2017 was Redefy’s fourth year in existence and the first year during which we went through a massive restructuring.
In June, we officially became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and this fall, we set up a bank account. Our non-profit status will allow us to receive tax-exempt donations and expand our reach and influence across the country and around the world. Our new Director of Fundraising has created a multifaceted plan to raise money. With the money we receive, we will invest in resources for schools and for our chapters. We will also soon begin selling Redefy merchandise on our website, and the profits will go toward expanding our operations, helping more schools and communities defeat hateful ideas early.
In July, we gathered for our third annual Redefy Retreat. As many of our members, including our Founder Ziad Ahmed, headed to college in the fall, we used the retreat to completely restructure the organization. That began with recruiting an entirely new team. We created applications and posted them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram — you name it. In response, we received hundreds of applicants, read through each of their applications closely, and interviewed the best candidates. Finally, we selected our most diverse team ever, consisting of about 25 high-school-aged changemakers from around the globe. In addition, we recruited many school representatives to represent Redefy in their respective middle and high schools. We also added campus representative to our team this year, allowing those who have left high school but who fervently believe in Redefy’s mission to represent us on their college campuses. Below is a complete list of the major positions we filled:
- Executive Director: Alexandria Brady-Mine
- Executive Director: James Wellemeyer
- Director of Social Media: Sara Chopra
- Director of Activate Your Squad: Inaya Ahmed
- Director of Content: Lekha Sunder
- Assistant Director of Content: Himaja Vendidandi
- Assistant Director of Development: Mariana Fernández
- Director of Fundraising: Khaled Messai
- Assistant Director of Fundraising: Ananya Dharma
- Director of Human Resources: Tushira Venkatayogi
- Director of Journalism: Julia Chang
- Manager of Resource Creation: Isha Patlola
- Assistant Manager of Resource Creation: Aidan Fassu
- Director of Management: Daniela Finlay
- Assistant Director of Management: Justin Sherman
- Director of Outreach: Samra Kanwal
- Assistant Director of Outreach: Salonee Singh
- Director of Public Relations: Rubén Cuevas
- Director of Programs: Bhargavi Garimella
- Director of Technology: Sonika Tayade
- Editorial Manager: Katie Jain
- Editorial Manager: Tanya Singh
- Editorial Manager: Joanne Wang
- Editorial Manager: Lily Zhu
- Web Manager: Helena Vasconcelos
Our new team worked to expand Redefy and create new resources, which we will soon be released to the schools and communities with which we work. We now have chapters across the U.S. and in Pakistan, the United Kingdom, India, Mexico, Morocco, South Korea, Jordan, and Panama.
Under the leadership of Julia Chang, our journalism program has blossomed, and we are sharing more stories than ever before on our social media pages. We now have over 3,300 likes on our Facebook page and almost 150,000 hits on our website. We have also made huge strides with our Instagram and Twitter pages, with over 700 followers on Instagrams and over 1,100 followers on Twitter.
In November, we participated in #GivingTuesday, a worldwide day of giving made possible by social media. We won a Google Grant, allowing us to receive $120,000 worth of online advertising for the twelve months after we activate the grant.
In December, one of our new Executive Directors Alexandria Brady-Mine was interviewed by Women Who Reign for her work promoting human rights through Redefy and The Humans Project.
Throughout the year, we continued our effort to interview professors and activists with a passion for social justice. We interviewed Wendy Lazarus, a child advocate and a Senior Fellow at UCLA’s Center for Healthy Children, Families, and Communities.
We also continued our VOICES series at the Princeton Public Library, holding conversations on Environmental Justice in January, American healthcare in March, James Comey’s dismissal in May, bullying and discrimination in schools in June, and the future of DACA in September.
In addition, we have partnered with My Name, My Identity—an organization committed to ensuring teachers pronounce the names of their students correctly in order to create a more inclusive environment in schools. Redefy has a similar mission to My Name, My Identity, and we are very excited about what our partnership with the organization will bring.
We are currently working with Affinis Labs to develop an anti-hate app, Activate Your Squad, that will allow individuals to call on their friends to defend them from hate on social media. We are excited for 2018 and all that it will bring!
If you have a passion for justice and are interested in getting involved in Redefy, please visit our Join Us page: redefy.org/join-us/ !