Board of Directors

Jessica Smith (she/her) – Board Chair and volunteer HIV/HCV Tester. Jessica graduated from Humboldt State in May of 2018 with her Master’s in Public Sociology. After HACHR founder Brandie Wilson spoke in one of her classes, Jessica realized the ways in which she could personally relate to Harm Reduction because of her experience with intergenerational substance use. Jessica immediately saw the ways in which using Harm Reduction could not only prevent the spread of diseases and unnecessary loss of life, but also treat people who use drugs with the dignity, autonomy and respect they deserve. Jessica was the executive director at HACHR from 2019-2020, helping navigate the program through the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensured that services were considered essential and remained open. She currently works as the capacity building manager at National Harm Reduction Coalition, supporting new and existing harm reduction and syringe services programs in rural communities across the state. Jessica loves direct service and continues to volunteer on site at HACHR once a week providing rapid HIV & HCV testing. She also loves cats, roller derby, and summer days at the river
Sarah Kerr (she/her) – Founding Board Member. Sarah is a founding board member with Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction. She has worked in community health care for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles and settings, and in that time has come to realize that what really matters are the relationships you foster in order to get the work done. Building up the people around you, asking good questions, and being open to truly new ideas is what drives meaningful change. Sarah’s vision for leadership and service is rooted in the idea that we all have something to contribute and that the first step is inviting one another in to share our experiences and ideas. Her commitment to harm reduction principles is rooted in her work experiences at Planned Parenthood, in HIVServices, and running a large Needle Exchange Program.Sarah believes that harm reduction is a vital component in any successful public health endeavor because it speaks to social justice, which underlies all health issues. “Working with HACHR has been the ultimate crash course in extreme change management, deep and sometimes difficult collaboration, the value of participant driven process/policy/programs, and overcoming entrenched bigotry and fear. My experiences with HACHR have taught me to listen first, approach what I don’t understand with curiosity, and to fiercely defend what I know to be right and true. It has also given me the gift of working directly with people who use drugs. I have witnessed their strength, their smarts, and their capability to lead. I am humbled to work alongside them and learn so much from them.”
Lasara Firefox Allen (they/them)Board Member. Lasara is a writer, Witch, activist, and gritty academic. Having grown up in the wilds of Mendocino County, they currently reside in Ukiah, CA, with/in the ancestral and contemporary lands of the Pomo people.
Lasara is a Harm Reductionist from way back, having entered into harm reduction work in the shadow of the dawning AIDS epidemic. They are a sex worker advocate and decriminalization activist, having worked in the sex industry for decades.
Lasara is a former Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction Executive Director. They also served as the HIV and HCV Testing to Treatment program coordinator. While ED, Lasara helped grow the Bright Heart MAT program into a robust programmatic element.  Having hired diverse team members, they hold a strong focus on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Lasara holds a MSW and ASW and currently works in MAT at a harm-reduction based opioid treatment center in Ukiah.  They are a Harm Reductionist, social justice activist, and co-conspirator for our collective liberation.
Ashlie Crews (She/her) – Board Member. Ashlie is an Associate Clinical Social Worker who works in community health care as a therapist. She became involved with Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction in 2018, while in her graduate program with Ohio State University. During her internship she
was amazed at the wonderful community that worked hard to deliver harm reductions services, and providing a safe, judgment free place of acceptance. Coming to understand that Harm Reduction provides daily ways to keep people safe allowed Ashlie to see what this could mean on a larger scope.
Once Ashlie graduated with her Masters in Social Work, she wanted to continue on assisting HACHR and applied for the board. She is now in her second term and hopes to continue on in the future.
Tia Baratelle (she/her) – Board Member. Tia Baratelle has been a professional fundraiser and community organizer for over 13 years, working with small, mid-size, and large non-profit organizations. She joined Hospice of Humboldt in April 2021 as the Director of Development. Previously she worked at Planned Parenthood Northern California, overseeing fundraising and community engagement efforts in twelve northern counties, from Mendocino County to the Oregon and Nevada borders.
She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in non-profit management from Sonoma State University and is also a proud Humboldt State University alumnus with a B.A. degree in Political Science. Tia is responsible for Hospice of Humboldt’s philanthropic and community relations programs and activities.
She has a long history in advocating for high-quality, affordable healthcare and education for all people, regardless of gender, income, insurance, or immigration status. Tia has confidence that in order to have a more just and equitable society we must strive for individuals to have universal and unrestricted access to care, and that all people are free to follow their own beliefs, values, and moral code when making decisions about their bodies and mental well-being. It is because of her experience and belief in access to care for all that supporting harm-reduction and the mission of HACHR is the perfect fit.
Afton has never met a stranger, and believes that humans are capable of amazing potential, adversity and growth. She values every opportunity to connect with others, and hopes to continue to nurture connection and relationships through authentic curiosity and a recognition of our shared experiences. She has lived and worked in rural communities most of her life and is entering 20 years of working in community health care. Afton has both, lived experience as well as intergenerational substance use and mental health related challenges, and helps create programs based on the understanding that truly successful healthcare and healthy communities requires openness to connection, recognizing how important it is to have a sense of belonging, community, acceptance, and meaningful relationships.
Afton graduated from California State University, Chico with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is a graduate of UCSF Center for Health Professional Clinic Leadership Institute (CLI). Motivated at a very young age, to dedicate her life’s work to serving of others, helping to invest in community and the people she calls neighbors, and her commitment to support harm reduction and the amazing work HACHR continues to do in our community is deeply woven into her passion for whole person care for all.  She looks forward to developing and deepening her understanding of harm reduction and is proud to join the BOD for HACHR.
Hello fellow Humboldians!
My name is Jarrett, and I have been part of the HACHR Board since 2020. I originally hail from San Francisco of which played as the backdrop to my formative years of my early life. I also have deep roots here in  Northern California, and had the great opportunity to live in various parts of our  state’s gorgeous North Coast. Although I did spend a good chunk of my life in the bustling metropolitan space of the Bay Area, the Redwood forests of rural California always held a sacred space in my heart. I have many fond memories of hiking the Lost Coast trail as a kid, swimming the Eel in the summers, and seeking to put sand under foot to find solace on its sandy shores and epic coast lines. This beautiful Redwood kingdom is a part of me. 
It’s within that love of this area that I recognize that this land that we all benefit from needs compassionate stewarding to honor those that lived here before me, and insure it will be enjoyed by those who come after me. Building community is how I decided to do my part in that stewardship. To me HACHR is about building community. It’s about bringing all the people in our community into the circle, without judgment, and without penalty. I have an unflinching belief that supporting  each other, providing space to heal and grow strong together is always worth the investment. The values HACHR’s dedication to Harm Reduction principles of meeting people where they are at, is the fertile ground on which the building of resilient and healthy community can grow and thrive. 

Glen Hays – Board Member

Bio Coming Soon!

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