Alia Trindle (She/Her) – Senior 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/They) – PR Specialist / Senior Organizer for Infrastructure Development
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 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.
CAM Morris (They/Them) – National Organizer for Communications
CAM is a non-binary Black feminist abolitionist and community organizer from the south-side of Chicago. CAM has been fighting to shift the material conditions in Black communities throughout DC and Chicago. CAM believes systems like white supremacy, patriarchy, both capitalism and imperialism, classism, HIV+ stigma, racism, transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia, and fatphobia fuel a global oppression that must be dismantled. CAM is currently studying Black leftism, anarchy, and communism. As a youth, CAM led a campaign to combat the inhumane practices at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. While organizing years later in Chicago, CAM supported survivors who were criminalized for self-defense, which resulted in survivors receiving reduced incarceration time and early prison releases.
CAM currently supports the DC chapter of Black Youth Project’s campaigns to Decriminalize sex work (DecrimNow) and combat the proposal of a new jail in DC through the No New Jails DC campaign. CAM also led Defund MPD campaign efforts, which resulted in over 15,000 testimony’s to defund the DC police department. CAM’s vision for freedom and Black liberation continues to lead their work. They also show up to every space with rigor and energy to strengthen communications strategies and build leaderful movements. CAM’s long-term goals include moving spaces to deepen their ability to be survivor-centered in practice and fighting for public housing in DC. CAM continues to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors.
Chris Genese — National Field Organizer
Chris Genese brings over 10 years of organizing experience in housing justice. Chris got his start organizing people of color and low-income people to resist foreclosure evictions from their homes in South Seattle after his own family lost their home in the 2009 housing market crash. He also researched and authored reports on the impacts of legislation on racial equity in Washington State. He is a former board member for Real Change News and the White Center CDA. Chris worked for Community Change, a national community organizing organization, where he supported organizing in states like Louisiana, South Carolina, Washington, Oregon, and California. Chris most recently was also part of Cancel Rent DC’s core organizing team where he helped organize a grassroots effort to pressure the DC City Council to take transformative action to prevent COVID related evictions.
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.
Eboni Carter (She/Her) – National Organizer for Operations
Eboni was engaged in animal rights protests, displaced outreach, and local political campaigns in her hometown of Chicago by the time she was an adolescent- as the child of a former Black Panther dad, and teacher union leader mom. As a resident of Atlanta, she became a member of the grassroots organization FTP Movement in 2008, which also started Siafu Youth Corps, a free urban scouts program for inner-city youth. Eboni has organized with Amnesty International and Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty on anti-death penalty and prison abolition efforts, most notably the fight to exonerate Troy Davis. Professionally, Eboni worked as a childcare provider, early childhood educator, and doula since 2001. Joining the “Fight for $15” as a member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance led her to begin contracting with Right to the City in 2017, before joining the national staff in 2020. In her free time, Eboni is an autism advocate for parents, inspired and trained by her own son’s challenges and accomplishments being on the spectrum. She spends most of her time sharing her comic book collection with him, and entertaining the interests of her singing-ballerina-tomboy-princess of a daughter. She also loves contributing google maps reviews as a Google Local Guide, playing Spades, and dancing in her kitchen to hip-hop, dusties, and classic rock while cooking veganized and pescatarian gourmet, soul and ethnic foods.
Fernando (Fer) Xavier Abarca — National Field Organizer
Fernando (Fer) was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. His parents emigrated from El Salvador during the Civil War of the 1980s. He is a community organizer, policy analyst, and researcher primarily focused on alternative housing and community economic development strategies. Fernando has worked on local campaigns in Los Angeles, including the Legalize Street Vending Campaign while working for one of the largest affordable housing development non-profits in the Eastside of Los Angeles. Through a Fulbright research scholarship, Fernando returned to his parent’s native land of El Salvador, where he lived and partnered with community members to document the history of a community-owned land trust. In partnership with community leaders and the local housing cooperative, his research led to producing a short film, Nueva Heroica (New Heroics) – named after the cooperative itself, documenting the history of this successful community project. He returned to Los Angeles to get his Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
He currently serves as the National Field Organizer for the Western Region at the Right to the City Alliance. In his free time, you can catch Fer watching a soccer game with the family or out and about taking photos while listening to some funky soulful beats.
Jayanni Webster (She/Her) – National Field Organizer
Jayanni is a national organizer for Right To the City Alliance. Previously, she worked as a union organizer for United Campus Workers – CWA Local 3865 and prior to that as a communications and community organizer for the Fight for $15 Campaign. She has 10+ years of experience in student, labor and community activism ranging from anti-death penalty efforts to reproductive justice and anti-privatization organizing. Jayanni is a committed social movement leftist, Black feminist, and internationalist. She is deeply in love with puppies, plants, mangos & southern fried catfish. She is based in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.
