The Black Organizing Project is a Black member-led community organization working for racial, social, and economic justice through grassroots organizing and community-building in Oakland, California.

Our vision is to build a strong bottom up organization of Black people that will:

  • Craft alternative models and institutions that will advance our vision of racial and economic justice
  • Rebuild the spirit and foundation of our community
  • Exercise political and economic power
  • Act to win real systematic change
  • Transform the lives of Black people
  • Embody the spirit that has sustained the Black community

Meet The Team!

Jackie Byers

Jackie Byers, Executive Director

e: jackie@blackorganizingproject.org

Jackie has over 20 years of experience working in low-income communities of color as an organizer and trainer on a broad array of issues, including tenant organizing, youth organizing, regional equity, and more.

She is the founding Director of the Black Organizing Project (BOP) in Oakland. Prior to Directing BOP, Jackie served as the Associate Director for the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO) where she had the opportunity to support community organizing work by providing training and developing some of the most talented young organizers in the country.

Jackie is a native of Minnesota where she worked as a Lead Organizer for neighborhood based organizations in Minneapolis working on affordable housing. Prior to moving to Oakland, she was the Training Director for the Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP) in Minneapolis. Before leaving Minnesota she served as an active board member with Headwaters Fund For Justice.  Jackie is a firm believer in the importance of community, spirit and culture as essential to the transformation of individuals as well as institutions.

Chianda Rawlins, Office Manager

e: chianda@blackorganizingproject.org 

Chianda has over 15 years of experience as an administrative professional and has been with BOP for over 3 years.  Chianda is an active member of the Center of Grace Ministries in West Oakland,  serving in multiple capacities.  She is the mother of two children in highschool.

Through her administrative work at BOP, Chianda is excited to be an asset to the growth and development of BOP, and is delighted to be a part of the BOP family.

Ni’Keah Manning, Community Organizer

e: nikeah@blackorganizingproject.org

Ni’Keah has always had a passion for Black youth and families. A San Francisco State University alumnus , Ni’Keah was initially introduced to BOP through her field of study– Child and Adolescent Development with a concentration in Policy, Advocacy and Systems. 

Ni’Keah came to BOP as a volunteer with no prior organizing knowledge or experience. Despite her lack of experience, once here,  she knew that indulging in this work full-heartedly was her responsibility. 

Inspired by Black people’s resilience against power structures and other adversities, Ni’Keah believes that by prioritizing genuine relationship building and understanding first,  she can help her community rediscover its power. 

For Ni’Keah, BOP is a welcoming, safe space that fosters dedicated people, through engaging with the community. Through her work with BOP and beyond, Ni’Keah hopes to ultimately help unveil the innate    power of  Black people in both children and adults.

 Jessica Black, Lead Organizer

e: jessica@blackorganizingproject.org

Jessica is a Minnesota native with a passion for social justice and cultural interpretation.  A mother of two, Jessica came to California in 2013 in order to reconnect with family.

For 10 years, as the Education Systems Navigator at the Cultural Wellness Center in Minnesota, Jessica worked to further enhance her skills of strategic planning, collective communication, shared authority and motivational speaking. Jessica has worked to dismantle unequal systematic approaches in housing, employment, education and criminal justice institutions for many years.

Jessica embraces and is guided by the elders within her community. These relationships  aid her in recruiting and organizing Black parents, to encourage their involvement in schools, and influencing policy, procedures, and paradigm shifts. Ultimately, Jessica’s passion to help Black people recognize the power and potential they possess led her to BOP. Through BOP Jessica hopes to continue her journey of achieving equitable access for Black people.

Jasmine Williams, Communications & Development Assistant

e: jwilliams@blackorganizingproject.org

Jasmine is a Sacramento native with a passion for reading and writing . She fell in love with the Bay Area at 18 when she began her academic journey at San Francisco State University where she was an editor for the school magazine; Xpress Magazine. From SF State she achieved her BA degree in Journalism with a minor in Africana Studies and was determined to pour resources back into her community.

Jasmine hopes to use her writing to shift the negative narrative of Black people repeated in mainstream media  and to ensure that Black people have a platform to uplift their voices and experiences . She is excited about reaffirming and celebrating the beauty of Blackness with BOP through storytelling, community building and organizing. 

 

Mirishae McDonald, Associate Director

e: mirishae@blackorganizingproject.org

Mirishae obtained a BA in political science/ethnic studies and a teaching credential in social science from San Francisco State University. For the past 14 years, Mirishae has been passionate about social justice issues.  She is committed to building power in the Black community and has a history of organizing around immigration rights, global peace solidarity and worker rights. Mirishae  started  her organizing path as a student activist.  She continued to explore organizing after graduating from the Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program (MAAP) and worked for a labor union. She became a member organizer with BOP as well as  a founding board member. After 2 years of teaching ethnic studies to Oakland middle school students , Mirishae joined the BOP staff.

 

troya wright, Integrated Voter Engagement Organizer in Training

e: troya@blackorganizingproject.org

troya is a Black Virginian who has been organizing in different capacities his whole life. Fueled by his direct experience with the criminal injustice system and how it impacts a great majority of Black lives— troya is committed to dismantling current systems of oppression and building up new restorative systems with community leading the way.  The  combination of Oakland’s  pivotal role  in many revolutionary movements ; alongside his work with the Center for Third World Organizing’s (CTWO) Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program (MAAP)– led him to California in 2016 to expand his organizing palette. While here troya has made a commitment to continue along the path of social justice with the Black Organizing Project.  As an anti-capitalist, activist- vegan, troya believes organizing is integral to getting Black folks free. Through diligent community building with BOP troya hopes to change the face of organizing and continue the work of his ancestors through radical Black organizing!

Tichelle Thomas, Program Assistant

e: tichelle@blackorganizingproject.org

Tichelle is a Bay Area Native from San Jose.  Mother of one, Tichelle moved to Oakland in 2008 and has been a part of the community with her son ever since. Tichelle has over 10 years of experience with customer service management and administration.

Tichelle was immediately attracted to BOP’s values in community and organizing from the grassroot. She became a member intrigued by the organization’s on-the-ground street outreach appproach  and determination to really listen to folks in the community.   

Tichelle is happy to be a part of the BOP team as she believes Black people are the life force that runs throughout the world who have not yet received humanity given to others for centuries. While supporting BOP she wants to be a part of shifting  the narrative of Black folks  with a gracious and assertive approach and is honored to do so alongside The Black Organizing Project .