leninasmileLenina Nadal, Communications Director

Lenina has been working wiht RTC for 2.5 years and has led many of the narrative and story based strategy training, spokes training and press strategy for Right to the City. Before this she worked as the Development and Communications Manager of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. She received an MFA in Integrated Media Arts at Hunter College and studied historical documentary filmmaking in George Washington University. She has also been a writer and producer for Democracy Now!, PBS American Experience and the History Channel and presented in the Tribeca FIlm Festival with a film produced in Marrakech, Morocco about local gentrification. She has led media, strategic planning and leadership trainings in nonprofit organizations for the last 15 years. She is also a Boricua/Nuyorican poet, a student of playwrighting, spectacles and flash mobs, a new mami, and is on the community action council of the FOUNDRY theatre.

MarkSwierMark Swier, Operations Manager

Mark hails from Grand Rapids, MI, and was shaped as a young person by his family’s class conscious, anti-imperialist, faith-rooted values and his exposure to the South African liberation struggle. From high school through college he was involved in fights around military recruitment in schools, free trade/worker rights, the prison industrial complex and the KKK. Mark worked as a sexual health educator for 3 years and trained as a community organizer through Social Justice Leadership’s Transformative Organizing Initiative. He worked with Mothers on the Move in the South Bronx for 4 years, initiating MOM’s public housing campaign and working with other fierce RTTC-NY groups to fight the Bloomberg agenda and articulate what the NYC of our dreams might look like. In 2010 Mark joined RTTC’s national Steering Committee, and then its staff, to help strengthen organizational systems and infrastructure. Mark loves being a Dad, cooking & eating, playing futbol and making music.

laforestRachel LaForest, Executive Director

Rachel has been the Executive Director of Right to the City Alliance since May 2011. She joined the Alliance after eight years of working with progressive labor, directing the Organizing and Public Policy departments of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 and Actors Equity Association (AEA). Rachel organized and led multiple mobilizations of thousands of TWU members to City Hall and the state government in Albany; conducted extensive research and designed education and training in public policy for rank-and-file union members and officers; and was one of the lead coordinators for TWU during the 2005 New York City transit strike, after which the union leadership was jailed. Prior to her career with TWU and AEA, Rachel served as Lead Organizer/Co-Campaign Director for Jobs with Justice/New York Unemployment Project, building community-labor solidarity and joint action and co-coordinating the campaign that won an increase of $2 per hour in the minimum wage for New York State. Rachel holds a BA from Hunter College/CUNY in Political Science (Black and Puerto Rican Studies) and Education and she is a new mami!!

tonyromanoTony Romano, Organizing Director

Tony has been organizing for 22 years. He is a veteran union organizer and a co-founder of the Miami Workers Center. He is a native of Georgia and begin organizing in 1993 with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers and UNITE. Tony was schooled in politics and organizing as an English teacher in South Africa during the struggle against apartheid. He led a major labor/civil rights campaign against the Kmart corporation in Greensboro, North Carolina and arrived in Florida in 1996 to join an effort to unionize area nursing home workers. In 1999, Tony co-founded the Miami Workers Center. He guided campaigns that prevented the demolition of over 2000 affordable homes and generated $17 million in housing and childcare funds for low-income families. He served as a lead on the RTTC Housing workgroup that facilitated a participatory grassroots process that produced a national research paper, “We Call These Projects Home.” In 2011, Tony joined the staff of Right to the City Alliance in 2011 as Organizing Director. He’s a papa too.

img_3839Yasmeen Perez, Development Director

Yasmeen is the former Co-Director of Seattle Young People’s Project, a youth of color led community organizing group, and worked for several years as the Leadership Development Director and then Interim Director at FIERCE, a grassroots youth organizing group building the leadership and power of LGBTQ youth of color in NYC. More recently, Yasmeen worked at Domestic Workers United, anorganization made up of nannies, house keepers, and elder care givers working for dignity and fair labor standards in NYC, as the Operations Manager. Yasmeen has a BA in Race, Class, & Gender Studies, with a focus in Participatory and Anti-Oppression Education from the Evergreen State College. In addition to fundraising and social justice, Yasmeen is committed to celebrity gossip, karaoke, and being an uncle.

DarnellofRTCADarnell L. Johnson, Right to the City Boston Coordinator

Darnell coordinates our Boston Alliance in its core strategies of base building, community leadership development, political education, and community building. Darnell joined RTC’s staff in 2014 after years of community and labor organizing focusing on the intersections of race, class, gender and oppression. Darnell is a founding member of the African American Theatre Company at the University of Louisville and has been seen on stage with Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Kentucky Opera and the Juneteenth Legacy Theatre.