Uma Rao, president
Uma Rao has been passionate about anti violence and social justice movements since she was young. She has been working in the nonprofit sector for almost 20 years. Her roles have been to organize communities, create community based art, serve on boards, and raise funds mostly within and for communities of color. Throughout her career, she has been able to help create a new model for democratic philanthropy, help pass marriage equality in WA state, help create partnerships between the tech sector and public education to excel students of color, and to help innovate community based advocacy models for immigrant survivors of domestic violence. She founded Devi Consults*, where she currently consults with nonprofits to create strategic vision and to equip leaders with the skills they need to grow their organizations. Uma also currently serves on the board for Social Justice Fund NW.
Uma believes reproductive justice is the key to liberation, with its intersectional framework and innovation that depends on the leadership of women and trans people of color. She considers herself a lifelong learner and some of her favorite things to do include obsessing over her dog, finding the best french fries, and playing out her rock star fantasies through karaoke.
Fajer Saeed Ebrahim, secretary
Fajer is a second year If/When/How Reproductive Justice Fellow at Legal Voice, a nonprofit public interest law organization that works to advance women’s and LGBTQ rights in the five Northwest states. Fajer's work focuses on sexual assault on college campuses and reproductive equity. Fajer completed joint degrees is Law and Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) where she focused on gender advocacy, sexual health, and feminist jurisprudence. Fajer worked at Advocates, the political arm of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwest Missouri, and the Legal Advocacy for Adults with Mental Illness Project of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. She taught “Women and the Law” to undergraduate students at WUSTL and has served on multiple sexual assault and relationship violence task forces, helping produce comprehensive reports focused on addressing sexual assault. Fajer also worked as a Title IX Project Manager at University of Washington’s Compliance Office.
SRILATA REMALA, treasurer
Srilata Remala is the founder of The Maternal Coalition, whose mission is to ensure that all pregnant and parenting people have access to just and equitable care. Through this work she is building up collaborative networks in Washington state of service providers to ensure that low income pregnant women are getting access to the best care possible.
Her parents immigrated to the United States in 1981 from Andhra Pradesh, India. Through their successes, they created a family foundation, the Satya and Rao Remala Foundation where Srilata is both a Trustee and Director of health programs for the past 10 years. Srilata is also a board member at Farestart.
Simon Adriane Ellis
pronouns: he/him or They/Them
Simon Adriane Ellis is a queer, trans- and genderqueer-identified Certified Nurse Midwife whose passion for reproductive justice started over 15 years ago with community organizing around issues of racial and economic justice, LGBTQ rights, and women’s bodily autonomy.
As a midwife, their clinical practice is focused on providing sexual and reproductive health services across the lifespan for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Simon is a full scope staff midwife at Kaiser Permanente in Seattle, and has clinical specialties in abortion care, LGBTQ family building, and gender affirming care.
Outside of the clinic, Simon’s advocacy work has included coauthoring the Cedar River Clinics trans health toolkit, conducting original research on transgender pregnancy, authoring textbook content on LGBQT health, and providing mentorship and training to students, clinic staff and healthcare providers.
pronouns: she/her & they/them
Tracy is a mindfulness based mental health therapist and activist attempting the Bodhisattva path.
She currently works with SURGE, Social Justice Fund (SJF), Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF), as well as supporting various community actions. She sees her role in community as a supportive safe space for people in discovering their gifts through mindfulness practice and social justice awareness.
Her cup is filled by the outside places, silly friends, passion, and folks sharing their good medicine with each other.
pronouns: SHE/HER OR THEY/THEM
Linda Chastine is a Black Queer Femme living, working, and building community in Seattle, WA.
Graduating from the illustrious Clark Atlanta University’s Whitney M. Young, Jr., School of Social Work in 2015, Linda has been dedicated to health equity, for marginalized communities, since her introduction to the field.
Linda's health equity journey has taken her from working at Planned Parenthood Southeast as an intern, moving to Seattle through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps to volunteer as a Community Outreach Liaison with The Hepatitis Education Project, to now working as the HIV Program Coordinator with AARTH, since her re-introduction to Seattle in 2017. Linda’s mission and purpose are to create and facilitate spaces for Black, Brown, & Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), to safely share their narratives as a joyful proclamation of defiance, resiliency, reclamation, and reparation.
Ultimately, Linda is dedicated to dismantling all forms of oppression so that one day, all beings may have the ability to live in fullness with love, joy, & dignity, free from fear, shame, and injustice.
Faisa Farole is the Executive Director of Global Perinatal Services, and has been working as a doula for 17 years. She loves doula and midwifery work, and is a Certified Professional Midwife with a license to practice in the state of Washington. Faisa also has her own solo practice where she provides in home prenatal care and births at the client’s home or at a birth center.
She is the mother of two boys and wife to a very humble and patient man. On her off days, Faisa love chilling with her family by baking and hiking with them.
raktahcu' reewaki (they/them/theirs) is an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation and an adopted member of the Athabaskan people. They were raised in Alaska, around the Athabaskan village of Mentasta–home to the matriarchal chief, and late Native rights activist, Katie John. As the youngest sibling of eight, they learned early on that listening first was the best way to be heard. Howard’s passion for social justice and community activism has always been at the forefront, passed on to them through storytelling and Indigenous epistemologies.
