Gina Acebo, Vice President of Programs

In her role as Vice President of Programs, Gina Acebo leverages over 25 years of experience as a movement organizer to strengthen Akonadi’s growth and serve as a partner and catalyst for the Foundation’s vision of supporting strategic movement building for racial justice in Oakland.  In addition to day-to-day program management and oversight of the Foundation’s grantmaking programs, she works closely with the President and staff to contribute her thought leadership to ensure a racial justice focus is integrated throughout all of the Foundation’s grantmaking and communications, as well as in our contributions made to the field of philanthropy at large.

 During Gina’s 10 year history at Applied Research Center (now Race Forward), she built and coordinated Facing Race, a national gathering of racial justice advocates in the U.S., which drew 1000+ leading activists, thinkers, writers, academics and artists to meet and explore innovative strategies for advancing racial equity. In addition to her network experience, her project work as a racial justice trainer and racial equity policy advocate helped to identify the critical constituencies innovating in the field and shaping culture through ideas and action.

As a third-generation Filipina born and raised in Oakland, Gina learned about migration, worker discrimination, and community resilience through family stories, photographs, and drawings. Moved by these narratives, she pursued her passion for justice by fulfilling different roles within the movement, which have spanned labor organizing, community organizing, public policy coordination, and network coordination with Services Employees International Union, Center for Third World Organizing and the Applied Research Center. Her extensive campaign background has enabled her to work collaboratively with communities of color to organize for fair housing policies, just community development, educational equity in California schools, community safety and police accountability in communities of color, and gender equity and reproductive justice at the local and state levels.

Gina sees her work at Akonadi Foundation as an opportunity to elevate the struggle for racial justice through artistic and cultural approaches—“Organizing is about shifting culture. It provides an opportunity to re-imagine the world with racial justice at its center.” Her own artistic practice uses readymade ephemera, storytelling, political analysis, and humor to spark public discourse among diverse audiences, and her work has appeared at Queens Nails Project, Forthrite Printing, and the Angel Island Immigration Station.

She holds a dual Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies and Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Fine Arts from the California College of the Arts. When she’s not busy in the streets or making art, she’s on a quest to roll the perfect lumpia and to keep up with her young daughter.

Gina can be reached at Gina [at] akonadi.org, 510-663-3867 x 302, and on twitter @bumpcitykid5