D.O.P.E. (District Organizing: Project Engage)
Inspired by and rooted in Black and Indigenous cultural knowledge and organizing, DOPE aims to transform the way we engage and organize within our communities. Rather than a campaign, DOPE is a non-extractive model for long-term grassroots organizing, co-created to shift the balance of who shows up in Austin for real progressive wins.
DOPE builds community power in every district and invests in deepening trust and relationships within the communities we serve to maximize our mobilization efforts. Through DOPE, we practice building and transforming with a long-term vision.
Our DOPE Leads
Our DOPE Leads guide and coordinate the grassroots organizing initiatives in every district. By working closely with AJC leadership and teams of volunteers, they identify community needs and develop action plans for their districts. The plans include programming and initiatives tailored to address specific needs and sustain ongoing relationships with their communities.
My name is Alkeisha Black, I was born and raised on the east side of Austin, Texas. Proud alumni of LBJ High School and Houston Tillotson University, where I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education. Much of my life, especially my childhood, made me who I am today. My family and my community taught me how to live, laugh, and love. It taught me to care for others, to always push harder, and to go higher.
Reese Herd II is a native Austinite. Reese is the co-founder and executive officer for Dream Out Loud Experience (D.O.L.E). For 11 years, Reese has been instrumental in providing services to the disenfranchised in the Austin area through hosting events such as “Something at The Park,” feeding the homeless, mentoring young Black men, and participation in the planning of Austin’s annual Juneteenth celebration.
Brittany works in public affairs and has worked in Texas and Oklahoma state-level politics for most of her professional life. She is passionate about advancing agendas that affect Black and Brown communities, especially pertaining to QTBIPOCs. She currently serves on the MOVE Texas Civic Fund Board and has a goal to get more involved in politics at the local level.
As District 2 Lead, she hopes to create a space where passionate District 9 folks can come together and change the status quo.
“Vintage Jay” Herrera hails from the Rundberg Rd neighborhood in Austin’s gritty, culturally diverse Northside. The Mexican-born now Austin-based rapper has risen up to speak for a section of Austin that rarely has a voice. In Jays raps he blends tales from the streets with very poignant bars of consciousness and social reform. Jay has become a mix of Cesar Chavez and Montoya Santana(of the movie American Me). Jay’s community work includes toy, clothes, and school supply drives and music events that give Latinx music artists the spotlight. Being a Mexican immigrant, Jay has made sure to stand for his people and make sure their voices are heard. Whether it’s music, art, or social issues, Jay is there.
Muhammad Shabazz is an Alabama-born, Chicago-raised, Howard University-educated marketing professional living, learning, and earning in ATX while associating with the mature and motivated with an Attitude of Gratitude.
Julieta Suárez Calderón is studying Women and Gender Studies and Race, Indigeneity, and Migration at UT Austin. Their passion for social justice stems from growing up in Texas as a Mexican immigrant trying to resist machista culture. She is now particularly invested in learning about and implementing an intersection of decolonial and abolitionist practice.
She is excited about the opportunity to learn from AJC, to help develop deep community networks of care and support, and to hold space for the needs of marginalized folks in District 9.
Kaila is a young professional in Austin who graduated with a civil engineering degree from the University of Central Florida. She is passionate about community development, STEM education in underserved communities, and equitable transit services. She loves to write, hike, and budget travel.