Vanessa Riles was born and raised in Oakland, California. She comes from a family that is deeply rooted in a commitment to social change work through education and civic engagement. She learned from a young age that one person can make a difference as long as they are working with and for their community. Vanessa’s political education, activism and organizing began when she was a child. She remembers being carried on her father’s shoulders at an anti-apartheid rally, sitting next to him diligently taking notes at a Rainbow Coalition meeting, and spending time in his offices at the Alameda County Administration Building and at Oakland City Hall. She worked with community-based organizations fighting for social justice during her junior high and college years.
In her later years, Vanessa’s activism was reignited by her faith community and she participated in multiple campaigns for racial, housing, and land justice in Oakland. She organized and participated in direct actions and organizing campaigns throughout Oakland with many local community groups. She was often seen speaking, praying, and singing at rallies, demonstrations and meetings of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the Oakland City Council. She had the opportunity to be a part of multiple coalitions working toward social justice in its many forms.
Vanessa has recently joined the staff at EBASE as the Oakland Campaign Coordinator and she is grateful to be able to continue to fight for racial, economic, land, and housing justice for the people of Oakland. She is looking forward to ensuring that there is fair development in Oakland that includes strong, effective, implementable and enforceable community benefits agreements, and that there is a fair and equitable city budget. She believes it is imperative that the city is able to guarantee affordable housing, environmental quality, worker’s rights, and a life of dignity for Oakland residents and workers of all genders, orientations, backgrounds, ability levels, and social locations and he is willing to do the work necessary to make that happen. Vanessa is committed to doing this work as an embodiment of her values, experiences, and faith, which she hopes to bring into every interaction and decision.