National AFGE Y.O.U.N.G. Committee

At the 2012 AFGE National Convention, a resolution was proposed and passed to support a National AFGE YOUNG Committee. Through the AFGE YOUNG Committee the union will promote the inclusive empowerment and education of young workers as engaged activists and leaders in the labor movement through organizing efforts in the Districts that will create new and innovative spaces for young, diverse, and motivated workers while hearing from young workers about their ideas, concerns and experiences.

This resolution specifically asked for AFGE’s support and encouragement to form a National AFGE YOUNG Committee comprised of an AFGE YOUNG Representative from each District that will participate in Committee meetings to discuss what’s important for the young workers in their District and write reports to advise the NEC on behalf of young workers. 

Pictures from AFGE Y.O.U.N.G. Committee Meetings

Kendrick Roberson (Chair & District 12)

Kendrick Roberson smiling

Kendrick Roberson hails from Carson, California in the County of Los Angeles. Having first attended El Camino College, Kendrick attained an associate's degree in the field of economics. During his time at El Camino College, Kendrick was a winner in a nationwide competition hosted by NASA and began his current job at the Los Angeles Air Force Base’s Space and Missile Systems Center. In 2013, after transferring to Pepperdine for his undergraduate career, Kendrick earned his bachelor's degree in economics, and was accepted into Pepperdine's Graziadio School of Business and Management. Kendrick finished his time at Pepperdine by delivering the student address during his graduation ceremony.

Kendrick joined the union in 2016, and was selected to become the Local 2429 Y.O.U.N.G. representative in 2016. In 2017, Kendrick became the Y.O.U.N.G. representative for District 12, and was placed on the National Y.O.U.N.G. Committee. In 2020, Kendrick was elected to become the Chair of the Y.O.U.N.G. Committee, representing over 100,000 federal workers under the age of 40. While it may seem a platitude, Kendrick truly believes in fighting for hardworking employees. He is driven to eradicate workplace bullying, mistreatment, racism, sexism, and profiling. As such, Kendrick is constantly soaking in new knowledge that will aid in clearing the muddied waters of workplace inequality.

Kendrick Roberson
[email protected]
Chair of the National  Y.O.U.N.G Committee
12th District Y.O.U.N.G. Coordinator

Torre White (Co-Chair & District 4)

Torre White smiling

Torre “Tor” White is a member of AFGE Local 446 in Asheville, NC. She is one of the District 4 Y.O.U.N.G. Coordinators and the Co-Chair of the National Y.O.U.N.G. Committee. She is an author, single mom of two, and true advocate. She serves on the Western NC Central Labor Council, Asheville/ Buncombe NAACP, NAACP NextGen Class, and other community entities. Her focus is on diversity, intentional inclusion, mental health awareness, and social justice. She is a strong believer that in order to demand change you must be a part of the change; nothing comes to those who remain silent. She is dedicated to giving a voice to the voiceless and does not mind speaking out against injustices. She may be short but she is fierce and always willing to stand up and fight!

Torre believes that advocacy comes at a cost that everyone is not prepared nor willing to pay. Activism is often a thankless job that requires true commitment and sacrifice without accolades.

Torre encourages everyone to never be afraid to take your place in this world — there is no time like the present!

We Fight, We Fight, We Fight!

Quotes that inspire Torre

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than it’s opposite.” -Nelson Mandela

Torre White
[email protected]
Co-Chair,  AFGE National YOUNG Committee
4th District Y.O.U.N.G. Coordinator

Vanessa Barrow (District 2)

Vanessa Barrow smiling

Vanessa Barrow’s interest in the union peaked when she attended the 2010 Legislative rally. It was then that she witnessed first hand how the union gives a voice to all its members and helps them feel empowered to create change. Vanessa believes that once someone is empowered there is no limit to that person's potential. Vanessa is dedicated to seeing the labor movement gain momentum and believes that the Y.O.U.N.G. program will allow this to happen for future generations. Vanessa will continue being that person that fights the battle first hand.

Quote that inspires Vanessa

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

Vanessa Barrow
[email protected]
2nd District Y.O.U.N.G Mentor

Jennifer Ramirez (Member At Large District 2) 

Jennifer Ramirez smiling

Jennifer S. Ramirez was born and raised in Bronx NY. She grew up in a union household. Her father was a proud member of the Teamsters Union Excavators Local 731 for over 30 years. Jennifer is a claims specialist for the Social Security Administration. As a union member Jennifer is part of an organization that represents and supports more than 300,000 federal employees. As a union officer she is continuing the legacy left by her predecessors. 

Jennifer’s passion for representing employees grew as she noticed early on in her career the favoritism, inequalities and the mismanagement that existed at her local office. Jennifer found herself relying on her agency’s national agreement, whistleblower laws and bullying policies to combat and challenge things in her workplace. 

