Board of Directors
Dr. Kilan Ashad-Bishop is a biomedical scientist and advocate for inclusion who has carved her niche at the intersection of science, health, and social change. She is a proud alumna of Morgan State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology, and the University of Miami, where she earned her Ph.D. in Cancer Biology. Kilan is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Miami and the Inaugural Director of the First Star National STEAM Academy. Her professional experience spans academic research, policy, and the nonprofit and private sectors, but her goal remains to improve the health and well-being of communities of color. Kilan is an outspoken advocate for equity and inclusion in health, science, and society and the responsibility of science (and scientists) to advance positive social change. In this interest, Kilan co-founded STEMNoire, a research and wellness community for Black women in STEM. Her advocacy efforts are interdisciplinary, as she previously served as the Vice-Chair of the City of Miami Climate Resilience Committee, where she leveraged her research background and community outreach to advance policies to prioritize low-income communities in resilience planning.
Mayra Cruz, MPH
Mayra Cruz is a Ph.D. Candidate in Environmental Science & Policy at University of Miami. She formerly served as the Climate Justice Director for Catalyst Miami. During her time at Catalyst Miami, she managed CLEAR (Community Leadership on the Environment, Advocacy, and Resilience) and HEAL (Housing, Equity, Advocacy, and Leadership), which provide trainings around social justice and community organizing around the issues of climate change and affordable housing, respectively. She led climate justice efforts around clean energy, climate & health, and government accountability. Mayra is also a Steering Committee member of the Miami Climate Alliance and formerly served as the co-chair for the Clean Energy Working Group which led campaigns to halt utility disconnections, increase energy efficiency, and stop FPL’s rate increase. She holds an MPH in Environmental Health Sciences and a Certificate in Climate & Health from Columbia University.
Jennifer Hill, Esq.
Jennifer Hill is an organizer, attorney, teacher, and writer working to advance worker and immigrant rights and economic security for all. She has worked throughout the U.S. South to build worker power, address structural racism and gender inequality, and improve labor standards. She has served as an organizer, advocate, and strategic advisor with workers’ centers, labor unions, immigrant rights organizations, and international labor solidarity groups. Hill has worked with nannies, homecare workers, housekeepers and janitors, and others to take on labor trafficking and wage theft. Hill, a former Skadden Fellow, is coeditor with Francisco Valdes and Steven Bender of Critical Justice: Systemic Advocacy in Law and Society, a new legal studies textbook of the Latino Critical Theory (LatCrit) movement.
James Jiler, MS
James Jiler holds a Masters Degree in Forestry and Social Ecology from Yale University and is the former director of The Horticultural Society of New York’s GreenHouse Program, a jail-to-street horticulture program at New York City’s jail complex on Rikers Island. As a National model, Greenhouse has been and continues to be replicated by other jurisdictions seeking to lower the high rate of recidivism plaguing the U.S. criminal justice system. He is author of the book Doing Time in the Garden (New Village Press, 2006), which details the GreenHouse approach to rehabilitation and explores the role of gardening in jails and prisons around the country. He has appeared on NPR, CBS Sunday Morning Show, Japan, France and Canadian TV, Radio, and two recent documentaries called the “Healing Gardens” and “Dirt: The Movie” detailing his work at Rikers. In September 2012 he gave a TED talk at the Coconut Grove TEDx conference where he was a recipient of the first annual HOPE Prize. Prior to his work in prison, James spent time working as an urban ecologist in Baltimore, New Haven, and India; and spent 6-years living in Kathmandu, Nepal working with ecological farming systems in the Himalayas and teaching at the University of Kathmandu. He is currently working on a book about global food security.