Ellen Wu

Executive Director

Ellen has dedicated her professional career to improving the health and wellbeing of low-income communities of color. Prior to joining Urban Habitat, she was Executive Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) for 12 years. She serves on numerous boards and advisory committees, including: City of Oakland’s Park and Recreation Commission; the Board of Directors for the California Budget Project; and the Board of Directors of California Association of Nonprofits. She was an adjunct faculty member at San Francisco State University and received her Masters in Public Health from UCLA.

email: ellen@urbanhabitat.org
extension: x305

Bob Allen

Director of Policy and Advocacy Campaigns

Bob has led the Transportation Justice Program at Urban Habitat since 2007. In 2009, Bob helped lead a successful campaign to stop the use of $70 million in federal stimulus funds for the Oakland Airport Connector project based on civil rights violations. More recently Bob led UH's work supporting the successful Free MUNI for Youth campaign and regional equity campaign through the 6 Wins for Social Equity Network. His background and experience include community planning and policy work both in the United States and internationally, labor organizing, as well as organizing and advocacy with refugee and immigrant communities. Bob received both his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and History and his Master's in Public Policy from Rutgers University.

email: bob@urbanhabitat.org
extension: x314

Larisa Casillas

Program Director of Leadership Development and Advocacy

Larisa is a passionate advocate with a great sense of humor and love for justice. Working with and for communities of color and low-income communities energizes and inspires her. At Urban Habitat, she oversees the leadership development activities of the organization, ensuring alignment with our policy priorities. She is an alumna of Urban Habitat's Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI). Larisa is an advisory board member for PODER, a San Francisco-based economic and environmental rights organization and board treasurer/secretary for EBASE, an Oakland-based regional economic rights organization. Prior to joining Urban Habitat, she managed a ten-county immigration legal services collaborative at the International Institute of the Bay Area.

email: larisa@urbanhabitat.org
extension: x319

Afomeia Tesfai

Program Manager of the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute

Afomeia has a public health background and is guided by anti-racist organizing principles in her passion for managing programs and developing curriculum. Prior to joining Urban Habitat, she completed a fellowship with Human Impact Partners, where she convened an advisory board of housing advocates to research and identify the health effects of public housing admissions policies on people with criminal history. She has also served as a community organizer with an organization working to end the prison industrial complex. She holds a Masters in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice.

email: afomeia@urbanhabitat.org
extension: x308

Mashael Majid

Program Manager of Equitable Development

Mashael is a planner rooted in social justice and transformative practice. Her dedication to multiracial movement building comes from years of organizing on land access, public benefits, and anti-displacement issues. Prior to joining Urban Habitat, she coordinated a resident-led campaign fighting for community controlled development in Somerville, MA. Mashael received her BA from UCLA and MUP from the University of Illinois. When not drowning in maps, you can find her marching towards collective liberation, ruminating on Rumi, or sipping masala chai. She is a proud member of Union United, Planners Network, New Leaders Council, and Bruins Nation.

email: mashael@urbanhabitat.org
extension: x306

Tony Roshan Samara

Program Director of Land Use and Housing

Tony has conducted extensive research focused on the politics of development and the marginalization of low-income communities, with an emphasis on housing, gentrification, and displacement. Since 2007 he has worked with the Right to the City Alliance as a resource ally, and currently serves on the Alliance’s national steering committee. Tony has a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MA from the City University of New York. Before joining Urban Habitat he was an associate professor of sociology at George Mason University. He runs the Cities and Globalization Twitter account at https://twitter.com/CGWG2 and most of his publications are available at http://independent.academia.edu/TonyRoshanSamara.

email: tony@urbanhabitat.org
extension: x313

Rae Thomas

Operations Manager

Rae has a strong background in working for social justice movements and organizations. For the past ten years he has worked as an advocate, teacher, community organizer, and writer. Prior to joining Urban Habitat, Rae was the Administrative Coordinator at RYSE Youth Center in Richmond. Rae also served as the Program Director at an LGBTQ youth center in Tacoma, Washington. Rae received his Masters in Fine Arts in Writing from California College of the Arts and his Bachelor's degree in Humanities and Writing from The Evergreen State College. 

email: rae@urbanhabitat.org
extension: x332

Qurratulain "Annie" Sajid

Communications & Grants Manager 

Annie's passions lie at the intersection between writing, arts, and justice. She has worked as a youth organizer and teacher in Metro-Detroit and Detroit. Prior to joining Urban Habitat, she worked as a Marketing & Communications Coordinator for a food justice organization in Michigan. She is a firm advocate for liberation and mango lassi. She holds a Master's in Social Work in Community Organizing.

email: annie@urbanhabitat.org
extension: x304