The more Jennifer learned the closer she felt to justice. This opened the door to her journey and she never looked back. Currently, Jennifer is the only officer at her local to ever hold the positions of a local treasurer, a Council position as the health and safety officer, and a national position as member at large for the National Y.O.U.N.G Committee.

Being able to help employees who can't help themselves, for Jennifer, is the biggest reward. Contributing to this great federation that has allowed Jennifer to grow makes the union as a whole big enough to win.  

Jennifer is proud to represent AFGE and believes it is a reflection of the diversity that exists in our workforce, communities, the labor movement, and our road to social justice. Jennifer understands that accepting and embracing diversity is one of the many examples of true solidarity. She believes unions are a key example of how we are stronger together. 

Jennifer. S. Ramirez
[email protected]
Member at Large

James Rihel (District 3)

James Rihel smiling

James believes that being a part of the movement is empowering. Helping to bring justice in the workplace and in society is a noble undertaking and James is happy to do his part to involve young workers in Pennsylvania and Delaware in the movement.

Quote that inspires James

“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!” - Mario Savio

James Rihel
[email protected]
3rd District Y.O.U.N.G Mentor

Matthew Uchaker (District 3)

Matthew Uchaker smiling

Matthew has served as the District 3 Y.O.U.N.G. Coordinator since 2018. Prior to that, Matthew has been an active member and steward at AFGE Local 2028 in Pittsburgh. Union runs in his family. His father was a member of AFSCME for over 30 years, and Matthew feels privileged to carry on such a tradition.  Matthew believes It is our right to get a fair shake in today’s world, and with a union we can fight towards that fair shake.

Matthew started out as a member of his local on day one. He became a steward many years after he had seen how things were transpiring around him. He was approached in 2018 to become a Y.O.U.N.G. coordinator and he leapt at the chance. Matthew currently serves as the recording secretary of the national committee. He is honored to be part of such a great group.

 Quote that inspires Matthew

“The labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Matthew Uchaker
[email protected]
3rd District Y.O.U.N.G Coordinator

Ryan Gurganious (District 4)

Ryan Gurganious smiling

Ryan has served as the District 4 Y.O.U.N.G. Coordinator since its inception. He also served as the first national chair for the group and has been dedicated to the furthering of adding young members to the union since he became a unionist.

He currently serves his local as the legislative director and as a national council representative for AFGE SSA Council 220. Ryan also serves as the webmaster for the council, chairs the publications committee and manages the council’s social media accounts. 

Outside of our union, Ryan is happily married to his high school sweetheart, Bristol, and shares his spare time running after their five daughters: Jadelyne, Madagan, Emersyn, Aniston and Gracyn. He enjoys acting and serves as board historian for the Lincoln Theatre Guild as well as volunteers time for his local chapter of Knights of Columbus.

Ryan feels strongly about workers rights, and lives by the motto that: " Together we bargain, divided we beg."

Ryan Gurganious
[email protected]
4th District Y.O.U.N.G Coordinator

Shekina Givens (District 5)

Shekina Givens smiling

Shekina believes in the Labor Union Creed:

To continually strive for compensation that is fair and equitable.
To assure the individual dignity of each worker.
To provide an atmosphere of free expression within the union and out.
To guarantee "fairplay" to all.
To spare no effort to provide safe working conditions.
To help make your job the best place in the world to work. 

Quote that inspires Shekina

“Together we bargain, divided we beg!”

Shekina Givens
[email protected]
5th District Y.O.U.N.G Representative 

Tanyell Jackson (District 5)

Tanyell Jackson smiling

Tanyell has been a proud member of AFGE VA Local 503 in Alabama for four years and serves as the union's executive vice president. She believes Les Brown said it best, " Someone's opinion of you is not your reality." 

Tanyell hopes we inspire people to go beyond what someone says they can't do. She wants to help Y.O.U.N.G. people rise above every expectation and have no limitations.

 

Tanyell Jackson
[email protected]
5th District Y.O.U.N.G Coordinator

Miranda Kiwelu (District 8)

Miranda Kiwelu smiling

Miranda Kiwelu was born and raised in Minnesota. Her father was the chief steward for his AFSCME local all throughout her childhood and early adulthood. Being union was instilled in Miranda at a young age, surpassing her understanding of why — then she became involved in the union and realized why first hand. Miranda is an advanced medical support assistant for General Internal Medicine at the Minneapolis, MN VAMC and has been in the VA system for 13 years. The Minneapolis VA has over 3,000 bargaining unit members. AFGE as a whole has over 300,000. Miranda currently serves AFGE Local 1969 as the third vice president, VA chief steward, the legislative political Coordinator and former Interim secretary. She currently serves her district as one of the District 8 Y.O.U.N.G. Coordinators. Miranda is proud to be on this journey and to learn from fellow union siblings that have gone before her.   

