In her role as Vice President of Programs, Gina Acebo leverages her more than 25 years of experience as a movement organizer to strengthen Akonadi’s growth and to 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 ensure that a racial justice focus permeates all of the Foundation’s grantmaking and communications, as well as Akonadi’s contributions to the field of philanthropy at large.
During Gina’s 10 years at the Applied Research Center (now Race Forward), she built and coordinated Facing Race, a national gathering of racial justice advocates in the U.S. that regularly draws 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 critical constituencies adopting innovative approaches and shaping culture through ideas and action.
Born and raised in Oakland as a third-generation Filipina, 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 through different roles within the movement, among them labor organizing, community organizing, public policy coordination, and network coordination with the Service Employees International Union, the Center for Third World Organizing, and the Applied Research Center. Her extensive campaign background enables Gina 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. 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, Gina is 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