They work to center BIPoC/LGBTQ2+/Disabled led organizations in their work, letting them take the lead, while focusing on being in community without asking for anything in return, as it their strong belief that the community always knows what it needs, they just need to be asked and given the resources.
In their spare time, raktahcu' reewaki is a founding member of Indigenize Productions––an all Indigenous performing arts collective that actively decenters white supremacy and centers the Indigenous people of Turtle Island, they are a published writer, play in a few bands, perform standup comedy, and are an active member of their community.
Keshia has been advocating for kids and families all of her adult life. She brings robust experience in early childhood and K-12 education as both an educator and an advocate.
Her professional work includes being a toddler teacher, administering early learning programs, and coaching early childhood teachers. She spent eight years working in a local school district in multiple roles focused on helping kids find success and helping them and their families navigate the K-12 educational system. Keshia brings over a decade of experience as a facilitator of Courageous Conversations, helping multi-racial groups deepen their knowledge and capacity to act for racial equity.
Keshia is a mom to three amazing little humans who are the leading force behind her passion for kids, advocacy, and equity for all.
Born in Zambia and at 3 years old subsequently raised in Papua New Guinea where she began the beginning of a lifelong journey of championing marginalized communities. Supporting Immigrant and refugee populations and interrupting anti-blackness.
Racial Equity, Interrupting anti-Blackness and centering Black Immigrant and refugee voices is not just a trend for her, it’s a calling that has led her to speak, to write to contribute, to host and facilitate conversations and be the lead in many spaces that have been very inequitable.
As a result Valeriana has been carving out a distinct path, that is centering on dismantling, decolonizing and identifying much needed strategies and tools for Individuals, Non-Profit Executive Directors and Board members, Businesses and Corporations to use in their quest to interrupt anti-Blackness and create equitable hiring practices and environments that center equity for all staff.
Valeriana has a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems with a minor in American Government from Oral Roberts University and Masters Degree in Global Governance and International Security from the Florida International University. Valeriana is also a former Human Rights diplomat and former Executive Director from the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs.
Having navigated a plethora of immigration hurdles, Valeriana was able to successfully advocate for herself with the help of an immigration attorney to file for the EB2-visa (National Interest Waiver Visa) and obtain her green card after a 12 year immigration journey. Valeriana is a reputable international speaker, with a TEDx Talk titled Protect the Girl Child.
Jackie Vaughn attended Eastern Washington University where she received her B.A. in Race and Culture Studies. At EWU Jackie began her organizing with Moviemento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan (MEChA). Since college she has worked in non-profits for most of her career and witnessed how they exploit, underserve, and oppress communities who are most impacted. This is why she is committed to organizing with anti-racist principals that center the power of Black and Brown communities. She organizes with the Black Power Epicenter.
E.N. West, affectionately known as "E", proudly hails from the DC metropolitan area, by way of Alexandria, Virginia. They graduated from William & Mary with dual degrees in American Studies and Government. E deeply believes "we are uninhibited when we know our power" and is committed to co-creating a world where everyone intimately knows how powerful they are and directs that power toward collective liberation.
They come to Surge as a Community Impact Fellow with RVC. Other community involvement includes organizing and serving on the board of Got Green, a BIPOC-led environmental justice organization in South Seattle, and working as a Faith Land Organizer with The Church Council of Greater Seattle.
In their moments of play and rest, E enjoys reading social justice literature, listening to podcasts of all kinds (especially those featuring QTPOC) & being the queer jock of their own dreams (boxing, biking & training for a 10k).
Débora (she/they) comes to Surge Reproductive Justice via the RVC Fellowship. As the inaugural Resource Organizer she will be maintaining, building, and cultivating donor relationships, assisting in grant applications using community-centric fundraising principles.
In their daily liberation practice, their commitment is to be a weaver of resources and networks, learning along the way and in reciprocity with the abundance that is present within our communities.
Débora is originally from Brasil, but now calls North Seattle home. They are an anti-racist educator, artist, activist and capoerista, and friend to many!
Karla Erandy Gutierrez
leadership development organizer
Karla (she/her) is our Leadership Development Organizer. She is a recent bachelor's degree graduate from the University of Washington's Social Work program. However, she envisions a world where there are no schools for social work as there is no need for social workers. She re-joins us after serving as our BSW Practicum Student.
In her new role at Surge, she will continue learning to organize strategically, centering Black women, women of color, and queer & trans people of color, while supporting the leadership development of all community members entering into this organizing strategy. As a new organizer, she is committed to helping bring others into the movement with the same critical love she has been brought in with.
To decompress, Karla loves to dance, listen to podcasts, and write (to decipher thoughts and cope with her constant curiosity). Karla also really loves oatmeal and crunchy peanut butter.
Senait Brown is an anti-racist organizer, educator and curator of Black power and pleasure spaces who is active in the movement for Black liberation. She has served as director and co-chair of multiple organizations/collectives including, BlackOut Washington, (the group formerly known as) Youth Undoing Institutional Racism, Ending the Prison Industrial Complex and the No New Youth Jail Campaign.
Senait organizes nationally as a Core Trainer with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and works as a consultant with a focus on Black power movement building, transformative organizational development and combating systemic anti-Black racism. She also holds leadership positions with the People’s Youth Agenda, the Black Power Epicenter Cooperative and Nurturing Roots Farm.