Chelsea Byers is a social impact strategist, community builder, creative consultant, and a feminist writer and speaker advocating for a world where creativity and human dignity can flourish.
She facilitates creative direct action trainings and resource development to support movement organizers around the globe with Beautiful Trouble. She has trained thousands of change-makers in grassroots advocacy, creative nonviolence, and campaign development. Chelsea has organized countless demonstrations for social justice, held vigils for political prisoners and whistleblowers, and earned media for stunts, pranks and creative disruptions, alongside some of the most innovative and strategic nonviolent activists working in social movements.
Chelsea’s work in collaboration with Bill Cosby’s survivors and allies ended a ten year statute of limitations for reporting rape and sexual assault in the state of California in September of 2016. Her role was essential in making space for creative storytelling through public demonstration, including outside of the courthouse the day the bill was formally presented to Governor Jerry Brown. She was also instrumental in rallying public support through visual storytelling campaigns and distributed digital calls to action. These campaign innovations mounted the necessary pressure to move Governor Brown to sign SB 813 in the final hours of the legislative session. Chelsea has since founded the Campaign to Abolish Statutes of Limitation (CASOL) a national effort to end reporting time limits for rape and sexual assault in all 50 states by training and developing the next generation of leaders for feminist criminal justice reform.
In November 2017, on the wave of allegations mounting against more celebrity predators, Chelsea co-organized the first-ever #MeToo Survivors March in Los Angeles, bringing together hundreds of survivors for an intersectional day of action against violence on Hollywood Boulevard that reached international headlines and has since inspired dozens of marches across the country.
Chelsea previously worked with CODEPINK: Women for Peace as both an intern in the Bay Area in 2011 at the brink of the Occupy Movement and again as a staffer throughout 2015-2016. Her worked focused at the intersection of women and violence on a local and global scale. During this time and on numerous occasions, Chelsea made global headlines for stunts and demonstrations calling attention to war crimes perpetrated by the United States, US military intervention, and militarization at home and abroad. This career of creative hijinx peaked around the 2016 Election with actions at the Republican National Convention for gun violence prevention (a stunt that headlined RNC protests gleefully titled “Tennis Ball Takedown of the RNC”) and solidarity actions with immigrants and refugees, including a disruption of Rudy Giuliani’s islamophobic speech on Day one of the convention. And on another occasion, after disrupting his hateful speech during a campaign stop in Las Vegas on January 20th, 2016 exactly a year before his inauguration, Donald Trump said of Chelsea, “that’s a young woman that doesn’t know... she’s Lost... to hell with her.”
Chelsea’s justice advocacy further advanced with CODEPINK, as she challenged the US Conference of Mayors to support a resolution calling for the demilitarization of local law enforcement, which included putting restrictions and regulations on the Department of Defense's 1033 program which funneled weapons of war into local communities, and prioritizing the need for cultural sensitivity training. She developed campaign infrastructure for divestment from the weapons industry and military industrial complex and worked in coalition with the national coalition for gun violence prevention to build greater understanding of guns in our communities as weapons of war.
Chelsea now advocates alongside the Criminal Justice Reform Coalition - a national advocacy coalition that promotes and invests in evidence-based policies and programs to prevent gun violence and uplift criminal justice reforms in urban communities of color. In 2017, she was inducted as member of the inaugural cohort of CJRC’s Speakers Bureau.
Chelsea began receiving formal campaign training through leadership development programs in high school and college. Her work as a student advocating for higher education took her to Washington DC on scholarship to work alongside United States Student Association lobbying Congress for expanded Pell Grant funding. Chelsea went on to become a member of the student-led board of directors for the Arizona Students’ Association, an organization representing Arizona’s 160,000 public university students, and was later hired to work as the Campus Organizer for her alma mater, Northern Arizona University. During her time organizing students on campus, Northern Arizona University reached historic levels of voter registration and turnout and mounted significant campaigns for higher education funding including a tuition freeze campaign targeting the Board of Regents and a statewide ballot measure to sustain a sunsetting sales tax. This battle to protect resources for life-affirming issues is what led Chelsea to anti-war and anti-violence advocacy, as well as a deeper commitment to electoral strategy. Chelsea recognized a need to shift priorities and make positive community investments and that this would come down to a matter of who is governing and who is ready to hold those leaders accountable.
In 2014, Chelsea was hired to serve as Director of Operations for Arizona’s Coconino County Democratic Party. She worked as chief party liaison between the 17 statewide and local candidates on the ballot and local community groups. She organized the first-ever gubernatorial forum in Northern Arizona by building a diverse coalition of over 20 community and student organizations and petitioned all 7 candidates for office to attend - all of which, did attend. This same year, Chelsea was named 'Community Ally of the Year' by Northern Arizona Pride Association for her local advocacy. She petitioned for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act alongside Northern Arizona Pride Association and worked for marriage equality with Why Marriage Matters Arizona. And when Arizona sought to pass discrimination legislation with SB 1062, Chelsea mobilized key community stakeholders, elected leaders, and a student contingent for what became Flagstaff’s largest rally in history - a motivating factor in the state’s leaders resolve to abandon the bill.
In late 2014, Chelsea relocated to Los Angeles and immediately fell in love with the street art prominent throughout the city. In July 2017, after nearly three years of collecting photos of LA’s street art, Chelsea launched Mural Map LA - a tool to build community through greater accessibility to street art in Los Angeles. This ever-evolving google map can be added as a map layer on any device and is updated weekly just as LA. Having grown passionate about LA’s evolution through this cultural community based lens - Chelsea became involved in organizing around LA’s housing crisis. She now works as the Westside Field Organizer for the Everyone In campaign, and serves as a Director of Local Organizing on the Steering Committee for Abundant Housing Los Angeles. She advises strategy on building a pro-housing leadership pipeline across Los Angeles 97 neighborhood council districts. Chelsea the Communications Director on the Board of Directors for the National Women’s Political Caucus - LA Westside, volunteering to support fundraising efforts and working to get pro-choice women candidates elected at the local level.
Chelsea considers herself a lifelong student of nonviolent resistance. She is a recent graduate of the James Lawson Institute on Nonviolence and has participated in countless other workshops and training academies on civic leadership, campaign development and artful activism. Her passion is to serve and build community and create a world where creativity and human dignity can flourish.