Farewell to Our Co-Executive Director

Youth Rise Texas is excited to announce the hire of our new Co-Executive Director, Hesna Bee (they/she), after a six-month, intensive search process.

As a Co-Executive Director, Hesna brings YRTX closer to our goal of being youth and immigrant led. In her new role, they will directly lead YRTX as we continue to build a legacy of leadership in commitment to healing justice and community based, grassroots organizing. After two months of being in this role, they have already implemented a 4 day work as well outlined a pay equity standard where highest paid staff will not  make more than twice that of the lowest paid staff.

Prior to their role as Co-Executive Director, Hesna was the Campaign Manager at both the Louisiana Harvesting Opportunities Outside of Prison Coalition and of Step Up New London. Hesna grew up in Baltimore public schools, where they were first recognized by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) as a youth leader and peer educator. Currently, they are Malaika Network Fellow of the Black LGBT+ Migrant Project of the Transgender Law Center. After creating a student solidarity network following hate crimes at American University, in 2017 they published Black Rage at the Table Syllabus archived in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. 

Hesna stays politically grounded through volunteer-service-learning-struggle with students, the Houseless, the Hospitalized, Incarcerated, and those in Refugee Settlement. Hesna’s organizing experience includes formerly incarcerated and systems involved youth, building statewide legislative agendas, and creating narrative strategies for high school youth of color and their allies to talk about the impacts of policing in their lives.

Hesna joins YRTX with political homes in Chicago as a #NoCopAcademy coalition organizer and Houston as a hub member of BLMP. Decarceration is a reality for Hesna, highlighted by their occupation of Cook County Jail with the End Money Bail Coalition of Chicago, which led in ending cash bail in Illinois (2021).

As we move into 2023 Hesna is dedicated to amplifying a youth agenda across Texas. Plans include scaling up statewide, direct action organizing, and a legislative agenda on young people’s terms.