2015 Windcall Awardees
Artemio Arreolais currently the Political Director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) in Chicago. He manages the New Americans Democracy Project, a non-partisan civic engagement program that engages and mobilizes voters on issues ICIRR members and allies prioritize. In addition, Artemio deals with many different political organizations and individuals that directly work with the immigrant community including the Federation of Michoacán’s Clubs in Illinois (FEDECMI) and Casa Michoacán, both of which he co-founded. He is a member of the Conejo Consultivo Del Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior/ Consultative Council of the Institute of the Mexicans in the Outside (CC-IME). The CC-IME helps people establish their Mexican birth-right to participate in the Presidential Mexican elections. Artemio was one of the main organizers and co-founder of the historic immigration demonstration (The March 10th Movement) that brought more than 500,000 people to the streets of Chicago. Artemio was previously a union organizer and labor activist for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for more than 15 years. He has received several awards for his work for immigrant justice. www.icirr.org
Jai Dulani has been working at the intersections of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ), Youth, Immigrant Justice and Anti-Violence Movements for over 15 years. He was a cultural worker and organizer around post 9-11 state violence, combatting the targeting of Muslims, Arab and South Asian communities. Dulani has been a trainer and educator around intimate partner violence in LGBTQ and South Asian immigrant communities. He has worked with youth through various community based and school-based settings as a Media Educator, Teaching Artist and facilitator of various leadership development programs, utilizing popular-education based political education with an anti-oppression framework. He is Co-Editor of the anthology, The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities. Currently, he is Co-Director of FIERCE (Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment), a membership-based organization building the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City. FIERCE develops politically conscious leaders who are invested in improving themselves and their communities through youth-led campaigns, leadership development programs, and cultural expression through arts and media. http://www.fiercenyc.org/
Mónica Hernández is the Regional Coordinator of the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN). The mission of SEIRN is to lift up the voice and leadership of immigrant communities in the Southeast regionally and nationally. SEIRN promotes collaboration and exchange among its members, as well as political education and collective action to build just and inclusive communities. SEIRN envisions grassroots immigrant communities joining other marginalized communities as equal partners to build a regional movement to transform the South into a place that respects the dignity and the human rights of all. A native of Mexico with roots in both countries, Mónica has been organizing in immigrant communities for over 25 years. She moved to the South to join the staff of the Highlander Center, where she led Highlander’s immigration work, co-developing and co-facilitating the Institute for Immigrant Leadership Development (INDELI) from 2004 to 2006. INDELI’s goals were to develop Latino grassroots leadership and organizations in the Southeast. She was also lead staff person on the Threads Leadership and Organizing School from 2008 to 2010. Mónica served as Highlander’s Interim Co-Director for 14 months in 2005-06. She was the Founding Chair of the Board of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and currently serves on the board of the National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Before moving to the South, she worked at the Northern California Coalition for Immigration Rights in San Francisco from 1988 to 2001. Mónica lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia with her good buddy Maritza, dogs Dingo and Sugar, and cats Kiki and Rubio. http://seirn.squarespace.com/
For the last decade, Vanessa Moses has been using her love of the people to organize for racial and economic justice. She found her calling after moving to the Bay Area of California and having the great fortune of working with brilliant organizers and activists on youth development, police accountability, and transformative justice. She joined Causa Justa :: Just Cause (CJJC) in Oakland, California as a staff organizer in 2005 after being trained at the Labor Community Strategy Center’s organizing school in Los Angeles. She currently serves as the Acting Executive Director of CJJC, a multi-racial, grassroots organization building community leadership to achieve justice for low-income San Francisco and Oakland residents. The organization successfully passed over a dozen tenants rights ordinances in two cities and fought deportations of immigrant communities, winning sanctuary city status in both cities and helping to get motions passed by both counties pledging due process and not to cooperate with ICE on immigration holds. Vanessa is excitedly awaiting her & her partner’s first born at the end of this year (2015). www.cjjc.org
Andrea Quijada’s favorite title is Tía to all of her fabulous nieces and nephews. She is a recovering executive director and has worked, played, and fought for social justice for over 22 years in various organizations, projects, and productions. Most recently, she directed the Media Literacy Project where she spent 13 years integrating and elevating media justice in New Mexico. Andrea believes in a world where each person has the resources they need to thrive.
