Van Dell

van.jpgFinancial Operations Director


Van leads the Sustainable Economies Law Center’s Financial Accountablity Circle. They are preparing to coordinate and co-host the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe, a legal clinic that provides direct legal support to individuals and groups working to create more resilient economies.


Van Dell has a background as a queer community resistance and empowerment organizer of African and Native descent. Their current organizing work includes: The Ruckus Society, Qilombo Community Center within West Oakland’s new Afrikatown District and with the Black Land Liberation Initiative. All of their work aims to empower others to collectively untangle white supremacy and colonial violence in order to create the kind of economies, cultures and spiritual beliefs that nourish the living world.

Their work focuses on the Qilombo and in Afrikatown District (a Black-led, land-based movement working against displacement and urban ecological crisis through the creation of the “commons”). Van puts a lot energy towards supporting communities with self-governance, narrativizing vision, transformative justice and harm-reducing accountability work, and envisioning new liberated landscapes.  Recently, Van joined the Black Land Liberation Initiative to deepen their work in doing just that!

Van can be referred to as the comrade bookkeeper and Admin, providing services for collectives in their political circles. They are also committed to bridging communities to build up knowledge-creating and knowledge-sharing capacity. Van aims to integrate into SELC’s programmatic areas and sees the importance in SELC’s current work and future role in supporting frontline communities and organizers.


Roles at SELC

Program Areas


Support: Resilient Communities Legal Cafe 

Operations Areas


Lead: Financial Accountability

Support: Administrative 

Other Projects

  • Qilombo Community Center of Afrikatown District: Operations Lead

  • The Ruckus Society: Operations Lead, Network Member, and member of the Indigenous Peoples Power Project cohort

  • Black Land Liberation Initiative of Movement Generation and BlackOUT Collective: Bay Area cohort member

  • Community Engagement Fellow at Mills

Conferences and Presentations

  • Black Land Liberation Initiative Regional Conference: Decolonial Creative Writing Workshop on Black Land Liberation| 10/21/2016 |

  • Soil Not Oil: Decolonial Creative Writing Workshop on Afrikan and Indigenous Resistance for Land Liberation | 8/6/2016 |

  • Expressive Arts Workshop | Collaboration with Voices of the Sacred | An Afrikan & Indigenous centered workshop on Anti-Opression| 4/24/2016 |

  • UC Berkeley's 31th Annual Empowering Women of Color Conference (EWOCC) | 4/9/2016 | Decolonial Creative Writing Workshop on DeGentrification

Recent Panels

  • Living the New Economy: Land Reclamation for Self-Determination | 10/21/2016 | An Exchange of Solutions and Barriers to Reclaiming Community Land for Community Benefit, Liberation, and Self-Determination

  • George Jackson: Solidarity with Palestine Event | 5/15/2016 | Remembering the Black Panthers, American Indian Movement & Resistance, the Nakba in Palestinian resistance

  • UC Berkeley's 31th Annual Empowering Women of Color Conference (EWOCC) | 4/9/2016 | #DecolonizingFeminism: Reclaiming our Bodies and Communities in a Digital World

  • Economic Development Without Displacement Coalition, Revitalizing the San Pablo Corridor (Key Speaker and Panel) | 7/18/2015

  • Afrikatown’s Anti-Gentrification Block Party panel | 11/08/2015

  • National Lawyers Guild, Tale of Three Cities: Fighting Gentrification and Displacement | 10/25/2015

Education and Training

  • Masters of Fine Arts: Creative Writing in Fiction (2018), Mills College

  • Bachelors of Arts: English Literature, Creative Writing and Afrikan American History (2011), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Permaculture Design Certificate: Movement Generation’s Permaculture For the People (2015)

Personal Interests

  • Experimental Writing

  • Ceremony

  • Community Gardens

  • Adventures in RVs

  • Fluffy cats

Thanks to our Partners and Collaborators: