Anitra Freeman was homeless when she was recruited to the Real Change editorial committee by Wes Browning in 1996. With a background in computer programming and in writing workshops, Anitra was soon leading workshops in writing and computer skills for vendors and other homeless adults. Anitra is also among the founders of Nickelsville and is proud to learn recently that what she had proposed be the first and only rule remains, as Rule 12: “Don’t do stupid stuff.” Anitra lives in the International District and enjoys reading, writing, and gardening. She has been on the Board of Directors of the Low Income Housing Institute; is President of the Board of Directors of Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE); and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Women’s Housing Equality & Enhancement League (WHEEL), a grassroots organizing project of homeless and formerly homeless women. Anitra joined the Real Change Board of Directors in 2009.
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Chukundi Salisbury is the founder and executive director of Service is a Lifestyle, a Seattle Based Non-Profit working for a better community through service. Currently the organization is working on African-American Parent and Family Engagement through its 100 Black Parents Initiative and Voter Education and Engagement through its Urban Vote Project (URBVOTE). Some of the programs he has activated in the community include the African-American Males Weekend at Camp Orkila and the “This is Why I Vote” Campaign. He also produces the much loved Bubblin Brown Sugar, a High School Dance Competition held at Garfield High School.
He is also involved in several other community-based organizations including the Silent War Project which is aimed at breaking the silence around Black on Black Violence. He has served on several volunteer community boards including South East Youth and Family Services where he served as Chairman of the Board and the Seattle Police Departments African American Advisory Council. He also serves on the Board of Directors at the YMCA Camping Services Branch. Chukundi serves as an elected Precinct Committee Officer (PCO) for the 37th Legislative District Democrats and represents the district on the King County Democrat’s Executive Board.
Chukundi is also the CEO of Seaspot Media Group, which publishes several web properties, most notably, Seaspot (dot) com. Founded in 1998 SMG is a leader in multi-cultural marketing across the region with offices in Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.
In addition to his business and community efforts, Chukundi is a nationally recognized disc jockey and event host (DJ KUN LUV) and performs regularly at local & regional nightclubs. He has performed with global superstars such as Rick Ross, Nikki Minaj, Kevin Hart & Chris Brown. He opened for and worked alongside Iconic DJ’s such as Kid Capri, DJ Drama, & Biz Markie. He has worked at events such as NBA all-star weekend; and as far away as Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Sydney (Australia), Dubai (UAE) and Shanghai, China. His Birthday Party, the VIRGO PARTY, is one of the longest running Urban Events in the Seattle Area with 26 years of consecutive occurrences at some of Seattle’s most exclusive venues such as Century Link Field, The Seattle Aquarium, The Seattle Art Museum and the prestigious McCaw Hall.
Besides his entrepreneurial endeavors, Salisbury is also a 21-year employee of the City of Seattle, where he works as a Project Manager for Parks and Recreation and serves as the founding director of the Youth Green Corps. Chukundi has a B.S. in Computer Science from Elizabeth City State University (NC) and is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. Currently, Salisbury lives in Rainier Valley with his family: wife Michelle, 19-year-old daughter, Alma, and 12-year-old son, Chukundi Jr.
David Hirning moved to Seattle in 1974 at the age of five, when his parents helped start a Catholic Worker community on Capitol Hill. He and his younger sister ate many a meal at the soup kitchen that the community operated at St. James Cathedral and made friends with the kids from the homeless families that were given shelter in the large community house. He attended Seattle Catholic schools and then Stanford University, where he earned a degree in English literature and wrote for the school paper. After many years as an editor at Microsoft, David left the company in 2006 and became a political activist for MoveOn.org. As head of MoveOn’s Seattle chapter, he worked full-time on the Obama campaign in 2008 and the Affordable Care Act effort in 2009. David has served on the program committee for the children’s literacy nonprofit Page Ahead and is currently a volunteer at the ROOTS young adult shelter in the U-District. He works as a writer and content manager for University of Washington Professional & Continuing Education.
Hannah Hunthausen was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. From an early age, she was drawn into the Jesuit ethos of a “faith that does justice,” as modeled by her social worker parents, faith community, and her gentle and courageous great-uncle, Raymond “Dutch” Hunthausen, who served as Archbishop of Seattle in the 1980s. Hannah graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in French and has since worked in education and the nonprofit sector. She expects to graduate with a Master of Arts in Adult Education and Training from Seattle University in 2016.
