Dawn Phillips, Executive Director

Dawn is Executive Director of the Right to the City Alliance. Prior to coming on as Executive Director in January 2016, Dawn served as the Board Chair.  Dawn has been an organizer engaged in a range of social, economic and environmental justice organizations and fights in the Bay Area and nationally for almost 25 years, most recently with Causa Justa :: Just Cause (CJJC) in Oakland, California, a founding member of the Right to the City Alliance.

Dawn is also the Co-Director of Programs at CJJC, a Bay Area membership organization focused on community development, housing and immigrant justice issues. CJJC builds grassroots power and community leadership through rights-based services, policy campaigns, civic engagement, direct action and movement building. CJJC strives to improve conditions both in the neighborhoods they organize in and regionally, as well as to contribute to building the larger multi-racial, multi-generational movement needed for fundamental change.

Dawn leads the local, regional and national policy campaign work for the organization and was lead author on CJJC’s report “Development Without Displacement: Resisting Gentrification in the Bay Area”. This was a study on the impacts of gentrification and displacement on working class communities of color, which included policy recommendations for addressing these issues. Dawn has also authored several articles on topics ranging from equitable development, to organizing and movement building.

Mark_CJAMark Swier, Director of Operations and Finance

Mark hails from Grand Rapids, MI and was politicized as a kid living in Southern Africa.  He has contributed to grassroots struggles for racial, economic and gender justice since the mid-90’s, and trained as an organizer in NYC through Social Justice Leadership’s Transformative Organizing Initiative.  Mark was on staff at Mothers on the Move for four years, launching MOM’s public housing campaign and working with other RTTC-NYC groups to develop and advance a right to the city platform.  Mark served on the national Steering Committee of Right To The City Alliance, and then joined staff in 2010 to help strengthen organizational systems & infrastructure.  Mark loves adventuring with his kids, cooking and eating, riding bikes, talking strategy, playing futbol and making music.


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 began 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 RTC Housing work group that facilitated a participatory grassroots process that produced a national research report, 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.

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.