Jo Risper — National Organizer for Electoral Engagement
Jo is a radical feminist who is fighting for Black Liberation, with a key focus on reparations through a lens of housing. Her dream is a world where capitalism is eradicated in housing. Before working in politics she was a preschool teacher in her hometown of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She became involved in local politics to fight for her students, and soon got involved in electoral politics. She has worked for congressional races, NextGen America, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Bernie 2020 Campaign, and Citizen Action of New York. Her work is mostly based in grassroots and community organizing. She will use these skills to take translocal community organizing power into the electoral realm. Jo is a queer, cisgender, and lover of all things farmer markets. She spends her free time diving deep into skincare, shopping and reading. Her goal is to travel to all fifty states and every continent. She is currently based in Rochester, NY, an Amtrak, greyhound, or an airport.
Kamau Walton (They/Them) – Senior 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 Injunctions Coalition, 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.
Lex Rountree (She/ Her) – National Organizer for Infrastructure Development and Technology
Lex is a queer Black feminist who hails from the Baltimore suburbs on occupied Piscataway land, and is now based in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn).
While in high school, Lex began as a national volunteer on the digital organizing team for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential run, and spent the following two summers with ex-staffers working on the foundation of Brand New Congress by first overseeing logistics for a nationwide tour and later working in candidate recruitment. In college, she was one of the core organizers of the NYU Student Labor Action Movement, which ran campaigns against the use of forced labor at the Abu Dhabi campus, and the removal board of trustees members who were heavily involved in financing the displacement and disenfranchisement of Black and brown people. Lex additionally served on the coordinating committee for United Students Against Sweatshops, was an intern for DoSomething.org’s campaigns team, and devoted most of her research to Baltimore’s legacy as the roots of redlining and racial covenants, the influence of surveillance technology, the disciplined community-led efforts to reclaim the city, and relations to technology and data rooted in care rather than extraction. After working with RTTC as an intern, Lex worked for New Florida Majority (now Florida Rising), where she focused on creating community-based mapping tools and providing tech/reporting support to organizers engaging in voter contact.
Outside of work, Lex enjoys obsessing over her French bulldogs, connecting with her ancestors, being a part-time film and art nerd, and living her queer crafting fantasy with her bubblegum pink sewing machine. She values good food above all and aims to bring a little sparkle to everything she does.
Lorraine is the daughter of Filipinx immigrants. Born on a naval base in San Diego, Lorraine learned about the stark realities of imperialism at an early age. As a feminist studies major, Lorraine yearned to heal from the trauma and wounds of white supremacy, colonialism and capitalism. Wide-eyed and ready to learn, she moved to the Oakland, CA and started as Development Coordinator at the Coalition on Homelessness in San Francisco. There Lorraine learned about the rich history and local organizing efforts in the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods and participated in outreach efforts in homeless shelters and encampments. Lorraine helped build resources at South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN) and simultaneously helped organize working-class, immigrant Filipinx families. Shortly Lorraine got connected with Gabriela, an anti-imperialist, feminist organization fighting for national democracy in the Philippines and organized with Gabriela for 2 years. Lorraine joined Causa Justa :: Just Cause (CJJC) in 2013 as Resource Organizer and later Development Director, where she raised resources to fight like hell against gentrification and displacement and to build the power of Black and Latinx families. Lorraine got her political and organizing grounding, learning about transformative organizing and visionary frameworks like Community Futures. Lorraine enjoys tending to her garden, meandering and birding with a strong cup of herbal tea, and biking to new places.
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.
Matt Howard (He/Him) – National Organizer for Communications
Matt was raised in Portland, Oregon and also spent significant parts of his adolescence in the Southwest and in the deep South where both his parents are originally from.
At 17, Matt enlisted in the Marine Corps, where he spent 5 years and deployed twice to Iraq as a helicopter mechanic. Matt’s experience overseas guarding Iraqi laborers and witnessing the impact of U.S. imperialism firsthand was deeply politicizing and led him to his political home, now known as About Face: Veterans Against the War. Matt became a member, spent time organizing active duty soldiers, and eventually became a staff member of the organization, leaving after 7 years as a Co-Director.
Matt has been fortunate to organize in solidarity with different peoples’ movements across the country, including with the It Takes Roots Alliance where he first met Right to the City. He is excited to bring his experience with narrative strategy work from the anti-militarism movement into the housing justice sector.
Matt enjoys cooking gumbo, reading comic books, being sarcastic, and being in community. He is based in Philadelphia, PA.
Melanie is an organizer, interpreter and writer from Massachusetts. As a young person, she got to learn from worker-members at the Matahari Women Workers’ Center in Boston, and through their community she fostered a powerful, enduring belief in the value of organizing. She comes to Right to the City from member organization CAAAV in New York City, where she was a tenant organizer in the Manhattan Chinatown community. Her daily life was ruled by by sixth-floor walk-ups, cross-dialect & crossgeneration tenant meetings, the dystopian Manhattan housing court, and the constant presence of hot jasmine tea. From those experiences, she carries both a deep love for neighborhood-level organizing and a deep appreciation for the necessity of broader, trans-local infrastructure in organizing movements. Her loyalty to New York City notwithstanding, she’s a life-long New Englander based in the Boston area who can typically be found practicing her language skills, wandering the woods, woefully fighting writer’s block, or restocking the spices in her kitchen.
