Alia Trindle (She/Her) – National Organizer for Resource Development
Born in Lancaster PA, Alia grew up in the sticks of Maryland and is passionate about connecting rural and urban communities for social change. With over 15 years in racial and economic justice work, Alia has engaged in a mix of organizing and fundraising, with a stint in labor where she won five union organizing campaigns in one year helping to bring 2600 healthcare
workers into the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses & Allied Professionals. For the past decade, Alia has been a trainer with Catalyst Project leading anti-racist political education with majority white social movement groups. She originally comes out of RTTC/Homes For All member organization Causa Justa::Just Cause, where she fell even more deeply in love with community organizing while serving as the Development Coordinator for four years. An accidental fundraiser, Alia is passionate about building people’s organizations and moving resources to frontline struggles. Based in Philadelphia, Alia can be found eating blue crabs, reading, wandering around Harlem, and hanging out with bae. Nerdy by nature, Alia is in a lifelong struggle to read more fiction.
Anamika Jain (She/Her) – PR Specialist
Anamika grew up for most of her life with one foot in India and the other in Hong Kong. With a loud voice and an early-found knack for organizing, she blossomed as a rebel in her sexist Indian boarding school (she loved the school, nevertheless), and grew as a young worker and activist for groups like Help for Domestic Helpers, Hong Kong Dog Rescue, South Asia NYU and the NYU Sanctuary Coalition. As she immersed herself in human rights and social justice through higher academia, she found her city rat self drawn to the idea of urban democracy and moved to São Paulo to work at Instituto Pólis, where she became acquainted with the right to the city in practice. Returning to New York, Anamika joined the Right To The City Alliance as a Program Associate in 2017. She enjoys all things queer, fighting to defend her politics, bobbing about in the ocean, and Facetiming her family. She can most often be found sitting on her couch (throne) with her cat or basking in the Oakland sunshine.
Dawn Phillips (He/Him) – Executive Director
Dawn has been a grassroots organizer engaged in a range of social, economic, racial and environmental justice organizations and fights in the Bay Area and nationally for over 20 years. Prior to joining RTTC, Dawn was the Program Director at Causa Justa::Just Cause (CJJC) a grassroots membership organization focused on community development, housing, and immigrant justice issues in the California Bay Area; and a founding member of the Right To The City Alliance.
Additionally, Dawn has served as Executive Director of People United from a Better Oakland and as the Organizing Director for Building Opportunities for Self- Sufficiency (BOSS). Dawn has helped develop and lead local, regional, statewide and national campaigns, participated and led numerous coalitions and movement formations and authored several nationally recognized reports and articles on topics ranging from equitable development, land and housing justice, grassroots organizing, movement building and strategy. Dawn was lead author on CJJC’s report “Development Without Displacement: Resisting Gentrification in the Bay Area” which discussed the impacts of gentrification and displacement on working class communities of color and included policy recommendations for addressing these issues. Dawn is an immigrant from Singapore and a male-identified transgender person based in Oakland, California.
Davin Cardenas (He/Him) – National Field Organizer
Davin coordinates RTTC’s Homes For All campaign on the West Coast. He was the former Co-Director and founding staff of the North Bay Organizing Project in Sonoma County, having previously worked as the first community organizer at the outset of the Graton Day Labor Center in west Sonoma County, from 2004 – 2010. Davin graduated from Sonoma State University with a B.A. in Liberal Studies in 2004, where he was Co-Chair of the SSU M.E.Ch.A (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) chapter.
Kamau Walton (They/Them) – National Communications Organizer
Kamau was born in Dayton, OH and grew up as the second of four kids in a military family. They are a queer, gender non-confirming abolitionist. Following the US Social Forum in 2010, Kamau came into organizing in earnest as a member of the Oakland Chapter of Critical Resistance. As part of CR & the Stop the InjunctionsCoalition, they waged & won their first ever campaign after 5 years of struggle to stop gang injunctions in Oakland. They also were a part of campaigns to fight jail expansion, end solitary confinement & defund police militarization trainings in the Bay Area. More recently, they’ve been part of several Black organizing formations including the Black Lives Matter Bay Area Chapter & the Movement for Black Lives. Kamau joined Right To The City after working at TGI Justice Project, where they were fortunate to be able to amplify the voices, politics & brilliance of trans women of color directly impacted by policing & imprisonment.
