Movers & Thinkers: Speakers Bureau

Across New York City, there are many diverse and remarkable thinkers, yet, too often, the same few voices are heard. Invite a community leader who can speak from their own experience on a variety of critical issues. Find speakers from our grantee-partner community who are unique community voices and original thought-leaders.

  • Liz Accles

  • Donald Anthonyson

    Families for Freedom

  • Afua Atta-Mensah

    Community Voices Heard

  • Mohamed Attia

    Street Vendor Project/Urban Justice Center

  • Ruben Austria

    Community Connections for Youth

  • Murad Awawdeh

    New York Immigration Coalition

  • Eddie Bautista

    NYC Environmental Justice Alliance

  • Darnell Benoit

    Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project

  • Susanna Blankley

    Right to Counsel

  • Joan Byron

    Neighborhoods First Fund for Community Based Planning

  • Silvia Canales

  • Chhaya Chhoum

    Mekong NYC

  • Steven K. Choi

    New York Immigration Coalition

  • Jill Eisenhard

    Red Hook Initiative

  • Sheila Garcia

    CASA New Settlement Apartments

  • Cory Greene

    How Our Lives Link Altogether!

  • Daniel Gross

    Brandworkers

  • Ligia Guallpa

    Workers Justice Project

  • Wayne Ho

    Chinese-American Planning Council

  • Terry Kaelber

    United Neighborhood Houses of New York

Liz Accles

Key Topics:
Government-based food and income security programs, School food, Food stamps, Welfare, Analysis of policy implications of race, gender, class, sexual orientation dynamics in public benefit programs, Coalition and campaign building.

Bio:Liz Accles is the Executive Director of Community Food Advocates since 2013. She has spent her career in pursuit of social and economic justice and brings over 20 years of leadership experience at the city, state and national levels.

Prior to joining CFA Liz served as the Senior Policy Analyst at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies where she led the policy and advocacy work in the areas of income security and early childhood education. Liz conceptualized and built the Access to Assistance Campaign, a multi-faceted, coalition-based policy advocacy campaign designed to eliminate structural barriers to public assistance for low-income New Yorkers living in deep poverty.

Previously Liz served as the National Outreach Coordinator at Lambda Legal, the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV community. In this capacity she was responsible for developing and overseeing national educational and advocacy campaigns related to Lambda Legal’s priority issues.

From 1991 to 2004 Liz served as policy analyst at the Community Food Resource Center (CFRC) and worked on welfare and food stamp policy issues on federal, state and city levels.

In 1999, as a project of CFRC, Liz founded the Welfare Made A Difference National Campaign, a social marketing and legislative action campaign to reframe the debate over social programs for poor families. By engaging diverse voices of former and current welfare recipients in the policy debate the campaign challenged stereotyped images of poor women in both the public opinion and the policy-making arenas. Liz organized 250 former and current welfare recipients from around the country into a national speakers’ bureau and advocacy network and built a broad coalition of 400 national and local organizations to develop and promote public education and policy initiatives.

Since 2003 Liz has served as a Trustee for the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation for Low- Income Women and Children. She previously served as a member of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s National Board of Directors.

Donald Anthonyson

Families for Freedom

Key Topics:

The “Criminal” Justice System and Immigration

Bio:

Donald Anthonyson, Executive Director at Families for Freedom, was born in Antigua, and migrated to the US in 1979. He got involved in various social justice issues ranging from police brutality (Elenanor Bumphus Justice Committee) and anti-racial responses (NYASA) to immigration. He lives in Harlem, NY.

Donald became a member and later an organizer and now Executive Director at Families For Freedom (FFF) after he was detained and placed in immigration removal proceedings for a decades old misdemeanor conviction. He has led FFF’s efforts of the International Deportee Justice Campaign, co-facilitated 2 Consular Roundtables and produced FFF’s monthly radio show, the War on Immigrants Report, on 99.5 FM WBAI.

Founded in September 2002, Families for Freedom is a New York-based human rights organization, by and for immigrants facing and fighting deportation.

Experience:

  • City College, Organizing Among Marginalized Communities
  • CUNY Law, Detention and Deportation Policies and Realities
  • Detention Watch Network, strategy meeting in DC.

