With an ambitious commitment to social justice and environmental activism and a small staff, Ruckus is busy. To achieve our goals we rely on a diverse network of over 150 volunteer trainers, logisticians, and actions folks. Meet some of them:
Annie Gardner has been a Ruckus kitchen volunteer since 2001. Annie dropped out of college in 1998 to live at the Minnehaha Freestate, an anti-road urban land occupation. Since that time, she has worked on a variety of environmental issues. Annie currently lives in Minneapolis where she attends law school and does legal work involving the protection of National Forests.
Butch Turk, RN
Lawrence “Butch” Turk first got arrested in 1976 at Montana’s Malmstrom Air Force Base, home to 200 nuclear ICBMs. Since then he has participated in a wide variety of peace, environmental, and social justice campaigns. He worked for Greenpeace for five years as a ship’s nurse/deckhand and Stop Star Wars campaigner, and co-authored GP International’s nonviolence training manual. Since 1996 he has led Ruckus Society trainings in nonviolence, blockades, action first aid and direct action support roles, along with providing camp medical care. He has been a wilderness medicine instructor and currently works in an Asheville, NC hospital.
Chris Crews first got involved with Ruckus at the first Human Rights Camp in the late 90’s, and now helps as a climb instructor. He founded and runs rv media, a multimedia collaboration specializing in political documentaries and web design. He has worked on a variety of campaign, both as a student activist and as a community organizer, with groups such as the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), Truth, National Forest Protection Alliance (NFPA), Anti-Racist Action (ARA), and the Buckeye Forest Council (BFC). He is currently working on a masters degree in political science and media studies, with an emphasis on immigrant representation and group identity in mainstream media.
Daniel Hunter, trainer/organizer, is a Training Associate with Training for Change. He has led trainings on five continents for different social justice movements, including training of trainer work with Nagas in Northeast India, Baptist ministers in Sierra Leone, and environmentalist activists in Australia. Daniel has worked as an organizer with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Campaign for Labor Rights, and Turn Your Back on Bush, among others. He recently co-wrote with Hannah Strange a counter-recruitment training manual for American Friends Service Committee.
Gopal Dayaneni is a Campaigner at Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and works for human rights and environmental justice for communities impacted by the high-tech industry. Gopal has been involved in fighting for social, economic, environmental and racial justice through organizing & campaigning, teaching, writing, speaking and direct action since the late 1980’s. Prior to joining SVTC, he provided progressive organizations with support in Strategic Communications and Campaign Planning through the Design Action Collective and was the Oil Campaign Coordinator for Project Underground. He is on the boards of Media Alliance and The International Accountability Project and is a member of the Progressive Communicators Network.
Ingrid Chapman is a young community organizer, direct action activist and educator with the Catalyst Project, a center for political education and movement building. Her roots within radical left organizing began as a member of the global justice movement in the late ’90s. She has worked with the Ruckus Society leading trainings on direct action climbing, radio communications and challenging white supremacy. The last 4 years she has worked with Oakland residents in struggles for tenant rights, community safety and alternatives to incarceration and policing.
Melissa O’Neil is an activist, climb trainer, and writer who moonlights as a librarian in the heartland of the U.S. She is working toward a healthier, calmer, more peaceful world that values all sentient beings equally. When not hanging from ropes, she is raising children, meditating on the state of her soul, feeding lots of stray cats, and doing pushups.
Nathan Freitas is a respected expert and entreprenuer in software and technology fields, with experience working for and with companies such as palmOne, IBM, and Sun Microsystems. His desire to apply his capabilities and enthusiasm for new ideas to a good cause brought him to Students for a Free Tibet in 2000, when he began volunteering as a technology consultant. Mr. Freitas traveled to Tibet for one month, working to contact families of Tibetan asylum seekers in the U.S., as well as document new developments of the occupation. He is currently a board member of Students for a Free Tibet.
Tafarai Bayne is the Program Manager/Director of Recruitment of the Public Allies – Los Angeles program, from which he graduated in Fall 2001. Born and raised in LA, Tafarai’s experience at the 2000 Democratic National Convention is where he first felt what it meant to be part of a “movement”. He was a youth organizer with Youth Organizing Communities, an organization dedicated to empowering young people to challenge the criminalization of youth, and also the Campaign Coordinator at Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE). Tafarai’s favorite pastimes include chillin with his Homies, 1-2 stepping to some good music, and blowing people’s minds with his vegetarian culinary skill. He also really digs the beach.