Meet the Commissioners
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Alex Becker works as a Community Organizer with Real Change, an economic justice organization and weekly newspaper sold by people who are low-income and homeless. Born and raised in the Chicago area, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The Evergreen State College and served two years as a national service volunteer through AmeriCorps and VISTA in Seattle, WA. Since 2005 he has worked and volunteered with various nonprofit and public service organizations in Washington that work on issues such as housing and homelessness policy, criminal justice reform, environmental health, racial and economic justice, and labor rights. He has also participated in student and human rights delegations to Mexico and Nicaragua. He is honored to join the Commission to help advance human rights in the City of Seattle.
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Sarah Bishop is a human rights advocate whose focus includes local, state and international human rights policy. Sarah became involved in human rights issues while a student at Oberlin College, where she graduated in 2007 with a B.A. in Political Science. She has served as a community organizer for OneAmerica, working with immigrants who experienced racial profiling on Washington's border with Canada, and engaging youth to speak with their elected representatives. Prior to OneAmerica, she spent two years in El Salvador coordinating human rights advocacy in response to increased violence toward local activists and community leaders. Currently, Sarah works at the Pipeline Project at the University of Washington. There, she brings her passion for education access and community partnerships to connect undergraduate students with service opportunities in Seattle schools. Sarah is delighted to promote equal opportunity and justice as part of the Seattle Human Right Commission.
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Lara Diaconu works as a consultant in the international economic development arena as Senior Associate for Organizational Development with Iris Group Inc., and also as sole proprietor of Salaga Partners, LLC, specializing in strategic planning, and organizational capacity development for market-sustained program design and implementation. Lara teaches as an adjunct for Seattle University's Masters of Non Profit Leadership program. Born and raised in King George VA and Columbus OH, she earned her BA in International Relations from Grinnell College and a combined MA/MBA from Yale University. She is currently pursuing a certificate in Rental Housing Development Finance. A fluent Spanish speaker, she lived for seven years in Nicaragua which she considers her second home. Lara serves on the SHRC's Political and Civil Rights Task Force, and is excited to be a part of such a dynamic Commission supporting such a diverse human rights agenda here at home in the City of Seattle.
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Alejandra Gonza directs the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Washington School of Law. Previously she served as a senior attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and as a staff attorney at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Gonza has also worked as a consultant to non-governmental human rights organizations based in Latin America and the United States. In 2012, she was appointed Commissioner of the Seattle Human Rights Commission. Gonza completed her legal studies at the National University of Tucumán (Argentina) and the University of Salamanca (Spain), and earned her master’s degree in human rights from Pontifical University of Salamanca (Spain).
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Edlira became interested in human rights during the Ethnic Albanian Genocide, while working as an interpreter for refugees from Kosovo. Her local involvement in human rights has been through both, direct service and policy work. Edlira currently works in Government & Community Relations at Vulcan Inc. Most recently, she worked at the Washington State Legislature, serving as staff in the State Senate and House of Representatives.
Prior to her work in government, Edlira spent nine years working with various local non-profits. While working as a Housing Counselor for Solid Ground, she developed an advocacy curriculum for formerly incarcerated adults to self-organize, in advocating for the Jobs Assistance Ordinance, addressing some of the barriers to employment rights for those with previous conviction and arrest records in the City of Seattle.
Edlira graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in International Studies and a minor in French. She also serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), for youth in foster care, with the King County Superior Court. Edlira looks forward to serving on the Commission, where she will focus primarily on addressing human rights violations in immigrant detention centers, youth violence prevention, forced labor and human trafficking, and incarceration rates in minority populations.
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Ken Nsimbi has over 15 years of experience working with youth and for the past 5 years has served as a coordinator of the New Horizons homeless youth drop-in center. Ken works and partners with homeless young men and women in their journey towards exiting street life. He helps mentor young men and women as they focus on their identity and leadership development through a positive youth development model. Ken has had many roles in the community as a youth advocate and forming partnerships with other community leaders.
Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. Ken’s experience as a man of color and first generation immigrant is his driving force to serving populations whose voices have been muted by society. Ken received his Bachelor of Science in Human Services at the University of Phoenix. He is excited and honored to serve on the Seattle Human Rights Commission Board.
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Julianna Tesfu works as a Program Coordinator with YouthCare's YouthBuild Program, a nationally recognized Pre-Apprenticeship opportunity that focuses on identity and leadership development for young adults. Prior to YouthBuild, Julianna served as a student ambassador for the Office of Minority of Affairs & Diversity; as well as a Community Outreach Counselor for the James W. Ray Orion Center.
Julianna's experience, as a woman of color and first-generation immigrant, fuels her commitment to service; her focus includes addressing the socioeconomic disparities experienced by communities of color and creating pathways for equity. Julianna is excited to serve on the Human Rights Commission and looks forward to creating opportunities for communities to stabilize themselves.
Julianna received her Bachelor of Science in Public Health at the University of Washington.