Neva Walker photo

Keynote: Inside/Outside Strategies for Community and Government Partnerships for Racial Justice.

Neva is a long-time youth worker, community organizer and political leader from Minneapolis who relocated to the Bay Area four years ago. She was born into an activist family; her mother founded and ran community programs at the Sabathani Community Center, located right across the street from the family’s home. Neva herself has decades of experience working with low income youth and families of color around economic and racial justice issues. She has organized intensively around community demands for affordable housing and opportunities for youth.

At age 28, Neva was the first African American woman elected to the Minnesota Legislature in the state’s history. She ran a precedent-setting grassroots election campaign that involved young people of color at every level of leadership. She served 8 years as a legislator working on teen pregnancy, health disparities, foster care, welfare, and affordable housing. She was chair of the Mental Health Committee along with sitting on the Human Services Policy and Budget Committees, Ways & Means, and Regulated Industries. In 2008, she stepped down to return to her organizing roots. Since coming to the Bay, Neva spent time supporting the Black Organizing Project founded by the Center for Third World Organizing and organizing workers in the labor movement with SEIU.

In 2011, Neva became Executive Director of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth in San Francisco. Her work at Coleman is focusing on deepening the leadership of parents, students and youth that promotes progressive change through inside and outside government strategies. She wants to build people who will make systematic change to policy, budgeting, and structures through a racial equity lens.