Maria A. Oceja

Maria A. Oceja

Maria A. Oceja identifies as a Latina who is also an experienced community organizer, skilled artist, and visionary based in Memphis, TN. In her professional work, Maria led the Shelby County Youth Council and supported the Bridge Builders CHANGE program, which are youth groups under BRIDGES that foster youth advocacy and organizing to make impactful change in their communities. She’s trained high school youth to facilitate and host youth town halls and summits, so that youth voices can truly be represented by the council in local politics. She also supported the Shelby County Youth Council in creating two policy briefs for local policy change in Memphis, TN. Many of those policy recommendations regarding mental health were actually implemented by Memphis Shelby County Schools!

She also co-founded and organizes with Vecindarios 901 in her free time, which is a local rapid response team responding and intervening with ICE raids to combat ICE intimidation in and around the city . Maria also supported the founding of NTV Rites, which is a local non-profit aiming to support local Indigenous/Native American communities.

In her spare time she also focuses on creating healing spaces within her family and closest community members, by sharing healing practices traditional to her Tlahuica ancestry from Central and Southern Mexico. She also enjoys creating art using oil paint as her medium and hopes to paint more murals in her community.

Maria is a graduate of Wellesley College, an alum of the Leaders of Color Fellowship, and she's also a current Emerging Leaders Fellow with the City University of New York.

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