Meet Our New Staff!
The Gathering for Justice is SO pleased to share two exciting staff announcements!
luis hernandez, Youth Leadership + Engagement Coordinator
As many of you know, our youngest Justice League NYC member Luis Hernandez joined us in the summer of 2017 when he was just 15 years old. We met Luis while working on a rapid response campaign to free his brother Pedro from Rikers, where he had been wrongfully incarcerated for more than a year. Immediately Luis was impressive - even in such a wrought environment, sitting in a room with dozens of seasoned organizers and activists and elected officials, Luis expressed his pain, while understanding the systemic injustice that surrounded his brother's situation. 48 hours after we met Luis and his mother, Pedro was back home with them. Luis could have settled back into his life, and prepared to start his sophomore year of high school. But he joined Justice League NYC. And he became one of our leaders. His intelligence and compassion and enthusiasm and generosity of spirit brought us to hire him last year as our Justice League NYC coordinator when he was 16. And he did a remarkable job. At the same time, after last year's Parkland School massacre, Luis and his peers began organizing youth in the NYC area and co-founded and is now the Executive Director of Youth Over Guns, an extremely successful organization that led last summer's Anti-Gun March over the Brooklyn Bridge for NYC Anti Gun Violence Awareness Month and is the Youth branch of NYers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV).
Today (February 22) is Luis' 17th birthday. And we couldn't have chosen a more appropriate day to celebrate him and announce that we have promoted him to Youth Leadership + Engagement Coordinator!
Luis has always brought his full self - every idea and ounce of energy - to The Gathering for Justice and Justice League NYC. And while holding down a rigorous high school schedule, Luis is a Cause Ambassador with Boy Meets Girl USA, and is a valued member of Women's March 2019 Youth Empower Cohort. He emerged as a young leader fighting for his brother and continued as a champion for justice reform and gun violence prevention. We couldn't be more proud or excited to continue working with Luis and having him lead us into the future.
kristine arroyo - regional organizer
Kristine Arroyo has been in the Justice League NYC orbit since she participated as a youth leader in our first major convening, "Growing Up Locked Down" at The New School in 2014. Growing up in New York City, Kris lost a childhood friend to gun violence and made a commitment at a very young age to do something about it, becoming a leader in her high school's reACTION program. At 17, Kris was already making impact across the state, speaking in the State Capitol against the NRA, and was recognized for her passionate advocacy for gun violence victims, receiving honors from then Mayor Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz. While most recently serving as the Director of Community Outreach for NYers Against Gun Violence, Kris helped develop community-based curriculum and educated over 300 high school and middle school students each year. Her passion and dedication to serving youth led to her advising the fore-mentioned Youth Against Guns and bringing them into the NYAGV coalition. And we are so proud of all the work she has done leading youth, especially youth of color, and educating the masses about gun violence prevention.
Kris joined Justice League NYC in 2017 and immediately became an integral part of our organizing and our family, and an invaluable member of our Public Education, Direct Action and Fundraising committees. Kris' boundless energy and talent and her kind heart would be enough for us to want to hire her, but she has also proven herself a fierce organizer and a fearless one to boot. And that is everything we need and want in California and more!
Kris officially started as our (Southern California) Regional Organizer on February 4 and while she spends the next couple of months setting up her California office and making the full transition to the West Coast, she will oversee Justice League NYC and work with Luis on membership expansion.