After 10 transformative years in Oakland, they’re excited to continue growing as an organizer and building community in Philadelphia, PA. Kamau’s free time is filled with herbal medicine, reading Black sci-fi, gardening & cooking food that’s so good it hopefully moves someone else to do the dishes for them. They do their best to ride their bike daily, stretch & stay hydrated.
Malcolm Torrejón Chu (He/Him) – Director of Programs
Malcolm was born and bred in Brooklyn, NY and now finds himself in Boston. Malcolm’s early exposure to gentrification in Brooklyn, and to the fight for community control of community space and housing as a human right came while volunteering with the Fifth Avenue Committee as a teenager on their Eviction Free Zone campaign. Later, Malcolm got schooled as an organizer with Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he spent 7 years as the lead organizer building a grassroots, people of color and resident-led movement against displacement and foreclosure. Malcolm was a member of the Homes For All organizing committee for 3 years before joining the RTTC staff in 2016 as a communications strategist and organizer. He’s a new papa, hip-hop head, enjoys dancing salsa, cooking, biking, hiking, talking visionary strategy and would rather spend the day on the beach than any where else.
Mark Swier (He/Him) – Director of Finance and Administration
Mark has contributed to grassroots struggles for racial, economic and gender justice since the late 1990s, and trained as a organizer in New York City through Social Justice Leadership’s Transformative Organizing Initiative. Mark worked with Mothers on the Move in the South Bronx for four years, launching MOM’s public housing campaign, helping to coordinate a community visioning process and working with RTTC-NYC groups to develop a citywide political platform. Mark served on RTTC’s national Steering Committee before joining its staff in 2010, working to grow RTTC’s finance and administrative systems to embody our movement DNA, strengthen interdependent organizational ecosystems, and advance the theory and practice of strategic infrastructure.
Hailing from Grand Rapids, MI, Mark was politicized by rust belt inequality and gentrification and by spending formative years in Southern Africa during the final phase of apartheid. Mark enjoys adventuring with his kids, riding bikes, playing futbol, diggin’ in the crates and sharing joy and revelry with his movement family.
Paige Kumm (She/Her) – National Organizer for Membership Development
Paige joined Right To The City Alliance as staff in 2019 after spending the past decade holding community organizer and political educator roles in various social justice movements across the country. The daughter of an Army officer, she grew up on U.S. Army bases in Texas, Georgia, Colorado, and Germany before moving to the Bay Area of California to study. Paige got her start as an organizer while still a college student, joining a union-led campaign for a living wage for the university’s employees. Inspired by the struggle for worker power, Paige moved to Arizona to organize hotel workers with UNITE-HERE, where she learned firsthand the challenges of labor organizing in anti-worker conditions.
After her parents lost their home to foreclosure, Paige returned to the Bay Area to fight for housing justice with the grassroots organization Causa Justa::Just Cause in San Francisco, organizing black and brown tenants to expand renter protections in a rapidly gentrifying region. As a lead organizer and tenant counselor, she served the people through a rights-based framework. Her love of facilitation and education work led her to the Lead Trainer position at SOUL School of Unity and Liberation, where she coordinated national trainings on organizing skills and popular education. Guided by her roots in labor organizing, she then served as an Education Coordinator in the Education and Leadership Development Department at 1199SEIU in New York City, designing curriculum to support union organizers in leadership development work.
Paige is a queer black feminist with undying love for fellow fierce femmes, black science fiction authors, and movement-building nerds.
Tony Romano (He/Him) – Director of Field Organizing
Tony has been organizing for 25 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 now lives in Atlanta in his childhood home, and loves spending time with his kids.