Afua Atta-Mensah

Community Voices Heard

Key Topics:

Affordable housing, immigration reform, criminal justice, community organizing, campaign strategies

Bio:

AFUA (Ah-Fee-Ah) ATTA-MENSAH

Afua Atta-Mensah is a champion litigator, a fierce advocate and a veteran community organizer in the global fight for racial, social and economic justice.

A graduate of Fordham Law School, and a Fulbright Scholar, Atta-Mensah was appointed Executive Director of Community Voices Heard (CVH) this past September. CVH is a leading New York non-profit that develops and guides civic leaders, grassroots organizations and neighborhood activists as they take powerful, concrete steps to improve their lives and communities.

From United States to Ghana, Atta-Mensah has worked to empower women, improve the quality and quantity of fair and equitable housing, defend women’s rights and galvanize support for programs benefiting low-income families.

She was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship in support of her work at the International Federation of Women Attorneys advocating on behalf of indigent women in Ghana. She represented women in court, helped draft proposed legislation to criminalize marital rape and was a visiting university lecturer. She also worked with area lawyers to develop proposed legislation for a marital rape law, and served as a visiting lecturer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), where she taught a course on women’s rights in the context of Ashanti-tribal law.

Between 2012 and 2016, Atta-Mensah was the Urban Justice Center’s Director of Litigation for the Safety Net Project. During her tenure, the project filed a federal lawsuit that pressured former Mayor Michael Bloomberg to abandon a proposal to demolish Public Housing playgrounds and community centers so developers could build high-priced apartment towers. Under Atta-Mensah, the Safety Net Project also challenged mayoral candidates to stay overnight with host families in public housing to experience firsthand the deplorable conditions. That innovative strategy brought a media spotlight and government attention to residents’ plight.

Atta-Mensah is a member of the Board of Trustees at St. Barnabas Hospital, the Board of Governors of the Healthcare Trustees of New York State, and African Communities Together. She currently resides in Central Harlem with her husband and 4 year-old daughter.

Mohamed Attia

Street Vendor Project/Urban Justice Center

Key Topics:
Street vending, Food justice, Grassroots organizing, Immigration

Bio: Mohamed Atta is a Co-Director of the Street Vendor Project (SVP), which is a part of the Urban Justice Center. SVP is the only member-led organization that fights for street vendors in NYC and provides them with legal and business services and fights the government for justice for all street vendors.

Mohamed immigrated to the US from Alexandria, Egypt in 2008. He worked as a food vendor for 9 years, joined SVP as a member in 2012 and was elected to the board in 2014. He served on the board until March 2018, when he joined the staff as a co-director.

He joined SVP in the successful campaign to lower the fines imposed on street vendors and helped SVP in launching the Lift The Cap campaign in 2014, a campaign to increase the number of vending permits in the city.

Experience: Food justice conference at Columbia University

Ruben Austria

Community Connections for Youth

Key Topics:
Juvenile justice reform, Community-based alternatives to incarceration, Faith-based organizing, Grantwriting, Program evaluation.

Bio: Rev. Rubén S. Austria is the Founder and Executive Director of Community Connections for Youth, a Bronx-based non-profit organization dedicated to empowering grassroots faith and neighborhood organizations to develop effective community-driven alternative incarceration programs for youth. CCFY’s work focuses on building community capacity for juvenile justice reform by training neighborhood organizations in effective practice with court-involved youth, and facilitating system-community partnerships that reduce reliance on incarceration.

Rev. Austria earned both his bachelors and masters degrees from Cornell University, and attended the Institute for Non-Profit Management at Columbia University. He was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship in 2007.

Experience:

  • Council for Juvenile Justice Annual Conference.
  • Annie E. Casey Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative National Conference.
  • Center for New York City Affairs at the New School.
  • Columbia University.
  • Cornell University.
  • New York University.
  • New York Theological Seminary.
  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Murad Awawdeh

New York Immigration Coalition

Key Topics:
Voting Rights, Electoral Process, Civic Engagement, Community Organizing, Political Engagement (501c3 friendly), Legislative Process, Advocacy, Social Justice, Immigration Justice, and growing up Brooklyn.