Jacqueline Robarge is Executive Director of Power Inside, a Baltimore, Maryland harm reduction and human rights organization for women and girls she founded in 2001. Alongside the women of Power Inside, she has fought for and won victories that held the city jail accountable for egregious human rights violations; stopped illegal sex-based discrimination in city services; and most recently, passed a statewide ban on the practice of shackling pregnant incarcerated women during childbirth. Jacqueline was born and raised in upstate New York and left for San Francisco at 19 after surviving a chaotic childhood in a family struggling with mental illness, alcoholism, and violence. Her passion for social change is rooted in her experiences as a survivor and her insight on domestic violence, rape, mental illness, institutionalization, and poverty. In California, Jacqueline found her way to healing through grassroots movements that were the foundation of her early social justice training. Working in community with elders and seasoned mentors doing clinic defense and domestic violence counseling, she developed the organizing and advocacy skills that shape her work today. Jacqueline’s work has included peer-led trauma healing and justice projects, white anti-racism organizing, anti-oppression trainings, LGBT rights, and a range of human rights advocacy. In her role as an appointed member of the Maryland Statewide Prisoner Reentry Task Force and the Governor’s Commission to Reform Maryland’s Pretrial System, she advocated for reform of policies that give rise to preemptive arrests and mass incarceration of people of color, poor people, and disabled people. http://powerinside.org/
Maria Alegria Rodriguez has worked to defend basic human rights of low-income and migrant peoples for 25 years. She is the Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), a statewide coalition of 50+ member organizations. With staff in four counties, and members throughout Florida, FLIC’s leadership builds depth in local communities, breadth for statewide reach and national alignment. Maria is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she was active in the anti-apartheid and Central America solidarity movements. She connected with Tenant and Workers’ United where she co-lead the formation of a housing cooperative. She has worked to defend public health care coverage and promoted the growth of award-winning free clinics: La Clinica del Pueblo in Washington, D.C. and Good News Care Center in Florida. She also served as Deputy Director of the Human Services Coalition (Catalyst Miami). She is the mother of Dante. http://floridaimmigrant.org
Karyn Rotker lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and serves as Senior Staff Attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, heading its Poverty, Race & Civil Liberties Project. She works on such issues as transportation, environmental justice, voting rights, fair housing, police misconduct, and immigrants’ rights. Prior to joining the ACLU in October 2001, she spent 15 years working with migrant farmworkers, low-income families, and senior citizens as a staff and supervising attorney for legal services programs in Toldedo, Ohio, El Paso, Texas and Milwaukee. In addition, Karyn and her family are active in many issues in Wisconsin, and she is a member of MICAH – Milwaukee Innercity Congregations Allied for Hope, where she served on the Board for 5 years and just received MICAH’s “To Do What is Just” award for 2015. She also received the Good Citizen Award from the Sierra Club in 2014, the Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Award from the Milwaukee NAACP in 2010, and the President’s Award from Community Shares of Greater Milwaukee in 2010. www.aclu-wi.org
Florence Simán is a founding Board Member and now serves as the Director of Programs at El Pueblo, Inc., in Raleigh, North Carolina. El Pueblo’s mission is for Latinos to achieve positive social change through building consciousness, capacity, and community action. Originally from El Salvador, Florence’s family moved to North Carolina in 1980 because of the political situation in their home country. In 1988, Florence received her BA in International Studies from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and in 1991, her Masters of Public Health, specializing in Health Behavior, Health Education. Since then, she has worked on several health-related projects throughout North Carolina. From 1994 to 2004, Florence worked at Child Care Networks, a child care resource and referral agency in Pittsboro, NC, where she developed and implemented a Latino Program to serve the needs of Latino families in the area. In 2004, Florence left Child Care Networks to direct a lay health advisor program at El Pueblo, where she is now the Director of Programs. Through her work at El Pueblo, Florence has worked on several “photo-voice” projects and is passionate about using photos as a tool to encourage dialogue and to create positive social change. http://www.elpueblo.org/
2014 Windcall Awardees
