Category Archives: workshop and/or event

Our Imagine Us 2017 Awardees

We’re proud to announce this year’s Imagine Us awardees! Each of them has fought for justice and strengthened their community in a powerful way,  and we’re proud to honor them.

Alejandra Peréz

Born and raised in Guatemala, Alejandra moved to the United States when she was twelve years old. She graduated from Cleveland High School earned her BA from the University of Washington Bothell, with 22 scholarships.

Alejandra’s passion for educational equity comes from her advocacy with and for undocumented students and their families in Washington State and around the nation. Alejandra has an extensive background in organizing for social justice, running large-scale events and conferences and providing professional development to educators.

Angie Tamayo

Angie Tamayo Montero is a Colombian womxn, and human rights activist. Currently, she is a research assistant at the Center of Human Rights at UW.

Her journey as a social justice advocate began in an organization called “Guagua”, which advocates for  human rights and supports victims of the political and social conflict in Colombia. She also worked with grassroot organizations to support youth from poor families that were at high risk of, or had already dropped out of, school, and youth that were part of gangs and vulnerable to being hired as hitmen. She is a member of Mecha de UW, a student-led organization that works actively within our Latinx and indigenous communities to promote higher education, leadership, and cultural empowerment.

Ardo Hersi

Ardo Hersi (R-Doe Her-See) is a 21 year old Somali American organizer, journalist  and activist. She’s a first generation college student at Seattle Central and plans to transfer to university and to study human rights, law and African studies. She’s a youth organizer with YUIR and EPIC, did work with KUOW’s Radioactive and is currently working with East African Community Services. She’s a lover of learning, food and music, but her passion lies with in serving her community.

Cheyenne Brashear

Rainier Scholar and Pitzer-bound high school senior Cheyenne Brashear is a youth mediator and circle keeper, working to implement the philosophy of restorative practices into spaces dedicated to healing from individual and systemic trauma.

She aims to redefine the role of a facilitator with the objective of creating a norm of empathy, understanding, and effective communication. Outside of her organizing work, she is a creative at her core; constantly writing and creating pieces that breathe life into the struggle.

Gabriella (Gabby) Ibanez-Dacruz

Gabby Ibanez-Dacruz is a self-identifying multiracial (Portuguese, Filipina, American) womxn who comes from an immigrant family.

Through her education at the UW Bothell and life experiences living in the PNW, she has dedicated herself to organizing communities around racial, gender, immigrant, and worker rights. Last summer Gabby embarked on Seattle2Selma, a civil rights pilgrimage to experience our country’s racial history and reflect upon its continued institutionalized racism. During this past election season, she fought for hotel worker’s rights. She is devoted to hearing different stories and learning storytelling in order to change the narrative of our country.

Jorge Cuellar

Jorge Cuellar is a queer undocumented Mexican immigrant. They have been part of and collaborated with organizations seeking to dismantle systems of oppression.

Jorge has been an active member of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztan (MEChA), a student led chicanx grassroots organization, which sparked the activist within them. As part of their advocacy agenda, Jorge deemed necessary to hold a space for queer people of color and founded a new student organization, Viva la Joteria (VJ). VJ will be hosting its first annual conference which will provide spaces for healing, education, empowerment and growth. As a non-DACA eligible undocumented student, Jorge has been advocating and demanding resources for ALL undocumented people.

Larissa Reza Garcia

Larissa Reza Garcia is from Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. She graduated from Chief Sealth International High School, and went on to earn her degree from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Larissa currently serves as a College and Career Access Specialist at Tyee Educational Complex.  Larissa’s speciality is working with underrepresented immigrant youth and families as a bridge to connect them to opportunities within the education and reengagement system.  Larissa has a passion for decolonizing education through the power of young people and is committed to immigration rights, and helping other undocumented students obtain the resources necessary to achieve higher education.

21 Progress Social Justice Art Gallery and Lending Library Grand Opening

{Social justice art gallery}

The 21 Progress Social Justice Art Gallery and art ending library opened to a wonderful crowd on July 21. In partnership with the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, the gallery features artworks that spark conversation around social justice issues. Read the feature in the International Examiner for more.

Thank you to everyone who made this night a smash success!

