WHO WE ARE
Executive Director, Board Chair
Pronouns: she/her, they/them
Tamia Deary came to this work through her journey back to health after being diagnosed with breast cancer and PTSD. Her experience opened her eyes to the importance of self-care and inspired her to improve access to resources for her community. She believes in collaborative processes and in building collective power through forging partnerships with other grassroots organizations.
In addition to their work as PDX Alliance for Self-Care Founder and Executive Director, they volunteer with Campus Compact of Oregon－as the chair of their Community Advisory Council and as interim chair of the board of directors－in service to its mission of bringing diversity, equity, and inclusion to educational opportunities and empowering students as agents of change. They also serve as a board member at-large on the Community Health Council－the Co-Applicant Board of Directors that oversee the County’s Health Centers in partnership with the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.
She is a diehard fan of the North London football team, Arsenal Gunners, and enjoys dancing, gardening, hiking, yoga, and cooking for friends and family.
Pronouns: she/her, they/them
Carmen Brewton Denison is a writer, educator, artist, and activist who resides in Portland, Oregon. She currently serves as the Executive Director at racial justice and educational equity-focused non-profit organization, Campus Compact of Oregon. In this role, she supports the development and implementation of racial justice programming in partnership with 2- and 4-year colleges and universities, K-12 schools, government, and nonprofit entities across the state of Oregon. She also coordinates, designs, and facilitates Campus Compact community accountability and collaboration and institutional equity initiatives with campus and community partners across the country. Beginning her career as a visual artist, Denison’s early work drew heavily upon histories of social intervention, anti-colonial and anti-racist pedagogy, and Black Feminist critique. Denison’s practice led to non-profit work with the co-founding of the Creative Activism Lab in 2013 with an Innovation Award from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. From there, Denison went on to work with the Portland Community College Community-Based Learning department to support community engagement methodologies that center critical race theory and community wisdom.
Denison has worked on collaborative projects that have focused on issues of homelessness/housing, prison abolition, environmental justice, international feminisms, labor, and youth empowerment. As a teacher and facilitator, Denison supported the development of interdisciplinary and socially engaged-programming in Marylhurst University’s art department, where she taught critical theory and interdisciplinary thesis research and writing. She currently works with students in Portland State University’s University Studies Program and Pacific Northwest College of Arts Critical Studies Program where she designs, facilitates, and teaches applied theory curriculum.
Carmen’s partner Alex, and her dog, Pinto, are the center of her world. Her top ten favorite things are: travel, movies/tv, books, politics, art, music, food, plants, the forest, and conversation about the aforementioned topics with good company.
Launa is an early childhood speech-language pathologist working to serve children and families in the Portland area. In her work, Launa advocates for inclusive preschool settings that use positive behavior interventions and practices for all students. It is very important to Launa that she show up in support of the ongoing and existing projects of community leaders and organizations doing racial and social justice work in Portland. To maintain balance and mental health, Launa enjoys reading, gardening, sunsets, nature, concerts, her dog and cat, her family, and her brand new grandbaby!
Melanie Willis was quick to observe the importance of nonprofits, and to understand that necessary radical work takes radical action outside of existing systems. She felt a responsibility to become involved in doing the work to support much-needed changes to Portland. She joined PDX ASC in 2017 and has served as Treasurer. As a founding board member, she serves to help initiate new board members and bring them up to speed on previous actions of the board and organization. She was born in Portland and enjoys making music, cooking, and baking both in her professional life as well as in feeding those around her.
Josue David Bailon Nino
Our newest board member's bio coming soon!
Pronouns: they/them, she/her
Yosha joined PDX ASC as head intern during her sophomore year in college and developed our first youth programming. Growing up in Portland as a child of a single mother taught her to really value community. Last year, her passion for self-care was pushed into existence by an elder who firmly told her and her peers that they had to take care of themselves before they could make any progress in the change that they were trying to create. Yosha is attending the University of San Francisco and working her way towards law school. She spends all her free time and energy dancing and spending time with friends.
Letting go of 2016, Special made the pivotal decision to return back to her ancestral domain, marking a new chapter in her intentional self-care journey. Special is just trying to be a good ancestor by taking the steps to heal generational trauma she has inherited, finding joy on the way. She has much gratitude to be in collective with the social justice warriors building the blueprint for a more intentional and loving city. In her current work, Special manages the campaign to elect Teressa Raiford for mayor. She feels most at home in the sun, between a book, or in her grandma's garden.
Renate Ray Meyer
Pronouns: they/them, she/her
Renate Ray Mayer is a first-generation immigrant from sunny South Africa, where they worked as a journalist telling stories about marginalized communities. After a quick stint teaching English in China and Vietnam, Ray moved to Portland. The wait for a green card was long, and the winter was brutal. It was during this time that Ray experienced community care at a soak hosted by PDX ASC. Ray immediately wanted to be a part of this radical organization uplifting marginalized communities.
For self-care, Ray finds pleasure and healing in therapy. They also try to take regular trips to the beach and go outside as soon as they see a patch of sun.
After an earlier trip to Portland during the 2016 election season left Ray feeling isolated and invisible, she is determined to do community work to make sure the most marginalized folks in Portland feel affirmed and connected. Ray is thrilled to currently be working at a Black-led organization, building a Portland where people of African descent are thriving and resilient.
Ray is a connoisseur of lemonade, ribs and rooibos tea, and in the words of Maya Angelou, longs to be at home wherever she finds herself.
Founding Board Members Emeriti
Kat is, and will forever be, on a journey. S/he joined PDX ASC to dismantle white supremacy, to disrupt and heal oppressive and inequitable systems existing within them and around them. As interim Vice President, Kat’s role was to support the initial founding and beginning setup of the group. S/he is an earth lover, writer, life-learner, and Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master.
As a nonbinary trans person with diagnosed mental illnesses, Francis has experienced the powerful and lifesaving impact of self-care resources in Portland. They believe it's their lifelong responsibility to practice self-care so they can most effectively contribute to movements and organizations working to dismantle white supremacy.