ABOUT US

The Basics

Brightline is a policy advocacy non-profit that works to empower communities and create sustainable environments. We work to promote sustainable policies that allow low-income residents to remain and work in developing urban communities, focusing on local hiring policies and access to environmental benefits such as solar and energy efficiency.  Our team of community-oriented lawyers connects communities most in need to critical policymaking levers at the local and state level, which can be then modeled nationwide.

Brightline was founded on November 22, 2005 and received tax-exempt status as an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) designated public charity on November 8, 2006.

Our Story

Brightline Defense Project began operation in 2006 as a traditional legal aid organization, but a chance 2007 City Hall meeting with community leader Espanola Jackson (pictured above) led the organization on a path to becoming a strong voice in the advocacy movement to bring environmental justice and quality-of-life improvements to San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point community. A high-profile campaign to close San Francisco's Potrero Power Plant without building new dirty power plants among the city's southeast sector low-income communities of color built Brightline's capacity to promote renewable energy programs in San Francisco and beyond. Subsequent efforts to develop green-collar job opportunities for those historically burdened by power plant pollution led to Brightline's leadership role in working with Supervisor John Avalos and other community advocates to craft San Francisco's local hiring policy for construction, now celebrated as the most successful of its kind in the country.

The evolution from environmental justice activism, to clean energy support, to green job promotion, to local hiring policy development has elevated Brightline’s reputation as a capable advocate for underserved and underrepresented communities.

Our Mission

Brightline’s mandate is simple: empowering communities, sustainable environments. Our mission is to promote sustainability and opportunity in traditionally underserved communities through public policy advocacy and partnerships. Our focus is on three pathways to protect and empower communities in need: advancing environmental justice, ensuring job creation and retention, and advocating for the development of fair, affordable, and sustainable housing.


OUR TEAM

Eddie Ahn, Executive Director

eddie@brightlinedefense.org

Eddie Ahn has been engaged in policy and legal advocacy since 2009. Prior to being a nonprofit attorney, he was an AmeriCorps member, serving as an afterschool programmer in Oakland’s Chinatown. While working toward his law degree, he continued to teach art and public speaking workshops for youth and worked on civil justice and environmental issues for the Assembly Judiciary Committee in Sacramento. His workforce development expertise and analysis of federal constitutional law has also assisted multiple municipalities in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. 

In 2017, Eddie was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee to the SF Commission on the Environment, which sets policy for the SF Department of Environment and advises the City and County on environmental matters. On April 25, 2018, he was appointed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to the SF Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), a state planning and regulatory agency with regional authority over the Bay Area. He also serves on the board of Mission Housing Development Corporation, a nonprofit affordable housing developer. 

Eddie has received his J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and his B.A. from Brown University. He is also a member of the California State Bar.

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Victoria Stafford, Policy Associate

victoria.s@brightlinedefense.org

Victoria Stafford conducts research for Brightline's programs in workforce development, environmental policy, and youth education.  Working for Brightline since Fall 2018, Victoria Stafford is deeply fascinated by the relationship between environmental issues, political engagement, and social welfare. She is currently studying Environmental Economics and Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and someday she hopes to work on the frontiers of environmental diplomacy and sustainable entrepreneurship. Currently, Victoria is planning an academic course and service experience under the UC Berkeley Public Service Center’s Alternative Breaks program.

She has also taught a class of fellow undergraduate students about local environmental justice issues and guiding service initiatives that support the resistance and resilience of environmentally-impacted communities in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco.

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Daniela Cortes, Program Coordinator

daniela@brightlinedefense.org

Daniela Cortes coordinates Brightline’s Construction Sector Bridge Program. She is currently studying International and Legal Studies at the University of San Francisco and plans to attend law school post-graduation. Daniela is interested in the nexus of environmental justice, policymaking, and corporate sustainability. In the past, she has conducted research on environmental degradation and human migration patterns.

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Vanessa Suárez, Policy Consultant

vanessa@brightlinedefense.org

Supporting Brightline over 2019, Vanessa Suárez is passionately interested in developing comprehensive climate change mitigative and adaptive strategies via the integration of ecology, policy, and social equity. A recent graduate of University of California, Berkeley, she studied Conservation and Resource Studies. Vanessa has interned for her local state Senate representative in Fresno and has been an undergraduate auditor of the Environmental Law Clinic at Berkeley Law School.

