Meet the ANV Community

Our community is diverse, resilient, creative, and powerful! Together, we are working hard to create a better world for Oakland youth where they can learn valuable skills, engage with nature, and live healthier! 
Check out this wonderful short video produced by Youth Beat, a non profit that offers free media training to Oakland youth through after school and in school programming. Every year their beginning film making students head out into the world to create short promo/news pieces on Oakland organizations such as Acta Non Verba.  They then edit it together into a short business profile video. This project is the second unit within the youth’s training and it is always a pivotal moment for them.  They get to go out into the world and produce a short film while also learning about all the amazing work being done in Oakland.  
Thank you for the feature, Youth Beat!

A Case for JOY Activism – Kelly D. Carlisle

Let’s start with my RAGE and a reminder of why we do what we do.

I know that I probably don’t have to tell you, but ANV is ALL ABOUT joy.

Every single thing Acta Non Verba does is INTENTIONALLY designed to bring maximum delight to everyone who interacts with us and participate in our programs.

Whether it’s our Camp For Grown Folx Benefit, which was such a hit with all ages last year, that we’re bringing it back – bigger and better than ever next month, our award-winning Camp ANV, which ensures that ALL children can experience the JOY of camp, or ANV’s BeetBox CSA, which connects our local community members with not only our THREE farms, but also farmers of color on the central coast and in the central valley!

We believe that ABUNDANCE and JOY are worth fighting for. And as a staff, board, organization and members of the community, we DO fight for them. Daily. What else are we LIVING for?

Now, about that rage…

A golden opportunity arose recently. It required someone attached to ANV who was under 24 years of age to manage it… and I had the perfect person in mind.

It required a video “audition” and I encouraged a young person that I care about and will protect till the death of me to make that video. 

The young person asked what they should talk about. I pointed them towards camp, which they are VERY familiar with. I said: “How about how transformative Camp ANV has been and how we are resisting oppression through joy?

The young person agreed and created an 10 minute video, with the understanding that this WASN’T the final product… That they were simply giving an EXAMPLE of their speech patterns and articulation.

The response was that our young person, someone who had seen and experienced TOO MUCH for someone not even 21 years old… was not ENOUGH of an activist. The requesting body had a LIST, of previously undisclosed activist THEMES that they “encouraged” our young person to pursue… and offered to “help” our young person tease out.

This young person was confused. As was I. 

Angry, but not surprised.

The young person asked for the help that was offered. There was no response until last week, when the requesting body let our young person down “gently” and offered a free ticket to… “The Show”. (My words, not theirs.) 

The reason I’m writing about this is because I have found that TOO OFTEN, folks want to hear about the pain and suffering of BIPOC.

…And that is certainly there. But what about the joy? What about the EXCELLENCE? What about the RESILIENCE?! What about Making a WAY out of No Way?! Is THAT not a form of activism and resistance?

Yes, the Climate, and YES, BLACK LIVES MATTER. And ABSOLUTELY, STOP. Asian. Hate.

But I would (and WANT TO) argue that JOY. Delight. Jubilation. Are forms of activism in their own right.

Our children need to KNOW THAT.

I mentioned to Aaron, ANV’s newly promoted Deputy Director (send him congratulations HERE!!) that in America, it’s hard to find ANYONE who actually likes, let alone LOVES Black Women. 

He replied that we have Janetria and Latrice to thank for that. They gave him hugs and always had snacks to share and were the dopest classmates he had in elementary school.

Joy. Sharing.  Education. Love. Openness.

ALL of these are forms of activism in a world that continues to try to diminish us and fights the concept of being bigger and better than we ARE.

AND so I ask again: What about JOY Activism?!

Aaron almost made me cry when he was able to name the two young Black girls who taught him that Black Women are PEOPLE and to be honored.

Janetria and Latrice I honor YOU. Thank you for the affirmation and validation to Aaron and, by extension, me. 

…and to this young person, who put their time, energy and heart out there: I am sorry. You NEVER have to bare your soul, pain and struggle for me, ANV or an audience.

We love you as you are and will protect you, yours and your JOY -always.

Aluta Continua  ~ The Struggle Continues. 



Acta Non Verba announces RJ Martin, AAMS® as ANV’s Youth Financial Investment Advisor

RJ Martin began his career at Edward Jones in 2012. As the son of an educator that taught special-needs children for over 20 years, he has taken the same care and attention he learned from his mother and has applied those skills in guiding his clients as a financial advisor. He is a true educator at heart, and his first and foremost goal is to provide financial education for my clients and his community. He does not believe there is a one-size-fits-all investment strategy, so I work to create a customized strategy to fit the needs of his clients who are at various points of their personal and financial lives.

RJ’s interest in entrepreneurship began at an early age. When he was a teen, he ran a profitable online business selling merchandise, and paid his way through college by investing in the stock market and operating his own landscaping business. His commitment to the community began as an undergraduate when he developed a financial literacy campaign designed to educate and inform under-served communities and individuals.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from North Carolina State University. After graduation, he spent the early years of his career as a revenue agent for the United States’ Department of Treasury, an internal auditor for RBC Bank and a fraud and investigations associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC. He received his AAMS designation in 2018 and also holds an insurance license.

RJ loves his work and helping clients develop financial literacy and build financial wealth. Building trust and long-lasting relationships with his clients is of the utmost importance to him.

Acta Non Verba is excited to have RJ as a resource to help our youth and their families navigate the sometimes murky world of investing and financial literacy. We are grateful to RJ Martin for assisting ANV in its mission to try to break the chains of generational poverty and underinvestment of the youth in our community and make a brighter future for all children for their futures.

