Meet Our New Board Members

We’re so excited to introduce you all to the amazing new board members who have joined Next Up’s and/or Next Up Action Fund’s Board of Directors.

Our Boards of Directors are comprised of fierce community advocates who are deeply committed to the success of our organization, find out more about the newest members: Winta Yohannes, Aslan Newson, Luis Velasco, Akasha Lawrence Spence, Justin Low, Michelle Hicks, and Lex Jakusovszky below. Thank you to our outgoing Board Members, Courtney Graham (C4 Chair) and Jonathan Frochtzwajg (C4 Treasurer) for all that you did for the organization during your term!  

winta yohannes portrait

Winta Yohannes

Winta was born in Eritrea and raised in Portland, where she graduated from Reed College. She is passionate about building community power and brings experience as a nonprofit executive, with a background in research, policymaking, and local government. *Serves on the Next Up and Next Up Action Fund Board

aslan newson headshot

Aslan Newson

Aslan (she/her) is a queer, Afro-Indigenous member of the Klamath Tribes of Southern Oregon. She attends Wilson High School in Southwest Portland, where she will be serving her second year as President of the Black Student Union. Over Summer 2020 she helped co-create and lead the group Fridays4Freedom. Aslan is passionate about creating an equitable education system for underprivileged students, as well as uplifting the voices and experiences of BIPOC communities in all forms of leadership. *Serves on the Next Up Board

Luis Velasco

Luis is a first-generation Mexican-American student at the International School Of Beaverton & PCC, where he will receive his IB Diploma & Associates Degree in General Studies. As a low-income student, he’s vocal about investing resources into underprivileged communities. Luis is passionate about changing our education system and hopes to reform it into an equitable system that serves all. *Serves on the Next Up Board

Former Representative Akasha Lawrence Spence

Akasha is a Black, Caribbean American woman who represented SW Portland in the Oregon State Legislature last year. She is the Founder & Principal Designer of Fifth Element, and Founder of Melanated. Her work is at the intersections of financial empowerment, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and community stewardship, with an emphasis on frontline communities. *Serves on the Next Up and Next Up Action Fund Board

Justin Low

Justin is a Chinese and Filipino-American, who grew up in a rural part of Oregon City, OR. He works as a Criminal Defense Paralegal for indigent defendants and serves as the Director of Student Programming for the Oregon Association of Student Councils. His commitment to criminal justice reform and experience in youth organizing, are what guide his political advocacy for a more just and equitable Oregon. *Serves on the Next Up Action Fund Board

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Lex Jakusovszky

Lex cares deeply about opening doors and providing support for new leaders. They have been able to create affinity groups with the Oregon State Legislature and bring people together for support that makes it more possible for them to stay in spaces that are hostile to non-dominant culture folks. Lex is a non-binary white person, and is also a Board Member of the Center for Women’s Leadership, and a proud alum of the Catalyst Transgender Leadership Program with Basic Rights Oregon. *Serves on the Next Up and Next Up Action Fund Board

Michelle Hicks

Michelle (she/her) is a mixed, chronically ill, Korean American from California who currently works as a Field Organizer at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) where she lives and loves everything political. She is passionate about creating radical access to resources and movements through community organizing and democracy reform. *Serves on the Next Up and the Next Up Action Fund Board