URGE Continues Exciting Growth, Adds Ten New StaffNew staff will bolster URGE’s innovative work building a movement for Reproductive Justice run by and for young people
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, the only national Reproductive Justice organization that centers the voices and leadership of young people, is excited to welcome ten new staff to manage and support our programs that build #YoungPeoplePower in the South, Midwest, and California.
URGE is a state-driven national organization building a young people’s movement for Reproductive Justice by providing infrastructure for young advocates to lead their own movement on their own terms. URGE organizes our communities in Alabama, California, Georgia, Kansas, Ohio, and Texas, provides a political home for young people, advocates for meaningful policy change, and shifts culture.
“URGE centers the leadership of young queer, trans, and BIPOC folks—and we work to build a team that reflects and represents our communities,” said Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director. “We are excited to bring in so many emerging leaders with deep experience in organizing, communications, policy, and administration nationally and in our investment states.”
The new staff will be contributing to URGE’s current initiatives that include:
- teaching young people about Reproductive Justice and how to organize in their communities;
- supporting young people in Texas affected by SB 8;
- building young-people run and centered voter engagement programs;
- advocating for policies that invest in our communities and divest from white supremacy and policing;
- advancing “Abortion Positive” culture-changing language; and
- pushing back against state legislative attacks on trans young people.
Below are detailed biographies for the new staff joining the URGE team:
Hope Jackson (she/her), Deputy Director of Programs and Policy
An unapologetic Black queer organizer, Hope brings more than a decade of experience as an LGBTQ+ advocate, electoral strategist, and state legislative policy nerd to her work.
Hope has a demonstrated commitment to fighting for the liberation and justice of historically excluded people. She is honored to continue that work at URGE by ensuring that young people, especially those in the margins, not only see themselves in the fight but that their voices are centered in the journey to reproductive justice and gender equity.
Prior to joining URGE, Hope served as Deputy National Campaign Director at The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, where she managed the long-term strategic planning and implementation of winning state legislative and electoral campaigns across the country, and strengthened intersectional coalition building and partnership work.
A member of the Georgia Bar, Hope is a proud graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law (Go Razorbacks!) and Albany State University. Outside of the office, you’re likely to find Hope celebrating taco Tuesday (no matter the day of the week) or curled up with a good book. She’s a strong believer in the power of coffee, loves a great meme, meditation, and color-coding documents.
Desireé S. Luckey, Esq. (she/her), Director of Policy
Desireé Luckey, a current Texan, was previously Senior Policy Counsel for Democracy at The National LGBTQ Task Force and a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow at the National Women’s Law Center, where she worked on health equity issues. Desireé is also a Co-Founder and Principal at The ACD Strategy Group, a progressive political consulting and DEI firm. Prior to law school, she worked on political campaigns and for a San Antonio City Councilmember. As a Midwesterner, her commitment to reproductive justice stems from her own experiences growing up in downstate Illinois and she is thrilled to work with young people from communities like her own. She is a proud graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Howard University and is a member of the Maryland Bar. Outside of her work as an attorney, Desireé serves on several boards and commissions, including the Mayor’s Advisory Committee to the Office of LGBTQ Affairs and the Maryland State Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She is also collaborating to create Bigger Than My Body, a collective of women of color sharing experiences about disordered eating. Desireé also enthusiastically reviews craft beers, reads voraciously, and travels as much as possible.
Kwentoria Williams (she/her), Senior Communications Director
Kwentoria A. Williams is a passionate advocate for reproductive justice and family planning, equitable and affordable accessibility of health care, social justice, and gender equity. A native of the Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas, Texas, she has long been led by a desire to serve communities of people who look like her and come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. Kwentoria holds a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Studies with concentrations in Public Health and Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas as well as a Master of Healthcare Administration degree from Texas Woman’s University. During her academic career, Kwentoria conducted and presented research across the country on social determinants of health, cultural competency, community health, HIV, breast cancer, and unethical health practices.
Most recently, Kwentoria worked as the Communications Director and Healthcare Liaison for U.S. Representative Al Green. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Board Member for Every Body Texas, United State of Women (USOW) Ambassador, Alumni Advisory Board Member for the Terry Foundation, and a 2021 alumna of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. In 2019 and 2020, Kwentoria was a fellow in the sole cohort of the Movement Mujeres fellowship program, launched by former Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis and organizer Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez. Kwentoria considers herself a history buff and enjoys trying new restaurants and learning about different cultures. Her most valuable asset in life is her framily (friends + family).
Toni Watkins (she/her), Voter Engagement Director
Toni is an accomplished author, producer, political consultant, and organizer. Working in political campaigns since the age of 5, Toni Watkins brings a wealth of experience in community organizing, fundraising, and field management expertise to the Reproductive Justice Community. Toni has run and managed state, federal, and local campaigns field operations all across the country and in fields ranging from local council races to United States Congressional races, and organized around Prison Reentry Reform, Environmental Justice, and Reproductive Justice. Most recently, Toni has served as Deputy Organizing Director for The New Georgia Project where she led the Organizing efforts across the State of Georgia during the 2020 election cycle.
Cindy Cruz (she/her/ella), Western States Program Director
Cindy Cruz is a passionate advocate for reproductive justice, racial justice, and LGBTQ rights. Prior to joining URGE, she served as Director of Education for Planned Parenthood California Central Coast where she oversaw the delivery, implementation and evaluation of the organization’s sex-education programming and worked closely with colleagues and community partners to lobby and inform policy that supports access to comprehensive sex education and health care services. While in graduate school, Cindy worked as a peer mentor for CAMINO, a grant program focused on providing pathways to health careers for first generation, low–income and Hispanic students. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ) and Just Communities Central Coast. Cindy is a Certified Health Education Specialist and received a BS in Public Health Education, and a Master of Public Health from California State University, Northridge.
K Agbebiyi (they/them), Georgia Movement Building & Policy Director
K, or Toyin, Agbebiyi is a Black, nonbinary femme lesbian based in Atlanta. They earned their BS in Human Services from Kennesaw State University in 2017, and their Masters of Social Work with a Concentration in Social Policy and Evaluation from the University of Michigan in 2018. While in graduate school, K was honored with the Rackham Scholar Activist Award.
The majority of K’s work revolves around political education, writing, and organizing strategy in regards to ending the prison industrial complex. In their past 7 years of organizing in Georgia, Michigan, and Brooklyn, they have given countless lectures at places such as Yale, Columbia, and Harvard, and have had their writing featured in Rewire News and MomaPS1. They have been profiled in BITCH Magazine along with Glamour Magazine, and they are a co-creator of the viral 8toabolition.com. They are currently working on a book about prison abolition for University of California Press. K is most excited to create policy strategy that understands the connection between reproductive justice, and ending the prison industrial complex. When not working, K spends their time organizing with #FreeAshleyNow, exploring Atlanta’s parks, reading all of the books, and hanging out with their dog named Shallot.
Kristie Williams (she/her), Staff Accountant
Kristie Williams is a native of New Orleans, LA and a current resident of Texas. She is an experienced administrative and financial professional with an education background in liberal arts and accounting. Prior to joining URGE, she’s worked as Office Manager at New Orleans Abortion Fund providing abortion access for over 1,000 Louisiana residents. Kristie is committed to work that aligns with her own personal values and morals. She comes to URGE dedicated to creating a more equitable society. Outside of work, Kristie spends her time raising her daughter and spending as much time as possible with family and friends.
Nico Pang (they/them), Training & Curriculum Development Manager
Nico Pang is a facilitator, writer, and youth worker who is passionate about reproductive justice and cultivating spaces where young people, especially trans/nonbinary youth of color, can lead and thrive. While at Tufts University, Nico got their start organizing in Boston’s Chinatown, working with high school students on housing campaigns and coaching youth poetry slam teams.
Prior to URGE, Nico coordinated leadership programs and social support spaces at BAGLY (Boston Alliance of GLBTQ+ Youth). Most recently, Nico developed trainings and facilitated equity programming for staff at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. Outside of work, Nico is a poet and playwright who writes on ancestry, queerness, belonging, and family. Nico loves cooking with their loved ones, reading queer fiction, and being by the water.
Deyanira Ibarra (she/they), Program Administration Coordinator
Both analytical and creative, Deyanira Sencion Ibarra joins URGE committed to taking direct action towards a liberated world by advocating for Reproductive Justice. Deyanira earned degrees from Wellesley College and the University of Southern California in Women’s and Gender Studies and Narrative Medicine respectively. During this time Deyanira worked on projects including: writing a guidebook for becoming a sanctuary hospital, collaborating with youth of color to host pop-up clinics. Being formally introduced to interlocking forms of oppressions in Black feminist literature was instrumental in understanding individual experiences as part of larger schemes in society, particularly those that intersect with reproductive health. Deyanira’s family and personal history serves as a launching point for political engagement and education. They bring experience as a youth organizer and strongly believes in the capacity of trans and gender diverse youth of color to enact a more just society. Outside of URGE, Deyanira enjoys writing poetry, days at the beach, and cooking for friends.
Kat Yang (they/them), Field Fellow
Kat Yang is a recent graduate of the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, earning a Master’s of Public Health in May 2021. They are passionate about sexual health, reproductive health, and queer health. They have previously worked as an intern for the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential, where they facilitated webinars on LGBTQ+ topics and sexual health. In their free time, Kat likes to pet cats, play video games, and watch YouTube.