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Youth at the YA-YA Network political education program are from 15-19 years old. The staff are predominantly organizers of color and generally 1/2 of the staff identify as LGBTQ, and the majority of the staff are women. We are a youth driven organization that maximizes the potential for involvement and ownership of the work we do in our communities. 

YA-YA Staff

Nowshen Pranthi - Youth Staff and Organizer

Nowshen Pranthi is born and raised in the Bronx. She is a queer Desi Muslim womanist, socialist and political activist. She is also an artist, henna designer, and writer. Nowshen graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School at the age of 15. She co-founded the Feminist Club at her school and had organized a series of protests and walkouts within her school for the BlackLivesMatter movement. Following the death of Eric Garner, she organized the largest student walkout in the history of Brooklyn Tech since the Vietnam War. She has been a part of the YA-YA Network for more than a year and is currently a youth staff and organizer. She attends LIU Brooklyn Honors Program.

Shaktii - Youth Staff and Organizer
Shaktii is a diasporic South Asian trans femme with their roots in Queens. Through their organizing work, writings, and political education of young people, they strive to carry on and re-awaken trancestral legacies of resistance. Opposing trans visibility and domesticity, she commits herself to cultivating a movement grounded in failure, disobedience, and dissent, with transfeminine & gender non-conforming youth of color at the forefront. Shaktii hopes to be an ancestor to a new generation of decolonial radical organizers, and help bring upon the abolition of gender and prisons.

Naima Bartholomew - Youth Staff and Organizer

Naima Bartholomew is youth staff at the YA-Ya Network, currently entering her junior year of high school. While attending New Design High school, Naima co-created a social justice group to discuss and inform youth about the inequalities that continue to be perpetuated throughout society.  Working at YA-YA has allowed her to grow as a leader and thrive as an organizer. Moving to America at the age of 4-years-old and growing up in Brooklyn with her mother and two brothers was always hard. Even at a young age, she realized that her family would go through hurdles just because of their "status".  As a young girl, coming to the realization that you and your family is systematically oppressed made her passionate about social justice. Because of this passion and yearn for knowledge, Naima found her second home; here at YA-YA. Now she can proudly say she is an organizer.

Emmanueal Luzon - Administrative Assistant

Emmanuel Luzon is a Queer identified Afro-Latino from Brooklyn New York. He was once a YA-YA Youth but has returned as an Administrative Assistant to further assist in helping other youth understand the true value political education. Emmanuel is working in the science field at the moment in order to pursue Physical Therapy while still carrying the politics he has learned at YA-YA. He hopes to one see change in the world while also keeping an active role as an organizer.

Arlene Cornejal - Youth Staff and Organizer 

Arli Cornejal is a chicana, socialists, feminist based in Queens, NYC. They participated in the YA-YA Network’s summer youth political education program in 2012. They credit the YA-YA Network for building their political growth and compassion for social justice. Arli is currently working on a campaign called CUNY Prison Divest. This campaign is focused on not just divesting from prisons at CUNY but also creating a movement in CUNY to get services back for it’s Black and Brown students. Arli is able to do campaign work she is involved with today due to the extensive organizing training she was involved in at the YA-YA Network.

Nancy Uddin- Youth Staff and Organizer 

Nancy Uddin is a South-Asian Muslim activist that is driven by a glimmer of the future. She is an avid explorer, an ambitious soul, and slightly rebellious. She interned at the Arab American Association of New York and is currently a blogger at Sadie Speaks. Even though she is a self-proclaimed city girl (born in Queens), she always yearns for the call of nature. Camping and hiking are among her two favorite things. Nancy also loves endlessly gazing at the sunset from her roof and reflecting. She finds solace through writing and dreams of traveling the world.

Amy Wagner - Executive Director 


Amy Wagner joined the social justice movement when she was marching in utero to ban the bomb. 
Amy spent her formative activist years during the the anti-apartheid and Latin American solidarity movements. With a masters degree in Social Work from New York University, she worked for many years as a social worker in alternative public high schools. She founded YA-YA Network in 1998, and in its fourteenth cycle, the program is still cultivating the next generation of young activists. Amy also has served as the director of the Rose & Sherle Wagner Foundation since 1997.

Ya-Ya Youth 2013: 

Naimah Iniss, Shayla Machado, Brian Dawson, Primi Akhtar, Arlene Cornejal, Cyrena Hayes, LeShone Sobers, Chantae Edwards, Samantha Ing, Andrew Opong, Georgia Owusu, Marvelous Nkrumah, Cynthia DeLeon, Emmanuel Luzon, Lily Johnson, Nancy Uddin. 

Ya-Ya's 2010-11

Zara Afridi, Khaleeq Alfred, Stormy Behlin, Kevin Davis, Jesse Graves, Lisa Flores, Melissa Kissoon, Anthony Ramirez


Ya-Ya's 2009-10

Ciarra Boyd, Zahyia Brown, Sajid Fernandez, Laasia Jones, Sharmin Hossain, Tracey Hobbs Jennifer Lee, Julissa Morban, Miguel Rodriguez, Denise Romero, Arleen Thelemaque


Ya-Ya's 2008-09

Dez Camara, Malika Evans, Tracey Hobbs, Quinn James, Michael Jones, Sabita Ramsaran, Enoel Reyes, Zaire Smalls


Ya-Ya's 2007-08

Juan Antigua, Adana Austin, David Emilien, Nakimuli Francis, Alexandra Manigat, David McNeil, Danielle Smith


Ya-Ya's 2006-07

Micheala Davis, Christine Feliciano, Sean Lewis, Adana Austin, Jessica Rivera, Farah Cruz