Measure J "Reimagine LA"
Consulting & Facilitation Team
“Chrysta Wilson and her team are amazing!
This summer, Wilson and Associates was able to help us
thoughtfully design and facilitate
virtual community engagement sessions to uplift recommendations to address the impact of systemic racism
on housing, policing, youth and education, small business, economic well-being, and other areas of resident life.
The consistently positive experiences we have is why we continue
to seek partnership with this firm!”
– Katie Balderas
City of Long Beach Office of Equity
“I have complete faith in this team to lead an inclusive and racial equity-centered community engagement process.
Their consultants have a track record of skilled, ethical, and successful engagement of our Black, Brown, and low-income communities in Los Ángeles.”
- Aurea Montes-Rodriguez
Executive Vice President
Community Coalition in South Los Ángeles
“Wilson and Associates really embodies the practice of racial equity in their design and facilitation as well as their deep analysis and understanding of the systems we are seeking to shift. In my experience with them, they were able to truly listen and communicate the experience of Black workers through their work.”
- Lola Smallwood Cuevas,
Founder of LA Black Worker Center
Project Director, UCLA Labor Center
"I have been researching and supporting thoughtful engagement of Black, Brown, and low-income communities for decades. Based on those years of experience and deep respect for our communities, I highly recommend this superstar team that has come together to support Measure J implementation." -
Distinguished Professor, Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity*
Director, USC Equity Research Institute (ERI)
THE CORE PROJECT TEAM
Chrysta Wilson, MPA, A.C.C.
Data and Learning Lead
Over the last 22 years, Chrysta has designed and facilitated several equity-centered community engagement processes that have led to policy and funding recommendations for city and county agencies, notably for the City of Long Beach’s Racial Reconciliation process in 2020 and their Economic Equity campaign in 2019.
In collaboration with her sister company Soluna Group, she co-led a stakeholder engagement recommendations process for the L.A. County Department of Arts and Culture that led to the development of the Regional Plan for Arts Education and the County Cultural Policy.
She has expertise in impact storytelling, data analysis, and data visualization. Her knowledge of racial equity is personal and academic: she is a nationally recognized anti-racism trainer and coach.
As a master facilitator, she pulls from multiple facilitation modalities including virtual facilitation, visual facilitation, Facilitation for Racial Justice, Team Decisionmaking, and Communities at Work so that she can design spaces where everyone is invited to share their talents and ideas.
Chrysta has worked across various geographic, ethnic, racial, and linguistic communities within Los Angeles County and is proficient in English and Spanish. Chrysta a nationally recognized expert on diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism and was most recently interviewed for an article in Prism Reports for strategy recommendations.
Chrysta can present content and facilitate in English and Spanish languages.
Elizabeth Sunwoo, CPC
Advisory Committee Lead
Liz grew up migrating throughout Southern California as her widowed, first generation immigrant mother found work to support the family. Once Liz was exposed to the worker and immigrant rights organizing at the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Advocates (KIWA), she knew that her home was in the movement for social justice and liberation of all oppressed people.
Her practice centers mind-body-spirit connection that is rooted in racial liberation, global solidarity against imperialism and centering feminism. She has over 20 years of experience in organizing, popular education-based facilitation, leadership development, civic engagement and organizational development.
She is a certified professional coach and practices her values in the way she works in teams, in her family and chosen family as well as in her systems transformation work with various government agencies, including the CA Labor & Workforce Development Agency and strategic collaborative such as Building Healthy Communities South LA.
Liz is English-Korean bilingual with experience in facilitation in both languages.
Mariko Ryono, CPC
Community Engagement Design Co-Lead
A century ago, Mari’s Japanese American relatives arrived as immigrants to the Port Area of Los Angeles where they were fisher people living on Terminal Island and farmed the hills of San Pedro.
They had first-hand experience of the violence of racially unjust policies with incarceration and Executive Order 9066 during World War II and the possibility of reparative policies and reconciliation with the winning of Redress in 1988.
Mari is part of a tradition of Japanese Americans working to ensure that we know our history, that our communities work in cross-racial solidarity, and that we win reconciliatory and restorative policies, particularly for our Black and Indigenous siblings.
Mari is the former Lead Organizer with SCOPE, former Director of the statewide Mobilize the Immigrant Vote coalition, and former Board Treasurer of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).
Mari is an expert in community organizing, culturally-affirmative engagement, and civic engagement. Mari’s husband is a Mexican Zapotec and Mixtec immigrant from Oaxaca, and they are raising their two sons in a multi-generational household in LA County. Mari is Spanish-English bilingual with extensive experience in facilitation in both languages.