Erika Almiron is the Executive Director of Juntos, a Latino immigrant community-led organization in Philadelphia, PA fighting for human rights as workers, parents, and youth. She was born in South Philadelphia to immigrant parents from Paraguay and has spent almost two decades working in the Latino community. In her youth, she served as president of Latino organizations in high school and Penn State University. After college, Erika went on to work with Latino communities in the Philadelphia area on issues ranging from women’s health, gentrification, prison reform and poverty. Several years ago, she helped start the Media Mobilizing Project while working at the American Friends Service Committee with the Mexico/US Border Program on the issue of living and working conditions for maquiladora workers. Before joining Juntos, she was the assistant director of the Philadelphia Student Union working with young people on leadership development and fighting for education reform. In her spare time she is a freelance photographer and her pictures have been published and exhibited in Philadelphia and beyond. She has documented prison conditions in South America, mountain top removal in West Virginia, homelessness in Harlem, and has recently received the prestigious Leeway Foundation Award to document agricultural reform and land distribution in Brazil and Paraguay. www.vamosjuntos.org/
Prerna Lal, born in the Fiji Islands, came to the U.S. with her parents when she was 14, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Washington D.C. When she hit a glass ceiling as an undocumented immigrant, Prerna co-founded DreamActivist.org, a multicultural, migrant youth-led, social media hub for the movement to pass the federal DREAM Act. Since then, Prerna has helped create many local immigrant youth groups, providing direct support, mentorship and advocacy to individuals caught up in the immigration dragnet. A social media strategist, her pioneering use of online communications to stop deportations has become standard among organizations across the country. Her work and commentary for immigrant rights has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, Al-Jazeera and the Huffington Post. In 2011, Prerna was awarded the Changemaker of the Year award on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 from the South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). Prerna is a graduate of The George Washington University Law School, and she is currently serving on the Not One More Blue Ribbon Commission to the White House, while practicing immigration and civil rights law. http://prernalal.com/
Annie Loya is the Executive Director of Youth United for Community Action (YUCA) in East Palo Alto, CA. She’s been with the organization for over 16 years, starting as a volunteer at age 13. Annie was a key youth organizer within the Environmental Justice Accountability Campaign for 5 years, then joined the staff at 18 years old, where she drew from her experiences as a youth to restructure YUCA’s leadership development program to add more components that addressed the holistic development of youth, expanded the membership, and increased the number of campaigns at YUCA. Annie was a crucial organizer in the campaign that led to the historic shutdown of Romic, a negligent toxic waste facility in East Palo Alto. She was a representative to the Environmental Justice Air Quality Coalition, the East Palo Alto Air Resource Team, the Community Advisory Group, Environmental Justice Group, and the Ravenswood Business District Coalition. Annie also sits on the boards of Greenaction, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, the City of East Palo Alto’s Public Works and Transportation Commission, and San Mateo County’s Redistricting Committee. http://youthunited.net
Dr. Cecilia Martinez is the Director of Programs at The Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED) in Minneapolis, MN. CEED’s mission is to ensure a healthy, clean and safe environment for all communities and to develop solutions that are democratic sustainable and socially just. Cecilia has worked for over 20 years in the environmental justice movement, and has led a variety of projects to address sustainable development at the local and international levels. She currently serves on the Climate Action Planning Steering Committee for the City of Minneapolis, and has also worked with a range of organizations from local grassroots groups to international organizations engaging in the promotion of sound environmental policy and environmental justice. She has been appointed to several national advisory boards including the National Advisory Committee to the EPA for the Council on Environmental Cooperation, and the Research Working Group for the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. She is leading the effort on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on environmental harms. Among her publications is the co-edited volume Environmental Justice: Discourses in International Political Economy which includes some of her work on North American Indigenous peoples and the challenge of forging a common agenda of indigenous rights, justice and sustainability. She received her B.A. from Stanford University and her Ph.D. from the University of Delaware’s College of Urban Affairs and Public Policy. Cecilia currently serves on the boards of the Minneapolis American Indian Center and Nawayee, an alternative Native-based high school. http://www.ceed.org/