Hannah has worked at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry in various capacities since 2013 (notably for the Faith & Family Homelessness Project ). She is currently Program Coordinator for the Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs, supporting the school’s efforts to engage, educate and mobilize faith communities around the problem of homelessness.
Hannah was thrilled to join the Real Change Board of Directors in 2016. She has been an avid reader of the paper since moving to Seattle, and resonates deeply with the organization’s commitment to hold up the voices of our homeless and marginalized neighbors and fight for social, economic and racial justice. She looks forward to deepening relationships with vendors and supporting the movement and caring, inclusive community that is Real Change.
Jim Lauinger (President) was raised and educated in Portland, Oregon and moved to NYC to complete a graduate program in business at NYU. For the next 35 years he worked in the department store sector and later owned stores in Kirkland, Washington. While in Kirkland during the 90’s he became involved with public service on the Eastside culminating with the Kirkland Planning Commission, the City Council, and finally as a two term Mayor of Kirkland. In 2000, he was one of 79 national recipients of the National Association for Community Leadership’s Distinguished Leader Award. He has served the Eastside with membership on numerous human service boards, and finally sought out a Board Membership at Real Change through his acquaintance with his Issaquah vendors, his love for Real Change News, and for the organization’s mission as a voice for economic justice for our low income and homeless neighbors.
Malou Chavez (Secretary) joined the Real Change Board in 2015. She is a staff attorney at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, in the Family Services Unit in Seattle, where she directly represents people in family-based visa petitions and defends people in removal proceedings. Her prior work at NWIRP, in Moses Lake and Wenatchee, focused primarily on representing survivors of violence in rural eastern Washington obtain immigration relief. Malou is a first-generation immigrant from Yucatan, Mexico who grew up in Compton, California. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and she is a graduate of Seattle University School of Law.
Maria Elena Ramirez was born and raised in Othello, WA. An avid Real Change reader since 1994, Maria Elena appreciates what a community asset Real Change is and has been an active volunteer since September of 2012. Time spent in the vendor program quickly led to her getting to know and befriending many of the vendors. She is interested in supporting the advocacy program by providing them with many skills and support needed, to have their voice heard regarding unmet social services needs by their elected officials. A graduate of the University of WA, Maria Elena’s professional experiences include the healthcare field with the Epilepsy Foundation NW. She also has experience with outreach and advocacy efforts among communities that are marginalized and disenfranchised, including people with a physical and/or mental disabilities, people with a criminal record which makes housing, employment and educational opportunities near impossible, people of color, recent immigrants, and vulnerable children and adults. Maria Elena has served as a resource for Latino, first generation high school graduates pursuing a post K-12 education, as well as an education equity advocate to the Latino community, in eastern WA. Maria Elena looks forward to deepening her relationships with vendors and watching their self-confidence grow as they continue to inform and inspire people from all walks of life in Seattle to join them in bringing about real change in our hearts and actions.
Mary Riski (Treasurer) joined the Real Change board in August 2018. She has over 15 years experience in the financial services and banking industry, and is a CPA (inactive.) Her area of focus has been in the reverse mortgage space, providing accounting and financial expertise to lenders and organizations that support seniors aging in place. Since 2012, she has served breakfast monthly at Nativity House in Tacoma. She also volunteers and serves meals at Aurora Commons in Seattle, and was a neighborhood representative on the community action committee for the Licton Springs tiny house village, also on Aurora Avenue.
Mary is from Minnesota and received her accounting degree from the University of North Dakota. She has two daughters, Anne and Tess.
Matthew Hayashi is the principal organizational development and leadership consultant for Headwater People. They help brilliant people do transformational work and offer a variety of strategic consulting services such as organization learning, strategic planning, change management, process design, and designing equitable organizations. His passion is to help connect groups to the core mission of their work through collaboration and innovation, whole organizational health, and to the societal responsibilities of economic, social, and environmental justice.
Matt grew up in Kaneohe, Hawaii. He, his wife Colleen, and children make their home in Seattle, Washington.
