Meet the people who make the work happen.
Elona J Wilson
Elona (she/her) is Next Up and Next Up Action Fund’s Executive Director. Through her professional and community-based work, Elona has built a wealth of experience in community organizing, engagement, and leadership development, policy and legislative agenda-setting, partner and coalition management, and outreach and communications. Elona comes to Next Up from the Coalition of Communities of Color where she worked as the Advocacy Director to pass impactful legislation like the abolition of post-prison supervision fees. Previously, she worked at Stand for Children, where she helped pass the historic Student Success Act. Experienced in electoral campaigns, including ballot measures and candidate endorsements, Elona has also emerged as a leader in the Reimagine Oregon project, working with Black leaders from diverse backgrounds. Elona grew up in Portland and was a first-generation college graduate, graduating from Pacific University with a degree in early education and is dedicated to ensuring that equity becomes the pillar that holds up our communities here in Oregon.
Movement Building Director
Endorsements and Community Partnerships Contact | firstname.lastname@example.org
Devin (she/her) is a queer Latina from Los Angeles, CA, and finds revelatory opportunities in community work. Devin has an unwavering commitment to centering Black, Indigenous, people of color, low-income people, LGBTQIA individuals, and youth in their grassroots community engagement work. She obtained dual degrees in Political Science and Women’s Studies from PSU and wrote her thesis on how white supremacy is reproduced through racial grammar. When Devin is not deep in theory or YouTube, you can find her at the spa or overdressed and trying to find any and all warmth in Portland (usually in the form of community, chisme, and food).
Community Engagement Organizer
UPTURN Contact | email@example.com
Iyanna (they/them) is a young Black activist, who holds many identities that influence their desire to show up for the community and the future generations to come. Born and raised in Portland, OR, they have dedicated time to understanding the systems of our society and how they impact and have harmfully impacted the communities they belong to, but also the communities that share similar systemic oppression. With this knowledge of systems of power and their own lived experience, they intend to use their passion and longing for a liberated and free world, to push for radical change within the institutions that make our society. Outside of organizing Iya spends much of their time learning how they can practice holistic wellness as a form of radical self/community healing. They are a lover of astrology, literature, music, and nature!
Policy and Communications Director
Policy and Media Contact | firstname.lastname@example.org
Isabela (she/her) is a queer Latina youth advocate and organizer who has been with Next Up since 2018. She received a BA in Community Development from PSU and currently serves on the Board of Directors and steering committee for Participatory Budgeting Oregon. Her experience organizing in high school and subsequent work with culturally specific community organizations instilled in her the power of youth and community work to bring about social and political transformation to marginalized communities. When not at work she enjoys chasing sun spots, reading afro-futurism, and eating anything made out of potatoes (especially curly fries and ajiaco).
Civic Action Organizer
Voter Registration & Action Teams Contact | email@example.com
Jasia (she/they) is a queer black activist passionate about amplifying and centering the voices of youth in policy and social change. Her experience as a young organizer throughout high school to now has given her the power and drive to continue to advocate for youth empowerment, racial and climate justice, and centering the voices of marginalized groups. She currently serves on the Metro Transportation Advisory Committee and is always looking for opportunities to serve her community. When they are not working for social change Jasia enjoys spending time at the beach, eating anything and everything spicy, rewatching New Girl 100 times, and spending time with friends and family.
Grant and Donations Contact | firstname.lastname@example.org
Em (they/them) is a queer white person committed to moving resources to grassroots community organizing. As a chapter leader with Resource Generation and then as a board member with Social Justice Fund NW, they have developed organizing and fundraising skills rooted in social justice principles, dedication to redistributing wealth and power, and a belief in personal transformation through collective action. Previously, they held a day job as a software engineer. Outside of organizing and fundraising, they appreciate book clubs, karaoke, beach days with their dog Buster, and personality analysis frameworks (personal stats: Enneagram type 1/INFP/Virgo).
Executive Operations Coordinator
General Inquiries Contact | email@example.com
Angus (he/him) is a queer white person dedicated to the advancement and security of rights for systemically oppressed communities. Angus comes from nine years of experience in operations coordination and administrative support for companies from international corporations to local small businesses. He believes that passion, diversity, and empathy are the essential keys to success within the social justice movement and he works hard to make sure those values are demonstrated at every opportunity. As a trans man and openly queer individual, Angus hopes to make the path to living your true self easier for the people who come after him. Outside of work, he enjoys reading non-fiction books, playing Magic the Gathering, going to the gym, and spending time with his fiancé, Jordan, and their little dog, Dipper. He is currently working towards obtaining his B.A. in Religious Studies.
Alex Vargas Hernandez
Alex (he/they) is a young & queer Chicanx, born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Aloha, Oregon. Alex is a first-generation student at Portland State and is pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Alex’s grassroots organizing is rooted in his lived experiences; growing up in a multigenerational & low-income household, being queer and Chicanx. They’re passionate about grassroots fundraising and organizing. When out of the office, you can find Alex trying new restaurants or out for a run in the sun.
Our Board of Directors is comprised of fierce community advocates who are deeply committed to the success of our organization.
