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Staff

Meet our Team

Leadership

Ana Maria Archila
Co-Executive Director

Ana María emigrated to the U.S. from Colombia at the age of 17 and has become a leading voice for racial justice, economic justice and immigrant rights in New York and nationally, first as co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York (MRNY), and now as co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD).
 
During Ana María's 13 years at MRNY and its predecessor organization, the Latin American Integration Center, Ana Maria helped build a build the organization into a powerful force for change in New York and nationally. The 16,000+ members of Make the Road New York, mostly working class Latino immigrants, have led some of the most transformative victories for low-income New Yorkers over the last decade: With their determination and strong advocacy, members of MRNY have helped put millions of dollars in the pockets of low-wage workers by winning increases to the minimum wage, paid sick days, and strong protections from wage-theft; and they have led the ambitious campaigns to win public policies that make New York City one of the leading Sanctuary Cities in the country. By organizing in neighborhoods across New York City and Long Island, MRNY members are bringing the experiences of immigrants to the forefront of the public debate and are shaping public policy on housing, education, health care, policing, civil rights and more.
 
In 2014, Ana María stepped into a new role as Co-Executive Director at the Center for Popular Democracy, and helped build it into one of the largest community organizing networks in the country, with 45 affiliate organizations in 32 states. CPD and its affiliates represent a powerful multi-racial alliance of immigrants, African Americans and white working class communities working to advance an agenda of racial and economic justice, and a vibrant democracy. CPD and its affiliates have played a major role in the national movement to raise the minimum wage and win family-sustaining jobs, resulting in raises for close to 11 million workers. Working with local progressive elected officials, the CPD network has helped elevate the role of cities as places for policy innovation that advances immigrant rights, workplace justice, and economic opportunity for communities of color.
 
In this moment of increased threats from the federal government, the organizations that are part of the CPD network are helping drive participation of people across the country to protect our communities, and advance a vision for justice and opportunity for all.

Oona Chatterjee
Chief of Base-Building

Oona leads the Base-Building team at CPD, which supports our partners in becoming stronger and more effective, and engages them in building our network together.  She came to CPD after serving for 2 years as the Associate Director of New York City Organizing at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. In that role, she worked with AISR's New York City team and partner organizations throughout the city to support parent and student organizing efforts to advance school reform. Prior to working to AISR, Oona served for fifteen years as Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, an organization which she co-founded and which is one of the most respected and effective organizing groups in the country. Make the Road New York is a core partner of CPD. Oona’s work at MRNY included participating in the design, creation and ongoing support of two small public schools, building vital student and parent organizing programs within the organization, and playing an important role in the founding of citywide and national youth organizing coalitions to advance school reform.

Oona was a long-time board member and former Board Chair of the North Star Fund, a progressive NYC-based foundation and has been the recipient of several fellowships and awards including the Reebok Human Rights Award, and the Brick Award.  She is a graduate of Yale University and New York University Law School.

Jennifer Epps-Addison
Network President and Co-Executive Director

Jennifer Epps-Addison serves as the President and Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy and CPD Action's network of 49 partner organizations in 33 states. As President, Jennifer leads CPD’s racial justice campaigns, and works closely with its network of local affiliates.  

Jennifer boasts over 15 years of community organizing experience, advancing systems-change campaigns for economic and racial justice. Prior to joining CPD, Epps-Addison was the Chief Program Officer for the Liberty Hill Foundation, a social justice foundation in Los Angeles that funds grassroots community organizing campaigns for social change. A native of Milwaukee, WI, Epps-Addison helped coordinate the Fight for $15 campaign as the Executive Director of Wisconsin Jobs Now.

Epps-Addison is the recipient of the 2013 Edna Award from the Berger-Marks Foundation, which honors an outstanding young woman each year for her leadership in fueling social change. In the same year, she was named an 'Activist to Watch' by Bill Moyers. She earned her BA in Political Science and Women's Studies and her JD from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to her return to organizing, Jennifer was a trial attorney in the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office.

Epps-Addison, a leader who has deep experience building power in communities from the ground up, joins the Center for Popular Democracy at a time when local community voices matter more than ever in creating a nation-wide movement to fight for dignity and opportunity for all people.  She brings with her a commitment to supporting and growing black-led organizations, strengthening investments in power-building efforts in communities of color, and deepening organizing strategies that build power with the white working class by addressing racism head-on and building authentic alliances based on shared interests and shared values.

Jenny Freedman
Chief Operating Officer

Jenny serves as CPD’s Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the organization’s finance, human resources, legal compliance, and operations functions, while working to build and strengthen CPD’s infrastructure and systems. She brings with her a wealth of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, and fiscal stewardship.

Jenny comes to CPD after 16 years as the Chief of Development & Finance at CASA, the mid-Atlantic region’s largest Latino and immigrant advocacy organization, where she was responsible for overseeing the growth of CASA’s infrastructure in areas of fundraising and financial management. While at CASA, Jenny helped grow the organization from a budget of $2.5M to over $12M, expanding CASA’s footprint to three states - Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. During her tenure at CASA she helped launch and grow two additional sister organizations (a 501c4 and PAC), and she also led the organization through two major capital campaigns of $14M each. She has also been a panelist and trainer on fundraising and nonprofit financial management at various conferences and panels. 

Jenny holds a BA from Northwestern University and a Masters of Public Management from University of Maryland.

Angelique Green
Director of Development

Angelique is the Development Director for CPD/A. She is responsible for the organization’s development strategy and success, working closely with the Senior Leadership Team to ensure that the strategy is in line with CPD’s institutional priorities and plans for growth. 

With a deep commitment to social movements and a firm understanding of the role of racial capitalism in our society, she aspires to build power and solidarity between diverse communities and develop transformational partnerships with donors by grounding fundraising in race, equity, and social justice. She brings over a decade of experience in fundraising, development, and nonprofit management, most recently serving as Senior Development Director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance/Care In Action where she doubled the size of the development team, strengthened the fundraising infrastructure, and expanded individual and institutional philanthropic partnerships, which resulted in a 50% increase to the c3 budget and the doubling of the c4 budget in a critical election year.

Angelique holds BAs from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Sociology and Global Studies, with an emphasis on Socioeconomics and Politics. She graduated with an MA in International Relations and Organizations at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Latrina Kelly-James
Chief of Equity & Racial Justice

Latrina Kelly-James serves as CPD’s Chief of Equity & Racial Justice, driving our internal equity practices, and internal and external voice around racial justice. 

Latrina comes to CPD with 15 years experience building and advocating for marginalized communities. With equity at the center, she has provided strategic leadership and capacity building to forge collaborative community and institutional partnerships, utilize data and community voice to drive policies to reduce harm, reallocate resources to communities, and support community access to and sustainability of funding. Most recently, Latrina served as a Director of Training and Capacity Building with Equal Justice USA creating racial equity for Black and Brown survivors of violence through building community organizations’ capacity to access federal and other sources of funding to advance their healing, driving $4 million to Black and Brown-led community groups in 15 cities working to reduce violence,  and leading a project to facilitate conversations between communities and police, centering historical trauma of the policing system and the need for community-led responses to harm. 

She is former Director of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Drug Free Coalition and formerly served as the Deputy Director and interim Executive Director for Junta for Progressive Action in New Haven, CT, where she led coalition-building and advocacy strategies around ending federal Secure Communities, and pushed against racial profiling in local police departments . Latrina is also a past Fellow with the Justice Policy Network, a Washington DC-based policy leadership program, volunteers with North Carolina’s Center for Community Transitions where she mentors women returning from incarceration, and is a former Community Equity Consultant for Root Cause, a Boston-based strategic consulting firm. 

Latrina brings a commitment to driving equity from spaces of liberation; building and centering the power of voices of Black and Brown communities; and liberation as an organizational practice.

Steve Kest
Senior Advisor

Steve serves as Senior Advisor to CPD, with responsibility for a number of projects designed to build CPD's capacity.  In addition, he is coordinating the network's "fight-back" campaign against the policies and program of the Trump administration.  Steve also serves on CPD's Senior Management Team.

Steve brings an enormous range of experience, skills, and insights to CPD as a decades-long veteran of community organizing. Most recently, Steve ran the Fight for a Fair Economy (FFE) program at Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a $30 million annual investment in community organizing. While at SEIU he also helped support the Fight for 15 campaign to organize fast food workers. Before joining SEIU, Steve was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he helped CAP develop its work on community organizing.

Steve's most significant experience was at ACORN, where he worked for over 35 years in a wide variety of roles, including as National Executive Director. Steve graduated from Harvard and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Staff

Monica Acosta
Campaign Organizer, Education & Justice Transformation

Monica partners with and provides direct support to Black and Brown youth organizations in CPD’s affiliate network working to win police-free schools campaigns to shift resources away from policing and towards critical student needs and the building of a liberatory education system at the local, state and federal level. She also supports the collective engagement of our youth organizing affiliates in federal advocacy campaigns to demilitarize and decriminalize schools and communities of color across the country.

Monica first began organizing in the early 2000’s, helping lead her first campaigns for immigrant and education justice as a high school student and youth leader at Padres & Jovenes Unidos (PJU) in Colorado. With an emphasis on political education and transformative organizing rooted in the Southwest’s Chicanx movements for self-determination, she quickly flourished as a leader and became Lead Organizer, then Organizing Director and most recently Co-Executive Director. Over the years, Monica helped organize immigrant justice campaigns that secured local wins like sanctuary school and city policies, state victories like in-state tuition for undocumented students, driver’s licences for all, CO’s Rapid Response Network and the eventual DACA program at the national level. Most recently, as organizing director, she led PJU’s work to dismantle the school to prison pipeline in Denver and Colorado.

Monica's own training and experience led her to become passionate about the leadership development of Black and Brown youth as well the sustainability of organizing models aimed at building and maintaining long-term political power - a passion and expertise she now brings to CPD. Monica holds a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish from the University of Denver.

Carolina Agan
Executive Assistant/Editorial Assistant, the Forge

As Executive Assistant, Carolina is the logistic and administrative lead for the COO, Jenny Freedman, as well as the Editorial Assistant for our online Journal, The Forge. Her past professional experience includes management at a startup, media archival work, and Spanish translation and interpretation. Carolina holds a degree in History from Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a certificate in Legal and Medical Translation and Interpretation from Hunter College. Outside of work, she is a passionate environmentalist and an active member of her community. Carolina currently lives in Brooklyn with her two wonderful kids.

Marinieves Alba
Training Design Director

Marinieves Alba is the Training Design Director for the Center for Popular Democracy. She is responsible for training program development and evaluation, curriculum design, and the cultivation of learning communities which support and grow the Center for Popular Democracy’s national network. In her role, she will work as part of CPD’s Training Initiative to ensure successful design, implementation, and evaluation of all educational programming.

Marinieves is an educator, activist, cultural worker, and writer born and raised in New York City. She has worked in the international NGO and non-profit sector for two decades, specializing in issues related to racial and cultural equity in the arts, education, and social justice more broadly.  She joins CPD after eleven years in the field of community schools, where she led, learned, and trained alongside local, national, and international teams of community school practitioners, researchers, and partners in government, NGOs, and community-led organizations dedicated to advancing community schools and education justice. In her role as a Community School Director, Marinieves served as a trainer, writer, and media producer for the National Center for Community Schools.

   Marinieves is an advocate for holistic approaches to youth and community development and social justice organizing, and incorporates restorative practices, mindfulness, and non-violent communication (NVC) into her work as a community leader, coach, and consultant. She holds degrees from Wesleyan University and New York University-Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and graduate certificates from Fordham University and the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP). 

Abby Ang
ACLS Leading Edge Fellow

Abby Ang is an ACLS Leading Edge Fellow primarily focused on climate justice and housing, while supporting the research needs of other campaigns. Prior to CPD, she founded No Space for Hate in June 2019, a coalition of community members who confront and expose white supremacist activities in South Central Indiana through education, direct action, and community building. She also ran Monroe County Area Mutual Aid from March 2020 to August 2021 to assist community members during the pandemic by fostering peer-to-peer support and direct aid and guidance in accessing social services. During her 8 years in Indiana, she has also served on task forces for housing justice and healthcare access, co-organized an Indiana chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, and served as the vice president of the Monroe County National Organization for Women.

Abby earned a BA from Providence College, and a MA and a Ph.D. in English literature from Indiana University Bloomington. Her academic research focuses on how representations of 12th-15th century human-insect encounters across medieval literary genres encouraged their readers to care for their communities, whether human or animal.

Brian Angel
National Organizing Program Manager

Brian Angel is an NYC native and one of the National Organizing Program Managers on the Canvass for Power team. Brian helps oversee the development and progression of some of the canvass teams within the CPD network. Previously, Brian was the Canvass Director for Vocal-NY’s Canvass team from 2017-2019 fighting against The War on Drugs, Mass Incarceration and The Overdose Crisis. He also worked with the Canvass for Power team at CPD to further develop his skills as well as implement new ideas into the program. In that time, Brian has done everything from helping plan a gala to being on a panel in Denver, CO to speak to 50 women of color from grassroot organizations about the importance of their organizations being independently sustainable and how a canvass can help do that. In Brian's previous work and education is mainly in graphic design and marketing, but he's always been involved with the community as an artist and musician. Brian enjoys this work because its a more tangible way for him to see what kind of positive change he can make in our communities.

Natalia Aristizabal Betancur
Campaign Director for Immigrant Justice

Natalia Aristizabal Betancur came to the United States when she was twelve from Medellin, Colombia. Natalia is the Director for Immigrant Justice at the Center for Popular Democracy. Before that she was the Co-Director of Organizing at Make the Road New York where she led one of the most dynamic organizing projects in the country working with immigrant and Trans Gender Non-Conforming and queer community members. Before that, she was organizing immigrant youth to fight for access to higher education for undocumented students, Immigration Reform and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Additionally, she has lead the Arts & Media programming, developed curriculum and led canvassing efforts to register and activate non-partisan voters. Natalia holds a dual Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies and Media Communication Studies from Queens College City University of New York.

Phil Astin
Senior Accountant and Financial Systems Administrator

Phil is part of CPD's Finance department specializing in expense management and financial system administration. He came to CPD from the Atlanta Botanical Garden where he worked with their finance team to support ABG's mission of developing and maintaining a world-class plant collection for display, education, research, and global conservation. Prior to that, he worked in the private sector in the sub-prime loan industry which fueled his desire to switch over to the non-profit world. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Georgia State University's J. Mack Robinson College of Business and is currently working towards his CPA license.

Ady Barkan
Senior Campaigner

Ady Barkan was the founding director of two major projects at the Center for Popular Democracy: Local Progress and the Fed Up campaign. Local Progress is the network of over 700 progressive local elected elected officials across the country dedicated to shared prosperity, equal justice under law, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest. Local Progress provides its membership with policy and governance best practices, space to build solidarity, and the opportunity to partner across cities as part of a national progressive movement.

Fed Up is a national campaign for full employment and a reformed Federal Reserve. By bringing the voices and perspectives of low and moderate-income Black and Brown Americans into debates about the Fed’s policies and governance, Fed Up has transformed the national conversation about the Federal Reserve and our economy and meaningfully improved its policies and governance.

Ady is now focused on strengthening America’s health care system and inspiring millions of Americans to take back our democracy from the racists and kleptocrats.

Before joining CPD, Ady was a law clerk to the Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin in the Southern District of New York, who found the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program to be unconstitutional. Prior to that, Ady worked at Make the Road New York, where he represented low-wage workers seeking to recover unpaid wages, engage in collective action, and obtain safe and dignified working conditions. He helped design and draft policy proposals to enhance the quality of low-wage jobs in New York City including the right to paid sick days, regulation of major retailers, and unionization of the car wash industry. He graduated from Yale Law School and Columbia College.

Mara Baron
Data Analyst

Mara (she/her) joins the CPD/A Political and Civic Engagement Team as the Data Analyst with nearly a decade of Progressive movement and campaign experience. She assists in driving key decisions around future civic engagement and political campaigns, providing frontline support to our diverse network of affiliates, and ensures political data is clean and well-managed in various systems and tools.  

Mara started as a Field Organizer on the Obama re-elect campaign in 2012, and ever since then, she's been working to improve our Democracy and make data, tools, and voting accessible to our core communities. She's been an active Organizer and Data Manager for many issues including peace in the Middle East and domestic worker's rights. Mara has a B.A. in History from Goucher College.

Greg Basta
Director of Sustainability Initiatives

Greg directs CPD's Sustainability Initiative, our effort to build financially independent community organizations through comprehensive small donor and dues-paying membership field programs. He and the Sustainability team are working with partners to develop advanced canvass programs that will build mass membership and generate independent, lasting revenue for our partners over the next 5 years. Prior to CPD, Greg was one of the founding staff members of New York Communities for Change in 2010, serving as their Deputy Director and supervising their Canvass, Political Field, Digital, and Data Operations. Greg also served as the Statewide Canvass Director for New York ACORN for 5 years.  He has a BA in Political Science from St. Joseph’s College.

Isabel Bombaes
HR Systems Manager

Isabel joins CPD's Human Resources team as the Systems Manager. In this role, Isabel manages CPD's payroll process and the administration of various benefits. She, with other members of the HR team, will also work on reporting and compliance for various states where CPD/A staff live and work.

Prior to joining Human Resources, Isabel was part of CPD's Operations Team, providing office and logistics support to CPD's Brooklyn office and the organization. ​

Leah Boudreaux
Director of Human Resources

Leah is Director of CPD's HR Department and has 20 years non-profit and public sector HR and finance experience, including the Institute for Policy Studies, The Management Center, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, the Minnesota Attorney General's Office and 6 years with TakeAction Minnesota, a CPD affiliate.  Leah is an active member of the Board of re:Power.  

Leah graduated from Lawrence University with a BA in History and a BA in Government and lives in Washington DC.  

Alisha Brooks
Director of Talent and Equity

Alisha handles CPD’s HR-related projects and initiatives, while helping to maintain an engaging, people-centric workplace of high performance and passion. She came to CPD from Equal Justice USA where she managed many operational functions, including HR. Her passion lies in being able to connect with people from all different backgrounds, while staying committed to getting results in fast-paced environments like CPD's. For this reason, she is a long-standing member of the Society of Human Resource Management.
 
Alisha holds a BA in Corporate Communications from Baruch College and a MBA in General Management from Keller Graduate School of Business. 

Mathias Burner
National Organizing Program Manager

Mathias works as a

National Organizing Program Manager within our Sustainability Initiatives. His focus is to help canvass directors improve the quality of their canvass operations, making sure the team is properly trained and that directors are achieving the goals that have been set for them by CPD's various partner organizations. Mathias has been working on Contract for the past 7 Months, assisting affiliates such as VOCAL-NY, Working Washington and LUCHA. 

Prior to coming to CPD, Mathias worked as Canvass Director and Campus Organizer within The Public Interest Network, running fundraising and electoral Canvasses. Mathias has ran and worked on  Canvass Projects in Massachusetts, Maine and Colorado, and Connecticut, representing Organizations such as Environment Maine, MASSPIRG, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Mathias Received a Bachelors Degree from The University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a focus on English Literature. 

Emmanuel Caicedo
State Campaigns Director

Emmanuel (he/him/el) is a seasoned campaign strategist and organizer whose strategic insights and organizing with leading local, state and national progressive organizations over the decades has contributed to material gains for working class Black and Brown people across the country.

As CPD’s State Campaigns Director, Emmanuel advances state-level policy campaigns across the organization’s priority areas, with a focus on democracy and economic justice issues. In this role, Emmanuel adds staff and resources capacity to CPD affiliates across the country and coordinates internally to leverage CPD’s research, legal and communication capacities towards state-level policy campaigns that advance racial justice and build power for and with Black and Brown communities. 

Before joining CPD, he was the Associate Director of Campaigns at Demos, where he managed a team of campaigners, helped to strategize impactful wins in the democracy, climate and economic justice spaces and supported Black and Brown-led movement leaders and organizations.  Prior to that he served as Legislative Director at NY Working Families where led on campaigns for. Previously, he organized with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition; and the Latin American Integration Center (now Make The Road NY). He started organizing with New York ACORN, canvassing for progressive candidates and building a citywide tenants association.

He was a 2017 Rockwood Democracy Fellow. A first-generation college graduate, Emmanuel earned his B.A. in political science and history at Union College in NY. Formerly undocumented, he was born in Colombia, raised in Oceanhill Brooklyn, NY and currently lives in Washington, DC.  

Marlon Calliste
Digital Manager, Fed Up

As the Digital Manager on the Fed Up campaign, Marlon builds out infrastructure designed to engage and create a digital community. Marlon also creates digital strategies and content to grab people's attention and spur them into action around economic justice. Marlon came to CPD from Rising Tide Interactive (RTI), a full service digital marketing firm, where he worked with a variety of clients to accomplish voter registration, turnout, and fundraising. Prior to RTI, Marlon worked on campaigns on Long Island, New York and in Charlottesville, Virginia. As a resident of Washington DC, Marlon spends his free time playing soccer or volunteering in grassroots organizations. He is also a graduate of SUNY Oswego, and holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Criminal Justice

Maria Castro
Member Leadership Program Manager

Maria Castro manages CPD/A’s Member Leadership Program. Maria develops the member leader pipeline to move our membership to become Base Builders and Movement Leaders. She does this by leading the work on orientation for new members and the political education for our member leadership. In addition to the development of CPD/A’s membership, she aids local affiliates in the development of their membership and organizing programs.
 
María Castro is a Phoenix-based organizer and trainer. She is most recently organized with Puente Human Rights Movement and  People United for Justice, the organizations that successfully unseated the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County through the #BaztaArpaio Campaign. María got her start as a community activist when AZ’s SB1070 was signed into law and has continued organizing in the southwest United States for the past 10 years. In this time she’s worked with organizations like the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, United We Dream, Momentum Training Institute, and Indigenous People Power Project. María is committed to the liberation of all people: migrant, queer, black, Muslim, incarcerated, poor, and women. 

Joelle Chase
Grant Writer and Coordinator

Joelle works with staff across CPD to develop, write, and edit grant proposals and reports and draft content for fundraising requests and communications to funders. 

Prior to joining CPD, Joelle spent a decade in various positions at the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her roles included Managing Editor of Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations, Director of Messaging, member of the “Race, Equity, and Belonging” team, and Development Coordinator. She co-edited the book Essential Teachings on Love by Richard Rohr, published in 2018. Joelle received a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Andrews University in Michigan and taught in a one-room school in Montana before moving to New Mexico.

Joelle’s roots are in the high desert of the Four Corners. She is a member of New Mexico’s SURJ and Resource Generation chapters and SouthWest Organizing Project. She volunteers with Albuquerque’s mutual aid efforts and mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters. In her free time she putters in the garden and hikes in the Sandia Mountains or along the Rio Grande with her husband and dog.

Amee Chew
Senior Research Analyst

Amee Chew conducts research and policy analysis to support housing justice and unemployed workers campaigns. Previously, Amee was a 2018-2020 Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow at PolicyLink, where she served as lead researcher and co-author of a national report on the benefits of rent control, co-produced by CPD, PolicyLink, and the Right to the City Alliance. She has over a decade of experience working with movement organizations in communities of color, whether as a collaborative researcher, popular educator, or organizer of immigrant workers and tenants.
 
Amee holds a PhD in American Studies & Ethnicity from the University of Southern California, and AB in Social Studies & Women’s Studies from Harvard University. Her dissertation explores how urban poor women in Metro Manila have organized community-based responses to domestic abuse, while fighting evictions. Besides urban political economy, her research interests include social movements around the globe, militarization and U.S. empire, feminisms of color, and queer of color politics. She has written for The Guardian, Jacobin, Shelterforce, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and more.

Pamela Chong
Operations Associate

Serving as the Operations Associate in the Brooklyn office, Pam helps to maintain and support CPD/A's technology infrastructure in addition to providing overall administration support for staff and the organization. She came to CPD after serving two consecutive AmeriCorps VISTA terms with New York City's Office of the Mayor, where she focused on assisting nonprofits in building and improving their volunteer programs and later on focused on supporting a cohort of VISTA members throughout their service year. These experiences helped solidify her appreciation for organization and systems. Pam holds a BS in Environmental Studies from SUNY University at Buffalo and enjoys practicing yoga.   

Betamia Coronel
Senior National Organizer

Betamia (Beh-tAh-mia or Beta) Coronel is the Senior National Organizer for Climate Justice at CPD who works closely with CPD affiliates to develop climate justice base building programs, grassroots leadership and winning state and local climate justice policies. Betamia also works with CPD affiliates to collaborate in designing a cohesive national strategy and organizing affiliates to advance federal and national priorities. Betamia began as a housing organizer in North Brooklyn at the height of rezoning, organizing tenants and co-ops to protect affordable housing and prevent displacement due to rapid gentrification. She spent a few years working at Fordham University’s Center for Service and Justice training hundreds of young people to become anti-racist organizers working with local partners across NYC. Betamia comes to CPD from 350.org where she worked with the divestment team eventually leading iconic divestment campaigns such as the Divest NY. In 2018, the DivestNY coalition successfully campaigned to divest $5 billion dollars of the NYC public pension system from the fossil fuel industry. She is also a co-founder and board member of the Sunrise Movement, a national organization organizing young people to fight for a just and livable future. 

Betamia is also a mother, healer, and avid space nerd. She currently lives in Springfield Gardens, Queens with her Partner, Michael and toddler, Elio. She holds a BA in Middle Eastern Studies and MA in International Political Economy and Global Environmental Resource Economics from Fordham University.

Maggie Corser
Senior Research Analyst

Maggie conducts research that advances immigrant justice, Wall Street accountability, and worker's rights campaigns. Prior to CPD, she worked at Amnesty International USA and the Open Society Foundations. Maggie has a background in community-based participatory research and spent several years doing qualitative and quantitative field research on a study addressing health disparities faced by low-income families. Her published research has been cited by numerous publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, NPR, Forbes, Time, USA Today, Reuters, the Atlantic’s City Lab, and the Pacific Standard Magazine.

Maggie came to CPD with fifteen years of organizing experience and has worked on low-wage and farmworker rights, gender and racial justice, and labor organizing campaigns. In 2012, Maggie completed Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership for Women in Racial Justice and Human Rights. Maggie holds a BA in International Relations from Michigan State University and an MA in International Affairs with a Human Rights concentration from The New School. She also studied at Soochow University in China after receiving the National Critical Language Fellowship through the U.S. State Department and Council for American Overseas Research.

Claire Davis-Boulton
Director of Finance

Claire leads the finance department at CPD, with direct responsibility for cash management, budgeting, day-to-day financial management, and overseeing the audit and tax preparation process.

Claire has over 15 years of nonprofit financial management experience, most recently at WITNESS, a global human rights organization co-founded by the musician and activist, Peter Gabriel. Claire previously led the financial management of the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, which funds grassroots education reform, and at Eyebeam, a New York City-based art and technology organization.

Claire has a BA in Art History from the University of Maryland and has served as an officer on boards of several not-for-profits, as well as the Not-for-Profit Committee of the Financial Women’s Association. She currently serves on the board of the Magnum Foundation and has been actively engaged in social investing and shareholder reform since 2004.

Estrella Diaz
Senior Organizing Manager

Estrella Diaz (she/her) helps drive CPD's organizing initiative with CPD-affiliated grassroots community organizations in multiple states. Estrella works closely with affiliate organizers to continue strengthening our collective base building efforts and grow our movements. Estrella organized in the state of Massachusetts with Neighbor to Neighbor- MA for 8 years before coming to CPD. Starting as a member leader. She then went to become a chapter organizer in Lynn, MA and after 3 years became the political director of the organization where she was responsible for developing strategic and targeted field plans for all chapters. Estrella’s journey in organizing makes her passionate about building strong people’s organizations. 

Estrella was born in the Dominican Republic and arrived in Massachusetts, where she still lives.

Francisco Diez
Worker Justice Policy Advocate

Francisco works to amplify worker voices and power within the workplace and improve workplace protections. He supports affiliate organizing for reforms to unemployment insurance, Fair Workweek legislation, paid leave policies, and the fight against forced arbitration.

Prior to joining CPD, he organized for anti-racist organizational reforms while a student at Princeton University’s School for Public and International Affairs. Before graduate school, Francisco worked as a content researcher for TED Conferences LLC. At the same time, he organized for New York City Democratic Socialists of America, working to amplify their capacity in the aftermath of the 2016 General Election. In 2015 and 2016, he worked for the Bernie Sanders campaign, first as a Field Organizer in New Hampshire and then as a National Latino Outreach Strategist, spearheading Latinx field operations. He also spent time in South Africa and Mozambique, researching the development of welfare state programs in the Global South. 

He holds a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University, where he focused on Economics and Public Policy, and a Bachelor’s degree in Ethics, Politics, and Economics from Yale University. You can follow him on Twitter @fdiezb.

Steve Dooley
Director of Organizing

Steve serves as Director of Organizing for CPD/A. In this role, he leads CPD/A’s programs to build grassroots power at the scale and depth required to win transformative societal change. 

Steve brings nearly 20 years of experience in community organizing to this work. After engagement in campus and anti-war organizing, Steve was trained in community organizing at ACORN where he led organizing drives in Washington, DC and where he drove campaigns and organized Hurricane Katrina survivors as director of ACORN’s offices in Dallas/Ft. Worth. 

At CPD/A and CPD/A’s predecessor organization, the Leadership Center for the Common Good, Steve has served as Mid-Atlantic Regional Director and Director of Partnerships. In these roles, Steve led key work in CPD/A’s early days to cohere and support CPD/A’s network of community organizing groups. This included work to help organize CPD/A’s first major national gathering of community leaders, the People’s Convention. He also provided foundational organizational development support to key grassroots organizations throughout the country and helped advance CPD/A’s State Power Project, a $20 million initiative to strengthen and expand community organizing infrastructure in strategic states. Steve also launched CPD/A’s climate justice work, driving first-time climate funding and support to a set of community organizations that are now leaders on efforts to address the climate crisis. Throughout Steve’s time at CPD/A he has also led major direct action protests, serving as the lead organizer of a 3,000 person march and series of direct action protests at CPD/A’s first national convention, coordinating the organizing of a 10,000 person march in Philadelphia days after the Trump inauguration, and, in front of the White House in 2017, co-leading a major rally, march, and the first network-wide CPD/A action with civil disobedience arrests. In response to Hurricane María, Steve also co-founded, helped lead, and helped raise over $7 million for the María Fund, a Puerto Rican-run immediate relief and long-term fund that supports frontline grassroots initiatives that organize for change in Puerto Rico. 

Steve is a meditation practitioner, loves the outdoors, and has traveled on five continents. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two children. 

Benjamin Dulchin
Director, Fed Up Campaign

Benjamin is the Fed Up Director, an economic justice campaign fighting for full employment, rising wages, and a more accountable Federal Reserve Bank. The Federal Reserve is our country’s most powerful economic policy institution, setting the rules that often shape who wins and who loses in our economy. The Fed Up campaign brings these issues to light and the voices and interests working people directly into the fight.

Prior to joining CPD in December, 2019, Benjamin spent ten years as the executive director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), one of NYC’s key affordable housing policy and advocacy organization, where he led work improving affordable housing finance, defending the Community Reinvestment Act, strengthening tenant protections, exposing the impact of financialization on our city’s affordable housing stock. Before that  Benjamin created and led ANHD’s organizing training institute, directed the community organizing department at the Fifth Avenue Committee in Brooklyn, and was a tenant organizer on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Benjamin has served on numerous boards, including the Community Advisory Committee of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and holds a BA from Vassar College. 

Nafisa Elsed
Senior Executive Assistant

Nafisa is the executive assistant to Jennifer Epps-Addison. She provides strategic planning as well as administrative and logistical support for Jennifer to advance the productivity and the efficiency of CPD.

In addition to her duties as an executive assistant, Nafisa is an active blogger and researcher, with solid background in journalism. Prior to joining CPD, Nafisa worked as an editor and reporter for Libya Herald Newspaper. She also has experience working with NGOs in the United States and North Africa. As a marketer, journalist, and executive assistant, she is part researcher, part psychologist, part listener, part analyst, and part storyteller. She wears multiple hats, depending on the task. She also pursue a passion for theological learning, peacebuilding, and women empowerment across the world. 

Nafisa is a former Libyan exile and a Fulbright scholar with a Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University in Chicago. During the Arab Uprising, Nafisa volunteered to work as anonymous correspondent in Libya, sending stirring reports about the humanitarian crisis in 2011 to international media. She was also featured in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN and contributed to online magazines such as Guernica, Pulse, and Huffington Post. Nafisa currently lives and works in New York City.

Alexandra-Marie Figueroa Miranda
Senior Digital Communications Manager

Alexandra-Marie Figueroa Miranda serves as the Senior Digital Communications Manager at CPD/A, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Through her work within the Digital Department, her role bridges with the Base Building Team to innovate ladders of engagement through a community organizing lens. Ale is a communicator, strategist and a seasoned organizer in Puerto Rico. Previously, she served as the Communications Director for CPD/A affiliate Taller Salud, creating the historic organization’s first Strategic Communications Department.

Besides her work with Taller Salud, she’s one of the co-creators and leaders of La Clara, a grassroots digital medium with a mission of making civic knowledge accessible to young peoples across Puerto Rico. This work has led her to consult on similar projects around the world, including youth organizers from Sweden, Mexico, and South Africa. She actively works to engage civil society into taking action through digital spaces and on-the-ground organizing, innovating mechanisms for participatory processes. She's worked on pilot projects with Amnesty International, Amnesty International USA, Amnesty International Puerto Rico, Oxfam, among others. Independently, she also leads narrative strategies for abortion providers and pro-choice movements, and serves as a popular education writer for mediums like Todas PR and Teen Vogue.

She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociocultural Anthropology from Syracuse University, both with a human rights focus and Latin America. Currently, she completes her Juris Doctor in the Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law.

Alexandra-Marie is a militant feminist and organizer, focused on ending gender-based violence, sexual reproductive rights, Puerto Rican self-determination, and civil and human rights.

Kristina Flores
National Operations Lead - Organizing at Scale Program

Originally from California, Kristina Flores resides on the east coast working remotely with CPD as the National Operations Lead for the Organizing at Scale Program primarily providing support and operations oversight for CPD's Canvass for Power Team. Kristina has nearly a decade of environmental non-profit experience with expertise in person-to-person fundraising, research and national  campaigning. 

Most recently she worked with Stand.earth to develop and lead its campaign to decrease climate emissions from the fashion industry. Prior to her time with Stand, Kristina worked across several departments at Greenpeace USA including fundraising and campaigns. 

Jennifer Flynn Walker
Senior Director of Mobilization and Advocacy

Jennifer directs CPD's Mobilization and Advocacy program, working closely with the Innovations program. Jennifer is responsible for federal healthcare, tax policy and advocacy.  At the same time she is developing new ways to mobilize our affiliates in federal campaigns, while experimenting with innovative methods for building new and broader constituencies who can join our campaigns, including building CPD's Opioid Network.

Jennifer joins CPD after serving for 10 years as a co-founder and Executive Director of CPD affiliate, VOCAL-NY.  She was the director of Health GAP, a global AIDS advocacy organization, expanding the organization to 3 countries on 2 continents. Jennifer was the first US based and focused human rights activist selected for Columbia University's Human Rights Advocates Training Fellowship, a recipient of the Union Square Award, Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Award and New York City Council Hero Award and received a NYC Council proclamation in 2016 for her leadership on LGBT issues. She was named one of the most promising AIDS activists in 2001 by Poz Magazine and most was highlighted as one of the leading 25 LGBT AIDS Activists in 25 years by HIV Plus Magazine in 2009. 

Jennifer serves on the board of directors for Met Council on Housing (MCREF), Health GAP and the North Star Fund. Jennifer holds a B.A. in Political Science from Marist College and a M.S. from the New School for Social Research.

Katie Goldstein
Senior National Organizer

Katie will lead CPD's Housing Justice campaigns in partnership with local affiliates and to build a strong national housing justice movement.  She came to CPD from Tenants & Neighbors, a New York City based grassroots housing justice organization that did tenant organizing and city, state, and federal policy and legislative campaigns. She was at Tenants & Neighbors for 11 years and most recently was the Executive Director. She has been an organizer for over 15 years, working on housing, labor, interfaith, LGBTQ, and economic justice campaigns. She is actively involved in Jews for Racial and Economic Justice in New York. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in Global Studies. 

Jesus Gonzalez
Director of Strategic Initiatives

Jesus Gonzalez is an organizer, strategist, and Puerto Rican activist. He is a Bushwick, Brooklyn native who formerly served as the Co-Executive Director of Churches United for Fair Housing (CUFFH), an organization that focuses on the fight for “real affordable housing” in NYC. Jesus is one of the founding members of Make the Road New York where he began as a Youth Organizer, and later served as the Political Director. In 2011, Jesus became the youngest person to run for the New York State Assembly, and was endorsed by the New York Times, El Diario la Prensa, and the New York Daily News. That campaign helped to propel civic engagement initiatives for several prominent grassroots organizations in NYC. He later managed the political department at a labor union to provide community and political support for car wash workers who sought to unionize, and also played a leading role in citywide coalitions on police accountability, youth organizing, and housing rights. Jesus currently serves as the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Center for Popular Democracy.

Emily Gordon
Director of Strategic Research and Policy

Emily Gordon leads the strategic research work across all of CPD’s campaigns and program areas. Immediately prior to coming to CPD, Emily was the Research Director at the California Federation of Teachers, representing 120,000 educators in 135 local unions across California. Emily has over 15 years of experience providing strategic research and campaign support to labor unions and nonprofit organizations. She has developed and led research and campaign strategy for new organizing campaigns, policy and electoral campaigns, and contract campaigns in both the public and private sector.

In addition to her experience in healthcare and education unions, Emily has worked in the nonprofit sector doing research and policy analysis on topics including community development, workforce development, and the creation of equitable green jobs. Emily has a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and American History from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and a Master of Science in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science in London. She currently serves on the board of the California Budget and Policy Center and lives in Oakland, CA.

Marlyn Goyco-García
Puerto Rico Campaign Coordinator

Marlyn is our Puerto Rico Campaign Coordinator and leads local policy efforts for debt cancellation and pension security, as well as helping shape future fights for gender, racial, and economic justice. Marlyn also leads our Puerto Rico campaigns' digital and communications strategies. 
 
Marlyn brings over 8 years of experience in Government and Public Affairs, designing and implementing communications, government relations, and advocacy strategies in the public sector and as a consultant for public interest advocacy organizations. Marlyn served as advisor to the Puerto Rico Senate Finance Committee and led a special reorganization project in the Puerto Rico Office of Management and Budget. 

Jenny Griggs
Network Manager

Jenny is the Network Manager here at CPD.  In her role, she works to build OCB's infrastructure, coordinate communication and outreach to affiliates that helps build strong and dynamic relationships, and facilitate joint action across our partner network and among our array of staff teams. She will also lend her expertise in HR, finance and operations to partners through our Operations Learning Community and assist with training and other program offerings. As her job gets started, she will help learn her way around the organization by helping to create systems to help us all pull off an amazing People's Convention!
 
Jenny's background is in administration and community organizing. Prior to coming to CPD, Jenny worked as the Operations Director at The Management Center, where she oversaw human resources, operations, and day-to-day financial systems during a period of rapid organizational growth. Much of her work there involved creating new and scale-able systems to maintain the organization's financial integrity while doing the absolute most to support the team and The Management Center's programmatic work. Additionally, Jenny has also worked as canvass director on multiple environmental, public health, and electoral campaigns.
 
Jenny is a graduate from the University of Virginia with a dual degree in Spanish and Foreign Affairs.

Tina Habib
Managing Director of Bailey Farms

Tina is a co-founder of the Center for Popular Democracy, and currently serves as the Managing Director of CPD’s retreat center, Bailey Farms. As Managing Director, Tina is anchoring a major redevelopment of Bailey Farms, including a $6 million upgrade to the property, to build it to be a vibrant space where social justice activists and community organizers gather to reflect, plan and find sanctuary. Prior to assuming the Bailey Farms role full time in 2019, Tina built and rapidly scaled up all aspects of CPD's infrastructure since its founding in 2012, as its first Director of Operations, HR, & Finance. 

Before CPD, Tina worked for nine years at the International Education Resource Network (iEARN-USA), where she held various positions, including Co-Executive Director.  In her time there, she designed and implemented pioneer public diplomacy initiatives through the State Department, developed for North American students and their peers throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia following 9/11. In this capacity, she provided intensive training and technical assistance to establish and sustain operations in over 40 countries. Tina is a graduate of New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and Rutgers University.

Kate Hamaji
Senior Research Analyst

Kate produces research to support a broad range of CPD’s economic and racial justice campaigns. She came to CPD from the New York City Office of Financial Empowerment, where she coordinated programmatic and policy initiatives to build wealth in low-income communities and to hold financial institutions accountable to New Yorkers and their families. Prior to her work in the city, Kate worked with one of CPD's network members, Make the Road New York, where she helped to connect under and unemployed immigrant New Yorkers to quality training programs and sustainable jobs. She also coordinated Make the Road’s Citizenship Education Program to help members pass the exam to obtain U.S. citizenship. Kate holds a BA from the University of California at Los Angeles and an MPA from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service.

Colin Hicks
Senior Political Manager

Colin Hicks manages CPD/A's political team including overseeing political strategy, donor relations, and program management. Based in Oakland, CA, Colin immediately comes to CPD/A from freelance consulting with resistance organizations like Indivisible - where he helped craft their electoral strategy in Virginia and Alabama in 2017 - and working on justice issues around cannabis legalization.

Colin worked on both of President Obama's presidential campaigns in 2008 & 2012, doing community organizing in NV, TX, NC, PA, and WI. He went on to wok for Rock the Vote in 2010 as State Director for Pennsylvania, worked on Governor McAuliffe's campaign in Virginia in 2013, and helped lead NextGen Climate's national political programs in 2016. Colin serves on the board of the Hood Incubator, and hold a BS in Politics & Government from Illinois State University.

Dmitri Holtzman
Interim Campaign Manager

Dmitri is leading our education justice strategy. He works with our partner organizations and coalitions to organize for a high quality, equitable and accessible public education system in the United States. 

Before joining CPD, he was the founding executive director of the Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) in South Africa. The EELC is the sister organization to and primary litigation partner of the youth-led social movement, Equal Education (EE). Both organizations build nation-wide campaigns to improve South Africa’s public education system, harness youth leadership and advance the constitutional right to basic education. Prior to his position at the EELC he was Equal Education’s parliamentary liaison officer, researcher and media spokesperson. He was also a founding member of the Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) and a PILnet (Public Interest Law Network) International Human Rights Law Fellow.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from the University of Cape Town and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of the Western Cape.

Elyse Johnson
People Operations Manager

Elyse is the People Operations Manager on CPD's Human Resources team. She joins CPD from Precision Strategies, where she administered payroll and benefits and managed office operations. Prior to her time in HR, Elyse spent five years on Capitol Hill, where she worked for Congressman Keith Ellison and Senator Al Franken. 
 
Elyse is a graduate of St. Catherine University, where she studied Women's Studies and Political Science. She also has a professional in Human Resources certification from the HR Certification Institute. 

Corinna Kalogeropulou
Finance Associate

Corinna is part of CPD's Finance department supporting expense management and budget reporting. She also assists with the audit and tax preparation process. 
 
Corinna came to CPD from NextGen America where she worked on the finance team to support NextGen's mission of acting politically to prevent climate disaster, promote prosperity, and protect the fundamental rights of every American.
 
Corinna is fluent in conversational Greek and Spanish. She holds a BS in Financial Mathematics and Statistics from University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Vinay Krishnan
National Field Organizer

Vinay Krishnan is the National Field Organizer at CPD/A. As a member of the Innovations Team, Vinay helps lead campaigns on the Opioid Epidemic, Medicare for All, and Drug Pricing and helps organize our large scale efforts in D.C. to protect our Democracy.

Before arriving at CPD/A, Vinay worked as a policy lawyer at Housing Works, combatting the HIV/AIDS epidemic through expanding housing supports for people living with the illness. Vinay serves as a mental health advocate for the International OCD Foundation and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Vinay's writing has appeared in SLAM Magazine and Barren Magazine, among other publications. 
 
Vinay attended the Duke University School of Law and was admitted to the New York Bar in October, 2016.

Katherine Lemus
Affiliate Associate, Base-Building

Katherine Lemus is the affiliate associate of the base building team for the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD). In her role, she coordinates communications, builds relationships, and facilitates joint action across CPD’s partner network to build strength and capacity driving ambitious grassroots campaigns. Prior to this, Katherine served as the field assistant at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, supporting the strategic field engagement of campaigns for judicial nominations, immigration, and policing. In addition, she brings experience from direct services nonprofits serving youth, the elderly community, and the immigrant community. Her passion and commitment to social justice was sparked in her local community of South Central, Los Angeles where she saw needs in advocacy to address injustices that marginalized groups, primarily people of color, face. Katherine earned her Bachelors in International Studies and Social Policy and Public Service from the University of California, Irvine.

Julio Lopez
Interim Campaign Manager

Julio is the Interim Campaign Manager. In this role, he helps support partners in the United States build campaigns that organize the growing Puerto Rican community to advocate for a just recovery for the island and create policies that support the community in the US, while holding corporate players accountable for the actions the have taken on the island.

Julio received his undergraduate degree and Juris Doctor at the University of Puerto Rico. He later received his LLM on International and Comparative Law at Tulane Law School and received training in arbitration and conflict resolution at Humboldt University in Berlin. After law school, he served as a law clerk for the Orleans Public Defenders and as a project officer for the New Orleans Independent Police Monitor to create a mediation program between citizens and the police. In 2012, he moved to Connecticut where he became a union organizer with SEIU NE 1199.

In Connecticut, Julio the founding organizer of Make the Road CT and helped the organization go from monthly meetings to a thriving organizing hub with 9 active campaigns and a growing membership base with regular weekly meetings where 30-40 members eat, share and plan the next steps of their campaigns. During this time, Julio also became involved in the Hedge Clipper Puerto Rico campaign that has held accountable corporate players that have hurt Puerto Rico and has pushed pension funds to divest billions of dollars from these companies.

Vonne Martin
Co-Director of Education & Justice Transformation Campaigns

Vonne supports CPD partners working on education justice campaigns. They provide organizing and campaign-building support to CPD's affiliates and allies. 

Vonne comes to CPD after helping to build Californians for Justice's youth led education equity work for over 15 years. They bring an expansive amount of experience leading grassroots organizing as well as youth & staff development. As a youth leader, Lead Organizer and Director of Organizing Vonne gained experience winning education justice campaigns around college access, tackling the school-to-prison pipeline and the implementation of restorative justice practices. They coordinated 4 regions across the state of California in surpassing Base Building and Youth Leadership & Development goals, they helped build a statewide network of over 70 youth led organizations, and secured significant investments & policy wins focused on school culture and climate. With deep rooted values in transforming the material conditions for Black, Brown, Immigrant, LGBTQ and all marginalized communities, Vonne is committed to working across coalitions and partnerships to achieve education equity.

While spending 11 years in Fresno's conservative climate, California Vonne co-founded and led several grassroots action spaces including a Black Lives Matter affiliate and a Queer Trans People of Color Healing Circle. They hold a B.A. in Sociology from CSU Fresno and is a graduate from Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity's (BOLD) Directors and Lead Organizers 2016 cohort.

