Introducing Yolanda Matthews

By Linda Gasparovic

We are excited to introduce Yolanda Matthews, a Rainier Valley Corps fellow who will be serving as the Coalition Organizer of Sage’s Interfaith Economic Justice Coalition!

Yolanda, a native Bostonian who moved to Seattle six years ago, will be responsible for coordinating interfaith support of worker organizing through Sage’s Interfaith Economic Justice Coalition (IEJC). By facilitating conversations and action between faith leaders, unions, and workers, Sage and the IEJC hope to bring a faith perspective to economic inequities in the region.

She brings four years of experience with Got Green through their Young Leaders Program and more recently as a member of the Food Access Team and their Board of Directors. While this is Yolanda’s first foray into the professional side of community building and organizing, she has years of experience in grassroots social justice work. “Being on the ground marching, rallying, protesting, door knocking, strategizing, testifying,” she recalls, “were the social justice tools that I needed to acquire in order for me to be rooted in my work today.”

Yolanda can be reached at yolanda@pugetsoundsage.org. Please join us in welcoming Yolanda to our Sage community!

Staff Spotlight

How did you first get involved with Rainier Valley Corps?
I became involved with the Rainier Valley Corps when I attended the inaugural celebration in honor of the first cohort of RVC fellows. I had been encouraged to apply for the first cohort, but because of school commitments I was unable to participate at that time. However, I was still interested and able to keep abreast of RVC’s activities through their e-blasts.

What was your first impression of Puget Sound Sage?
My first impression of Puget Sound Sage was formed four years ago when I started volunteering with Got Green. While I didn’t know much about Sage at the time, I began hearing about their work through the grapevine and thought, “they must be a great organization if Got Green is collaborating with them on so many projects!” I was also becoming more aware of just how hard they work on influencing policy.

What are you most excited for during your time with Puget Sound Sage?
I really look forward to helping mobilize folks who have the dignity to stand up for what they know are their rights as human beings, and holding local government accountable to the jobs we elect them to do. I am excited to be working with an organization that has such intentionality in making sure that when major decisions on equity are being made in Seattle, the families of color who contribute to the diversity of our neighborhoods have the first seat at the table!

What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I come from a large extended family (my mother is one of 11 children, so I claim 28 first cousins, 27 or so second cousins, and 5 or so third cousins that still reside in my hometown of Boston)! I am a vegan home chef who enjoys experimenting with ingredients and embraces all aspects of healthy living. I’ve been secretly interested in getting my scuba certification for the past 10+ years… maybe now that I’m stating it out loud, I might just work a little harder to actually realize the dream!

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