Mia Herndon (She/Her) – National Organizer for Infrastructure and Collective Care
Mia Herndon comes to this work with almost 20 years of experience in community-based, state and national social justice and philanthropic organizations, including as a current collective member within Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute and the former Executive Director of the Third Wave Foundation. Mia is a licensed acupuncturist, somatic coach, therapeutic bodyworker, and facilitator based in Canarsee/Lenape occupied land (Brooklyn, NY). She serves on the advisory council of Black Feminist Future.
Oli Naimi (They/Them) – National Organizer for Infrastructure and Executive Support
Oli is from a working-class suburb south of Detroit, Michigan. After doing improv theater in prisons for a few years with the Sisters Within Theater Troupe, developing organizing skills with Michigan Student Power Network, and working on Covid-related Mutual aid and No Rent work in Michigan, they moved to the Bay Area to get some sunshine and perspective. They come to organizing grounded in prison abolition, mutual aid, healing/transformative justice, creative arts, and disability justice. They are passionate about finding ways to make organizing fun, accessible, and effective. Based in the East Bay Area, Oli is busy trying out backpacking, biking, and roller skating for the first time, reading (speculative fiction), dancing with and without music, and staying curious. Little things that make Oli happy are tendrils on plants, decrystalizing honey, and crisping wilted celery. They love to cook, and they love to share.
Paige Kümm (She/Her) – Senior 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.
Robbie Clark (They/Them) – National Organizer for Membership Development
Robbie Clark is a Black, queer, trans masculine agitator, visionary and strategist born and raised in Oakland, California. Robbie is a recent cancer survivor and has close to 20 years of experience in social justice work.
Robbie was trained in organizing at Right to the City member organization Causa Justa::Just Cause (CJJC), leading campaigns to stop illegal evictions and expand protections for tenants for 11 years. They were a member of the original Homes for All organizing committee.
Robbie learned that they enjoyed supporting other organizers in their development while at CJJC. They also worked as a coach and trainer for the Groundswell Fund Grassroots Organizing Institute. And spent time as a core member of Black Lives Matter Bay Area. Prior to Robbie’s cancer diagnosis, they worked with the Black Futures Lab as the Deputy Director and led the field program for the Black Census Project that reached over 30,000 Black people across the nation, included partnerships with over 40 organizations, and trained over 100 Black organizers. Robbie is also on the advisory board for the Catalyst Project. Overall, Robbie is a commitment to the liberation of Black people – mind, body and spirit.
You can also find Robbie making playlists, honing their beginner drumming skills with SambaFunk, or hogging the mic at a karaoke night.
Sam Jacobs (He/Him) – National Organizer for Donor Relations
Sam grew up in San Diego and moved east to study engineering, then left that behind to spend a couple years working in the back of house of a restaurant. Along the way, Sam was politicized by the Occupy movement and the Movement for Black Lives and started organizing as a member leader of Resource Generation, a community of young people with wealth and class privilege who support grassroots social movements for justice and work to change philanthropy. He’s especially proud of organizing and participating in giving circles to move money to struggles for Palestinian liberation, movements to fight corporate power, and gender justice organizing with a group of feminist dudes. Sam now lives in Brooklyn, and when he’s not fundraising, he’s probably cooking pancakes or playing beach volleyball.
Tara Tabassi (They/She) – National Organizer for Communications
Tara has been a grassroots and digital organizer for over a decade — crafting antiwar campaigns at Win Without War via the Kairos Fellowship, building national strategies to end police militarization with the War Resisters League, and community organizing with LGBTQ youth of color at FIERCE.
Besides dismantling the Military Industrial Complex one campaign at a time, Tara believes in the power of community gardens, healing with plant medicine, and telling stories through graphic illustration. Raised in the Netherlands, Iran, and the U.S., Tara dreams of an internationalist feminist remaking of our world so that bombs, borders, bans, and binaries are obsolete.
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.
Tweet Tran (She/Her) – Accounting Manager
Born and raised in Vietnam, at 16, Tweet migrated to Brooklyn, NY with her family and hasn’t left New York since. She has been in the non-profit accounting sector since 2007, providing services from small, mid and large-organization managing their finances. She loves working behind the scenes supporting all the good people working on the front lines. At The Center for Family Support, an organization that provides support and assistance to individuals with developmental and related disabilities, she was an internal auditor managing the expenses of both their NY and NJ offices. Tweet was managing the books and reconciled all of the bank accounts for Education Alliance, which provides day care and educational services for low income communities. She was in charge of doing payroll, account receivables, payables and reconciling accounts for UP2US Sports- an organization that provides sports activities for youth from low-income and underserved communities, and also trains adults to become mentors, trainers, coaches.
Tweet is also a Certified Notary Public, and is Bookkeeping Certified. Outside of accounting, she is interested in personal finance such as wealth management, mutual funds, stocks, IRAs, annuities and real estate.