Virtual Engagement and Facilitation Co-Lead
Miguel has been working in Los Angeles for 21 years, originally drawn to Los Angeles to study the relationship between war, international factors, and fact that L.A. is home to the largest concentration of Central Americans living outside of their home countries. His masters degree in Latin American Studies from UCLA, and his own family's migration story from El Salvador to California, continuously provides a foundation for which Miguel brings an intersectional analysis to racial justice and systems change.
He has decades of experience organizing and engaging residents in migrant, undocumented, Spanish-speaking, Black, Brown, hard-to-reach, and low-wealth communities. He is skilled in working with community residents to help them leverage their power to inform and influence government and philanthropic initiatives with efforts such as Best Start South Los Angeles and the Census.
He is a skilled meeting facilitator, having built a unique skillset as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, to create equitable virtual meeting spaces to meet the simultaneous needs of English and Spanish-speaking meeting participants. He's also built an understanding of how to ease residents into new and unfamiliar videoconferencing technology which is traditionally unfamiliar to many of Los Angeles' residents as a result of the digital divide and inequitable internet access.
Miguel has years of experience in community participatory research and asset mapping, and conflict resolution and has native proficiency in English and Spanish Languages.
Monique Castro, LMFT, CPC
Virtual Engagement and Facilitation Co-Lead
Monique is a citizen of the Diné (Navajo) Nation and Xicana, born and raised on the ancestral homelands of the Tongva People (aka Los Angeles).
She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, certified professional coach, social justice consultant, facilitator and community advocate in the areas of health, wellness, community organizing, and education.
Her approach centers an Indigenous worldview and core values, she is a collaborative and relational-leader with an exceptional track record of building and maintaining sustainable relationships with Native-led organizations, Tribes, higher education institutions, and community members throughout California and nationally.
Her leadership includes establishing the California Native Vote Project (co-founder), So'oh-Shinálí Sister Project (co-founder), and Indigenous Circle of Wellness (founder and CEO), a thriving psychotherapy private practice located in South East Los Angeles.
Her experience in relationship-based engagement and hard-to-reach populations will be critical to elevate the voices of L.A.County residents and ensure they are able to inform the allocations to Measure J resources.
Community Engagement Design Support and Funding Recommendations Lead
Aparna Shah has worked to co-create and catalyze transformative social change for over 25 years. Her consulting practice leads with cultural strategy and embodied practice to cultivate imagination and build power toward inclusive and participatory governance.
Previously Aparna was Co-Executive Director of Power California (formerly Mobilize the Immigrant Vote). Under her 10 year tenure, PowerCA/MIV organized statewide campaigns reaching 500,000+ young, immigrant, and refugee voters of color and Indigenous voters, built the long-term infrastructure and capacity of grassroots multiracial and intergenerational organizations across the state to run electoral and issue campaigns, and established PowerCA Action (formerly MIV Action Fund) as well as the We Are California PAC.
She has also worked to advance the self-determination and reproductive justice of women, people of color, and queer communities and spent several years working to transform a public middle school into a vibrant youth and community center in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Aparna currently sits on the Board of 18 Million Rising and holds a Master of Health Sciences degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She was born in Manila, grew up in Mumbai, and lived in Orange County when she first migrated to this country.
Our Team's Committment to Equity
As a result of the Winter 2021 Covid-19, the Measure J Funding Recommendations Community and Stakeholder Engagement Process scheduled late January-March 2021 will be facilitated virtually to ensure the health and well-being of our communities.
While virtual engagement is a necessity of Covid-19's physical distancing requirements and there are conveniences to meeting online, there are challenges that must be tended to if these processes are to truly center equity. Many of the voices that need to inform the Measure J funding aren't actively using videoconferencing as a result of limited access to stable internet, webcams, or smartphones because of income status and the growing digital divide.
Add to that the fact that many virtual meetings don't center our humanity and are still led in English-only, and you'll see why we must develop intentional strategies to ensure hard-to-reach populations, non-English speakers, low-wealth participants, and those unable to access a stable internet connection are still able to provide their recommendations for Measure J Funding.
Relationship-based Community Outreach & Communications
We will tap into our extensive network of CBO partners, consultants, coaches, and promotores to help ensure as many voices as is possible in the project timeframe are able to communicate their ideas and recommendations for how Measure J funding can support Alternatives to incarceration and community investments.
From the onset of this effort, we know the greatest challenges to this engagement process will include:
elevating the voices of those who are most impacted by mass incarceration
engaging those impacted by the digital divide, and
connecting with those who are often the hardest to reach by traditional email and video conference engagement strategies.
Our Linguistic Equity / Language Justice Strategy:
We will work with the County, CBOs, our own facilitation team, and trusted colleagues to support the languages spoken by community session participants. We believe that all ideas for Measure J Funding Recommendations should be elevated through this process--not just the ones provided in English.
Outreach materials will be translated and virtual community recommendations sessions will offer simultaneous interpretation to support participants in-language to the best of our ability via the consultant team, hired interpreters, and County + CBO partners.