Hear from California Alums: How Does Your Voice Contribute to the Conversation?

We asked some of our California alums to tell us how their voices contribute to the conversation:

“I guest-starred on an episode of NBC’s “Grimm” which portrayed the very first Filipino-centric storyline on American Network television. As an actress in Hollywood and a person of color, my experience is twofold: my career must both traverse the systemic roadblocks that limit my inclusion, and I must pursue paths that lead to change — from diversity programs, to self-produced work, and just plain persistence. Participating in The OpEd Project helped me understand that publicly sharing my unique journey is valuable in shaping the dialogue and paving the way for more cultural visibility and more “firsts.”” 

 Tess Paras is an actress & writer most recognized for her viral video,”Typecast”. She wrote and performed in the 2014 CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase and guest-starred as Dana Tomas on the NBC drama series Grimm.




“I was thrilled to learn that my op-ed was accepted for publication back in my hometown paper, within weeks of completing The OpEd Project training at the ACLU of Southern California. It’s important to amplify the experiences LGBTQ people face in the South because so many individuals who live there do not have the freedom to speak honestly and openly about who they are–or the hurdles they face as a member of the community. Thought leaders, lawmakers, and educators need to know that the decisions they make about LGBTQ issues affect large segments of their communities.”

James Gilliam is the Deputy Executive Director at the ACLU of Southern California. He also teaches Law andSexuality and other public interest courses at Loyola Law School. Read his latest oped in The Tennessean.


“”Water is the next oil.” 1 in 8 people do not have access to water and this issue affects women and girls the most. The images people see–provided they know about it–are wells or other technologies. But what they don’t hear are the stories about how technologies are only a tiny part of the solution. Putting a face to the crisis and raising the voices of those who are most invested in the solutions are crucial to the conversation, and brings the focus back to people-driven solutions and not technology-based solutions.”

Gemma Bulos is a multi-award winning social entrepreneur, musician, speaker, Director of the GlobalWomen’s Water Initiative, and a Social Entrepreneur Fellow at Stanford University. Watch her TEDx talk: “How to Accidentally Change the World.”



“I’ve long explored how diverse communities can come together in student support efforts through projects based in schools, districts, cities, community organizations, and the government. Recently my colleagues and I added our voices to this conversation by writing a piece about the “Achilles heel” of math education in San Diego. We hope to raise public awareness about math as a stumbling block for student success.” 

Mica Pollock is a Professor of Education Studies and Director of CREATE at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of Colormute, Because of Race,and Everyday Antiracismand the forthcoming book Schooltalking: Communicating for Equity in Schools.

“As a civil rights attorney whose 35 year career has focused on employment discrimination, I have been an active participant the in evolution of discrimination law. My voice contributes to the conversation through filing amicus briefs in the United States and California Supreme Courts, speaking engagements to attorneys and academics about the interplay between law and social science, writing opinion pieces for the public on cutting edge issues such as “implicit bias,” stereotyping” and “family friendly” policies, and my work as a founder, co-chair and editor of CELA Voice, the blog of the California Employment Lawyers Association.”

Charlotte Fishman is a plaintiff-side employment attorney in San Francisco whose practice emphasizes glass ceiling discrimination, implicit bias, and work/family conflict. She is a founder and co-chair of CELA VOICE. Check out her latest piece.






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