Who We Are

Organization Staff

 

Cameron Whitten Photo courtesy of Mark Colman: http://markcolemanphoto.com/index.php

Cameron Whitten 
Executive Director
cameron@knowyourcity.org
Cameron is a writer, civic entrepreneur, and an economics student at Portland State University. He has been engaged with nonprofit, civic and political causes in Portland for his entire adult life. His passion of advocating for human rights and marginalized communities was catalyzed in 2011, the year the Occupy Movement was born. Cameron currently serves as a member of the City Club of Portland’s Advocacy and Awareness Board, the Portland Bureau of Transportation Budget Advisory Committee, the Multnomah County Oregon Historical Society Levy Oversight Committee, and the Board of Trustees for Pioneer Square. Cameron’s biggest pride is that he’s a first-time uncle to year-old Dominick Daniel Whitten.

 

Mel_KYC_FinalMelissa Lang
Programs Coordinator
melissa@knowyourcity.org
Melissa is a historian who is inspired by the words of James A. Balwin, who said, “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.” She seeks to interrupt traditional, narrow narratives of American and Oregon history. Her passion for history is rooted around the kitchen table, where her mother and father sparked lively debates about American history and encouraged her to always question the status quo. She moved to Portland in 2009, and has worked with the Oregon Historical Society, Kick Ass Oregon History, and Oregon Humanities. She’s currently the Oregon Women’s History Consortium Fellow and Secretary of the Executive Committee of the NAACP Portland Branch 1120B (are YOU a member??). She’s currently finishing her Masters thesis, which examines the role of women in Portland’s Civil Rights Movement using the Verdell Burdine and Otto G. Rutherford Family Collection at Portland State University Archives. Through dioramas, stage sets, and stop-motion animation, she explores the ways in which art, history, and social justice can cultivate a greater perspective on our contemporary lives.

Headshot3 (1)Lydia Grijalva
Programs Coordinator
lydia@knowyourcity.org
Lydia has been involved in education and nonprofit work over the last 14 years, and has been exploring her passion for independent publishing for the past three years. Since moving to Portland in 2013, she’s been involved in alternative education programs through Community Supported Everything, and in resource networking and community resilience building through the Alberta Free Hutch. Her background blends together a variety of disciplines: from theatre, photography, and creative writing, to environmental science, political science, and child development science. Growing up poor, Latina, and with a chronic illness, she’s had a lifelong motivation to contribute to a variety of social justice efforts. No matter what projects she’s involved in, she works to increase accessibility for historically marginalized people. She enjoys spending free time with her cat, dog, and partner. Her two favorite celebrities that she’s hugged are Ellen Degeneres and Jeff Bridges. However, if she could hug any celebrity, it would be Selena Quintanilla.

Stan Fonesca

Stan Fonesca
Tour Guide

Stan Fonseca has lived in Portland for 4 years while studying history at Lewis & Clark College. He specializes in researching Portland’s African American social history, and has written for the Oregon Encyclopedia on the topic. In addition to his work as a historian, Stan is an avid jazz trumpeter and can often be found at Jimmy Mak’s jazz club.

 

Board of Directors

 

Ashe Urban, Board President

Fatmah Worfeley, Board Secretary

b4e9b844-f7d6-4f55-adfa-b1d1d2177ec1Luis Torres (Treasurer) grew up in Spain and Mexico, bringing a global view to our local community.  While in Mexico, Luis received a bachelor’s in economics from Universidad de Veracruzana and a bachelor’s of arts in International Trade from the Polytechnic National Institute.  Luis immigrated to the United States in 1996 to learn English at Lower Columbia College. Currently, Luis leads his own business management company translating strategies into profitable results for organizations throughout the Northwest. Married to his husband in May of 2014, Luis’ family resides in the Mill Park neighborhood of Southeast Portland. Luis’ passion for Know Your City can be found in the organization’s programs focused on social justice and uplifting voices.

 

simonnSimon Tam (Board Member) is an award-winning musician, best-selling author, entrepreneur, and social justice activist. He is best known as the founder and bassist of The Slants, the world’s first and only all-Asian American dance rock band. His approach to activism through the arts has been highlighted in thousands of media features across 82 countries, including: BBC World News, NPR, TIME Magazine, MTV, CBS, and the Wall Street Journal. Since 2000, he has been a performer, presenter, and keynote at events and organizations such as TEDx, SXSW, Comic-Con, The Department of Defense, Stanford University, Rotary International, and over 1,200 others across North America, Europe, and Asia. Simon currently serves as the Marketing Director for Oregon Environmental Council.

 

 

 

 

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board consists of individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to the mission and work of KYC. They are a resource to advance our role in the community, staying informed on KYC’s efforts and putting their good names to our work.

Kristen Willie Connor
Cobi Lewis
Tom Potter
Ben Duncan
Victoria Lara
Suzanne Davina
Rekah Strong
Dunetchka Otero-Serrano
Roya Amirsoleymani

Programming Committee

The Program Committee is a working group of diverse individuals who give shape to Know Your City’s 4 programs: lectures, tours, publications and youth programs.

Dave Ellis
Andrea McKeever
Alison Pezanowski-Browne
Roya Amirsoleymani
Sam Hartman
Maya Muñoz-Tobon
Devon Snyder

Education Committee

Education Committee members focus on collaborating with educators and administrators to help develop educational curriculum that is inclusive of all people and identities in Oregon.

Inna Levin
Emily Lehr
Emily Leuning
James Ofsink
Sam Hartman

Organization Co-founders (inactive):

Marc Moscato
Lucy Rockwell
Kyle von Hoetzendorff