Staff

jon lissJon Liss, Executive Director

Jon has organized for racial and social justice in Virginia for the last 30 years. Between 1979-1981, he organized for the creation of an African American Studies department as a student at the University of Virginia. He graduated with a B.A. in History in 1981, and continued his organizing for US divestment in the South African Apartheid regime. From 1983-1984, he served as an elected leader of a taxi drivers association. In 1986, Jon co-founded Tenants and Workers United (TWU), a low-income racial and gender justice organization based in the Arlandria-Chirilagua neighborhood. Jon served as the Executive Director of TWU until 2011. In 2007 he co-founded Virginia New Majority and currently serves as both a board member and as the organization’s Executive Director. Jon and his wife Victoria have been married for 26 years. He is a father of two teenagers, and a part-time basketball coach.

tram nguyenTram Nguyen, Co-Executive Director

Tram joined Virginia New Majority in 2008. Following the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, she helped fight for federal funding for a health treatment program to address the unmet physical and mental needs of rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero. In 2005, Tram traveled to the Gulf Coast to organize the 30,000+ Vietnamese immigrants whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. For over 2 years, she directed a recovery program that assisted over 3,000 families by providing cultural and language-appropriate services, and she advocated for the sustainable redevelopment of immigrant communities and businesses in New Orleans, LA; Biloxi, MS; and Bayou La Batre, AL. Tram is an alumna of Barnard College, Columbia University and was a 2010 Lead the Way Fellow at the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

rishiRishi Awatramani, Organizing Director

Rishi began his work with VNM as Lead Organizer in winter of 2009. Prior to moving to the DC area, he was Leadership Development Director at Just Cause Oakland, an organization fighting for housing rights for Black and Latino communities in Oakland, CA. He’s worked as a community organizer with the Youth Media Council and as a union organizer for homecare providers and low-income women of color with both SEIU Local 1199 in New York and SEIU Local 715 in San Jose. Rishi is a long-time activist with several organizations. He served on the National Planning Committee of the US Social Forum, and has worked with social movements in India and Southern Africa.

 

quan williamsQuan Williams, Policy Associate

Quan joined VNM as our Policy Associate in April 2013. Prior to moving to Virginia, she was the Community Outreach Specialist for the Illinois African-American Family Commission where she worked via legislative and advocacy efforts in the areas of Education, Economics, Health, Social Justice, Employment, Housing, Child Welfare, and Criminal Justice. She is a graduate of California State University, Northridge with a Bachelors of Arts in Pan African Studies and earned a Master of Urban Planning and Policy degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011.