Pamela Kliment (Vice President) grew up in New York City and moved to Seattle in 1980, eventually graduating from the University of Washington with degrees in Botany and Landscape Architecture. She has worked for the Seattle Parks Department since 1998. Pam’s work at the Parks Department introduced her to the Homeless Remembrance Project Committee, and relationships developed there led to a greater awareness and concern for the challenges faced by homeless people. In 2009, Pam focused on Nickelsville for a 24-hour photo challenge for Photography Center Northwest. This led to an ongoing commitment to the vision of Nickelsville and to the people who live there. Never much of a “joiner”, Pam finds herself involved in several communities and was overheard saying in regard to Real Change, “I want to be a part of it!!!” Her local vendors are Terry Cunningham and Tricia Sullivan. Pam joined the Real Change Board of Directors in 2012.
Shelly Cohen was born and raised in Seattle, and likes to say “I have the webbed feet to prove it!” With the exception of a brief time in Salem, Oregon, he has always lived in the greater Seattle area. He has three adult children and one granddaughter.
With his smiling personality and sense of community, Shelly became active in Real Change June 7, 2013, and achieved the coveted 600 Club level at the conclusion of June 2013. His other activities with Real Change include involvement in the Editorial Committee, representing the Editorial Committee on both the editorial staff, the Vendor Advisory Board and the Vendor Organizing Committee. He was elected to the Real Change Board of Directors on March 24, 2016, at 62 years young, as he prefers to say.
Cohen was nominated for Vendor of the Week by one of his customers at his first 600 Club Post in the Northgate QFC parking lot in May 2015, and nominated for Vendor of the Year in 2015. He has had numerous articles written about him in Real Change, and has also been published in Real Change. To learn more about Shelly, read about his other activities in Real Change and his life experiences.
His entrepreneurial spirit and interest in journalism began in elementary school where he wrote, published, distributed and sold The Little Paper, which focused on the positive, for his neighbors in the View Ridge community. He also was part of the staff of The Roosevelt News.
Shelly’s other entrepreneurial experiences were selling real estate and he became an Amway Independent Business Owner on May 25, 1976, with his business partner/wife, whom he married on July 4, 1976. They have three children. Their business motto was “helping people help themselves.” That remains Shelly’s motto today.
Advocacy has also been a high point in his life. Having what he prefers to say are different abilities instead of disabilities, along with family members who also have different abilities. His advocacy started with his involvement in the legislative programs with the Parent Teacher Student Association.
Shelly would love to visit with you at his current 600 Club Post at PCC Natural Markets – Bothell in Canyon Park, 22621 Bothell Everett Highway, Bothell, WA 98021.
Join him as he smiles with his community, and says “make it a GREATER day!” and “smiling helps you live longer .”
Teresa Reeves joined Real Change as a contributing writer and Editorial Committee member in 2009. She became homeless for seven years after moving to Seattle in 2000. She has worked as an advocate, writer, facilitator, and speaker for WHEEL and a member of the WHEEL Executive Committee. She is also a member of Women in Black and the Homeless Remembrance Project Committee (HRPC), and is a founder of the Cheerios Corner writing group at Antioch’s Women’s Education Program. As a singer, songwriter and musician, she has had more than 80 songs published and she performed a live concert in Downtown Seattle for HRPC on June 11, 2011. She has been an advocate for transsexuals since 2010 and has been a leader in the Gender Identity Empowerment Coalition and the Transsexual & Feminist Liberation group. Teresa was elected to the Board of Directors in January of 2012.
Yasin Darmulo is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Yasin has worked in several capacities both in Ethiopia and the United States. He’s held positions ranging from teaching, program development, and to now as a Management Systems Analyst at the Data Team with the City of Seattle, Human Services Department.
He’s a reader of Real Change and has long been inspired by the organizations efforts to both advocate for low income and people who experience homelessness to have the basic human needs and to create no barrier work opportunities. He joined the Real Change Board of Directors in April 2016.
Yolanda Altamirano grew up in Yakima, WA and moved to Seattle in 2011. She heard about Real Change in 2012 and started buying the paper. She joined as an events volunteer in late 2015 and began volunteering at the Vendor Sales desk in June 2016. She eagerly joined the board in March 2017. She has served non-profits since graduating from the University of Washington and values the connections she makes with both those she serves with and those she can serve. She currently works at a local travel company trying to pursue connections to help around the world – focusing on logistics and program management. She is the Board Secretary, on the fundraising committee and is interested in outreach and advocacy.