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Amanda Rupp, Policy Fellow

arupp@brightlinedefense.org

Amanda Rupp is a Brightline policy fellow and assists with policy research on environmental issues. Currently, she is studying at the University of San Francisco where she studies International and Spanish Studies. In the past, she has participated in a research project on the environmental implications of forced labor in Thailand. Amanda has a strong desire to expand her knowledge in local policy advocacy and environmental justice. 

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Angela Ames, Policy Fellow

angela@brightlinedefense.org

Angela Ames is a Brightline policy fellow working on policy and legal research. She is in her fourth year at the University of California, Berkeley where she studies Economics and Public Policy. Throughout her time at Cal she has been an active member of Amnesty International and the Student Immigration Relief Clinic, while also serving as the Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Director of her sorority. During her senior year, Angela will be writing her honors thesis on the impact of the increase of the minimum wage on employment in Berkeley. In the future, Angela would like to attend law school with a focus in public service. Angela is passionate about creating a more equitable and inclusive society, and is thrilled to be working on environmental justice at Brightline.

Dilini Lankachandra, Policy Counsel

Dilini Lankachandra supports Brightline as policy counsel after serving as Brightline’s legal fellow from 2015-2016.  She also works as staff attorney for A Better Balance in the Defending Local Democracy Project.  Throughout law school, she worked for the Green-Collar Communities Clinic (GC3) at the East Bay Community Law Center.   She has continued to work at GC3 as a legislative advocate promoting worker cooperatives as a vehicle for community-based economic growth.  Her workforce development expertise has specifically benefited multiple municipal jurisdictions in New Jersey.   

Dilini has received her J.D. from University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and her B.A. from Columbia University.  She is also a member of the New York and California State Bars.


OUR BOARD

Guillermo Rodriguez, Director

Guillermo Rodriguez has an extensive background in both business, government, and non-profit management. He was the executive director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute where he has successfully championed local hiring programs and also advocated for an innovative incentive program to spur residential and business solar installation using San Franciscans trained as solar installers. Guillermo has been active in many civic and community based organizations, including the Greenlining Institute, the California State Parks Foundation, Meals on Wheels San Francisco, and Latino Issues Forum. He has also been a former director of CityBuild Academy, former Director of Policy of the SF Department of Environment, and currently serves as the California State Director for the Trust for Public Land.  He is a proud alum from the University of California at Berkeley.

Solomon So, Director

Solomon So was born and raised in the Bay Area and currently serves as the Operations Director at JBR Partners. He has over 8 years of experience in community organizing and providing public relations consulting for public agencies and non-profits. He's enjoyed working on many local transportation, infrastructure, and construction projects that have great impact on Bay Area communities. He likes traveling, sandwiches, fantasy sports, photography, and is the proud owner of Juno the dancing dog.

Maurilio León, Director

Maurilio León currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Community Housing Opportunities Corporation (CHOC), a community-centered housing developer in a tri-county area (Yolo, Solano, Sacramento). Having worked in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, Mr. León brings a wealth of experience to his community work having previously served as Assemblymember Phil Ting’s District Director in San Francisco and Executive Vice President of the Unity Council in Oakland.

Nick Hardeman, Director

Nick Hardeman is a native of San Francisco and currently serves as Chief of Staff for Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins. He has previously served as the Capitol Director for Assembly Majority Whip Fiona Ma. Prior to joining Assemblywoman Ma’s office, Nick served as a consultant to the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. In his years working in the Capitol, Nick has worked on legislation to guarantee all workers paid sick days, to prevent the spread of Wal-Mart Supercenters, and on issues relating to Poverty. Nick is active in the labor movement and is a member of Sign and Display Local Union 510.  He earned a B.A. degree in Politics from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, where he was a leader in a successful living wage campaign, and he has also been part of the California Senate Fellowship Program.

Nang-keo Duarte, Director

Nang-keo Duarte has been helping non-profits raise money to pursue their missions for over a decade. Nang-keo is well-versed in building donor networks, event outreach, and large-scale event logistics for non-profits focused on seeking justice through the legal process. She is currently a partner in a fundraising company Parity Events that coordinates annual galas and luncheons for non-profits. In her spare time she loves spending time with her family and enjoys volunteering.