Meet the Presidio Activators and Community Experts making the Presidio an inclusive space.
The Presidio Activator Council is made up of Bay Area community leaders, activists, and artists representing communities historically underrepresented in national parks. Its goal is to the Presidio while advising on how to invite communities, create a sense of welcome, and foster belonging.
The inaugural Presidio Activator Council was launched in October 2021 leading up to the opening season of Presidio Tunnel Tops. The group integrated art, food, healing, education, wellness, and music. They launched events including Carnaval Ensayo with Fogo Na Ropa, an Environmental Justice Summit with Hip Hop for Change, and Pchum Ben Festival with the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants. Activator Favianna Rodriguez launched an art installation, Ancestral Futurism: Looking Back to Repair the Future.
After a successful first year, there was more collaborative work to be done. Many Presidio Activators decided to participate in a Remix year in 2023 – continuing some activations from the inaugural year, planning a collaborative action, and finding new ways of being even more of an ambassador between the parks and their communities. The council is staffed by the Partnership for the Presidio.
Mark Smith is an occupational therapist and Health Education Coordinator at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Healthcare System (SFVAHCS). For the past six years, he has partnered with the National Park Service, Parks Conservancy, and Presidio Trust to create meaningful, inclusive, and accessible outdoor experiences for veterans in their local national parks through the SFVA W.A.R.I.O.R (Wellness And Resilience Incorporating Outdoor Recreation) program. Mark is committed to ensuring that all Bay Area communities-including veterans and their families are able to access the health benefits of time spent outdoors.
Born and raised in Daly City/San Francisco, Jessica Campos is the Community Engagement lead for the SF Office of Racial Equity (ORE) through the Human Rights Commission. She connects ORE’s work in multi-racial, multilingual communities to eliminate racial disparities in employment, housing, criminal justice, economic advancement, health, transit, education, and homelessness. Previously, she was the manager of a Head Start/Early Head Start program in District 10. Her passion for change guides her to advocate in different levels of community, from being a mentor with City of Dreams to a board member of Early Care Educators San Francisco.
Maurice Harper was born in Berkeley and served as an educator for most of his career. For more than 40 years, he took on roles including teacher, counselor, coach, activities director, campus minister, administrator, and dean. He is currently involved in many youth-serving organizations in San Francisco and Oakland, including the Mindful School’s Mindful Teacher Certification Program Class of 2022.
Metzi Henriquez, M.A., MFTI, is a native of El Salvador and was raised in San Francisco’s Mission District. She has extensive experience providing direct services to the Latinx and Immigrant communities of San Francisco as an artist and mental health clinician. Currently co-director of the award-winning Fogo Na Roupa Grupo Carnavalesco she shares her love of holistic health through teaching dance and wellness as a mental health therapist to immigrant families.
Mory Chhom is a Cambodian American born in a refugee camp in Thailand and raised in Modesto. She has dedicated the last 17 years working with low-income marginalized people of the global majority to support the improvement of their health through advocacy and education. She serves on the board at the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI) and the Health Promotion Practice Editorial Board, and is currently the Director of Population-Focused Prevention Early Intervention at RAMS, Inc.
Khafre Jay is a change-maker, community organizer, nonprofit worker, Hip Hop artist, and father. As a Bay Area Hunters Point activist fighting for racial and socioeconomic justice, he empowers community members to use their voices and resist inequality structures—and he largely does so through Hip Hop organizing. His passions for music, grassroots solutions, and community justice drove him to create the nonprofit Hip Hop for Change in 2013, which utilizes Hip Hop to break down barriers between youth and justice issues that affect their lives and communities. With Khafre at the helm, Hip Hop For Change employed over 1,000 people, educated 30,000 youth K-12, and raised six million dollars. He’s now at the helm of a new revolutionary nonprofit, Hip Hop for the People.
Lucas Tobin serves as Supervisor for Therapeutic Recreation and Inclusion and ADA Coordinator for Programmatic Access for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. He is also a lecturer for the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism department at San Francisco State University, teaching Therapeutic Recreation and Inclusion to future recreation professionals. His work is about helping ensure that everyone has access to the quality of life recreation brings. He strives to include recreation in his own life through biking, camping, snowboarding, and music.
(Taos Pueblo, Ute, Kiowa), is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the American Indian Cultural District, dedicated to recognizing, honoring, and celebrating American Indian legacy, culture, people, and contributions. She is an ambassador for promoting equitable resource distribution to American Indian communities, increasing Native visibility and political representation, and protecting and preserving American Indian cultural resources in the Bay Area. She serves on San Francisco Heritage, Aquatic Park Pier Planning Committee, and the Human Rights Commission Roundtable. She has previously served on the Environmental Justice Working Group, SFAC Monuments Memorials Advisory Committee, Climate Council, Housing Policy Committee, and the HRC Racial Equity in the Arts Working Group.
Through this program that launched in 2022, community leaders with deep connections to the neighborhoods and communities where they live or work offer feedback on how the Presidio can be relevant and responsive to community needs
Ann Berry started working with the city in her Bernal Heights neighborhood to underground all the electricity on the hill. She worked with the Rafiki Coalition on their Health and Environmental Justice committee to clean up and label toxic areas in the Bayview. She also worked with the city health department to bring fresh food and Fresh & Easy stores to San Francisco. She was voted into the CSL and started going to the state capital working to get bills passed to help seniors, all while on the board for the Network for Elders.
