VAYLA is a progressive community-based organization in New Orleans that empowers youth and families through supportive services and organization for cultural enrichment and positive social change. We are dedicated to forging a world which grants all youth the academic and professional foundation through leadership opportunities and skills needed to create vibrant and thriving communities. VAYLA’s pillars of action are based on integrity, inclusion, and conscientious advocacy as tools of community empowerment. VAYLA’s mission is to aid youth in realizing the power of their voices and the social change they can create. ​


Accelerator Lab Partners:

Anthony Johnson, Deputy Director, VAYLA

Anthony Johnson joined VAYLA New Orleans in May 2019. Before this, he was the Senior Staff Attorney leading the Immigrant Survivors Program with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans. His work throughout the last decade of his career has been centered on bilingual advocacy for limited English proficient populations as well as equitable access and visibility of marginalized peoples. Anthony is committed to equity in language access as well as access to legal representation. He has provided legal and social services to bilingual survivors of violent crimes throughout Louisiana. Anthony is a first-generation college graduate who holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Rutgers University, as well as a Juris Doctor from Tulane University. His personal and professional mission is to cultivate the empowerment of marginalized communities through leadership opportunities, free flow of knowledge, and pathways to higher education.


Jacquie Thanh, Executive Director, VAYLA

Jacqueline Thanh is the Executive Director of VAYLA New Orleans, she is an agent of change and child of Chinese Vietnamese refugees with an extensive history in intersectional direct services and advocacy. Jacqueline is a first-generation college graduate, holding a B.A., in English from the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds a Master of Social Work and Global Health Administration and Policy Certification from the University of Chicago. Jacqueline is a clinically trained human rights advocate who brings expertise in survivor advocacy and trauma-oriented program development and management. She has dedicated the last decade of her career to championing comprehensive health equity by working intimately with communities across racial and cultural lines dealing with a myriad of intersecting issues like mental health, sexual assault, domestic violence, human and labor trafficking, substance abuse, incarceration as well as homelessness which disproportionately affects communities of color. She has served over 900 women, youth, families and community members through direct services and advocacy here in New Orleans over the last four years. Jacqueline is committed to leading and facilitating cross-cultural community healing and movement building through civic engagement, youth advocacy and empowerment, language access, community organization and mobilization, reproductive justice as well as social and emotional education in Greater New Orleans.