David McCullouch
Finance Coordinator

David is part of CPD's Finance department supporting expense and invoice management, as well as providing financial system administration across the organization. His previous experience includes the Children’s Law Center giving voice to children in legal proceedings, Beth Morrison Projects providing avant-garde dance, theater, and opera and BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) the home for adventurous artists, audiences, and ideas where he worked on their HR and finance teams. He received his Bachelor of Arts with a theatre concentration from Purdue University.

James Meares
Creative Content Associate

Kendell James Meares is a writer, producer, and educator born and raised in Brooklyn New York. At the age of thirteen, the state of New York removed him and his three younger siblings from his parent's custody due to his parents being victims of drug abuse. At the age of 17, his aunts relocated them to South Florida. It was there that a High School teacher noticed his gift in writing and encouraged him to take writing seriously. In these last few years living in Miami, James has created training curriculum based on the principles and elements of Hip Hop and creative writing. He had committed himself to strategically organizing the Black and Brown community to focus on three things; investing in our economic market, educating our youth on the avenues of artistic expression, and celebrating Black-American culture. He cares deeply about creating spaces for artists to bridge their talents to civic engagement. 

Dean Mendolera
National Field Program Manager

Dean works as the National Field Program Manager within the Sustainability Department at CPD.  His focus is to help canvass directors where needed to improve the quality of their canvass operations, making sure the team is properly trained and that directors are achieving the goals that have been set for them by CPD's various partner organizations. Prior to coming to CPD, Dean worked as a canvass director in Sacramento, CA, working on behalf of organizations including the ACLU, SPLC, MSF, and Lambda Legal.

Before becoming canvass director, Dean worked for about 4 years with other organizations in Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Sacramento as a field manager and canvasser. These organizations include The Sierra Club, CALPIRG, Environment California, Greenpeace USA, Ohio Citizen Action, Human Rights Campaign, and Amnesty International. Dean earned a BA in Political Science from The University of Akron.

Kristin Mink
Special Projects Manager

As Special Projects Manager for CPD/A, Kristin works across issue areas to provide campaign strategy and leadership, develop and implement on-the-ground tactics to advance CPD/A's agenda, and support the effective use of digital organizing. She works closely with affiliates and allies, especially in DC and surrounding, to organize and implement actions. 
 
Prior to CPD/A, Kristin was a teacher organizing within her community on a volunteer basis. She was one of five core organizers of Lights For Liberty, an international distributed action protesting immigration policy, executed with the partnership of 198 national and local organizations. The Washington Post estimated about 110,000 participants across all 50 states and five continents.
 
Kristin has continued organizing independently while working for CPD/A. In March 2020, she co-founded Masks For America, which crowdfunded and distributed nearly 2 million pieces of PPE across the U.S. and Puerto Rico to essential workers and marginalized communities, primarily through labor unions and mutual aid groups to ensure PPE went quickly and directly to those who most needed it. And after COVID-19 vaccines became available, Kristin crowdfunded to provide rides to and from vaccine appointments in Maryland, in response to the inequitable distribution system set up by the government. This effort provided approximately 200 rides, most through a local, Black-owned transportation company. 
 
Kristin received her B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of MD, College Park.

Marcelia Nicholson
Director of Civic Engagement

Marcelia joined our team in August 2021 as our Director of Civic Engagement and Independent Political Power. In this role she facilitates a sophisticated training and strategic support program for political staffers of affiliates across the country, while helping affiliates align organizing tactics and electoral plans. 

Marcelia is an award winning activist, and the first Black woman and Latina elected as Chairwoman of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, having first been elected in April 2016. Her past work as a union activist, community organizer, and public school teacher, helps to inform her policy and community work.

Prior to joining CPD, Marcelia served as the former Vice President of the Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Organization, where she worked to engage political leaders around the Fight for $15 and a Union, while connecting disenfranchised Milwaukeeans to good family sustaining jobs, union representation, career development, and the halls of government.

Marcelia also serves on the board of Local Progress and as a national trainer for the Progressive Governance Academy, where she trains progressive elected officials across the country on various skills like transitioning to public leadership and setting an agenda.

Marcelia graduated from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, holds a Master of Education from Lakeland University in Wisconsin, and is pursuing a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis on non-profit management at her alma-mater, UW-Milwaukee. 

 

Kelsea Norris
Manager, Individual Giving & Donor Communications

Kelsea works to organize and engage CPD’s individual donor-activists and supports our broader fundraising program. She joined CPD after several years at The Nation magazine, where she spearheaded leadership and foundation giving. Before that, Kelsea built her career organizing for environmental and climate justice in the South, and served as the executive director of the Southern Energy Network (SEN), mobilizing young people to fight the expansion of fossil fuels and win just climate solutions for their communities. Prior to leading SEN, she managed their Tennessee field program, helped lead their Georgia campaigns, and coordinated their fundraising efforts.

A proud Southerner and native of Atlanta, Kelsea has more than ten years of experience organizing, building capacity, and raising money for progressive work. She studied English and Women’s Studies at the University of Georgia.

David Palmer
Director, Voting Rights & Democracy
Director, Justice Partnership & Senior Counsel

Dave Palmer directs CPD/A’s Voting Rights and Democracy program, and the Justice Partnership. 

CPD's Democracy program is growing a powerful base of activists fighting to protect and expand democracy across the country. The Justice Partnership aims to ramp-up litigation with CPD/A affiliates and the private bar in a way that will access justice for members, increase impact, and increase capacity for organizing.

Palmer currently directs the effort to keep pressure on the U.S. Senate Majority Leader to pass key voting rights bills. He directed the successful campaigns to pass small donor public campaign financing in NY (2020); the elimination of the subminimum wage for a portion of NY’s tipped workforce (2019); the NY Power Act (2010); and the Green Jobs/Green NY Act (2009). He co-led the campaign to pass the NYC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act (2003) and helped to win passage of the NY Work-Study/Internship Bill (2000).

Palmer has served as deputy director for ROC United; VP, Director of Advocacy for the Roosevelt Institute (led a restructuring to increase impact, and launched a partnership with Senator Warren to influence federal appointments); Executive Director of the Center for Working Families, allied with the Working Families Party; and Equal Justice Works fellow and environmental justice attorney for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (represented parents/CBOs and successfully sued NYC to strengthen clean-ups of schools on contaminated properties). 

He’s been working on democracy issues since early in his career organizing at NYPIRG, coordinating a voting rights coalition in New York in the early 2000s, monitoring and seeking improvements at the NYC Board of Elections, conducting election protection work, and improving NYC’s public campaign financing program. He holds a JD from the CUNY School of Law, and sits on their Board of Visitors. He also sits on the advisory board for Climate Action Now, a project of NYCC, and sat on the Board of Million Hoodies for Justice.

 

Tony Perlstein
Director of Field Innovations and Organizing

Tony coordinates CPD’s organizing and campaign support on economic justice and workers’ rights initiatives, collaborating closely with community-based organizations and helping to foster coalitions within the labor movement. He is currently helping lead corporate accountability fieldwork as part of CPD’s broader fight back efforts.

Tony comes to CPD after 16 years of organizing in the labor movement with strawberry pickers, restaurant workers, lumberyard workers and meatpackers. For 10 of those years, Tony worked as an equipment operator on the New Jersey docks, where he helped galvanize a national reform effort within the International Longshoremen’s Association (“ILA”). In 2007, Tony was elected secretary-treasurer of his local as part of a reform slate, a position he held while continuing work as a crane operator. Tony holds a BA from Brown University.

Julia Peter
Director of Courts Campaigns & Distributed Organizing

Julia joined CPD shortly after it was founded and has been with the organization through its merger and rapid growth.  As Director of Courts Campaigns & Distributed Organizing, Julia is responsible for creating and managing the systems that comprise CPD’s innovative organizing program that brings individuals into high impact direct action, large marquee campaigns and connects them with affiliates. She is the staff lead for Birddog Nation, a shared project with Housing Works, which is comprised of thousands of individual activists who come together to make direct requests of candidates and elected officials in-person and in-public. Julia was previously, Deputy Director of Operations at CPD.
Prior to CPD, Julia worked at various start-ups and non-profits focusing on systems, business operations, and event production.

She received her MA in International Affairs from The New School, and her BA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

Dave Pringle
Policy and Campaign Manager, Justice Transformation Team

Dave Pringle serves as a policy and campaign organizer focused on racial justice and transformational policy advocacy in the criminal legal system. He supports partner organizations and elected officials at the local, state, and federal level. Prior to joining the Center for Popular Democracy, Dave researched criminal justice, federal housing, and immigration policy and worked on behalf of impacted and incarcerated persons at the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, Advancement Project, Southern Poverty Law Center, Community Justice Project, Miami Law Immigration Clinic, and the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office. Prior to attending law school, he joined the Direct-Action Research Training Network as an organizer in Dayton, Ohio, where he worked with local churches united around social and economic justice. At the Fund for the Public Interest, Dave worked on campaigns to end subsidies to the oil industry, fund land protection legislation, and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on behalf of the LGBT community. As a Program Manager with City Year Miami, he supported AmeriCorps volunteers performing academic and social-emotional interventions with students in under-resourced public schools and was recognized as an Outstanding Community Partner Liaison by Miami-Dade County Public Schools. He received a B.S. degree from Florida State University where he majored in Political Science, History, and Interdisciplinary Social Science and minored in Political Philosophy. He holds a J.D. from University Miami School of Law where he was a Miami Public Interest Scholar. You can follow him on Twitter @davepringus.

Natalia Renta
Senior Policy Strategist

Natalia serves as CPD's Senior Policy Strategist.  In this role, she provides legal and policy support to CPD affiliates and Local Progress to further immigrant justice. Natalia also supports campaigns seeking justice for the people of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican diaspora.  
 