Bio: Murad Awawdeh is the New York Immigration Coalition’s Director of Political Engagement where he leads the Coalition’s civic, electoral, legislative, and political engagement. Murad works closely with the NYIC staff members and manages the State and City legislative and advocacy campaigns. He collaborates with member agencies and partners to develop transformational civic and community engagement campaigns to meaningfully engage immigrant communities in the electoral process, as well as supporting capacity and movement building. Murad has created and developed many successful partnership, alliance, and coalition models that have helped uplift low income communities and communities of color. He has extensively organized and led social, environmental, transportation, and climate initiatives. Murad has played a leading role in securing community benefits through multi-year grassroots and political campaigns. Murad’s dedication to develop and build leadership across communities has been the backbone of success in his efforts.

Experience:

  • Citizens Union Voting Rights Symposium
  • Brennan Center for Justice AVR Conference
  • National Immigrant Integration Conference
  • Press Interviews: WNYC, DC37 AfSCME Radio, NY Daily News, Gotham Gazette, Business Insider, Indypendent, Al Jazeera, NY1, Politico, etc.

Eddie Bautista

NYC Environmental Justice Alliance

Key Topics:
Climate justice, NYC-EJA’s agenda addressing environmental justice issues in NYC, EJ and solid waste, energy and brownfields policies, EJ & PlaNYC 2030, EJ & politics/policy-making broadly, NYC-EJA’s Waterfront Justice Project’s research on potential hazardous exposures in industrial waterfront neighborhoods in the event of severe weather, Opportunities & challenges affecting the planning/implementation of recovery efforts following Superstorm Sandy in NYC, Sandy Regional Assembly Recovery Agenda and its analysis of official recovery efforts and recommendations to government task forces.

Bio: Eddie Bautista is the Executive Director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA), a network of community-based organizations advocating for the empowerment and just treatment of environmentally overburdened neighborhoods. Previously, Eddie served as Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of City Legislative Affairs – where he spearheaded efforts to pass several landmark laws, including NYC’s 20-year Solid Waste Management Plan – and Director of Community Planning for NY Lawyers for the Public Interest, where he organized coalitions blocking the siting of polluting infrastructure in overburdened communities, while revising public waste and energy policies.

An award winning urban planner and community organizer, Eddie has been interviewed by local and national media outlets. Several books feature Eddie’s work, including The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, by Roberta Brandes Gratz (2010); Noxious New York: The Racial Politics of Urban Health and Environmental Justice, by Julie Sze (2006), and We Won’t Move: Community Planning in “The Real Estate Capital of the World” by Tom Angotti (2008).

Eddie is also a Visiting Professor at Pratt Institute’s Graduate Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development.

Darnell Benoit

Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project

Key Topics:
English Language Learners, immigrant education in NYC public schools, newcomer immigrant students, high school immigrant students, immigrant girls in the public schools, students with interrupted formal education (SIFE), immigrant programs in the public schools, immigration for youth and families in the public schools, immigrant education reform, special school programs for immigrant students, high school choice, high school enrollment, college access for immigrant students

Bio: Darnell Benoit is the Executive Director of Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project (Flanbwayan) Darnell Benoit was an adult ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher for over 15 years. In her classes, she noticed many young adults completed years of high school without graduating or being English proficient. She recognized the cause was poor English Language Learner (ELL) student support in the public schools and inadequate placement in high schools without supportive programs for immigrant students. As a teacher and an immigrant herself, she felt obliged to find a solution. In 2005 she founded Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project to advocate for immigrant education reform and to improve educational outcomes for newcomer immigrant students citywide.

Experience:
Immigrant Kids in School: Challenges, Progress and Potential- Philanthropy New York, April 2018

City Legislative Breakfast- Immigrant Education Panel, New York City, February 2018

Susanna Blankley

Right to Counsel

Key Topics:
Community Organizing, Leadership Development (curriculum, training and support), Campaign Development, Policy Innovations, Tenants Rights, Affordable Housing, Coalition Building, Internal Development, Structural Change

Bio: Susanna Blankley is the Coalition Coordinator for the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition, which is made up of more than 100 tenant advocate groups, tenant organizing groups, faith based groups, academics, and legal services providers throughout the New York City. While the Director of CASA, Susanna helped form the coalition in 2014, launching a campaign to pass legislation making it a right for tenants to have an attorney when facing eviction. The legislation became law in August 2017. Her current work focuses on oversight and implementation of the new legislation, in turning a law into a basic right for all tenants. Susanna began her work as a Labor Organizer in Puerto Rico, and has been organizing for safe and affordable housing in New York City since 2009. She teaches community organizing at the City College of New York as well the Advanced Community Organizing Class through the Center for Neighborhood Leadership.

