Yana Velasquez

Building Community Administrative Assistant

she / her
yana [at] mmt.org

There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.
Audre Lorde

Yana is driven by a desire to understand the root causes of inequities that have impacted her personal life and community and how those inequities have come to shape the world and those around her.
Her connection to social justice and community fuels her passion.

Yana was drawn to Meyer by an interest in the foundation’s equity work and its systems-level change efforts to advance philanthropy and how it ties into her broader understanding of social justice, public health and how it relates to an organization’s mission. Yana holds a bachelor’s degree in public health with a focus on social justice and health equity. Her experience in the nonprofit sector and connection to equity brought her to the forefront of change efforts toward equity and justice within the philanthropic sector.

To me, understanding equity begins with recognizing one’s own position within the social stratum and from there beginning to recognize each person’s individual contribution to the people and places that surround us and its influence on our past, present and future lives. I started my equity journey with a commitment honoring my own lived experience and finding ways to speak my truth. 

Before Meyer, Yana worked as a housing case manager at CAP (formerly Cascade AIDS Project), a nonprofit serving individuals with HIV or experiencing homelessness. Prior to CAP, she has also worked with Indigenous populations, teaching diabetes prevention and nutrition education at the NARA Indian Health Clinics.

Yana was drawn to these roles because of her interest in supporting efforts at the intersection of health care, social work and social justice. Working within these communities in Portland has deepened her understanding of the inequities faced by those who exist at the intersections of oppression.

Yana joined Meyer’s Building Community portfolio in June 2019.