Prior to CPD, Natalia was an immigration attorney at Make the Road New York (MRNY), an immigrant membership-based organization.  There, she supported MRNY's immigration organizing work, represented clients in a wide variety of immigration cases, and helped lead a team of immigration navigators providing legal representation.  
 
Natalia was also an immigration attorney at the Immigrant Defense Project, an organization that focuses on the intersection of criminal and immigration law.  There, she helped create, adapt, and distribute resources about complex legal issues to a variety of audiences.
 
Natalia earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School and her B.A. from Harvard University.

Samantha Rivera
Grants Manager

Samantha works within the Development Department, assisting the Senior Grants Manager in administrative duties, and helps in ensuring, capturing, allocating, and tracking all sources of revenue from major institutional and individual donors at CPD/A.
 
Prior to joining CPD, Samantha spent the last two years in retail, and also interned with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, growing its food donor partnerships and volunteer base. 
 
Samantha is Bushwick, Brooklyn native, who attended CUNY-Brooklyn College, and graduated with a BA in Communications.

Leidy Robledo
Youth Organizing Manager

Leidy believes liberation is the community’s ability to exercise self governance and self determination. Hence, to be free we must transform our people into critical thinkers. As the Youth Organizing Manager, Leidy seeks to transform the next generation of youth leaders by developing their leadership &  organizing skills. Transformational organizing is a victory at an individual level in addition to an institutional change. 

As a middle school student Leidy organized walkouts against practices the community believed were racist. Years later, she would learn the art and science of organizing as she joined the group Padres & Jovenes Unidos. Through their political education program she found answers to questions that emerged during her education experience. She found her calling as she began to understand how interpersonal, internal, and institutional oppression impact communities of color in education, economy, immigration and the criminal justice systems.

Leidy was founding member of the Alliance for Educational Justice and served as their Capacity & Development Specialist. There she worked with over 20 youth organizing groups lead a national campaign to End the School to Prison Pipeline. She worked to make youth issues such as school closings, school privatization, school police and deportations in to real campaigns. 

Marc Rodrigues
Research Analyst

Marc conducts research to support CPD's justice transformation work and campaigns to dismantle the school-to-prison-and-deportation pipeline. Currently based in Tampa, Florida, Marc brings two decades of experience as an activist, researcher and strategic campaigner with labor unions and other organizations. Marc draws from working-class first-generation Portuguese immigrant roots in Yonkers, New York and the complex legacies therein to anchor his vision of and commitment to collective liberation for working and poor people of all stripes. Marc credits his extensive experience starting in the mid-aughts living and working in Immokalee, Florida alongside the internationally-acclaimed farmworker-led Coalition of Immokalee Workers with instilling in him the centrality of strategy, coalition-building, and winning.
 
Marc holds a Bachelors and Masters in Labor Studies from, respectively, Queens College/CUNY and the University of Massachusetts. When he's not working Marc likes encountering alligators and being near the ocean.

Jay Rodriguez
Senior Accounting Manager

Jay oversees the accounting and reporting functions of CPD and supports the development team on financial reporting on grants applications and reporting. Jay has over 15 years of accounting experience in private and non-for profit companies, working recently with a fortune 500 company and CPA firms PricewaterhouseCoopers, RSM and BDO Seidman. Areas of expertise includes Compliance Reporting,  Financial Analysis & Reporting, and Auditing.  He is a Certified Public Accountant registered in NY State. a CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) and a member of the AICPA (The American Institute of CPAs). Jay holds a BBA from the University of Puerto Rico.

Shannon Salzman
Senior Operations Associate

Shannon Salzman (they/them) joins CPD as the DC based Senior Operations Associate. Shannon helps to maintain and support CPD/A's systems and infrastructure in addition to providing overall administrative support for staff and the organization. Originally from Richmond, Virginia Shannon moved to Washington, DC in 2016 after graduating with BAs in History and Political Science from Salem College. Shannon is thrilled to be working at CPD/A as their previous experiences in the nonprofit world left them longing to work more with the kind of progressive grassroots organizing and justice work that CPD focuses on.

When they aren’t working Shannon enjoys playing video games, learning Vietnamese, and caring for their two cats.

 

Yadira Sanchez
Fed Up Campaign Manager

Yadira is the Fed Up Campaign Manager. Fed Up is fighting for an economic justice campaign that represents the interests of Black and Brown communities. She coordinates with CPD-affiliated partners to engage them in the dynamic campaign goals of Fed Up. She develops curriculum for political education and coordinates campaign efforts at the local and national level. 
 
Before joining CPD, Yadira was an organizer and strategist with the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA). She organized at the intersection of the criminal justice and immigration systems to end the mass criminalization of undocumented immigrants. Through her efforts, Yadira freed immigrants from detention centers, and successfully shut down a detention center. She advocated for the passage of multiple pro-immigrant bills in the state of CA and cultivated a powerful youth movement. Yadira managed different campaigns to address local law enforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement entanglement to end the deportation machine. Before that Yadira, was a policy advocate fellow working to addressed the educational barriers and challenges undocumented students faced. She also worked with working-class families in San Francisco as a housing counselor stopping evictions. 
 
Yadira graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Political Science. She is a fellow of the New Leaders Council, Oakland chapter, and was awarded a Certificate of Honor from the Board of Supervisors in SF for her advocacy work.

Sanjana Rani Sandhu
Development Associate

Sanjana plays an essential role bridging CPD’s two major fundraising programs for foundation grants and individual gifts (from grassroots to major donors), providing critical implementation support for all fundraising activities and assistance managing development operations, while acting as the first point of contact for CPD’s donor community. They came to CPD’s NYC office from the General Aviation Manufacturers’ Association (GAMA) in D.C. where they developed and led the workforce diversity and outreach strategy, and supported worker safety-enhancing programs. In addition to their work with GAMA, Sanjana volunteered with the communications and development team at the Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS). They worked to build safety from gendered harassment through initiatives centering the most marginalized members of the community, and legislation rooted in community-based accountability. 
 
Since graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in Government & Politics, Sanjana has been engaged in mutual aid and transformative justice spaces. They also co-founded and run an Ayurvedic wellness practice, Samsara Veda, with their lovely mom. They hold the principles of community solidarity and healing, and liberation for all near to their heart and strive to approach every situation with this lens.

Olivia Shaw
Special Assistant to Base-Building

Olivia serves as the Special Assistant to Base-Building; she plays a key role in the team's operations by not only supporting Oona Chatterjee, the Chief of Base-Building, but also the Base-Building department as a whole. She also supports administrative needs and operational infrastructure for the CPD/A Affiliate Network.

Olivia comes to CPD/A after working on four consecutive electoral campaigns, where she gained experience in scheduling, advance, and organizing. During this time, Olivia fought for progressive candidates at different levels of government in many different parts of the country, from Des Moines, IA to Syracuse, NY. Most recently, Olivia worked for Maya Wiley’s historic run for New York City Mayor, where she served as a scheduler and travel aide; Olivia hasn’t left NYC since.

Olivia graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Political Science and a Certificate in Chicago Studies. Outside of work, Olivia is an avid reader and an active community member; she currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

 

Jude Shimer
CRM Manager

Jude joined CPD/A to manage Salesforce and keep data neat, tidy, and useful. They are thrilled to apply their geekery where it makes a difference.

For seven years, Jude worked with a ticketing and donation system, helping over 700 performing arts nonprofits get the most out of Salesforce. They presented on admin protocols at the 2016 Dreamforce conference, and on gender-inclusive data practices at Plugged In 2020, a virtual conference that emerged from the ashes of the COVID-cancelled Nonprofit Tech Conference. In 2018 Jude facilitated their first study group at Amplify, an organization built to empower underrepresented voices in tech by offering training and certification support. Each year they manage operations for Crumby Spokes, in which cyclists dressed as wizards, praying mantises, and romantic octopodes (among others) deliver Valentine's Day scones to raise funds for local NYC nonprofits, including New Sanctuary Coalition and New Alternatives for LGBTQ youth.
 
Jude is a certified Salesforce Administrator, App Builder, and Platform Developer. They hold an MFA from Pratt Institute, and see technology as an art form.

Leah Silver
Senior Project Manager

At CPD/A, Leah helps to implement the most effective and impactful communications strategies possible by creating and managing systems for the Communications department. Prior to this role, Leah was the Digital Communications Manager on the team after serving as Marketing Manager for the Development department. She came to CPD from the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) where she led all marketing and communications efforts to further their mission to work to ensure that all New Yorkers have equitable access to green space. Before NYRP, Leah spent two years with Repair the World, first in Philadelphia and then in New York City, organizing  Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world through direct service, and think critically about the issues prevalent to their communities.
 
A proud member of the Brooklyn community, Leah served on the Advisory Board of Repair the World NYC for several years, by supporting the organization with ongoing thought leadership that ensured all programs are aligned with community needs and interests. Further, Leah is an alumna of the AVODAH Jewish Service Fellowship, a mentoring and leadership development program for early-career professionals working on domestic social and economic issues in New York City. Most recently, Leah served as the Co-Chair of CPD's Staff Union until becoming the Senior Project Manager. Leah holds a BA in American Studies from Dickinson College.

Beth Slade
Fundraising Events & Sponsorship Manager

Beth manages all aspects CPD’s fundraising events, including program development, partnership cultivation, marketing, budgeting, and production and logistics.  She came to CPD from Transportation Alternatives (TransAlt), where she led their events program, including the Vision Zero for Cities Conference, TransAlt's National Bike Month activities, and the NYC Century Bike Tour, the only all-urban century ride in the US.
 