Susanna has worked to advance Women’s Rights in Ecuador, New York City and Kenya. She received her undergraduate degree from Columbia University and her Masters in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management from the SIT Graduate Institute.

Experience:

  • Partnering for Impact: Innovative Collaborations for Effective Organizing Conference – Panel Speaker, “Grassroots Policymaking”.
  • The Center for Bronx Non Profits Forum: “The Promise of Affordability: The de Blasio Plan and the Challenge for the Bronx,” Panel Speaker.
  • “Housing Justice: A Public Forum on New Yorkers Right to Counsel in Eviction Proceedings.” Plenary and Closing Speaker.

 

Joan Byron

Neighborhoods First Fund for Community Based Planning

Key Topics:
Social justice in the built environment of cities, including housing affordability and displacement, equity in transportation, open space, the Sheridan Expressway campaign and the reclamation of the Bronx River, Bus Rapid Transit as a transportation equity strategy, inclusion of marginalized groups in planning of urban infrastructure and development, and how philanthropy can support organizing for that inclusion.

Bio: Since 2015, Joan Byron has worked to design, launch, and lead Neighborhoods First, a philanthropic collaborative that supports the engagement of low-income communities in the planning processes that are reshaping their neighborhoods.

Previously, Joan was Director of Policy at the Pratt Center for Community Development, where her work included the Transportation Equity Atlas, mapping racial and economic disparities in transit access across New York City neighborhoods and advocating for a citywide Bus Rapid Transit network; support of the Bronx River Alliance’s work to restore the Bronx River and build an 8-mile greenway along its banks; and with the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance, the campaign to replace the Sheridan Expressway with waterfront housing and open space. From 1989 through 2003, Joan directed the Pratt Center’s nonprofit architectural practice in the design and construction of over 2,000 units of affordable housing, as well as community health, childcare, and cultural facilities.

Joan is a registered architect, holds a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and in 2012, won a fellowship from the German Marshall Fund for research on equity in the public realm. She is a member and past chair of the board of the Bronx River Alliance. In 2013, Joan received the Paul Davidoff Award for Leadership in Housing and Equal Opportunity from the New York Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Experience:

  • Panel on Equity and Resiliency, RAMP [Recovery, Adaptation, Mitigation and Planning], a post-Sandy initiative of Pratt Institute Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development.
  • Presentation of Transportation Equity and Equitable Transit-Oriented Development, The Funders Network for Smart Growth, Los Angeles.
  • Plenary presentation on the Sheridan Expressway Campaign and Environmental Justice at Toward Carfree Cities VI, Bogotá.

Writing:

 

Silvia Canales

Key Topics:
College admissions and financial aid process.

Bio: Silvia Canales is an Afro-Latina of Dominican and Puerto Rican heritage. Passionate about addressing issues of sexism, misogyny, race and education, she works towards the empowerment of youth by designing and facilitating educational/artistic workshops. Silvia holds the position of College and Workforce Coordinator at The Brotherhood/Sister Sol. She has also been a Sister Sol Chapter Leader, as well as the facilitator of the award-winning poetry and spoken word collective, Lyrical Circle, since its inception in 2001.

Silvia co-facilitated International Study Programs to Brazil in both 2006 and 2012. As a committed cultural/youth worker to her community, Silvia has created various programs helping Manhattan Valley and Harlem youth challenge and address issues regarding race, culture, and sexism through performance art. Silvia is responsible for the implementation of the first teen component at the Manhattan Valley Development Corporation to serve youth in academics, social enrichment, and community involvement.

Silvia has received certification from Goddard Riverside’s Options Center for Educational and Career Choice in College Access Counseling, from the PASE and Baruch College Emerging Leaders Program and was accepted to The United Way Senior Fellows Program. She is an AmeriCorps National Service Alumnus, and graduated Cum Laude from Hunter College of the City University of New York with a B.A in Sociology and Africana/Latino studies. Silvia received her Masters in Education with a focus on Bilingual School-Counseling and Guidance from New York University, Steinhardt School of Education, Culture & Human Development.

Experience:

  • DanceWave College Fair.

 

Chhaya Chhoum

Mekong NYC

Key Topics:

Inter-generational organizing, Healing and organizing through the lens of the Southeast-Asian experience.

