Since 2005, Sara has proudly represented the indigent accused at the Miami-Dade Public Defender's Office. As a founding member of Emerge Miami, Sara helped to tighten-up and energize Miami's previously-disconnected progressive community. Also in 2005, Sara cofounded Miami's only independent record store, Sweat Records.
JUSTIN WINSTON ONO WALES
Justin loves the Beatles. He is a First Amendment lawyer and local gadfly.
Artist, educator, visionary, innovator, movement builder, and lifelong advocate for children and families.
A lifelong Miamian and child of Cuban immigrants, Annette has played many roles in the public interest in Miami-Dade. Annette graduated from Florida International University with a BA in Economics. Soon after, she joined the teaching ranks while simultaneously nurturing her interest in community involvement by volunteering for the Obama campaign of 2012 and working as a staff assistant for Congressman Joe Garcia. Annette is currently pursuing an MA in Philosophy and Education.
Elizabeth is a longtime activist, fighting for LGBTQ rights, domestic violence survivors, and increased political engagement, among many other things. After spending 13 years working in media and publishing, most recently as the managing editor of The New Tropic, she joined the Labor movement as statewide communications director of SEIU Florida, part of the fastest-growing union in the country. She's a South Florida native who loves comics and always find her way back to the beach again.
ROB BISKUPIC-KNIGHT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Rob has been in a deeply committed relationship with Miami since 2010 when he moved here from the West Coast. He became hooked on Miami after meeting many fellow dreamer-leaders, who have built bold and ambitious dreams into reality for themselves, their families, and the Miami community. Previously an educator, Rob is now insanely excited to lead Engage Miami’s movement of dreamer-leaders as Engage’s Executive Director and ensure Miami remains a city of opportunity for all.
ARIEL SEPULVEDA, ORGANIZING DIRECTOR
Born in Bronx, New York but raised in Miami, Ariel is beyond excited to be home after spending sometime in San Antonio, TX where she earned a BA in Liberal Arts for History at the University of Texas at San Antonio. While there, Ariel’s lack of access to affordable healthcare inspired her to volunteer for political clubs on campus. As President of her college’s Young Democrats club, she focused on voter access and engagement issues. Her first job out of college was working for the youth engagement organization MOVE San Antonio. As Organizing Director there, she developed internship programs, led their issue campaign, and managed the field— registering thousands of young people to vote throughout the city. Now Ariel is engaging Miami and Miami’s youth groups.
ELSA ROBERTS, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
Elsa has been practicing the delicate art of persuasion for nearly a decade, doing programming and communications work for progressive organizations in Miami and Michigan like The Aqua Foundation and SEIU Florida. She has been actively working for women’s freedom and rights for sexual minorities since her college days at Michigan Tech, where she graduated with a BA in Communication and Culture Studies in ‘09 and an MS in Rhetoric and Technical Communication in ‘15. Her passions include urbanism and placemaking, feminism, and how open public discourse can make us all a little more understanding of one another.
GILBERT PLACERES, ORGANIZER
Gilbert grew up between New York City, Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep. and Miami. He was first trained as an organizer during President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012 here in Miami, before attending Tufts University where he double majored in Political Science and Quantitative Economics. He continued to organize by joining NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s re-election campaign in 2014 and founding a Students Against Mass Incarceration chapter on his campus. Gilbert is passionate about affordable housing, economic justice and empowering marginalized communities, and in the long-term would like to combine his organizing and policy & data analysis skills to advance these causes.
IBIS VALDES, ORGANIZER
Ibis Valdés is a social justice advocate specializing in gender equality and Latin American affairs. She has dedicated herself to feminist activism since 2011, graduating with a BA in Political Science and International Affairs with a focus on Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Northeastern University. In 2015 she relocated to Latin America to work and study in Costa Rica and Ecuador, where she focused on women and LGBT affairs as an avenue to promote civil and economic rights. She appeared onstage with Lady Gaga at the 2016 Academy Awards as a survivor-activist who participated in the “The Hunting Ground” documentary to advocate against obstacles inhibiting equal access to justice for sexual assault victims. In 2017, she graduated with an MA in International Law and Human Rights from the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica; she is currently raising the youth voice in local elections.