Next Up Board of Directors
Next Up is a nonpartisan, nonprofit that amplifies the voice and leadership of diverse young people to achieve a more just and equitable Oregon.
This is our 501(c)3 branch.
Lucy (she/her) is passionate about inclusive public engagement and building political power for underrepresented communities. She brings a variety of skills and experiences from working with the Oregon State Legislature, local community organizations, and a public relations firm dedicated to engaging the public and decision-makers in conversations that define our communities. Lucy is excited about building formidable relationships and working to expand access to political structures for youth and diverse populations in Oregon. *Also serves on the Next Up Action Fund Board
Senator WLnsvey Campos
Senator Wlnsvey (she/her) is the daughter of immigrants and brings knowledge from growing up in Bandon, OR and making her adult life in Aloha. She works as a Case Manager at Family Promise of Beaverton and is the youngest woman ever elected to the Oregon legislature (Aloha & Beaverton). She has extensive organizing experience and a desire to see more Latinx representation in public service.
Akasha Lawrence Spence
Akasha (she/her) is a Black, Caribbean American woman who represented SW Portland in the Oregon State Legislature in 2020 and also was a state senator representing District 18 in 2022. 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.
Luis Balderas Villagrana
Luis (he/him) is a first-generation son of immigrants from Mexico and raised in Oregon. He served as Student Body President while at Portland State University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2020. Currently, Luis serves as Program & Events Coordinator at Oregon Entrepreneurs Network. He spends his time advocating for immigrant rights, economic justice, and environmental justice.
Kenya (she/ella) is a Latina woman who is committed to pursuing social justice and empowering people from all walks of life. She grew up in Woodburn, Oregon with her first-generation Mexican immigrant family and is a communications professional who served as Next Up’s Interim Executive Director in 2021. *Also serves on the Next Up Action Fund Board
Luis (he/they) is first generation queer and Chicanx community organizer. He is the founder and managing partner of Alma Nueva Solutions. Luis was born in Oregon, but raised in Colima, Mexico, and several other farmworker fields along the West coast. They’re passionate about food justice, fighting gentrification, and advocating for Migrant students. *Also serves on the Next Up Action Fund Board
Our Next Up Board of Directors provides oversight and support to our work. Our Board of Directors is comprised of fierce community advocates who are deeply committed to the success of our organization.
Next Up Action Fund Board of Directors
Next Up Action Fund engages the next generation of Oregon’s leaders to build political power and fight for a more just and equitable Oregon.
This is our 501(c)(4) branch.
Josh (he/him) is a CHamoru and Filipino son from the island of Guam, and is currently a Master of Public Policy student at Portland State University. Studying decolonization and sustainable development, Josh is focused on the movement to restore sovereignty to Guam and the other currently colonized territories of the United States. Eight years an Oregonian, Josh is dedicated to deepening democracy, uprooting oppressive systems, and contributing to a more just, prosperous, and sustainable world. *Also serves on the Next Up Board
Joséluis Jimenez Maldonado
Joséluis (he/him) is a Latino immigrant that grew up in Salem, OR where his work in the community inspired him to take political matters into his own hands. He is a seasoned organizer and teacher, that believes collectively uniting and demanding action and accountability is imperative for political transformation
Jacob (he/him) is a Jewish person who grew up in Kansas, but is proud to now call Oregon home. He works in government relations, representing the interests of nonprofit organizations advocating for criminal justice reform and support for Oregon’s immigrant communities in Oregon’s capitol.
Anjali (she/her) is a second-generation Sri Lankan American who is committed to civic engagement and social change. She is a current high school student and helps organize Race Forward as a leader of the Equity Team. She organizes around voting rights, social justice, and is passionate about the intersections of mental health and educating young people about racial justice. Anjali recognizes the importance of showing up for the community and works to increase civic engagement among young people in Portland.
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.
Our Next Up Action Fund Board of Directors provides oversight and support to our c(4) work. Our Board of Directors is comprised of fierce community advocates who are deeply committed to the success of our organization.
Hear from our Board
Ep. 1 Joséluis Jimenez
Joséluis is a Latino immigrant who grew up in Salem, OR where his work in the community inspired him to take political matters into his own hands. He is a seasoned organizer and teacher, that believes collectively uniting and demanding action and accountability is imperative for political transformation. Learn more about the Oregon DACA Coalition at oregondacacoalition.org.
Ep. 2 Wlnsvey Campos
Episode 2 of Next Up’s Democracy Done Right Podcast featuring Wlnsvey Campos. Wlnsvey is the daughter of immigrants and brings knowledge from growing up in Bandon, OR and making her adult life in Aloha. She works as a Case Manager at Family Promise of Beaverton, has extensive organizing experience, and a desire to see more Latinx representation in public service.
Past Board Members
Jake Oken Berg
Representative Jefferson Smith
Amy Sample Ward
Lizzy Atwood Wills
Representative Brent Barton
Cyreena Boston Ashby
Representative Ben Cannon
Senator Lew Frederick
Josh GoldbergIan Greenfield
Josh GoldbergIan Greenfield