What is BPP?
The Black Policy Project is a multifaceted policy oriented research initiative housed within the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. With its primary focus on producing quality, community driven research that helps spur policy change, BPP serves as the bridge between Black scholarship at UCLA and sociopolitical decision making. The Black Policy Project, ran by the Bunche Center’s Policy Director, comprises a small team of Black scholars, a campus-wide network of Bunche Center affiliated faculty, and several community partnerships.
Isaac Bryan – Director
Isaac Bryan is a policy shaper and published scholar. His work has helped to advance activist led movements and policy change around issues of racial, economic, and social justice. Currently, Isaac serves as the founding Director of the UCLA Black Policy Project, head of the Public Policy Division for the Million Dollar Hoods Project, and as the Director of Public Policy for the UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center. He also co-chairs the Los Angeles Unified School District Task Force on School Policing and sits on the executive board of the JusticeLA Coalition. Formerly, Isaac served in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Reentry and CENTCOM Unit where he co-authored the City’s first report on the holistic needs of Angelenos with past justice system involvement. He was also one of the academic authors who wrote the youth justice briefs that inspired California’s minimum age of juvenile jurisdiction. In addition to these many roles, Bryan also serves as the Senior Advisor to Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove.
Cierra Black – Public Policy Coordinator
Cierra Black is a 2019 graduate of UCLA’s Political Science and African American Studies Bachelor’s programs, and a Million Dollar Hoods research alumna. During her time in undergrad, Cierra was heavily involved in Black student organizing and advocacy, student affairs, student media, community health and education outreach programs, and research. As a student researcher Cierra studied within Million Dollar Hood’s oral history, archives, and public health divisions, and became a full-time staff member of the Policy Team, post graduation. Cierra now serves as the Policy Coordinator for Million Dollar Hoods and the Black Policy Projects, supporting all research, policy advocacy, and policy student engagement efforts for both teams. Cierra’s interests include education, community health, journalism, and Black radical politics.
Mariesa Samba – Graduate Student Researcher
Mariesa Samba is a graduate student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs in the Social Welfare Department. She develops community research and organizing as a member of the Black Policy Project team. Mariesa has over five years of experience in community organizing, advocacy and data management. She is an alumna of the Justice Policy Network Fellowship, Public Allies Los Angeles, and Jubilee Service Year. Prior to UCLA, Mariesa organized relative caregivers and coordinated local campaigns on justice reinvestment, nuisance abatement and neighborhood reinvestment in South Los Angeles.
Mariesa is the proud daughter of Black immigrants who came to the United States seeking refuge from the Sierra Leone Rebel War. She is passionate about abolition feminism, community-based care and popular education. She enjoys going to concerts, writing poetry and gardening.