The GJI Team


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, 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.


Training Highlights

Check out highlights from our 2016 Staff Orientation!





La Borinqueña #1 Advanced Comic Book Release 

La Borinqueña's highly anticipated, first full-length comic book is finally here! La Borinqueña #1 will be presented at an exclusive advanced book signing at El Puente. This event is not only your chance to receive your advanced, autographed copy of La Borinqueña #1, it is your chance to attend Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez's FIRST book-signing event and ONLY signing to take place in New York this year:

El Puente's 4th Annual PARRANDA!

Join us for El Punete's 4th annual Parranda: La Trullita Navideña, featuring BombaYo! We will be meeting at El Puente Headquarters (211 South 4th Street) and ending our holiday carolling at the Caribbean Social Club (244 Grand Street between Roebling & Driggs). 

Want to be a part of La Trullita Navideña, but need to remember the songs or learn them for the first time? Join BombaYo at El Puente on December 7th at 6:30pm for a parranda workshop!

See our flyer for more details and we'll see you at parranda!

The Sound of Revolution



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Executive Produced by JLove & M1 Productions Artists: M1, Sonny Corona, and Kristina Feliciano.


Make change with us! Join El Puente's work in: environmental justice & climate change, Get Out the Vote, and cultural justice through the arts.


New Mural at MS 50 by Los Muralistas de El Puente

July 20, 2016
Los Muralistas de El Puente are painting a mural on the side of MS 50 about the People's History of Los Sures. The MS 50 El Puente Community School Mural Project is a result of a two year-long formalized partnership between MS 50 and its Community School partner, El Puente. The idea for the mural project grew out of the MS 50 El Puente Community School’s mission to promote youth leadership through academics, arts, athletics, and activism and to empower student voice by providing opportunities for students to engage in inquiry-based and project-based learning.
Los Muralistas de El Puente are an inter-generational artist collective serving the community of Los Sures (Williamsburg Brooklyn's Southside) since 1990. Under the leadership of teaching artist Joe Matunis, the Muralistas have created more than 20 community murals, which have been documented in numerous books on public art and community voices.  
Join us for a celebration of El Puente's 34th anniversary at our Community Painting Day
To learn more about Los Muralistas visit


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