PHA-C3 JEDI Youth Ambassadors


Our inaugural cohort of JEDI Youth Ambassadors ages 13 to 18 are committed to promoting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion with a strong focus on climate justice and social justice. As the City prepares to change the Transit System, the JEDI Youth Ambassadors are working to collect public opinion to bring to City Council around solutions and what works best for the community.

My name is Asadullah Faqirzada, but I go by Asad. I am a recent graduate from Charlottesville High School, and currently taking my gap year. I will be attending Boston College next fall and majoring in Human-Centered Engineering. I chose to participate in this program because there aren’t many options for youth to make a change, and this was a perfect opportunity. For me, this is more of a responsibility than an internship to contribute to the battle against climate change, climate justice, social justice, and other topics of such importance.

My name is Tamana Khaydari. I have been in Charlottesville for almost 9 years. I’m a rising eighth grader at Buford Middle School. I have many hobbies like working in the community and volunteering. Being a part of J.E.D.I. youth ambassadors I have learned how to overcome my fears and obstacles. I’m very thankful for being a part of a brave space.

I’m Logan Martin. I was born/raised in Charlottesville, Virginia. Some of my hobbies include developing video games, learning both the Chinese & Nepali languages, and break dancing. I’ve also been a part of many internships and amazing opportunities. To name a few, CAYIP & the AVID program have been great at preparing me for the adult world. The school I attend also has engineering classes that, as of fall, I would have been taking for 4 years. In addition, I wish for game development to become my career one day. I mainly focus on programming, 3D modeling,
and game design, but I have experience in most if not all other fields in the general space that is game development. I chose this opportunity because I am interested in climate change along with all the things this program has offered me. I learned the understanding of justice and systemic change. There are so many issues around the world like housing, transportation, or school lunch and we need to change that. Thus, people affected by change should be included in the change before the change happens. Second, the money was good. Finally, connection with people. I got to hang out with a bunch of really cool people and do some cool stuff.

My name is Iraj Lahig and I have been in the U.S. for 9 years. I’m a rising 9th grader and I skateboard. I’m the youngest of three boys, both of my brothers have graduated high school and are going to university. In school, I like science class with my teacher Mr. Brown and outside of school, I hang out with my friends. I’m still figuring out what I want to do in the future but I know I’d like to stay in-state for college. I decided to do this program because I wanted to work in my community, interact with the people and spend time with my friends.

I’m Sadeja Williams, a resident of Friendship Court and a J.E.D.I. Youth Ambassador. I am from Charlottesville and go to Charlottesville High School. After I graduate, I want to go to college, join the navy, or do something else outside of Charlottesville. I chose to be a youth ambassador because I want to see changes in our community that benefit everyone, and give everybody a chance to do what they want. I don’t feel like there’s much to do in Friendship Court and I would like to see that change.

I am Ezhar Zahid and I am originally from Afghanistan and moved to the U.S. (Charlottesville, Virginia) in 2016. I like to be outdoors and busy most of the time and play sports like cricket and soccer. I have also completed the Youth Ambassadorship with PHA, have been a part of the Park Design Committee, and am currently a JEDI Ambassador. I joined the Ambassadors program because I wanted to be able to first help people (anyone and everyone) and then be able to raise issues that break the harmony of living. I like to help people in any way I can so that they can have an
opportunity to shine and make a difference in the world. My goals are to go to a college like MIT or medical school where I can pursue a career in Engineering and Medicine that I can use to help people find their strengths.

Social Justice – Piedmont Housing Alliance (PHA)

PHA seeks to create affordable housing opportunities and foster community through education, lending, and equitable development, managing 13 properties located in the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle and Nelson counties. At the forefront of our work is the consideration of inequities and disparate outcomes of environmental changes on vulnerable populations and underserved communities. We are committed to advancing racial equity and securing environmental justice for communities that are overburdened and underserved through community outreach, education, and service.

Climate Justice – The Community Climate Collaborative (C3)

C3 believes the power to confront climate change resides at the local level where individuals have the greatest opportunity to take immediate action and harness their collective power to effect positive, lasting change. Established in 2017 with a mission of bringing communities together to lead on climate, C3 partners with residents, businesses, schools, nonprofits, and local governments to develop evidence-based, community-driven roadmaps that accelerate local climate action.

C3 and PHA are devising a mutually catalytic partnership with anti-racist framing at its heart. The vision for this partnership asserts that by activating the intersection of housing, climate action, and anti-racism, each organization’s correlated work can be further catalyzed to have a larger, systemic impact, establishing influential models of housing action and climate action rooted in anti-racist principles.