{art gallery crowd}






Seven Leaders for Equity and Justice – Imagine Us

{Imagine Us Awardee}

“For the Imagine Us Award winners, we asked for nominations in the community of young equity and justice leaders between the ages of 15 and 35 years old who had performed acts of leadership that led to direct benefits for individuals and communities. We received 27 nominations for 16 candidates. Even though it was our first year, we received outstanding nominations of leadership from the sectors of education, environmental justice, labor and worker rights, housing access, and immigrant reform. These leaders were all “everyday leaders” making impact from direct access for individuals to statewide policy. From the list of 16, the selection committee narrowed the list to 7 winners, representing a tapestry of leadership across our communities.” -Imagine Us Awards chair, Susie Wu

The awardees:

{Ariana}Ariana Davis – It’s difficult to imagine that someone as young as Ariana Davis has accomplished so much in such a short period of time. This young labor activist’s vision is to build a powerful member-based union. As a mere 26 years old, Ariana is the youngest female executive board member serving United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21. Ariana has worked at Safeway since she was 16 years old, and is a dynamic leader and spokesperson for workers rights. On the ground, Ariana signed up over 400 members to Local 21’s active ballot club and gathered thousands of signatures for initiative 1433. She has organized grocery workers at Safeway and Albertson’s in Oregon, and worked on paid sick leave and minimum wage campaigns in Bellingham and Tacoma. As if that weren’t enough, Ariana has trained union members how to tell their stories to elected officials and the public, and run community forums, informational pickets, and rallies. She is also currently going through her first bargaining session as a lead spokesperson.

{Edi}Edi Flores – Edi Flores is a young man who is passionate about serving the Latino community. He has 14 years of direct social service experience at Lifewire, Bellevue LifeSpring, and currently,  Jubilee REACH, a Christian-based nonprofit partnering with Bellevue School District. Edi works tirelessly as a bilingual domestic violence child and youth advocate. Edi joined 21 Progress after learning that one of his families needed support with their DACA application. Rather than passing along information, Edi attended the Success After DACA program to educate himself and has now taken the lead at 21 Progress in reaching out to as many families as he can. His positive energy and willingness to help others are contagious, and he talks openly about his own life and the barriers he’s had to overcome, in order to encourage others not to be afraid to claim their rights. In his own words, Edi states, “As a DACA-mented young adult I have learn to be bold. I have to serve as a role model, sharing my personal experience with other undocumented students who find themselves in a similar situation. My hope is for 1079 students to continue leading with courage.”

{Amy}Amy Kele – Amy Kele inspires us because of her spirit of leadership and perseverance at such a young age and with such responsibilities. She was born in the Fiji Islands and moved to Washington State when she was four years old. Amy grew up in a mixed-immigration-status family,  within a community where opportunity was scarce, and gang violence was right outside her door. Separated from her parents for over seven years, Amy helped raise her three younger siblings and supported her elderly grandmother. Amy overcame great odds and at 19 years old, Amy currently attends the University of Washington, Bothell, being the first in her family to attend college. She is seeking an undergraduate degree in Biology and is a student advisor for incoming freshman and active member of a social justice student group.

This past year, Amy went on a 100 Women 100 Miles Pilgrimage to raise awareness for immigration reform. Upon returning,  Amy has organized one-mile marches around the Everett community to keep the discussion of reform alive. Like Edi,  Amy has taken that great leap of courage to share her own personal experiences to encourage others like her to access support in the DACA application process. Her ongoing and consistent work and dedication and commitment to her community is what inspired this award.

{Samantha}Samantha Keller – One of the descriptions that stood out to us on the Awards Committee was this statement about Samantha from her nominator: “Sam is an amazing leader – the kind of leader that does an incredible amount of work, but so rarely gets publicly recognized for all she has done to support workers and people of color.” As the program director at the Fair Work Center, Sam coordinates the Fair Work Collaborative, which conducts outreach and education on labor standards in Seattle. She is a strong community organizer who built intentional relationships with South Park and Georgetown residents in a study on of diesel exhaust pollution. Because these residents had previously experienced shoddy processes and reporting from other research agencies, Sam persisted in centering this study on the their needs and concerns. Her work resulted in a successful collaboration between citizens and researchers. Sam’s colleague at Puget Sound Sage describes Sam as a young leader who “is not afraid to challenge and speak up when inequity has been missed and is also able to hear and dialogue with differing opinions.” According to her colleague, it is Sam’s humbleness and humor which allow her to keep her activism fresh and energized.