Acta Non Verba Announces Shannon Wirth, FNP as Organizational and Program Medical Advisor

Shannon Wirth is a Family Nurse Practitioner dedicated to the service and support of her community.  A Bay Area native, she was educated at UCSC where she earned her Bachelor’s in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology, and later at Samuel Merritt University where she earned her Master’s of Science in Nursing.  Shannon has over ten years experience working in community clinics in Oakland and San Francisco, and is particularly dedicated to youth through her work in school based health.  Shannon is excited to embark on this partnership in support of youth at ANV!

Acta Non verba is thrilled to announce that Shannon will be working closely with our Executive Director and Program Directors to ensure that all of the organizations work is rooted in the latest science, knowledge and best practices to keep our staff and participants safe and well!

Breanna Madison- 2020 Victory V. Lee Awardee Staff Member Of The Year

Breanna Madison

Breanna believes community engagement is an important way to enact change and the work of Camp ANV is reflective of that. Breanna was a camp counselor for CAMP ANV’s first virtual summer program and is currently a counselor for the after school program. Her position entails tutoring the elementary students and assisting with the virtual cooking, writing, science, and art clubs. Breanna is senior at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia majoring in Political Science and minoring in English. Once she graduates from college, she plans on attending law school to focus on civil rights and constitutional law. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, drawing, and painting. As an Oakland native, Breanna is excited to be home for the semester and is looking forward to meeting new students and taking part in Camp ANV’s educational and interactive programs.

Remi & Angela Bereola- 2020 Victory V. Lee Awardee Camp Parent Of the Year

Remi & Angela Bereola

Remi & Angela Bereola are the proud parents of Adanya (9) and Kaden (7) Bereola. As a family, they enjoy travel, learning, spending time in nature, playing games, and enjoying music. The kids love biking, making and discovery, creating arts and crafts, singing and dancing, and playing retro video games.

The Bereola family was initially drawn to Camp ANV’s mission of providing education and access to healthy food through urban farming. Upon enrollment in the 2019 summer camp, they were introduced to a broad range of new experiences, including farming, growing and preparing produce for meals, exploring different cultures, and weekly field trips, including a fun family camping excursion. As ANV was forced to pivot due to the pandemic, The Bereolas were particularly impressed by how they managed to create such a personal, engaging, and interactive experience for campers in a virtual setting. They were also richly blessed by the invitation to participate in the weekly Farm Fridays, which provided the unexpected benefits of soul care, healing, catharsis and community for their family in this time of pandemic, political turmoil, and social unrest.

Rachel Ruiz- 2020 Victory V. Lee Awardee Organizational Intern of the Year

Rachel Ruiz

Rachel is a happy and proud first generation Peruana who was raised in Long Beach, California. Growing up, she quickly began to realize the power and knowledge that exists within families and communities. With this, came an understanding that there is a prominent struggle that exists in accessing and achieving food and health. While attending the University of California, Santa Cruz as an Environmental Studies major, Rachel recognized that existing Indegenous knowledge and community knowledge was boundlessly valuable in understanding how social structures can be dismantled and reshaped. As a third year student, she became involved with Friends of Community Agroecology Network (foCAN) where she learned so much about urban farming and gardening, seed saving, and building community. She found that there was a much deeper intersection between environmental justice and social justice that she was interested in exploring. She began a second major in Community Studies, where she was able to begin a long term internship and relationship with a community organization of her choice. Rachel found Acta Non Verba and was so inspired by the people behind it and the work that they were doing.  She believes that at its core, ANV is fundamental in challenging wider institutional structures, which have excluded Brown, and especially Black people, from land stewardship and direct relationships with the food system.

She began with ANV as a summer camp counselor, and enjoyed all of the activities and education involved with camp. Once summer was over, she spent many days volunteering at the Tassa farm, where she learned so much about food production and food sovereignty. More recently, she has joined the Beetbox CSA team, where she helps with coordination, packaging, and distribution of the weekly CSA produce. Rachel is forever grateful and happy to be part of ANV’s diverse and knowledgeable team. She is excited to continue learning about and contributing to empowering community work.

Debrah R. Giles- 2020 Victory V. Lee Awardee Organizational Foundation Of The Year


Debrah Giles is a philanthropic and non-profit management professional that serves as a Senior Program Officer for the East Bay Community Foundation in Oakland, CA.  She specializes in supporting initiatives with in EBCF that foster education and youth development.  In her role, she serves as the Senior Program Officer for The Clorox Company Foundation’s Responsive Grantmaking Program and continues to lead the work that focuses on Boys & Men of Color. 

Prior to joining the East Bay Community Foundation, Debrah had over 14 years of experience working for Sun Microsystems in their Global Community Development Group (Foundation) managing all aspects of their national and regional grant-making programs.  She was responsible for regional and field management in community relations and volunteer projects. She also developed and guided major funding programs, such as their International Disaster Relief, Multi-year Educational Grants and global gift matching programs.  She was also involved in managing, coordinating and developing strategies for improving their grant processing and the facilitation of regional grants. 

Debrah received her bachelor’s degree in Business Management from St. Mary’s College.  She is a native of Oakland and lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two children.


Tony “Chicago” Bennett- 2020 Victory V. Lee Awardee Volunteer Of The Year

Tony “Chicago” Bennett

Tony “Chicago” Bennett was born and raised in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago.  He came to California in 1989 for the Navy and was stationed in Oakland for 9 years.  Although Chicago is new to agriculture and farming he is a valuable part of the BeetBox team and community for the past 3 years.