Mar Velez
Program Associate, Resource Development Associates (RDA)
Mar Velez connects all the dots as an advocate, public servant, and researcher. Currently, Mar is a Program Associate in the Justice Practice at Resource Development Associates (RDA) in Oakland, CA. In her role, Mar assists government agencies and nonprofits in evaluating criminal justice and health programs to improve systems for economic justice and racial justice for vulnerable populations. Mar’s expansive experience in advocacy, research, and both local and federal government provides her with unique insight to advance equity, justice, and accountability for the public good. Previously Mar was a Congressional Aide to Congresswoman Barbara Lee where she oversaw the criminal justice, Latinx, and Women’s rights issues portfolio in Rep. Lee’s district office. She also served as a staffer to District 5 City of Oakland Councilmember, Noel Gallo. Mar’s passion for criminal justice is grounded in the youth justice movement. As former Campaign and Organizing Campaign Manager for Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, Mar organized statewide campaigns for good policy for positive youth outcomes in California and across the country. Mar holds a dual Master’s degree in Public Health and City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley where she worked at the intersection of racial, economic, and youth justice to achieve positive life and health outcomes in vulnerable populations. She led a community-based participatory research project using the PhotoVoice method with Oakland youth used in advocacy and movement building strategies to center youth’s voice in policy. She brings movement-building expertise, experience in community-based participatory research, and policy analysis to New Leaders Council 2021.