Organizer of the Month

The Bayou Brief & Louisiana Lefty have teamed up to celebrate Louisiana organizers. Each month, we share the change-making work of a new awardee on our social media and present them with a framed Organizer of the Month certificate. Our honorees come from every part of the state, and represent the full range of organizing roles that reflect our progressive values and move our communities forward.

Please scroll down the page to read more about these impressive Louisianians, and learn how to nominate your favorite organizer for recognition.

—2021—

January

Naima Savage

Naima has dedicated herself to organizing in the southern region for workers’ rights and voter empowerment. In her work with Color of Change PAC, she contributed to their efforts to flip the senate through support for Rev. Raphael Warnock & Jon Ossoff, as well as elect Jason Williams, the new progressive District Attorney of New Orleans. She’s Board Chair of Step Up for Action, former lead organizer for Show Me 15 & a Union, and former Director of Equity & Strategic Growth.

February

Candice Battiste

Candice currently organizes in North Louisiana with the Power Coalition. An LSU alum & graduate of the Southern University Law Center, she’s also worked with local candidates, the Unanimous Jury Coalition, Citizen SHE, & Spread The Vote.

March

Katie Hunter-Lowrey

Katie is co-lead organizer, crime survivor organizer, and policy advocate at the Promise of Justice Initiative. Katie organizes monthly meetings with Louisiana Survivors for Reform, and for more than a decade has advocated for the service industry, collective organizing, and housing assistance. She is a long-time organizer for NOLA to Angola, and serves on the Board of Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative.

April

Kristen Gonzalez

Kristen is a Marine Corps vet, with a masters in public health. She organizes community leaders in Southwest Louisiana to educate about and distribute Narcan. She also encourages a whole-person view of addiction and recovery.

May

Caleb Holmes

Caleb is Baton Rouge Organizer for Step Up Louisiana, coordinating their dynamic Unemployment & Education Justice Committees. Originally from Shreveport, he’s an Honors Graduate from Southern University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. He is a young and passionate community organizer, who has has already racked up a history of organizing for political campaigns, as well as All In For Louisiana, and the 771 Alliance at Southern.

June

Rev. Alexis Anderson

Rev. Anderson, a strong and strategic organizer, is a leader with the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition. She is also an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, as well as founder and executive director of PREACH. PREACH is a 501(c)3 nonprofit focusing on the 3 C’s of literacy: competence in basic life skills, computerization, and commerce, with a special focus on special need populations such as domestic violence survivors, ex-offenders, and at-risk families.

July

Marcelle Beaulieu

Marcelle is the digital organizer behind Louisianah Brah. She started her work to message to millennial voters and pro-choice women during the 2019 governor’s race. Today she continues her efforts to inform & engage voters in state issue politics, using memes and humor as a tool. Marcelle’s premise is, “Being able to make someone laugh is instrumental in keeping them engaged as they are processing information that might be overwhelming or despairing.”

August

Pearl Ricks

Pearl is the Executive Director of the Reproductive Justice Action Collective, which envisions a world in which all Southerners are able to access reproductive health care without judgement and with dignity. Pearl was a major contributor to the statewide organizing efforts against anti-trans legislation this year. They prepared the pitch points legislators used to respond on the Floor during the final votes in regular session and the veto override session. Those were crucial in giving quick, coherent, and correct arguments to many who had been unfamiliar with the issue, and should be a model for advocates in giving legislators tools to do what is right, even when it is out of their comfort zone.

September

Sharon Lavigne

Sharon Lavigne, an environmental justice activist, runs faith-based organization, Rise St. James, which focuses on preventing further petrochemical plant pollution in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley. She is a retired special education teacher, a plaintiff in the White Hat v. Landry case to change Louisiana Oil and Gas law, and was recently the sole United States recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize. She is a master organizer, from successfully stopping the construction of a billion dollar plastics manufacturing plant in St. James Parish by mobilizing grassroots opposition, to coordinating Hurricane Ida relief efforts for her community.

October

Ben Zucker

Ben Zucker is co-founder of Step Up Louisiana, Step Up for Action, and NOLA Rising PAC. Ben comes from a family of union organizers, and has been steeped in the economic justice movement in Louisiana, starting his organizing career with the local Fight For 15 chapter: Show Me 15 and a Union. Ben was, in fact, the spark that initiated this award series, as he is a relentless advocate for organizers.

November

Frances Kelley

Frances Kelley was born to organize, and proved at a young age to be extremely skillful at it. She’s run successful field operations for candidates, from national to hyper-local. She’s worked on environmental and health quality issues, rallying statewide support to force the military to protect North Louisiana communities by more safely disposing of destabilizing explosives. A life-long community organizer and climate activist, Frances has recently invested her energy in Louisiana Advocates for Immigration Detainees. Her organizing work is constant. In addition to advocacy work for better immigration policies, she recruits people to pick up immigrants from the airport and from ICE detention centers. She also coordinates volunteers to take them to the bank, to get groceries, or anywhere they need assistance. The progeny of Baptist peacemakers, Frances expanded her capacity for social activism with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Yale University and a master’s degree in education from Centenary College of Louisiana.

December

Omari Ho-Sang

Omari Ho-Sang is the Louisiana Coordinator for Black Voters Matter, the Founder of ASAP Shreveport, and a powerful organizer across movements in Louisiana. Omari always puts the people first and has also organized with the American Federation of Teachers, as well as the Louisiana Poor People’s Campaign. With her work at Black Voters Matter, Omari has developed, connected, and mobilized networks of Black voters who impact our state every election cycle.

To recommend an organizer to be recognized, click here to fill out our nomination form.