Here is a space to honor the artist and inventors who have given of their craft to help promote Teachers 4 Social Justice and support our work.
Isabella Bonini is a San Luis Obispo high school student in her junior year. She’s a rising artist who loves to paint, draw, and work with ceramics. She attempts to use her art as a tool to raise awareness for social issues. She is also a part of True Leaders in Equity, working towards creating equity across California. She created the background art for our online conference in 2020.
Melanie Cervantes is a 31-year old Xicana artist-activist from Los Angeles that is now based in Oakland, California. Cervantes views her art practice as a part of a growing movement for global social justice producing her work in various mediums including pen and ink, acrylic, screenprinting, and paper stencils. Employing vibrant colors and hand drawn illustrations her work moves those viewed as marginal to the center and features subjects such as empowered youth, elders, women, queers, indigenous people and communities of color. Cervantes often works in collaboration with grassroots organizations creating prints that address issues such as immigration, racism, indigenous autonomy and self-determination, revolutionary feminism, LGBTQ rights, the prison industrial complex and prints that call for international solidarity. As a member of the Taller Tupac Amaru she works to foster a resurgence in the screenprinted political poster. Following the tradition of such artists as the Taller Grafica Popular, the Organization of Solidarity of the People of Asia, Africa & Latin America (OSPAAL),Emory Douglas, Juana Alicia, Malaquias Montoya, Las Mujeres Muralistas, Judy Baza and Juan R. Fuentes –Cervantes has made a life long commitment to being an artist for the people.
Miriam Flores is a first-generation Latina college student attending the University of Utah pursuing a degree in Social Work. At an early age, Miriam was attracted to art due to inspiration from her uncle’s work. Her art explores contemporary issues in Utah and shows an ongoing effort to explore and imagine art that encompasses social justice. She portrays black and brown bodies and oppressed communities by centering them through different mediums of art, photography and/or graphic .design.Miriam states, “I have learned to not be ashamed in my lack of understanding of something or concepts being discussed within social justice. I have found that by asking questions and being outspoken about my desire to learn, I have been better able to articulate through my artwork. Art has allowed me to further explore what it means to be Latinx and be involved in marginalized communities.” The graphic, “Resister Es Sobrevivir” came about through the original focus for a statewide high school conference with the observation that media lacked womxn representation. The theme of resistance and indigenous roots was incorporated to the piece by the clothing, hair and fist in the air. The element of butterflies was included in effort to express migration and other political associations prevalent today such as DREAMERs.
Vanessa “Agana” Espinoza, is a Venezuelan aerosol artist and a digital audiovisual specialist with a background in jewelry metal arts. Known as DJ AGANA is the loose translation of con ganas— which means ones motivation, drive, desire and ambition to hungrily accomplish any task. For more than a decade she has exercised her knowledge of digital media and creative arts with young Bay Area artists encouraging them to tell their own unique stories through mural painting, film and animation. Her goal is to reach endless audiences with visual landscapes that cultivate art for thought and action while bringing visibility to current issues and topics that tell untold stories from a female perspective of resilience.
Jose Ruiz was born in Granada, Nicaragua and immigrated to the US when he was 8 month old. He grew up in San Francisco’s Mission district with strict Nicoya parents. “I love San Francisco and its latino community with all my heart.” He graduated from San Jose State University in Graphic Design and has come to fall in love with all things calligraphy, lettering and typography. In his spare time, he goes to the art store for hours looking for great paper that will compliment that new pen and ink he got. He has a passion for helping people, and is always trying to keep a positive outlook. “I someday wish to merge my love for letterforms with my love to help people, and have the ability to make Bay Area rent.” To learn more about Jose Ruiz and his work visit joseruizdesigns.com.
Richard Cheung is an illustrator based in the Bay Area. In his free time, he volunteers at a farm, drinks copious amounts of coffee, and visits bookstores. He aspires to one day plant at least a thousand sequoias. On education, he agrees with what the poet Wendell Berry says in that “A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first.” Richard created T4SJ’s art designs for the 14th Annual Conference. Richard’s illustration work may be viewed at xenaloom.tumblr.com.
Fernando Martí is an artist, community architect, and activist. He was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and has made his home in San Francisco since 1992. He has been deeply involved in organizing, policy, and cultural production in San Francisco’s Mission District. Fernando also creates art through the JustSeeds Artists Cooperative (www.justseeds.org). “My intent as a printmaker, installation artist and altar-maker is to explore the clash of the Third World in the heart of Empire, and the tension between inhabiting place and the urge to build something transformative.” Fernando has produced two distinct and memorable designs and art for T4SJ. You can check out more of his work at http://www.justseeds.org/artists/fernando_marti/
Eric Rewitzer was born and raised on the industrial shores of Lake Michigan. He studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and moved to the west coast in 1987. Eric finds constant inspiration in the scale and diversity of the the California culture and landscape. He can not stop looking at the city he calls home, San Francisco. He finds it to be an amazing mix of natural beauty, urban grit, and human diversity. He is a founding artist of 3 Fish Studios, in SF. http://www.3fishstudios.com/ Eric lead and support T4SJ members in creating our 10th Anniversary Poster and Images. Ultimately leading to one of our most used and memorable logo designs.
David Sanchez is a classically trained printmaker who brings his 20+ years of experience screenprinting. David’s interest in screenprinting first began in his hometown state of Guanajuato, Mexico. He also worked for Walden Graphics assisting maestro Chuy Campusano (RIP) on printing anti-alcohol and drug abuse posters and t-shirts. He has been in the screenprinting industry since 1992, working at various Bay Area shops. David has been a community advocate/artist and has help with the printing and design for T4SJ T-Shirts. He is now an independent printer although he still finds time to pursue his art in his spare time. You can now find him at Native Hand Screen-Printing in SF, 1500
Bruce Wolfe, MSW is the Chief Information & Technology Officer, for Alcohol Justice, where he coordinates all administrative and internet technology and oversees the organization’s networking, IT support, security, and web application services. Bruce holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Social Development and Life Coaching from San Francisco State University. He helped T4SJ update rebuild its database and web interface.
Amber Lancaster has been teaching high school biology in the San Francisco Unified School District for over 10 years. Amber helped modernize and update T4SJ’s original website to its current design, which we all deeply enjoy and rely on.
Jeremiah Jeffries, is one the main coordinators for Teachers 4 Social Justice, he is an education activist focused on changing education policy to better serve public school children. He has been teaching for 17+ years and currently teaches 1st grade at Redding Elementary. He facilitates professional development, trainings and workshops on school climate, student discipline , classroom management, restorative culture and parenting for success in school, throughout the bay area. He dabbles in art and worked with designer/artist/teacher Bich Nguyen to design the official T4SJ logo.
Bich Nguyen is an educator and artist. She has been an elementary educator for 7+ years. She has been a member of Teachers 4 Social justice since 2004 and has contributed to our logo designs since 2001. She has also lead multiple study groups for beginning teachers.
Hank Machtay is a teacher at Galileo Academy. He has been teaching for 11+ years. He was T4SJ’s initial web-designer and tech person who set up our first website and helped us begin to create our digital presence as an organization before that was a popular thing to do.