Activists and Inspirations - University of Houston
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Amanda Williams
inspired by Frida Kahlo




LEARN more about modern social justice activist Amanda Williams

Amanda Beatriz Williams, a proud daughter of an immigrant, is a queer Chicana with more than ten years of experience working in the reproductive health, rights, and justice movement. Amanda is originally from Houston, Texas, where she planted her roots as a community organizer. Amanda holds a Master's in Political Social Work from the University of Houston and has an extensive background in nonprofit management, program development, policy, advocacy, and fundraising. She served on the board of the Lilith Fund from 2012-2015 and has been Lilith Fund's executive director since 2016. Under her leadership, Lilith Fund has supported thousands of Texans seeking abortion care and expanded its programming to include emotional support and organizing. Amanda is a proud storyteller of the National Network of Abortion Fund’s (NNAF) We Testify program, which is dedicated to increasing the spectrum of abortion storytellers in the public sphere. Her writing has been published in Glamour Magazine, TribTalk, and the Feminist Wire. She is also a board member for Youth Rise Texas, an organization that works to develop the leadership of youth of color who are directly impacted by incarceration and deportation. Amanda lives in Austin with her fiancée, Holly, and cat, Mica. amandawilliamsfridakahlo.jpg

Landon Richie
inspired by Harvey Milk




LEARN more about modern social justice activist Landon Richie

Landon Richie is on the Next Leaders Advisory Board with the Victory Institute and serves as the current co-vice-president of his school’s SAGA (Sexuality And Gender Alliance) club, which he helped to start during his sophomore year of high school. He started a GSA club at his middle school as well and a couple of years ago, co-founded FortGenderBenders, a student advocacy group aiming to strengthen protections for LGBTQ+ students, teachers, and administrators in FBISD. He is a regular speaker and advocates for transgender rights at local, state, and national legislative levels. Through his involvement with the GenderCool Project, Landon has been able to share his story with major corporations such as Citi Bank, Allstate, and Conagra Brands, as well as with Rolling Stone Magazine. He is also a trumpet player of six years and an award-winning artist.  landonritchieharveymilk.jpg

Kandice Webber
inspired by Angela Davis




LEARN more about modern social justice activist Kandice Webber

Kandice Webber is a registered nurse who has served he Houston community for over 15 years. She believes education is the neutralizer and cornerstone to success that will bring equity to all marginalized populations. Growing up in rural Texas, she witnessed, first hand, the disparities young Black and Brown people face due to poverty, systemic racism and implicit biases. She is dedicated to fighting for sustainable change that will balance the scales and correct the injustices that have claimed so many Black and Brown lives. Kandice is a lead organizer for Black Lives Matter: Houston. She is also the co-founder of Houston Rising, the organization that created the March for Black Women Houston.  kandice.jpg

Ali Lozano
inspired by Dolores Huerta




LEARN more about modern social justice activist Ali Lozano

Alesandra (Ali) Lozano is the Voting Rights Outreach Coordinator at the Texas Civil Rights Project where she develops and implements legal advocacy initiatives in response to shifts in federal, local, and state policies affecting voting rights. Ali comes to TCRP with extensive campaign experience and roots in community organizing. She became especially passionate about voting rights policy while working to execute the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work’s first-ever Voter Engagement and Political Justice Initiative. She has previously worked for the LGBTQ Victory Fund and the Texas Freedom Network and has served on three boards (local, statewide, and national respectively) for organizations working to advance LGBTQ equality and reproductive justice. Ali holds a BA in International Affairs from The George Washington University, a Masters in Political Social Work from the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, and a diploma in Campaign Management from the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University.



Melanie Pang
inspired by Grace Lee Boggs




LEARN more about modern social justice activist Melanie Pang


READ Melanie's Biography


Melanie Pang currently serves as the Government Relations Officer of the Houston Food Bank. She advocates for policies that address root causes of poverty and food insecurity, leveraging relationships and resources for social change. Prior to her food policy work, she served as Manager of Emergency Disaster Services at the Salvation Army of Greater Houston and was a liaison in the City of Houston's Emergency Operations Center throughout Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Throughout her career, Melanie has served in a variety of communities and capacities, aiming to further equity and lived equality – from efforts to reduce and prevent childhood obesity in food deserts to serving as a case manager to refugee youth and children in foster care, as well as young adults experiencing homelessness. Melanie was named Social Worker of the Year in 2015 by the National Association of Social Workers Houston and received the President's Award for Distinguished Community Leadership from the Houston GLBT Political Caucus in 2016. In 2012, she earned her master's degree from the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and was invited back to the university as an adjunct professor to teach at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In May of 2018, she was presented the Humanitarian Award by the college of social work's student association. Melanie lives in Houston with her wife, Kendall, and their two rescue dogs.


Joeall Riggins
inspired by Maya Angelou




LEARN more about modern social justice activist Joeall Riggins


READ Joealls's Biography


Joeall Riggins is a second-year clinical student at the Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) specializing in Health & Behavioral Health and African American Studies. She obtained her bachelor's degree in public health at Sam Houston State University. While there, she served as the health chair for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As health chair for the NAACP, Joeall geared her programs and initiatives toward eradicating the stigma of mental health within the African American community. A highlight of her role there was organizing "My Race is Not My Disease," an event that focused on social and racial issues related to health and healthcare disparities. Joeall was first introduced to the profession of social work while working at a behavioral health hospital shortly after graduating with her bachelor's. During her time there, she gained exposure to a vast population of mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. With a new desire to expand her work in the field of mental health, Joeall applied to the GCSW and embarked on a journey that combined mental health and advocacy. While completing her first year at the GCSW, she worked for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas on the political strategies team. She facilitated events geared to champion the social, racial, and political justice of people of all racial groups and sexual orientations. Joeall currently works at the Lovett Center as a clinical intern. She offers a psychodynamic approach to psychotherapy to clients of all age groups and backgrounds. While Joeall places emphasis on research and empirically proven therapeutic approaches, she believes that therapy cannot succeed without genuine compassion, support, and acceptance. Her current clients see her as non-judgmental, supportive, and caring, while also being purposeful and persistent. Joeall is the proud President of the University of Houston's chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers, a SHINE scholarship recipient, and a GCSW student ambassador who is eager to see what her final year of graduate school has in store.