Sharlen Moore currently serves as Executive Director of Urban Underground, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has committed her life to building and sustaining grassroots leadership for change. She is a native of Montego Bay, Jamaica, and migrated to the United States with her family at the age of 6. Sharlen began her professional youth work career as a tireless volunteer and swim instructor at the Northside YMCA in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has a passion for community justice, which as a teen in high school led her to co-found the YMCA Leaders Club, currently known as Teen Achievers program. In 2000, she co-founded Urban Underground with Reggie Moore, a nationally recognized grassroots youth development organization whose members have been at the forefront of youth-led social change in Milwaukee and the region. Urban Underground’s members have consistently demonstrated both courage and determination as they address some of the most critical issues facing their community including education, public safety, health, and the criminal justice system. Sharlen’s commitment to youth was shaped by her early experiences with racial and economic injustice in Milwaukee. The product of a resilient family of faith, her efforts have touched the lives of countless youth and have inspired a new generation of young leaders that will carry forth the struggle for justice and equality. In addition to all her hard work, her greatest accomplishments include the co-founding of Urban Underground and the birth of her 3 amazing children. www.urbanunderground.org/
Andrea Ritchie is a police misconduct attorney and organizer who has engaged in extensive research, writing, litigation, organizing and advocacy on profiling, policing, and physical and sexual violence by law enforcement agents against women, girls and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of color in the U.S. and Canada over the past two decades. She currently coordinates Streetwise & Safe, a leadership development initiative aimed at sharing “know your rights” information, strategies for safety and visions for change among LGBT youth of color who experience gender, race, sexuality and poverty-based policing and criminalization. As such, she serves on the steering committee of Communities United for Police Reform, a city-wide campaign to challenge discriminatory, unlawful and abusive policing practices in New York City led by grassroots community groups, legal organizations, policy advocates and researchers from all five boroughs. She is co-author of Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States and Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living With HIV. As a member of the national collective of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence from 2003–2008, she coordinated the development of the organization’s Toolkit on Law Enforcement Violence Against Women of Color and Transgender People of Color. She also wrote a piece for The Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology. She was recently awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship by the Open Society Foundation to engage in research and advocacy around women of color’s experiences of profiling and policing. www.streetwiseandsafe.org
Yesenia Sanchez is founding executive director of P.A.S.O. West Suburban Action Project, a multi-issue social justice organization working to empower Latinos and immigrants in the West Cook suburbs of the Chicagoland area in Illinois. P.A.S.O. has been instrumental in the passage of the Illinois DREAM Act and Driver Licenses for All legislation as well as blocking the expansion of Secure Communities in Illinois. Under Yesenia’s leadership, the organization has quadrupled its budget, grown to a staff of 4, and expanded its offices. She was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and migrated with her family to Illinois at the age of 8, settling in the Chicago area. Her commitment to justice comes from her personal experiences as well as her faith and deep belief in the dignity of each person. Yesenia has been involved in the fight for immigrant rights since 2003, starting as a youth leader working on the passage of HB60, the in-state tuition law for undocumented students in IL. While a student at UIUC, she co-founded La Colectiva, a student-led organization focused on immigrant rights that engaged the administration to address issues that were impacting immigrant students and the local immigrant community. She was selected in 2012 as of one of 40 Gov. Edgar Fellows with the Institute of Government Public Affairs with the University of Illinois. ImpreMedia recently named her one of 10 Latinas with the “Mujeres Destacadas/Distinguished Women” award. She is a board member of the IL Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights and was formed as a Scalabrinian lay leader. While her passion for justice is a key motivation, Yesenia is also enriched by other loves, including dancing, biking, travelling, jewelry making, and most importantly spending time with her loved ones. www.pasoaction.org/
Natasha Thomas-Jackson is a writer, performance artist and the Co-Founder/Executive Director of RAISE IT UP! Youth Arts & Awareness, in Flint. MI. RAISE IT UP! promotes youth engagement, expression, and empowerment through performance, literary art, and social activism. Natasha’s literary works have been published by the John Hopkins Center on Genetic Research, AlterNet, and the Black Congressional Caucus. She also writes about feminism, politics, activism and pop culture on her blog, B(e)GirlManifesta. Her performances have been featured on the Emmy Award-winning documentary, Making Genes Dance. In 2008, Natasha’s work as an artist and activist earned her the National Hip Hop Political Convention’s Up and Coming Social Justice Activist Award. In 2012, the Detroit Pistons and their Come Together Foundation honored Natasha as one of their first-ever Community Impact-Game Changer awardees and donated $25,000 to RAISE IT UP! Natasha is the Founding Editor of a new website that will be launched in January 2015 called Flying Through the Intersection, which is an innovative digital space designed to explore intersectionality within the women’s/feminist movement. Through a variety of content media, including powerfully written think-pieces, a video dialogue series, and podcasts (with all content created by women), FTTI will serve as resource for those looking for ways to explore the various models, strategies and opportunities for creating and sustaining a more intersectional, inclusive, accountable, and holistic women’s/feminist/womanist movement. Natasha is happily married with 3 children and enjoys reading, writing, making/listening to music, yoga, capoeira, meditation, art, fashion, interior design, and serving as the front woman for her new band, Audio Insurgence. http://www.raiseitupyouth.org/