Bio:

Chhaya Chhoum was born in Cambodia in 1978 during the fall of the Khmer Rouge Regime. Chhaya and her family sought refuge in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines before making their way to the United States. After a refugee resettlement program abandoned her extended family along with thousands of other Cambodians and Vietnamese in urban poverty in the Bronx she began to organize her community against institutionalized oppression. When Chhaya was 16, she became a tutor in a pilot program run by CAAAV, one of the first organizations in America to mobilize Asian immigrant communities against the institutionalized violence of urban poverty, worker exploitation, police brutality, INS detention and deportation. Her summer internships soon turned into a full-time job as she became staff director of CAAAV’s new Youth Leadership Project (YLP). Taking on slumlords, overcrowded classrooms and cutbacks in translation services at public assistance centers and local health clinics, Chhoum harnesses the energy of the young in a community that has lost much of its adult generation. They would also begin to organize the adults as well as other youth to fight for justice.

In 2012, Chhoum co-founded Mekong, a community-based organization in the Bronx empowering the Cambodian and Vietnamese community through arts, culture, community organizing, and advocacy. She is currently the Executive Director of Mekong. She is also a mother of three – ages 13, 9, and 4. She was awarded Ford’s Leadership for a Changing World and awarded the Petra Foundation Award for unsung heroes in 2006. She has also received the 2013 Neighborhood Leadership Award from The New York Women Foundation.

Experience:

 

  • Brown University.
  • New York Women Foundation Gala.
  • Khmer Student Coalition Conference.
  • Petra Foundation.

 

Steven K. Choi

New York Immigration Coalition

Key Topics:
Comprehensive immigration reform, Advocacy campaigns, Coalition building, Grassroots organizing, Civic & voter engagement, Workers rights, Civil rights litigation, Law & organizing, Youth empowerment.

Bio: Steve Choi is currently the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella advocacy and policy coalition of nearly 200 member groups representing New York State’s immigrant communities. From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Choi was the Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, which organizes, advocates for, educates, and serves Korean and Asian community members in New York. Prior to that, Mr. Choi was a Staff Attorney and the founding Director of the Korean Workers Project at the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund, the only project on the East Coast focused on providing free legal services to low-wage Korean immigrants.

Mr. Choi received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a M.A. from the University of Hawai’i, and a B.A. from Stanford University in History with Honors.

Experience:

  • 2013 NAPABA Northeast Regional Conference (“Post-Hurricane Sandy: One Year Later and its Impact on the Northeast”).
  • 2013 CUNY School of Journalism Conference (“The Role of the Immigrant Community in the 2013 Elections”).
  • 2013 ANHD Community Development Conference (“Ballots to Bulgogi: Electoral Work and Community Empowerment”).

 

Jill Eisenhard

Red Hook Initiative

Key Topics:
Community hiring practices, Youth development programming.

Bio:
Ms. Eisenhard is the Founder and Executive Director of the Red Hook Initiative in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Under her leadership this grassroots organization has developed a model for social change and youth development that empowers youth and community members to become agents of change in their own lives and within their own neighborhood. RHI currently employs over 80 residents of Red Hook, thereby keeping the majority of financial resources within the neighborhood.

Ms. Eisenhard has over 16 years of direct youth work experience and has worked in the field of women’s health for the last 18 years. Formerly a Program Implementation Manager with the Carrera Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program at the Children’s Aid Society, she oversaw four after school youth programs in the South Bronx and Washington Heights and provided training and technical assistance to the national programs. Ms. Eisenhard worked for five years with Long Island College Hospital and was instrumental in launching the Center for Women’s Health, a comprehensive medical center for women, the first of its kind in Brooklyn, NY.

Ms. Eisenhard and the Red Hook Initiative received a Union Square Award in 2007 in recognition for their fight for social justice in Red Hook. They also received the 2012 “Building Brooklyn Award” in the community development category, granted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. In 2009 Ms. Eisenhard received the Bank of America Local Hero Award and in 2011 she was given a “Brooklyn Women of Distinction” award from CNG Courier Life. She is a graduate of the Coro Leadership New York program, 2010. In 2012 she received the Coro Alumni Leadership Award for Civic Engagement. She was featured in the July 2012 issue of More Magazine under their “Job Genius” series. In 2012 the Red Hook Initiative received the Gold Medal for Excellence in Nonprofit Management from NPCC and the New York Magazine. Ms. Eisenhard holds a BS from Cornell University.