Miranda joined the VA system in 2008 not realizing the battles she would overcome, the people she would learn from, and the situations she’d be involved in. Her initial passion stemmed from her own frustrations. She witnessed issues related to staffing, interactions between management, employees, fellow peers and lack of understanding for those dealing with general life stressors. Miranda also met a union steward from another local who really impacted her life at a low point. The steward helped her turn things around and from there Miranda has continued fighting and moving forward. The steward that helped Miranda has since become a local president at another facility and is someone Miranda will never forget. Miranda says, “ I wanted to help others the way she helped me.” 

Once finally becoming a union steward Miranda was able to take her own experiences and work diligently to create positive culture shifts to begin re-establishing teamwork and foundations of mutual respect in various departments that too were struggling. She has been able to help others with EEO, MSPB, and OSC cases, as well as, teach and inform others on legislative matters that affect them. Miranda works to empower others, help facilitate communication among groups, lend an ear, get members connected to resources for various issues, re-instill hope, help many retire, build resumes, write grievances and represent employees who are often overlooked, unappreciated or at times facing unfair disciplinary actions. 

Miranda believes union stewards are here to protect the process and to ensure that our members rights are being upheld in any action that comes forth and that their voices are being heard. As a District 8 Y.O.U.N.G. Coordinator, with the help of her colleagues, Miranda has the ability to network throughout her state and within different districts across the nation to work together and make a much larger difference. 

Mirana Kiwelu
[email protected]
8th District Y.O.U.N.G Coordinator

Ambjor Anderson-Johnson (District 8)

Ambjor Anderson-Johnson smiling

Ambjor is a senior officer specialist with 3 years of service at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Ambjor has five years of prior federal service as a small arms repair foreman in the US Army. She is a union steward with AFGE Local 801.

Quote that inspires Ambjor

"I believe in honesty and integrity, having a belief system that you've thought through and then stick to. I believe in being creative and contributing, and I believe in taking a stand against injustice that you encounter in everyday life and not being idle in that respect." -Talulah Riley

Ambjor Anderson-Johnson
[email protected]
8th District Y.O.U.N.G. Coordinator

Janet Constance (District 9)

Janet Constance smiling

Dr. Janet Constance has served as the 9th District Y.O.U.N.G coordinator since 2018.  She is deeply passionate about the labor movement, and joined the Y.O.U.N.G. Committee to help organize young federal workers so that AFGE survives and thrives for future generations. She also serves as the executive vice president, legislative political coordinator, and Y.O.U.N.G coordinator of AFGE Local 910. Dr. Constance is a clinical psychologist at the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, specializing in posttraumatic stress disorder. She has been married for over 15 years and is the proud parent of 7-year-old identical twin boys. 

Quote that inspires Dr. Constance

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi 

Janet Constance
[email protected]
9th District Y.O.U.N.G Coordinator

Freddie Cuellar (District 10)

Freddie Cuellar smiling

Freddie Cuellar

[email protected]
10th District Y.O.U.N.G Coordinator

Joel Smith (District 10) 

Joel Smith smiling

Joel D. Smith is dedicated to the labor movement. In addition to serving as the Y.O.U.N.G. coordinator for District 10, Joel is the local president for AFGE Local 384 — the largest local in the Social Security Administration. He also serves at the AFGE SSA Council 220 Dallas Regional Vice President.

Joel created BargainNotBeg.com, a tool for educating the labor leaders of tomorrow and today. After serving four years in management, Joel operates by the mission of “I would never allow for anyone to be treated the way that I had treated them again.”

Joel Smith
[email protected]
10th  District Y.O.U.N.G Coordinator

Gilbert Galam (District 12) 

Gilbert Galam smiling

“I guess you could say I was a mostly complacent and easygoing federal employee most of my career, says Gilbert. “My younger brother was an exceptional union steward at our TSA local. He was targeted by management and eventually put into a forced resignation situation. I had a lot of anger towards my agency and didn't really know how to focus it afterwards.”

Gilbert believes that his brother probably would have come out on top if he had the Title V labor protections that all the other agencies have. Gilbert’s local president eventually asked if he wanted to help change things through the legislative and political coordinator (LPC) program. Gilbert saw this as a chance to make a difference within the agency for TSOs, and he eagerly accepted. 

Gilbert has learned that every time he makes progression, there is always some new and bigger thing he needs to achieve to get TSOs closer to Title V rights. He believes It all leads to the same thing — unions as a whole need to become stronger. Being active and fixing the symptoms usually means addressing the systemic issues that exist. Though Gilbert is not as experienced as my peers, he believes that he can still contribute by bringing his contagious enthusiasm to the table for the labor movement. 

Quote that inspires Gilbert

“If your opponent is of choleric temper seek to irritate.” - Roy Mustang

Gilbert Galam
[email protected]
12th District Y.O.U.N.G. Coordinator

Francis Nichols (District 14) 

Francis Nichols smiling

Francis is dedicated to making the fighting 14th District proud. He believes in securing our future and making sure our Y.O.U.N.G. leaders have a seat at the table. And if not, he believes we can build a stronger table.

Francis Nichols III
[email protected] 
14th District Y.O.U.N.G Coordinator

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