Charles “Chaz” Wheelock is from the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin and has worked for many years for sustainable, responsible development in rural communities that looks ahead seven generations. He currently serves as the Executive Administrative Assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin and holds a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning and Rural Development. Chaz’s past and present work in the twin themes of diaspora and sustainable community development for Indigenous peoples has provided a diverse field of references and resources from an international to a local context. Early on, Chaz helped to develop the Iroquois Farms as a tribal organic agriculture venture which established a cooperative management structure reflecting the Oneida worldview of cooperation and sharing – and which drew upon another model, the Mondragon cooperative in Spain. He has been active in a wide range of organizations, including the National Congress of American Indians, the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes, the Indigenous Environmental Network, International Indian Treaty Council and the Midwest Treaty Network. He is currently the Wisconsin point-person for the Indigenous People’s Working Group of the US Social Forum, on the US EPA National Tribal Consultation Policy Group as well as the Environmental Defense Fund/Pollution Prevention Alliance, the Wisconsin Community Fund and the Fund of the Sacred Circle of the Headwaters Fund in Minnesota. He is a proud father and grandfather as well!
2013 Windcall Awardees
Barbara Armstrong-White is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina and has been involved in the uplift of her community throughout her lifetime. Over the years, she has worked on many campaigns for civil rights, environmental justice, disability rights, and poverty eradication. Her current work with The Community Factor provides opportunities for grassroots individuals to engage in strategic brainstorming and collective problem solving sessions. TCF has tackled a number of critical issues in the community, from flooding to police accountability. Through UCAN Educational Services, Barbara provides inspirational training and facilitates workshops and retreats. She enjoys storytelling, traveling with her grandchildren, and mentoring former students. Barbara says, “Having almost died in 2000, I am committed to living as much life as possible and allowing myself to be less perfect – and more fun!” The-Community-Factor
Anthony Clark is President and co-founder of the North Carolina Rural Education Working Group. The NCREWG is an advocacy group whose mission began with public education issues and concerns. NCREWG represents un-served and underserved communities in North Carolina’s First Congressional District, a predominantly minority community. The organization has worked against charter schools, vouchers, scholarships, high stakes testing, and the “School to Prison Pipeline” as NCREWG believes this trend has a negative impact on Public Schools. In response to identified issues, concerns, and needs, NCREWG has expanded its agenda to include voting rights, human and civil rights, immigration entitlements, and mass incarceration. Anthony was a public school teacher for 18 years, served as CEO for a community development corporation for 15 years and recently transitioned into this role as an advocate in the later stages of his career. North-Carolina-Rural-Education-Working-Group
Nijmie Dzurinko is a founder of Put People First! PA, a statewide grassroots multi-issue base building organization uniting people across traditional divides in Pennsylvania. She is obsessed with building a new organizing model for the 21st century that combines base building, study and narrative. Nijmie is a co-founder of the Media Mobilizing Project and a former Executive Director of the Philadelphia Student Union. http://putpeoplefirstpa.org/
Ron Garcia-Fogarty is a national of Nicaragua, Guatemala, and the U.S., and spent his formative years becoming radicalized during the Sandinista Revolution, which helped to instigate his passion for working for participatory and electoral democracy as well as revolutionary change. He identifies as Multiracial, Latino and White and enjoys running, soccer, yoga, reading, and most of all, spending time with family and friends. Ron was recently a Workers Rights Paralegal at the North Carolina Justice Center, and serves on the board of directors of Student Action with Farmworkers. Previously, he has worked since 1996 in immigrant rights and workers’ rights organizations and multinational social justice networks in the U.S. & Latin America. Ron is also a freelance interpreter, translator and nonprofit workshop facilitator, and is collaborating with other Language Justice activists in North Carolina and beyond to create multilingual spaces that empower and create bridges between monolingual immigrant non-English speakers and monolingual English speakers.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Alicia Garza is the Executive Director of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), a multiracial, intergenerational organization fighting poverty at the root in San Francisco and beyond. Prior to assuming the role of Executive Director, Alicia was a lead organizer and helped to launch POWER’s Bayview Hunters Point Organizing Project in 2005. Alicia is a member of the Board of Directors for the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), and an advisory board member for Asian Youth Promoting Leadership and Advocacy (AYPAL). Alicia is also a contributing writer for WarTimes magazine. http://www.peopleorganized.org/