Experience:

  • Independent Sector National Conference, 2013.
  • Nonprofit Coordinating Committee Panel on Best Fundraising Practices, 2013.
  • Alfred University Student Leadership Recognition Dinner (Keynote), 2012.

 

Sheila Garcia

CASA New Settlement Apartments

Key Topics:
Tenants’ rights, tenant organizations, housing issues, organizing to create real change, women of color in leadership, social justice work in New York City, outreach, leadership development, staff development

Bio:
A proud Bronxite, Director Sheila Garcia brings her background in teaching to her love of organizing. As Director, Sheila’s role is to coordinate and develop the CASA Leaders Team, coordinate the Rezoning campaign and Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision, fundraise, supervise all staff, and engage elected officials. In 2014, Sheila was appointed by Mayor de Blasio to sit on the NYC Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) as a Tenant Member. She was instrumental in the city-wide coalition to organize both the lowest rent adjustment in the history of the RGB of 0% adjustment in 2015 and 2016 and the lowest possible increase of 1.5% in 2018.

Experience:

  • CNL commencement ceremony 2015
  • Panelist at New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, State Senator Brad Hoylman’s Town Hall, The War on Tenants: How Laws, Loopholes & Lack of Enforcement are Endangering the Lives of Over a Million New Yorkers 2018
  • Speaker at Columbia Law School Classes 2016-2018
  • Tenant Representative on the Rent Guidelines Board from 2014-Present
  • Honoree and speaker at the Cardozo Center for Public Service Law annual INSPIRE! awards ceremony of 2018

 

Cory Greene

How Our Lives Link Altogether!

Key Topics:
Youth Development, Radical Healing, Mass Incarceration, Grassroots Community Organizing, Healing Justice Movement, Participatory Action Research (PAR), From Criminal Justice to Human Justice

Bio:
Cory Greene is a formerly incarcerated Co-Founder and Healing Justice Organizer with How Our Lives Link Altogether! Cory is currently invested in developing and supporting the development of an inter-generational youth led city-wide Healing Justice Movement. Cory is a father to a fourteen-year-old prince. Cory is a 4th year doctoral candidate in the critical social personality psychology program in the Graduate Center, CUNY where he engages in participatory action research and study’s healing-centered youth leadership development.

Experience:
The Center for NuLeadership On Urban Solutions, The College Initative, From Prison to NYU, 13th-The Documentary, Beyond the Bars Conference, Princeton University, Columbia University, My Family Reunion, My Son’s High School, New York University, The Black Arts Movement, The American Psychological Association, The Allied Media Conference

Daniel Gross

Brandworkers

Key Topics:
Alternative workplace organizing and organizing innovation, Workers’ rights, Food justice, Local food production and regional food systems, Food chain workers, Organizing with immigrant workers, Grassroots campaign strategy, Non-profit start-ups.

Bio:
Daniel Gross is a nationally recognized workers’ rights organizer, attorney, and strategist. He is a leading proponent of workplace organizing innovations which position rank and file workers at the center of change efforts. While a barista at Starbucks, Daniel helped launch a groundbreaking union campaign that has grown across the country and features strategic innovations which have significantly impacted the broader labor movement.

His experience with insecure fast food employment and intense hostility to worker organizing propelled Daniel into law school to further explore alternative organizing models. Convinced that traditional methods of change were falling flat for workers, he started laying the groundwork for Brandworkers in his last year of law school to provide workers with a unique space to build and lead their own campaigns and develop as powerful social change leaders.

In the early days of Brandworkers, a friend asked Daniel to meet with a few immigrant workers from New York City’s local food production sector. Those workers opened his eyes to severe problems, and compelling opportunities for change, in a part of the food chain he had never paid attention to. Not long after, Brandworkers was fully committed to helping workers in the the City’s food factories join together for dignified jobs and a better food system for everyone. Since 2007, Brandworkers mostly immigrant members have won dramatic gains in wages and working conditions and recovered large sums of unlawfully held wages with worker-led campaigns that avoid the pitfalls of traditional labor organizing.

Daniel writes widely on alternative organizing approaches including Labor Law for the Rank & Filer: Build Solidarity While Staying Clear of the Law and Solidarity Unionism at Starbucks, both co-authored with Staughton Lynd. He represented Brandworkers as a founding member organization of the Food Chain Workers Alliance and previously served on the National Lawyers Guild National Executive Committee.

