Marisol Cantú is a proud queer Xicana and 3rd generation Richmond resident on Ohlone Land. She is a femme educator, activist, community organizer, and radical thinker in the Bay Area.
Marisol was trained as a social worker and later earned her Master's in Applied Linguistics with a concentration on multicultural/bilingual education at Columbia University. She now teaches as an English as a Second Language (ESL) Professor at her alma mater, Contra Costa College.
Her organizing work has focused primarily on intertwining racial justice, social justice, and environmental justice. Her experience working in advocacy and activist groups includes building people-powered campaigns, strengthening relationships with community partners and academia, policy advocacy, and most importantly, changing systems with systems-impacted community members at the helm.
As someone whose life and family have been impacted by systemic oppression, and social injustices, Marisol saw the need to reimagine public safety systems. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, she joined Reimagine Richmond where she is currently a lead researcher and trainer. She sees the power of confronting social injustices lies in civic engagement and policy change, which were driving forces in becoming a Reimagining Public Safety Community Task Force Member for the City of Richmond. This movement empowered by community leaders led an effort to invest $6.3M in systems of care. These recommendations were part of an effort to divest from the policing system by investing in youth employment, violence prevention, unhoused interventions, and a non-police mental health crisis response program.
Marisol came to see racial justice as environmental justice. Marisol also serves as a Steering Committee Member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance which takes political decision-making back from corporations and puts power in the hands of the people. Marisol’s environmental justice work includes the Listening Project, a community-driven project to listen and understand the harms of the fossil fuel industry from the lives of frontline residents, and being an AB617 Community Steering Committee Member charged with creating a community emissions and exposure reduction plan with local air districts and the California Air Resources Board.
Marisol’s motivation comes from her community, city, and family being directly harmed by the oppressive racist capitalistic systems and knowing mass liberation will happen through healing, justice, and love.