Meet the 2021 Summer Fellows

Meet the 2021 Summer Fellows

We are excited to announce the 13th class of Bus Summer Fellows!

The Bus Summer Fellowship is our longest running and signature leadership development and organizing program. Bus Fellows learn about social justice issues, and then apply that learning through political organizing. They run voter registration drives, lead our GOTV work, and engage their peers on issues that matter to them. Welcome!


Jarrett Arakaki (he/him) is from Bainbridge Island, WA and recently graduated from Whitman College. He majored in economics and minored in sociology. Jarrett has experience doing political work and but is excited to learn more about on-the-ground activism during the internship with the Washington Bus. He is also excited to meet the other fellows and connect with them! Jarrett is really passionate about playing ultimate frisbee, reading Harry Potter, and watching baseball.



Erica Calloway (she/they) is a recent graduate of Seattle University’s Bachelor’s in Social Work program. Erica has worked on equity in education with the Center for Community Engagement, but she is really excited to learn more about labor policy and activism. They can’t wait to learn more about community organizing from the other Fellows and her mentor! During her time off this summer, they’ll probably be in the kitchen making some baked goods (macrons are on the list to try), reading a book in bed, or having long conversations about astrology with her sister.




Shaiann Dickey (she/her) is a University of Washington graduate with a bachelor’s degree in American Ethnic Studies and double minor in LSJ (Law, Societies, and Justice) and diversity. Shaiann’s studies ignited her passion for social justice and equity and after graduating from UW, she was able to gain organizing experience as an intern within the labor movement advocating for the rights of working class communities. She is excited for the opportunity to broaden her knowledge of political organizing as a Washington Bus Fellow and really looks forward to getting to know her peers! During Shaiann’s free time she is excited for brunches, spending the day at the lake, and going to Disneyland.



Alexander Gray (he/him) is a student at the University of Washington Studying political science. Alex has been a legislative organizer during the 2021 washington legislative session with The Alliance For Gun Responsibility and is the president and founder of their chapter team on the UW’s campus. His interest in activism centers around an emphasis Mental health care and Environmental protections. During the fellowship he aims to both build community and do some important work. In his free time he enjoys reading, photography, painting and playing soccer.




Kate Harvey (she/her) was born and raised in Walla Walla, Washington, and now attends college at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. There, she studies American Studies and Civic Engagement. In Walla Walla, she has participated in organizing for abortion rights and sex-education, against anti-gun violence, and planning local pride events. She is excited to continue community organizing and advocating for political change in Washington State with the Bus and the other fellows. In her free time, Kate can be found hosting her radio show, reading, or cooking with her housemates.




Storm Nguyen (they/them) is a queer nonbinary creative and activist based in Seattle, Washington. Storm is a rising college junior at Seattle Pacific University majoring in Fashion Design and minoring in Psychology. Storm is also a photography creative and their work can be found on Instagram (@stcrmsworld). Storm is a member of the Emerald Youth Organizing Collective, a Staff Photographer at Rice and Spice Magazine (a creative arts zine centered around the Asian American experience) and has past experience organizing with the ACLU. Storm will serve as the Event Coordinator and Event Fellow for their school’s multiethnic programs office for the 2021-22 school year. Storm’s advocacy mainly centers around lgbtqia+ rights, police abolition, racial justice and liberation, fashion/art/culture and mental health equity,


Ndidi Opara (she/her) was born in California, raised in Arizona and based out of the East Seattle suburbs; and is a community and national organizer. On a local level, her work includes serving on municipal and regional advisory boards to working on Social Media and Comms for Emerald Youth Organizing Collective. She is excited to be able to pursue more local organizing. At a national level, her work includes issue advocacy work with BlueFuture, advocacy work with MovementLabs, and journalism with StudentVoice. Ndidi hopes to explore Public Policy more during her Freshman year at the University of Chicago. Outside of politics, she enjoys fashion design, media, art, and music.


Faith Rasmussen (she/her) is an Idaho Virtual Academy Graduate. She has spent the past year engaging in racial justice and organizing BLM protests in Seattle and helping organize mutual aid in Capitol Hill. Faith is an incoming freshman at the University of Washington-Tacoma and plans on majoring in Law and Policy, while also minoring in Human Rights. She is excited to learn about intersectional issues, along with connecting with other like-minded people with a passion to make the world better! Her favorite hobbies are reading, writing, and hiking with her poodle-mix named Schmidt!



Fadumo Roble (she/her) is a student at the University of Washington majoring in Political Science and minoring in Law, Societies, and Justice – hoping to pursue a career in law. Fadumo is involved within her community through events within the city of Bellevue, Eastside for All, Muslims 4 Abolition, her local mosque, and assisting other grassroots movements. Fadumo founded a youth-led organization called Movement of Advocacy for Youth (MAY) in which they strive to empower the youth in the community to work towards a better future through advocacy, voting, and civic engagement. During the fellowship, she hopes to learn more about policy making and the work behind that, as well as bond with peers. In her free time, she loves spending time with friends, finding new coffee shops, reading, going to concerts (pre-covid ofc), and exploring Washington State.


