Parent Voices Oakland Staff

Tanisha Payton
Policy & Research Associate

Tanisha Payton is the Chameleon of the PVO staff. She is a student of various disciplines and spends her brain power on a variety of topics, especially those connected to knowledge production, impoverishment, criminalization, and histories of effective alliances in connection to indigenous peoples. She received a BA in Psychology (Education and Human Dev) with a minor in Anthropology (Race and Gender). She received her MA in Cultural Anthropology and has undertaken research projects in connection to identity formation, community-wellness, historical story-telling, and identity formation within urban Native American communities. When her mind isn’t occupied by the interesting yet confusing dynamics of social and political theater, she reads tons of speculative fiction (Octavia E. Butler and Nnendi Okorafor make her giddy), guilts herself into working on at least one of the gazillion writing projects she’s started but never finished (but do we ever really “finish” a piece?), and rewards herself by spending ridiculous amounts of time near the ocean and dancing to lots of Prince and Cuban Salsa music.

Rachel Harralson

Outreach Coordinator


“Choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
~ Confucius

Rachel Harralson expresses gratitude to be a part of the PVO team and to be a part of such impactful work in the community! She has been an advocate since high school and as long as systems are in place that oppress people, she will continue to be one! Rachel say’s “Never forget that if you’re not at the table then you’re probably on the menu.”

Clarissa Doutherd
Executive Director

Clarissa Doutherd is the Executive Director of Parent Voices Oakland, an East Bay chapter of Parent Voices California. She comes to the organization with over a decade of experience working for grassroots, non-profit organizations. Clarissa discovered her passion for child care advocacy when she lost a much needed child care subsidy for her then 3 year old son, Xavier. Clarissa has been a strong advocate for mothers like herself who were caught in the crosshairs of ineffective public policy. In addition to supporting Parent Voices Statewide campaigns, she has worked to decrease the number of mothers in Oakland waitlisted for for child care subsidies. As a collaborative movement builder, Clarissa has forged deep partnerships with large local Government agencies including the County Social Services Agency, Public Health, and Behavioral Health Services. After stepping into leadership as the Co-Chair on the Alameda County Early Childhood Policy Committee with First 5 of Alameda County, Clarissa led efforts to refocus the group to become a cross sector collaborative which brings together community based organizations, parents and service providers to advance innovative strategies for County-wide systems change; and works to elevate parent leadership in public policy. Clarissa is the recipient of the prestigious Gloria Steinem "Woman of Vision" award, and currently sits on the steering committee for the Alameda County Early Care and Education Planning Council, the 18th Assembly District Education Advisory Committee, and the Alameda County-Oakland Community Partnership Board for the City of Oakland. Clarissa resides in Oakland, California with Xavier who is now 9 years old. 

Amber Ackerman
Administrative Coordinator 


Amber Ackerman is the Administrate Coordinator at Parent Voices Oakland. A southern California native, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in English from the University of California Los Angeles and moved to the Bay Area in 2012. Having brought her administrative talents to both educational and nonprofit organizations for the last decade, Amber appreciates the variety and spontaneity in her scope of work at PVO. She values the opportunity to build relationships with both parents and their children alike. Amber also volunteers with the Bay Area Childcare Collective, providing free volunteer child care to social justice organizations primarily lead by women of color. In her free time she enjoys gardening, long walks with friends, and playing with her cats.