Experience:

  • Labor on the Edge: Workers and The Globalizing Marketplace, New York University
  • Closing Speaker, Strategic Corporate Research Summer School, Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • Plenary: Organizing for Health and Dignity in the Food System, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders

 

Ligia Guallpa

Workers Justice Project

Key Topics:
Worker/labor rights, Economic development, Immigrant rights, Worker-Cooperative, Day laborers, Immigrant construction workers and domestic workers.

Bio:
Ligia Guallpa, the daughter of a former day laborer and garment worker, is the Executive Director of Workers Justice Project (WJP), a community-based building, workers’ rights organization that is winning better working conditions for low-wage immigrant workers. At WJP, Ms. Guallpa has spearheaded efforts to ensure safe and dignified jobs for NYC’s 2,000 day laborers, construction workers, and domestic workers. Through her leadership, WJP played a key role in the creation of a new union, Laborers’ Local 10, built an alternative economic model to transform the conditions for female day laborers in the house cleaning industry, and enforced higher wages and safety standards in the post Hurricane Sandy reconstruction. Ms. Guallpa’s work has been covered on Univision and in publications like The Nation, New York Daily News, and The New York Times.

Experience:

  • 2013 LAWCHA Conference.
  • Gender Labor Panel at the CUNY Law Labor Coalition for Workers Rights and Economic Justice.
  • IV World Social Forum on Migration.

 

Wayne Ho

Chinese-American Planning Council

Key Topics:
Asian Pacific American Communities, Immigrant Rights, Racial Justice, Education Reform, Health and Human Services, Non-Profit Sector.

Bio:
Wayne Ho is the President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), the nation’s largest Asian American social services agency. Prior to that, he served as the Chief Program & Policy Officer of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), a 90-year-old network of over 200 community and faith-based organizations aiming to promote the social and economic well-being of vulnerable New Yorkers. He was responsible for expanding the policy advocacy, community organizing, and capacity building initiatives to achieve FPWA’s Economic Equity Agenda.

Wayne also was the Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children & Families (CACF), the nation’s only pan-Asian children’s advocacy organization. During his tenure, CACF collaborated with other organizations to successfully pass policies to improve language access, reduce bias-based harassment in schools, baseline funding for community-based child abuse prevention programs, and increase discretionary funding for the Asian Pacific American community. He has served on the board of directors of Coro New York Leadership Center, New York Foundation, and Partnership for After School Education. Wayne has been recognized by New York State and City officials, academic institutes, and community organizations for his leadership.

He received his Bachelor of Arts from UC Berkeley and his Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Experience:

  • CUNY Asian/Asian American Research Institute Annual Conference.
  • CYFAR Grantees Annual Conference.
  • Head Start National Conference, Advocacy Institute.
  • National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans in Community Development Annual Convention.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Annual REACH US Conference.

 

Terry Kaelber

United Neighborhood Houses of New York

Key Topics:
Empowering older people to be drivers of community change, Discussing and Combating Ageism, Building age-integrated communities, LGBT Aging

Bio:
Terry Kaelber works at United Neighborhood Houses of New York [UNH] as Director for Community Engagement Projects. Building on work directing New York’s participation in a national initiative to demonstrate the impact older adults can have to drive change and strengthen their communities, Terry is deepening and expanding this approach to healthy aging into senior centers, settlement houses, and community centers through the practice of self-directed volunteer teams led by older community members to address issues of neighborhood concern. Terry is also leading the development and implementation of intergenerational programs that mobilize older adults to strengthen early childhood and youth programs. Prior to working at UNH, Terry was the Executive Director of SAGE – Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders; a delegate at the 2005 White House Conference on Aging; a recipient of the SHARE Award for Innovations in Aging from the University of Pennsylvania; and Director of the Neighborhood Ownership Works Program for the City of New York. Terry has presented widely on aging issues and holds a MPA degree from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Experience:

  • Presenter at Grantmakers in Aging. Topic addressed: “How Funders Can Drive Change in Aging”
  • Lead presenter at American Society on Aging Conference. Topic: “Disrupting Practice to Reframe Aging.”
  • Keynote address for Age Concern England’s (now Age UK) conference on LGBT Aging
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