Adama Bryant is a San Francisco native and has raised her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the founding director at Weekend-Adventures, a fiscally sponsored program of the Social Good Fund. Her passions include being outdoors with the trees and creating space for kids to feel and be safe and enjoy their childhood.
Tomasa is a Maya K’iche’ woman, born in Guatemala. She has lived in San Francisco since 2008. She works for the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN SF) as the Health Promotion Program Manager, leading a team of promotoras (Community Health Workers) that provides health education targeting the Latinx immigrant community. Healthy eating, oral health, and physical activity are some areas the program addresses to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Jarae Clark, a Sacramento native, is the Executive Director for City of Dreams where she is responsible for delivering quality mentorship to youth in the Bayview community. Growing up in a low-income community, she graduated with a master’s degree in social work to work in community organizing, planning, and nonprofit administration. Jarae started working with youth and families in the Bayview in 2015.
Sean’s been a part of the YMCA of San Francisco since 1998 and a part of the Presidio YMCA since 2004. In his current role as Branch Operations Director for the Presidio and Point Bonita YMCA, he connects with community partners to ensure that youth, teens, and families can access programs and services. A part of national and local diversity and inclusion initiatives, Sean is especially proud of the nature engagement programs offered through the YMCA.
Francisco Ferrer is a father, musician, camping enthusiast, community activist, and family advocate. He is the founder of P.L.A.N (Padres Latinos Aprendiendo Nuevamente), a Latino father support group that focus on healthy masculinity through emotional intelligence. He is also the co-founder of Vivos y Activos (Alive and Active), a non-profit collective that supports the elder community in the Mission District with artistic activities and projects that enhance creativity and mental health. He is also an expert in parenting skills classes, interactive parent-child activities, bilingual men’s support groups, providing a fun and safe environment. Francisco believes that Father’s Day celebration should be an annual festival where positive male figures can be celebrated by their families and community and promote more men’s support groups.
Rhonda was born in Oakland and raised in Berkeley. She is the Senior Resident Services Coordinator for the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation. She works at Bayview Commons serving a 30-unit building and with RAD residents in Hunters Point East/West, Bernal Dwellings, Hayes Valley, and the Geraldine Johnson Senior Housing Building. She serves low-income residents, families, seniors, and residents with HIV/AIDS, assisting them with back rent, food, diapers, bills, furniture, case management, and other resources.
Megan Hover is a dedicated nonprofit professional who believes in the power of an inclusive society where everyone can explore their passions and thrive. After more than a decade fundraising to support youth in foster care and workforce development programs for transition aged youth, she joined Creativity Explored as their Development Director where she champions opportunities for disabled artists. She also helped establish the award-winning Care to Learn Fund Kansas City chapter.
Rebecca Jackson is CJCJ’s Director of Cameo House. She oversees and leads all Cameo House programming, operations, and services. She is a powerful advocate for formerly-incarcerated women and their children in San Francisco who are experiencing homelessness and looking for the opportunity to change their lives. Her personal experiences with domestic violence, racism, addiction, and incarceration inform her work and fuel her desire to be a positive role model of change. Rebecca’s extends her advocacy and activism to women’s rights and issues in SF and is a voice and member of several coalitions and work groups including being the co-chair of the Women’s Housing Coalition, the Women’s Working Group, a member of the Re-entry Council for Women’s first subcommittee, and a Hamilton Families board member. She is also the proud sole proprietor of her own small business.
Aurora Cortes was born and raised in Santa Ana. She moved to Northern California, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry from U.C. Davis. As the SF Bay Area Regional Coordinator with Latino Outdoors, Aurora organizes community-based programs and seeks partnerships and collaboration opportunities for the community to come together to celebrate language, traditions, and culture in the outdoors.
since her family’s migration to Turtle Island in 1970. Carolyn enjoys affinity with Sama Sama Family Cooperative, and she is board president of the Filipino-American Development Foundation (FADF). A trained educator and athletic administrator, she founded Coaching Kapwa Sports Consultants. As a certified Radical Nature Change Agent, Carolyn facilitates nature healing hikes and guided group meditations for individuals and families.
Kareem Sykes, a Sacramento native, grew up in a low-income community. Today, she is the Program Director at City of Dreams, where he oversees all youth programs. Kareem also has extensive experience establishing relationships with key community partners and families and collaborating with neighborhood organizations.
Maxine is the Cultural and Special Events Coordinator at Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness in the Bayview. Rafiki’s mission is to reduce health disparities and inequities in San Francisco’s Black and other marginalized communities. Maxine is a long-time activist who loves exploring nature. She used to take young adults backpacking in her spare time. She currently enjoys hiking with community members on Rafiki outings.
East Bay Area native Stephany Welch lives in Oakland. She is passionate about guiding youth to find their voice, gain opportunities, find resources, plan ahead, and cultivate skills. She previously worked as the CYC Bayview Youth Advocates (BYA) Program Coordinator, a multicultural leadership program for high school students in San Francisco District 10. As the student recruitment and outreach coordinator for Life Learning Academy she helps high schoolers find their way through the door to a unique education model that elevates not only their academics but also their workforce development skills. In 2017, she published a nonfiction book, a collection of 103 stories that she hopes readers will find relatable and comforting.