Our Origin

When I ran for public office in 2014, I went door-to-door seeking support in the neighborhood where I grew up. A number of residents asked me: “Why are you asking for my vote? My voice doesn’t matter.” It hurt my heart to hear that.

That’s when I decided to start a nonprofit to help low income people of color realize that all voices matter and that together, we can improve public policies that affect our living conditions. And so, with a small group of dedicated volunteers, I founded Our Voices Matter.

- William Jawando

 William Jawando

 
 
 

Our Core Beliefs

 
  • Through dialogue leading to collective action, disaffected individuals realize their ability to bring about positive social change

  • By fostering emerging local leaders, we strengthen marginalized communities

  • Advocacy strategy and tactics are best understood through participation in an actual issue advocacy campaign

  • By working in coalition with like-minded stakeholder groups, we leverage each other's strengths, maximize impact, and amplify underrepresented voices

 
 

Our Board of Directors

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William Jawando

Will is the President of our Board of Directors. He is a public policy attorney, community leader, and public servant who has been working for over a decade on education policy and on issues impacting children and families in government and the private sector.

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Michele Jawando

Michele is the Treasurer of our Board of Directors. She is a public policy attorney, wife, mother and "change agent." She has worked at national and local non-profits and the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Committed to service, Michele is a believer in the possibility of greatness in all of our communities.

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Crystal Ruiz

Crystal is the Secretary of our Board of Directors. She is a public policy analyst, mother and community organizer. As a life long Maryland resident, she understands the changing needs of the community and the state. She is committed to making sure that all people feel like their voices are heard.

 

Our Leadership Team

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Sterling Crockett

With nearly 30 years experience as an inspirational agent of change, Sterling has provided transformative leadership to numerous enterprises in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors, helping them grow and flourish.

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Jon Randall

Jon brings to our organization more than 20 years of experience at the national, state and local level as a grassroots organizer, policy advocate, tactician, trainer, facilitator, and nonprofit leader.

 

Our Interns

 ANYE ANGWAFO  I'm taking a leave from my English and Media studies at Brown University this semester so I’m looking forward to working with my community through Our Voices Matter, as well as volunteering for Democracy at Work's Baltimore chapter. While back at home, I’m hoping to use my experience in media production to work with other visual artist in developing thought-providing, communal based art. I can’t wait to share the talents of those around me and shine a light on what we can do.

ANYE ANGWAFO

I'm taking a leave from my English and Media studies at Brown University this semester so I’m looking forward to working with my community through Our Voices Matter, as well as volunteering for Democracy at Work's Baltimore chapter. While back at home, I’m hoping to use my experience in media production to work with other visual artist in developing thought-providing, communal based art. I can’t wait to share the talents of those around me and shine a light on what we can do.

 KASAYAH ALEXIS  I’m a student in the heart of our nation’s capital, Washington D.C.. I am a Political Science major at Howard University where I am exposed to the functions and origins of not only the elite politicians, but grassroots political organizations as well. Additionally I am a Co-Founder of the business Kamose LLC. By working with Our Voices Matter, I am able to apply the skills that I’ve learned through my education, community exposure, and business communications into fostering a better and more empowered community--all while obtaining new essential life skills. I enjoy helping the community expand to its full potential, and with Our Voices Matter, the steps will only get closer!

KASAYAH ALEXIS

I’m a student in the heart of our nation’s capital, Washington D.C.. I am a Political Science major at Howard University where I am exposed to the functions and origins of not only the elite politicians, but grassroots political organizations as well. Additionally I am a Co-Founder of the business Kamose LLC. By working with Our Voices Matter, I am able to apply the skills that I’ve learned through my education, community exposure, and business communications into fostering a better and more empowered community--all while obtaining new essential life skills. I enjoy helping the community expand to its full potential, and with Our Voices Matter, the steps will only get closer!


 CHRISTIAN ROBLES  I’m a senior at School Without Walls High School who is also enrolled as a sophomore at The George Washington University. I plan to major in Political Science and minor in International Relations. I am involved in my school’s Youth and Government club (while serving as the Youth Mayor for the DC city program), Newspaper club, and Model United Nations club. Outside of school, I enjoy binge watching Netflix after finally choosing something to watch (favorite show: Parks and Rec) and following the daily news. As an intern at OVM, I hope to inspire my local community to take action on the issues that matter the most to them.

CHRISTIAN ROBLES

I’m a senior at School Without Walls High School who is also enrolled as a sophomore at The George Washington University. I plan to major in Political Science and minor in International Relations. I am involved in my school’s Youth and Government club (while serving as the Youth Mayor for the DC city program), Newspaper club, and Model United Nations club. Outside of school, I enjoy binge watching Netflix after finally choosing something to watch (favorite show: Parks and Rec) and following the daily news. As an intern at OVM, I hope to inspire my local community to take action on the issues that matter the most to them.

 TESSA WILD  I am a recent graduate of Grand Center Arts Academy in St. Louis, MO. I graduated as a junior, and am now residing in DC during my gap year and pursuing journalistic & activism-based internships. Over the summer, I interned at Street Sense Media, a local newspaper dedicated to ending homelessness. I look forward to helping people to understand the value of their voices here at OVM.

TESSA WILD

I am a recent graduate of Grand Center Arts Academy in St. Louis, MO. I graduated as a junior, and am now residing in DC during my gap year and pursuing journalistic & activism-based internships. Over the summer, I interned at Street Sense Media, a local newspaper dedicated to ending homelessness. I look forward to helping people to understand the value of their voices here at OVM.