{Saraswati}Saraswati Noel – Saraswati Noel is a math teacher at Seattle World School, which is a 100% ELL school for newly arrived immigrants, and which annually graduates students who have been in the country less than 3 years. Her nominator writes, “Saraswati is innovative with her curriculum, because she takes a subject matter that is oftentimes not seen as applicable to real life, let alone social justice and racial justice, and shows them how to apply mathematics in these contexts.” For example, after Seattle World School had been passed over repeatedly by the school district for a new building, Saraswati showed her students how math can be used to advance social justice in their lives. Under her guidance,  students designed math problems to investigate and show the added amount of travel time an average Seattle World Student took to get to their school. The students then presented these findings to the district.  As a result of their efforts, Seattle World School will now be moving into a building specially tailored to their needs. Her principal credits Saraswati with the growing leadership developing among her students: “Our ASB presidents who are Winners for Life winners both noted Ms. Noel as the one teacher influential to them.”

{Carlos}Carlos Willcuts – Carlos Willcuts is one of the Area Directors for Jubilee REACH in Bellevue, and in this role has touched countless lives of the students and families at the schools in which he has worked. Carlos’ 12 nominations nearly overwhelmed the Awards Committee.  Rather than summarize his contributions, it is more powerful for me to quote an excerpt from one of his nominators who spoke so deeply about Carlos’ impact on his life: “The thing that has inspired me to nominate Carlos for this award is the way he does things for others. His devotion for the greater good of others is what has gotten him so loved by everyone. When I was in Middle School and just got to this country,  about 6 years ago I really struggled with self-esteem and tried to fit in with a crowd of kids to not feel lonely.  And because I wanted to fit in with them I ended up misbehaving in school. This cycle continued and I kept feeling lonelier and not comfortable. It was because I didn’t have that role model to seek help with these problems. I felt desperate so I stayed in silence and I could not voice out my concerns to anybody. When Carlos showed up because of his constant pursuit, I was able to trust in him and tell him what I was going through. He helped me realize that being myself and being happy are more important than trying to impress or belong to a group of people.” This story is just one example of the first of many and different stories and impacts that Carlos has done in this community.

Brady Huang
– Brady is the inaugural Maeda Award winner. He is a social justice activist focused on genderism, racism and accessibility issues, an artist studying ethical leadership, and a peacemaker. Brady, a scholarship recipient at the Bush School, has led efforts to make the school more accessible for all. While on tour of a historic neighborhood in Washington DC, he saw gentrification and displacement of a century-old African American community. He brought that learning back and was co-instructor of a leadership workshop, “What’s Good in the Hood? Understanding the Roots of Gentrification in Seattle and Beyond.” Brady received a $500 monetary award to use towards any of his many projects.

Congratulations to all our Imagine Us awardees!

Imagine Us 2016, A Celebration of Young Leaders

{Imagine Us}

On Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 200 individuals committed to justice and leadership met at Mount Baker Community Club in Seattle to celebrate emergent leaders working toward equity and justice in the Seattle-Puget Sound area.

{Imagine Us Audience}The event was hosted by Joaquin Uy. He is the Ethnic Media and Communications Specialist for the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, and also serves as a campaigns advisor for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of Bayan, a global grassroots Filipino American coalition.

{Joaquin Uy}The guests enjoyed several performances from local artists. The event opened with the original song “Take My Hand” written by Chloe Copoloff and performed by Gigi Huang, Kira Baker, Shreyas Raman, and Tye Ellis. Other performances punctuating the events of the evening included Mexican folk dancing by Luis Garcia and Breanna Hernández of Bailadores de Bronce, B-Girl Anna Banana Freeze from the Massive Monkees, and West African Drumming by Afua Kouyaté and Aboubacar “Boka” Kouyaté.

{Mexican Folk Dancers}

{African Drum Performance}Keeping with the spirit of celebrating the Seattle social justice community as family, dinner was served family-style with food prepared by our latino community and family members, Bangkok Basil, Thai Curry Simple, and Kusina Filipina.

{Setting Food on Table}We presented seven awards, including the inaugural Maeda Award, named in honor of Sharon Maeda, community activist and 21 Progress’ first executive director. Our 2016 awardees are Ariana Davis, worker’s rights advocate; Edi Flores, youth advocate; Amy Kele, student advocate; Sam Keller, worker’s advocate; Carlos Willcuts, youth and family advocate, and our Maeda Award winner Brady Huang, peace activist. To learn more about all these phenomenal leaders, please read this post.

