Our Leadership Team

Dr. Linda Alvarez, PhD, Co-founder and Director

Linda received her Ph.D. in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Claremont Graduate University. She also holds an Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies from California State University, Los Angles. Her scholarly interests revolve around exploring the ways in which underrepresented and marginalized groups interact, challenge and resist dominant structures of power. As a political scientist, she works within the frameworks of comparative political behavior, political psychology, transnational migration, social movements, race and ethnic politics, food politics and the study of violence and trauma among underrepresented and marginalized populations.

Linda has been involved in animal rights advocacy and activism for 20 years, and she is dedicated to spreading awareness on issues of food (in)justice in communities of color.

Linda is co-creator of the People of Color: Animal Rights, Advocacy and Food Justice Conference, which takes place in Los Angeles and organized through Vegan Advocacy Initiative.

Linda is also an active gardener. She is invested in veganic gardening and farming practices, and might be slightly obsessed with the amazing life systems beneath the ground, namely the interaction of soil, fungus and worms.

Elizabeth (Liz) Ross, Co-founder and Director

Liz is a graduate of James Madison University, Virginia.  She is co-creator of the People of Color: Animal Rights, Advocacy and Food Justice Conference, which takes place in Los Angeles and organized through Vegan Advocacy Initiative.

Liz is an active member of Black Skeptics Los Angeles (BSLA), which is committed to community building and promoting social justice work through a secular humanist perspective in Southern California.  Each year, BSLA spearheads its “First in the Family Scholarship Fund”, which provides financial resources to undocumented, foster care, homeless, system-involved, and LGBTQ youth of color to help absorb some of their college expenses.

A former police officer, Liz raises awareness about the history and problem of mass-incarceration through presentations, and volunteering for organizations that are working to counter its negative impact. Her related presentation topic includes “The Politics of the ‘War on Drugs’ and It’s Affects on Predominantly Black & Brown Communities”. Liz has also facilitated discussion groups on Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

Liz has been involved in animal rights activism and vegan outreach for over 6 years.  She enjoys trail running, gardening, and is passionate about learning agro-ecological gardening and farming practices, and alternative food systems, from an ethical vegan’s perspective.

Cheryl Roberts, Director

A Washington DC native and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Cheryl Roberts holds a Masters Degree in African Diaspora Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology.

Cheryl is one of the founding members of the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition (MDERC), a non-partisan grass-roots organization dedicated to election reform.  MDERC worked to protect the rights of eligible voters to cast a ballot and to have that ballot accurately recorded and counted; and to provide voter registration materials and instructions in Spanish and Creole. From 2002 – 2006, Cheryl worked with legal activists and policy makers to challenge the laws and procedures that were impediments to free and fair elections in Florida.  Her primary focus was on disenfranchisement of former felons who had completed their sentences, voter registration, and challenging the use of the controversial touch-screen voting machines that had prevented proper auditing of the 2000 Presidential Election.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida later recruited Cheryl.  At the ACLU, she worked on their Voter Rights Restoration initiative and spearheaded the “Know Your Rights” project for LGBTQ middle school and high school youth.

Cheryl worked as an Adjunct Professor at Florida International University where she taught courses in African American and African Diaspora Studies, and Critical Thinking, for 6 years.

Cheryl currently manages a division of a Florida county Economic and Small Business Development agency.  She is an active member of the Cal Berkeley Alumni Association, volunteers at animal shelters, and enjoys spending time outdoors with her canine companion, Mango, and Mango’s friends.