Jenni Ruiz (she/her) is a first generation Mexican American student. A rising third year student at the University of Washington – Seattle. She is majoring in Law, Societies and Justice and hoping to double minor in Spanish and Human Rights. Aside from that she is a sister of Kappa Delta Chi, a Latina based but not exclusive sorority and interns for Poder Común which is an organization with a goal to get more Latino voters here in Washington. During the Fellowship, she hopes to create long-lasting bonds with everyone and do more hands on activism.




Tashmee Sarwar (she/her) is a North Creek High School graduate and former ASB executive officer of three years. Her personal focuses were on making sure that underrepresented groups in her community were being heard and respected, and organizing protests at the school and district level for systemic change. She now attends the University of Washington with a focus on Biology and Law. Through this fellowship, she is excited to take her passion for social activism to more focused issues in the Seattle area. Engaging in meaningful conversations about life and enjoying nature are some of her favorite pastimes!



Luke Lokahi Scott (he/him) is an incoming junior at the University of Washington Bothell. He is double majoring in Law, Economics, and Public Policy and Community Psychology while pursuing a minor in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. After competing in mock trial for Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek, he joined the UWB Speech and Debate Team and will serve as team captain in the upcoming year. He plans to use his lived experience as transgender queer citizen and the skills he continues to develop in programs such as this fellowship to become a public defender and serve the most marginalized and forgotten community members in society. In this fellowship, he hopes to connect with like-minded activists and create positive, local, and lasting change. In his free time, Luke loves bodybuilding, reading and writing, and playing guitar or piano!


Ariana Siddiqui-Dennis (she/her) is a Seattle University graduate with degrees in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and International Studies. Her research focuses on Islamic feminism and Muslim women’s leadership and organizing across the Muslim world. She held positions in her university’s Gender Justice Center, Muslim Student Association, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Advisory council, as well as engaged in international, anti-imperialist organizing on and off campus. She is passionate about community organizing and is looking forward to continuing this work beyond her college campus. She enjoys dancing, playing with her two dogs Waffles and Luna, and learning to cook Afghan food and read Rumi poetry.


Zoe Williams (she/her) is a former Highline College student who emphasized her area of study in Sociology. She is looking forward to learn how elected officials take voters’ concerns and implement effective change. She is also excited to learn what motivates voters and how to organize to creatively resolve issues community members face. She spent 10 days in Vietnam with Highline College’s Global Programs to study the Supply Chain. She has rediscovered her passion for reading and visits her local library often. She enjoys spoken word poetry and storytelling, and R&B music from now and decades past. If you see her watching TV, she is probably guessing the questions on Jeopardy.


Asemayet Zekaryas (she/her) is going into her sophomore year at USC where is studying Public Policy. She is passionate about education equity and hopes to learn more about education policy. Sparking discussion on important topics such as education inequity is important to her and she has found podcasts are a way to do that. She has found podcasts to be the conversations others can listen to that help them start more conversations. She enjoys listening to podcasts and has made some of her own. Asemayet is excited to meet and learn from her peers and have meaningful conversations.

The Washington Bus Solidarity Statement

The Washington Bus joins with many across our state and country in calling for justice in response to the centuries of white supremacy and systemic violence against Black people in America. Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd are the most recent names added to a shamefully long list of Black people and other people of color who have been murdered by police. Over the weekend in Seattle, we saw young people leading the disruption of police racism through protest — a physical manifestation of the collective grief, anger, and loss built up over generations of violence against Black and Brown people. These young Washingtonians risked their physical safety in putting their bodies on the line post-curfew; a curfew that was announced only 10 minutes prior to its enforcement. 

In response to young people’s outcries for justice and physical witness demanding swift institutional transformation, city, county, and state executive leadership chose to escalate by meeting protestors with police in riot gear and chose to militarize by bringing in the National Guard. Local and national news coverage focuses on the destruction of property and violent protests as the narrative worth highlighting; this is woefully inaccurate. Protecting property should never be the priority over the protection of human life and dignity. Systemic state violence against Black and Brown bodies is the true narrative. Racism kills. Sanctioned police violence must end. 

Any statement from elected leaders who are not calling for divestment from the police and military are perpetuating white supremacy.  As a non-Black led organization, we stand with our Black community saying that enough is enough. We demand change.

 As we commit to this change through a shift in our programs and strategies, we are calling on Governor Inslee, State Legislators, County Executives, Mayors, and City officials across the state to dismantle racist practices in all our institutions that they have authority over by following the demands of our Black communities: 

  • Remove policing from our schools and shift that funding to hire more counselors and mental health professionals for Black and Brown students.  
  • Prohibit any use of police funds for militarizing the police force.
  • Shift funds from city police departments, county sheriffs, and state patrol to public health, housing, education, and economic efforts focused on Black and Brown communities. 
  • End detentions and deportations that impact Black immigrants.  
  • Have City Attorneys stop the prosecution of protesters.

In Seattle, to promote accountability and transparency:

  • Cut the Seattle Police Department budget by 50%, and reallocate those funds to support Black and Brown led community police efforts. 
  • Withdraw the motion to terminate the sustainment plan of the consent decree from federal county.
  • Abide by the City of Seattle Policy accountability legislation as was unanimously passed by the Seattle City Council.
  • Stop fighting against the formed inquest process of King County
  • Require officers to show up to testify when summoned as a part of inquiries when an officer involved killing occurs. 