{Brady Huang}The event was made possible by the support of many members of the community, including the following sponsors:

Community Builders:
Ellen Ferguson

Burien Dental
Slevin & Hart, P.C.
UFCW 21 – the founders of 21 Progress

Cheiron Inc.
EJK Accounting
Sunrise Dental
Union Bank
Washington State Labor Council

Puget Sound Sage
Woodburn Company
Anne Stadler
Josephine T. Murray

To join us for this year’s Imagine Us! on April 13,  2017, purchase tickets here: 

For more personal stories and to hear how 21 Progress’ programs develop skills in leaders, watch the following video featured at Imagine Us.

You’re invited to Imagine Us: Celebrating Bold and Visionary Leadership

21 Progress would like to announce our next event,  Imagine Us!

At 6pm on April 27, 2016, 21 Progress will host Imagine Us: Celebrating Bold and Visionary Leadership benefit dinner.  Tickets are now available.

This is a night to examine what leadership looks like when we redefine, reclaim, and ignite it for justice.

Imagine Us: Celebrating Bold and Visionary Leadership, is a multicultural award ceremony and dinner dedicated to awarding emerging leaders between the ages of 15-35 committed to equity and justice in the Seattle and Puget Sound region.  Join us for a night of celebration as we work together to strengthen the capacity of cultivating multicultural, bold, and visionary leaders.

The event is an opportunity for 250 members of the 21 Progress community to come together and honor emerging and bold leadership, celebrate stories, inspire and be inspired as we engage and envision.

General tickets are available now at an early bird price and will increase on March 1st.

Host tickets are available as an opportunity for you to provide free to low-cost tickets to the high school and college students we work with every day fighting for immigrant rights and economic justice, and offer high-quality experience for everyone who attends Imagine Us (plus you get a mystery thank you gift).

Order your tickets now.

Hope to see you there,

For questions or to help with sponsorship, raffle prizes, please contact us at

We welcome volunteers for Imagine Us! Please complete an interest form here.

NEW WORKSHOP! Tales of a Young Worker

Young Leaders Rise Up, a program of 21 Progress, will be hosting the Tales of a Young Worker storytelling workshop!

Tales of a Young Worker is a hands-on 1 hour interactive workshop that uses storytelling to teach labor laws. You will have an opportunity to learn about labor standards in Seattle, as well as share your experiences as a worker or as someone affected by unjust working conditions. You will leave with a better understanding of what a fair workplace should look like and practice sharing your experiences when rights are being violated. Light refreshments will be provided.

WHEN: Saturday, December 12, 2015 from 10:30am-11:30am
WHERE: 409 Maynard Ave S, Suite 202
Seattle, WA 98104
(entrance on Maynard Ave S)
Please invite your friends, family, or co-workers!

We hope you can make it! Space is LIMITED, email Francesca at to RSVP or if you have any questions.

Legacy of Leadership – May 13th



You are invited!

Register Today

The Legacy of Leadership: Honoring Sharon Maeda will be on May 13th, 2015 at 6pm at the Wing Luke Museum of the Pacific Asian American Experience. At the event, guests will experience complimentary drinks and appetizers. Sponsors will be acknowledged in the program, on the 21 progress website, and in guest communication leading up to the event. The night will celebrate Sharon Maeda who has been a social justice and equity leader for 47 years. Proceeds will benefit the renovation of the 21 Progress office and their mission to develop leaders.

Sharon’s worked for 47 years in Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC as well as here in the Puget Sound area as a teacher, trainer and mentor; manager and grantmaker; broadcaster and advocate for justice.

Most recently, she has been on the forefront of immigrant justice and leadership development as the founding executive director of 21 Progress.

Ticket prices increase on May 1st. Purchase your tickets today.

Join us as a sponsor: Become a sponsor

Volunteer for the event: volunteer form




21 Progress will be holding a Build Your Dream workshop on Saturday, December 6th: 9:30am – 12:30pm. You will be able to sign up for our Build Your Dream loan, learn how to take control of your money in our Financial Literacy workshop and find out what other workshops and services 21 Progress provides.

Participants are expected to attend the entire workshop. If you have a time conflict please contact us to make arrangements at 206-829-8482 or send an email to

We will be providing light snacks.

One-on-One Meeting Time – Aug. 6th

Tuesday August 6, 2013 – Tuesday August 6, 2013

5030 First Avenue South

View MapMap and Directions | Register

Drop by our office to get personalized attention with your projects or goals. This can range from anything from help to find a job to talking about ways to manage stress. Let us know what would be helpful for you and we will try to give you individual attention around those needs and follow up with helpful resources.