Born in West Virginia and raised there and in Florida, Beth has lived in New York City for 19 years and is a proud New Yorker.  She's a member of the executive committee of the Brooklyn Voters Alliance, whose mission is to make sure that all New Yorkers have fair and convenient access to their right to vote by working to change New York State's retrograde voting laws. Beth holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Florida and a MA in Medical Anthropology from the University of Connecticut.

Kathleen Stephan
Senior Operations Manager

Kathleen serves as the Senior Operations Manager for CPD/A. She believes in the importance of strong institutional infrastructure for the health and sustainability of progressive non-profits. Before coming to CPD, Kathleen spent 7 years at a direct services non-profit in Washington D.C where she developed a special interest in operations and risk management. She is a graduate of Stonehill College.   

Rabia Syed
Director of Technology & Operations

As CPD's Director of Technology & Operations, Rabia is a project manager, systems thinker, and technology trainer. She came to CPD from Transportation Alternatives, where she led data management and marketing automation in support of their mission to make New York City streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Prior to TransAlt, she was a CRM Consultant for Build Consulting, where she helped nonprofits better leverage technology to increase public engagement. Rabia's nonprofit career started at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. In addition to her decade of experience at the intersection of tech and social change work, Rabia is also a proud former board member of the South Asian American Digital Archive. Rabia is a graduate of Temple University.

Kate Terenzi
Deputy Director of Education & Justice Transformation Campaigns

Kate is the Deputy Director of Education and Justice Transformation Campaigns. She focuses on CPD’s work to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. Kate partners with Black and brown youth led groups in our affiliate network across the country to end policing in schools and invest in safe, supportive, and inclusive public schools.  

Previously, Kate worked at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) as a Taconic Policy Fellow in the Disability, Environmental, and Health Justice teams. During her years with NYLPI, in coalition with community organizations, she successfully led campaigns to increase the rights of millions of New Yorkers, including women of color with disabilities, immigrants, students, and low income communities. Most recently, in law school, Kate worked with the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, Urban Justice Center, Advancement Project, and NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. She also served on the Board of Directors for Community Change, Inc. Kate holds a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and BA from Boston College. 

Kimihel Tseggai
Senior Manager for Grants Administration

Kimihel works within the Development Department to support CPD’s grant management, compliance functions, and coordinate CPD’s sub-granting program that drives significant resources to our partners in the field. He also works on fundraising research and reporting.

Prior to CPD, Kimihel worked for 10 years in program management and administration with various non-profits in Atlanta, GA, Washington, DC and New York, NY, including work in Saudi Arabia with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

An Eritrean immigrant, Kimihel holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Georgia and an MPA from Clark-Atlanta University.

Ayika Tshimanga
Digital Organizer, Education & Justice Transformation

Ayika is the Digital Organizer on the Education and Justice Transformation team. They focus on digital communication and organizing to increase the base of affiliates and CPD’s shared and independent base. In doing so, they generate creative and strategic ways to turn online outreach into offline action. Previously, Ayika worked at Rights4Girls as the Communication Manager working on the sexual-abuse-to-prison pipeline. Ayika is also a writer whose work applies a critical lens of race, class, and gender through pop culture analysis. Their writing has been featured in Media Diversified, The Black Youth Project, KingofReads, and She Prevailed. In 2017, Ayika founded The Femme Oasis, an online magazine geared towards women and femmes. Ayika is a graduate of the University of Illinois, where they received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication.

Arelia Valdivia
Worker Justice Organizing Manager

Arelia Valdivia works as the Organizing Manager with the Worker Justice team at CPD.  She works to grow the activist participation for worker justice campaigns, develop engagement ladders for our members and strengthen our leadership development program. 
 
Prior to joining CPD, Arelia worked as a Labor Organizer for 13 years. She started her career as an organizer on a campaign organizing warehouse workers in the Inland Empire region of Southern California and went on to organize with UNITEHERE Local 11 for 12 years.  As a lead at UNITEHERE Local 11 she worked on campaigns to unionize hotels and airport concession companies, as well as political campaigns to elect labor allies and pass living wage and worker protection laws. 
 
She is a graduate of UCLA where she received her Bachelors Degree in Sociology and Chicana & Chicano Studies. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her partner. 

Eli Vitulli
Research Analyst

Eli conducts research to support CPD's justice transformation, climate justice, health care, federal court, and other campaigns. He first came to CPD as a 2-year Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow after spending the previous four years working as faculty in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies and American Studies departments at Grinnell College, Mount Holyoke College, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and DePaul University. His academic research examined social justice movements and the impact of state institutions and violence--especially the US criminal legal system--on marginalized communities, with an emphasis on queer and trans people, disabled people, and people of color. He is also currently working on a book about the history of US prison and jail practices regarding the management of gender nonconforming and trans people from the early twentieth century to the present. 
 
Eli also has been involved in grassroots organizing and research advancing trans, queer, and racial justice for the past 15 years. He earned a BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a MA from New York University, and a Ph.D. in American Studies, with a minor in Feminist and Critical Sexuality Studies, from the University of Minnesota.

Caniesha Washington
Special Assistant to Campaigns

Caniesha brings great experience to the role of Special Assistant to the CPD Campaigns team.  She plays a pivotal role prioritizing and organizing the project demands of the department, coordinating internal and external events and assisting the Chief of Campaigns/Advocacy and the Chief of Campaigns/Policy in carrying out CPD's broad-ranging campaign initiatives.
 
Prior to coming to CPD, Caniesha spent 12 years with the Women's and Fair Practices Departments of the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO. As the lead Program Specialist, she worked closely with AFGE National Officers, developed diversity and inclusion programs with a strong emphasis on social and economic justice initiatives and applied that knowledge to the development of training and education material for the organization.  She spearheaded the creation of AFGE's young worker and LGBTQIA+ programs that pushed a considerable increase in young membership & leadership development. 
 
Caniesha graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication. As the daughter of a nurse and Navy veteran from South Carolina, Caniesha was inspired by her parents to keep a spirit of service from a very young age. She can't imagine a career where she isn't helping to make the world a better place for her 11-year old son who is on the autism spectrum and her 3-year old daughter.   

Stephanie Yazgi
Director of Training & Network Capacity

Stephanie Yazgi is the Director of Training and Network Development for the Center for Popular Democracy. In her role, she supervises CPD’s growing team of capacity building and training staff in building out a program that deeply engages our partners in exploring and implementing innovations in our field. 

Stephanie is an experienced organizer, political strategist, and coalition-builder. With a track record of winning issue and electoral campaigns, she has nearly 20 years of experience in the progressive movement. She most recently served as a Senior Advisor at the NYC Mayor's Office, where she coordinated mayors across the country to share best practices in municipal policy and programs, and engaged them in national advocacy on policy and budget fights.

She has worked as a consultant in the private and not-for-profit sectors on a variety of large-scale public engagement and issue campaigns.  She acted as the Field Director on the UPKNYC campaign to obtain state funding for Universal Pre-K for all 4-year-olds in New York City.  Prior to that, she led the NYC Making Change at Walmart campaign in NYC for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, managing a coalition that successfully defeated the corporation’s efforts to enter NYC. 

Almost half of Stephanie’s tenure in the field has been spent in electoral campaigns. Her electoral work was central in helping to tip the balance of power for Democrats in the New York State Senate for the first time in 43 years.

Throughout her career, she has authored and facilitated numerous trainings on community, political and electoral organizing, and is currently an adjunct professor in at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

Stephanie earned her B.A. from Boston University where she majored in Sociology. She then obtained her Masters of Science in Social Work with a minor in Law from Columbia University School of Social Work.

Lindsay Zafir
Editor, The Forge

Lindsay is the Editor of The Forge: Organizing Strategy and Practice. Before joining CPD, Lindsay spent five years as an organizer for UNITE HERE Local 33 (formerly GESO), the union of graduate teachers and researchers at Yale. Through the New Haven unions, Lindsay also got involved in local political organizing, including managing a city council campaign. Lindsay is a PhD candidate at Yale University, where she has done research on the history of social movements, biomedicine, and gender and sexuality. She holds a BA in History and Gender & Sexuality Studies from New York University. 

Danette Zaghari-Mask
Director of Legal Compliance; Senior Counsel

Danette Zaghari-Mask joined Popular Democracy in January 2021 as its lead counsel and Director of Legal Compliance advising the organization on a wide range of legal, operational and compliance issues. She has more than 17 years of experience advising nonprofit organizations and specializes in corporate governance and fiduciary duties, joint ventures, lobbying, and the rules particular to non-profit charities. She is also skilled in privacy program management, setting legal strategy, contract management and negotiation.

Throughout her legal career in nonprofit advocacy, she helped organizations understand and address compliance in highly scrutinized sectors. She has devoted her career to supporting mostly grassroots organizations advance social justice and civil rights. After starting her legal career advising judges of Florida’s Eighth Judicial Circuit, she worked for an organization that she previously served as a board member, the the Council on American Islamic Relations, Florida Chapter (CAIR-FL) As an Executive Director and Civil Rights Attorney, she represented clients in a number of employment discrimination cases and worked broadly on building power for black and brown communities on issues of political marginalization, policing and mass surveillance.

In that time, she developed a special interest in the regulatory aspect of nonprofit advocacy through her management role; and recognized that legal compliance systems underlie the long-term growth and strategic success of high social impact charities. Eventually, Danette went on to serve the National office of CAIR as its first ever Compliance Attorney, helping its affiliates nationwide operationalize best legal practices to protect corporate assets and carve out a broader culture of compliance. She brings tenacity and experience working within teams to build sustainable enterprise risk management systems that protect Popular Democracy and ensure that future generations may continue to build on its success.