We are at a crossroads as a city and nation. We have the chance to be on the right side of history. We have seen in other cities that a world without police is possible, it’s already here, and it’s already working. Our work is to make it permanent. 

Where to donate (if you are able): 

Northwest Community Bail Fund

Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County 


Not This Time 


COVID-19 and our democracy

COVID-19 and our democracy


With two new Co-Executive Directors starting earlier this month, we here at the Bus were feeling ready to take on the world! Or at least, ready to continue building our statewide movement to increase political access and participation for all young people #youthquake. Enter COVID-19, the virus that is having an unprecedented impact on the lives of each of us, and that of our loved ones and our communities.

We care about our community, especially those who are likely to be disproportionately affected by this pandemic and the narrative surrounding it– people of color, immigrants, people with a low-income, and those that are incarcerated. We’re here to do our part. 

Like you, the Bus values inclusion, empowerment and justice, and it is out of these values that we are continuing to do our work. With an eye to the health and safety of the community, we’ve made some adjustments, because we know democracy must go on:

  • Our staff has been working remotely since March 16 and will continue to do so through at least April 8 (per Governor Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order), if not longer. The health and safety of our staff and the community is number one.

  • We have shifted our current programming away from face-to-face field work and towards digital organizing and other remote strategies. Last week we kicked off our remote Census 2020 outreach and have held two “Get Out the Count” remote text banking sessions, yielding over 25,000 texts! We will be holding a remote phone/text bank every week to ensure our communities know to complete the census.

  • We have cancelled the in-person Bus Bash fundraiser and instead will be sharing virtual opportunities so you can continue  to support our work and the 2020 Fellows when they begin the program this June. Stay tuned for updates.

We are fortunate to have the ability and privilege to practice the above-mentioned physical distancing.

We are in this together. We’d like to invite you to join us in whatever way you are able. Here’s how you can be with the Bus as we ride out this COVID storm:

  • Take care of yourself. We care about you and we need you. There are loads of resources available from our state here:

  • Complete the Census! Let’s help our community get the vital resources for its greatest moments of need (like right now).

  • Join a GOTC phone/text bank! Sign up here for the remarkably de-stressing activity of contacting strangers about democracy.

  • If you were planning to attend Bus Bash and your financial situation is stable, you can still support our work with a 100% tax-deductible gift in honor of Bus Bash.

  • Fight racism, xenophobia and ableism. This pandemic is feeding the long history of how immigrant groups and people of color have been labeled with “disease” imagery. We encourage each other to address the jokes and do their part to support people of color during this time.  

Together, let us rise to this new challenge. Let us continue to demand that local and state governments adopt policies that protect historically disenfranchised communities and meet the needs of all people, not just some. And let us get innovative and creative with how we do this now, in the time of the Coronavirus, and for the long-term beyond.

In solidarity,

The Bus Team

WA Bus staff during a virtual team meeting.

A Special Message from the Co-Executive Directors of the Bus

A Special Message from the Co-Executive Directors of the Bus

Dear Bus Family,

We are stoked to address you for the first time in our new positions as the Co-Executive Directors of the Washington Bus! The Bus is the political home for young people in Washington’s politics. We’re looking forward to building upon the inspiring work of the Bus. We are all about co-creating long-term, sustainable power by and with young people, for all people. We will move toward a more accessible, equitable, and representative Washington State for all of us, not just some of us.

Together with our staff, board, and community (you!), we will expand the badass movement building work of the Bus by…

  • Prioritizing the issues that most impact young people by revamping our Youth Agenda survey to better determine what matters most to Washingtonians under 35. We will start with young people’s aspirations!

  • Ramping up our digital and on-the-ground permanent organizing to build the capacity and leadership of young people’s political and civic engagement.

  • Prioritizing investing in POC, low-income, LGBTQIA+, immigrant, and other historically disenfranchised young leaders through strengthening our Fellowship Program to provide them with the skills and opportunities to lead and win.

  • Engaging more young people by becoming a statewide organization with increased programmatic capacity, more staff, and a bigger budget to create lasting, liberating change for all.

We can’t wait for more young people throughout Washington to join us as leaders and builders of bold policy change, grassroots organizing, and advocacy. And we know that doing this work well will take time and intention. We are committed to taking the time to build authentic relationships grounded in trust so that we continue to be a trusted messenger in our communities. We are also committed to addressing the structural racism that is deeply ingrained in our political and civic processes. We are committed to upholding the dignity and humanity of our youth, and to create a space where young people know their power. We couldn’t be more excited to co-lead this new chapter of the Washington Bus with you and to create a “youth quake” in Washington State!

And of course, a successful transition needs healthy support—thank you for leaning in, sharing the dope work of the Bus with your networks, and continuing to ride the Bus with us for years to come.

In solidarity,

Cinthia Illan-Vazquez, Co-Executive Director for Policy and Program

Kelly Hickman, Co-Executive Director for Operations and Development