Rev. William (Bill) Kearney is a consultant and facilitator and serves as Assistant to the Pastor at Coley Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Warren County, North Carolina. Bill coordinators the church health ministry and chairs the United Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Association health committee. He has more than 30 years of experience developing and facilitating asset-based capacity building opportunities for groups and communities with emphasis on individual and environmental health, social justice and economic equity. Bill is a partner in several community-based participatory research partnerships including: The Harvest of Hope Church Garden Project; The Faith, Farming, and the Future Youth Mentoring Project; The Community Leadership and Reciprocal Development Project; the Carolina-Shaw Partnership for the Elimination of Health Disparities, and was chosen as a 2011-2012 scholar in the novice UNC Translational and Clinical Sciences Research Engaged Community Scholars Program where he began a new research project aimed at engaging members of his community in discussion about environmental justice and the role the 1982 Warren County PCB toxic landfill protests played in the birth of the “environmental justice” movement. He is also a research affiliate with the African American Collaborate Obesity Research Network and a fellow in the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
Lynn Lewis is the Executive Director of Picture the Homeless. She has worked in the social justice movement for over 30 years in New York, Florida and revolutionary Nicaragua in organizations led by poor people. Lynn has worked with Picture the Homeless since 2000 and has been the director since 2003. She has worked extensively on police violence and abuse of homeless folks and is on the steering committee of Communities United for Police Reform. Her other burning interests are land reform in the U.S. and internationally and the (mis) use of domestic and international funding for community development that actually serves the interests of maintaining economic elites in power. http://www.picturethehomeless.org/
Glenda Perryman, born in Chicago, Illinois, has been a community organizer and advocate in the Lucedale, Mississippi area for over nineteen years. She is the Founder, CEO and Executive Director of Immaculate Heart Community Development Corporation, which serves eight rural counties throughout Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. The organization’s mission is to moderate the negative impact of isolation and poverty often faced by rural under-served, disadvantaged, low-income populations. Added to these issues are those of unjust hardships, racial tension and lack of adequate food, health services and access to education and training, services and programs. Hurricane Katrina added tremendously to these pre-existing issues and since then, Glenda and Immaculate Heart Community Development Corporation have worked overtime to address these concerns. Immaculate Heart Community Development Corporation
Saraí Portillo is currently the Program Director for Miami Workers Center (MWC). The MWC is a strategy and action center that builds the collective strength of low-income people of color and its communities for power and self-determination. She joined the staff of the Miami Workers Center in October 2005 after graduating·from the Center’s summer 2005 Organizers Training Program. A native of Mexico, she built the grassroots membership council Miami en Accion back in 2006. Saraí came to MWC with organizing experience in Mexico within the student movement. She is an Anthropologist from Escuela National De Anthropologia e Historia and·has completed her thesis on the Immigrant Movement Struggles in the United States for the Last Decade. http://www.miamiworkerscenter.org/
Helena Wong is a native New Yorker and couldn’t be more proud of it. She is currently the Executive Director of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities (aka Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence), which works to build grassroots community power across diverse poor and working class Asian immigrant and refugee communities in New York City. CAAAV organizes communities to fight for institutional change and participates in a broader movement towards racial, gender, and economic justice. Helena first got involved with CAAAV as a high school youth in 1995 and joined the staff in 2003 with a fellowship from the Open Society Institute. She co-founded CAAAV’s Chinatown Tenants Union with member leaders to develop the leadership of immigrant residents to fight gentrification and displacement in New York City. Helena became Executive Director in July 2010 and currently also serves on the Board of Directors for Grassroots Global Justice National Alliance. http://caaav.org/