Stephanie is the Program Director at El Puente Beacon Leadership Program. She received her Bachelors in Developmental Psychology and English Literature & Writing from Emmanuel College. Stephanie has been part of the El Puente family since 2005, starting off as a Group Worker and transitioning through each leadership step until reaching her current position. Stephanie has been part of the GJI Team and much of her work has been devoted to helping codify El Puente's membership process. In parallel to her own journey, she has been committed to supporting a clear trajectory for former members to become El Puente staff. The concept of "leadership from within" aligns with her vision around community sustainability, racial justice and cultural competency. Stephanie has been part of the GJI Team and much of her work has been devoted to helping codify El Puente's membership process. Stephanie is currently working towards her Masters in Youth Studies at the CUNY School of Professional Studies.
Rose Rivera, Trainer, Global Justice Institute
Rose is the Assistant Director of El Puente Leadership Center at Williams Plaza. She received her Bachelors and Masters in Human Services from Boricua College. Rose has been a part of El Puente since 1999 as a member, participating in many campaigns and projects to support her home, Williamsburg. Her membership in the program led her to become a staff member at El Puente Beacon Leadership Center, Williamsburg Leadership Center, and now El Puente Leadership Center at Williams Plaza, growing from Group Worker/Leader, Theater facilitator, Receptionist, Program Aide and Administrative Assistant, and Program Coordinator to Assistant Director. In 2016, Rose was awarded the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women Scholar (NACOPRW) and The Community and Academic Scholar of Human Services from Boricua College. She founded and coordinates the Anacaona and Caonabo Young People’s Group (ACYPG), which received the 2016 DYCD Youth Leadership award. She also received the 2017 Mentoring Coordinator of the year award from DYCD. In her spare time, Rose she loves to watch basketball, spend time with her family and friends, and make small arts and crafts projects.
Aura Dawson, Trainer, Global Justice Institute
Aura is the Membership Coordinator at El Puente Beacon Leadership Center. She started her journey in El Puente in 2006 as an intern at the Beacon Program. In 2007, she became a member of El Puente at the Williamsburg Leadership Center. In the summer of 2010 she worked closely with El Puente founder Luis Garden Acosta and helped to create the El Puente Scholars Program. The following summer she assisted Luis in creating the Wellness Assessment and Action Plan (WAAP). In 2012, Aura began working as a Group Worker in the El Puente Beacon Leadership Center. She continued to develop her membership as she transitioned from member to coordinator and now works toward nurturing others in their own membership and leadership journey. Aura has many passions including dance, music, photography, and nature. One of her biggest passions is working with young people. Aura believes that all youth should have a voice in the world, and it is her mission to make sure that voice is heard.