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Staff

Sondra Youdelman

Executive Director

Sondra has been at CVH since 2000 and was named the organization’s Executive Director in March 2007; she was previously CVH’s Director of Public Policy and Research. Sondra has worked both in the United States and abroad to achieve social and economic justice through organizing. She has over 15 years experience as an organizer and activist with grassroots groups including farm workers, Native Americans, public housing residents, and low-income workers in the United States, and abroad for various populations throughout Latin America and in several African countries. She obtained a Master’s Degree in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in order to gain policy analysis tools to bring back to the grassroots. She also has a BA in American Studies focusing on Oppression and Revolution from Wesleyan University.

Sondra@CVHaction.org

Michelle Perez

Director of Administration & Institutional Giving

Michelle joined Community Voices Heard as Development Director in May 2002. She is very pleased to turn her efforts to economic justice projects after having worked in fundraising for arts/community development organizations for 19 years. She has previously worked for the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Meet The Composer, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and The Joffrey Ballet. Michelle has a BA degree in Economics/Political Economy from Barnard College, and has done graduate work in business administration at New York University.

Michelle@CVHaction.org

 

Monique "Mo" George

Director of nyc chapter organizing

Mo (as she prefers to be called) joined CVH as the Public Housing Campaign Director and is now the Director of Individual Giving and Events. Mo's organizing experience started in college where she worked locally with NYPIRG as their Campus Leader. Upon graduation, Mo accepted an organizer position at SEIU Local 1199 where she worked for 9 years. After leaving 1199, Mo moved on to become the Lead Organizer at the Empire state Pride Agenda, where she fought for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. At Pride Agenda, Mo led various statewide campaigns, including further developing their annual statewide lobby day from 400 to over 1000 participants during her tenure there. After the recent passing of her grandmother (who raised her), Mo resigned from Pride Agenda and decided to spend some time traveling the world, including time in Paris, Italy and other parts of France. Mo is now back home in New York, and is excited to be working with CVH members on Public Housing. As a proud product of "the projects," she feels that public housing must be preserved. Mo holds her BA degree from SUNY New Paltz, and an MPA from Metropolitan College. When Mo is not trying to change the world, she is usually either reading a good book, traveling or just enjoying New York with her partner of 3 years.

Mo@CVHaction.org

 

Stephen Roberson

DIRECTOR of Organizing

 

Stephen Roberson joined the staff of CVH as our Organizing Director in 2013.  Immediately prior to working with CVH, he was the Deputy Director of Organizing for Local 32BJ where he helped in the organizing of Security Officers, food service workers and other low wage workers throughout the east coast jurisdiction of the local which included work in Florida.  Before that he worked for 24 years at the Industrial Areas Foundation as an associate organizer, a lead organizer and a member of the National Staff, where he helped in organizing and developing The Nehemiah Plan which has become a key component in providing a way for working class New Yorkers access to ownership in a system that makes it difficult for the majority to own housing in New York City.   He first cut his teeth in organizing with the United Farmworkers Union where he spent 10 years as a part of the boycott of lettuce and grape boycotts.  Stephen grew up in Northern New Jersey, in a community which was majority white with a small, primarily African American population that was working class and poor.  He learned a lot through his church and community relationships about what it feels like to experience growing up as a minority in that kind of community in America.  He learned the importance of family and how critical having relationships with people who would stand with you is when the going gets tough.  

Stephen@CVHaction.org

 

AL Harris

Director of Civic engagement & movement politics

Al Harris joined CVH and CVH Power in the fall of 2014.  He comes with extensive political campaign, lobbying and governmental experience having served over ten years as a partisan staff member of the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly holding such positions as Special Assistant to New Jersey Senate President, Special Assistant to the New Jersey Assembly, co-founder and Executive Director of the Legislative Black and Latino Caucus and Chief of Staff to the Assembly Minority Leader.  Harris then served as Manager of State Government Relations with the New Jersey Housing Finance and Mortgage Agency, Assistant Director/Lobbyist of Governmental Relations with the New Jersey School Boards Association and Legislative Liaison/Subcontractor Ombudsman with the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.  In 1990 Harris started Harris Associates, a public affairs consulting firm. The firm specialized in developing and implementing marketing, public relations, media relations, promotional and political campaigns aimed at primarily, but not exclusively, Latinos, African Americans and other blacks. Harris also served an instructor for marketing for Continuing Education at Bergen Community College and Mercer County Community College.  He also served as an instructor for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Entrepreneur Training Institute (ETI) program.  Harris attended Ewing public schools and Lawrenceville School and was a basketball standout and All-State baseball player. Although he was scouted by every major league baseball team and was known for being able to hit a baseball a country mile, Harris decided to attend Columbia University where he majored in history and had a concentration in political science.  

Al@CVHaction.org

 

Juanita Lewis

WESTCHESTER COUNTY LEAD Organizer

Juanita O. Lewis is excited to bring her experience to CVH. She began her work as a community organizer with the Minnesota chapter of ACORN. Since 2004, she has worked on 10 campaigns in various roles, ranging from field organizer, campaign manager to fundraiser. Juanita was highly involved in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, serving as Saint Paul Senate District 66 chair, and secretary of the African American Caucus. She has also been a board member and chair of three non-profit boards, and is currently a fundraising trainer for the White House Project. Juanita was born and raised in Saint Paul, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a B.A. in History and Political Science, and recently graduated with her Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Juanita@CVHaction.org

 

Jennifer Hadlock

Welfare and Workforce Organizer

Jennifer Hadlock became the Welfrae and Workforce Organizer for CVH in December 2009.  She has over ten years of organizing experience in Hartford, Connecticut starting in neighborhood organizing of tenants and youth, and later organized around welfare and drug policy.  She is proud to have worked on a campaign to win a Community Center for the neighborhood where she worked and to have helped start an organization.  She also has experience organizing in the violence against women movement, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.  She has a psychology degree from Washington University in Saint Louis and JD/MSW from University of Connecticut. In her spare time she goes to visit and skypes with her seven nieces and nephews.

Jennifer@CVHaction.org

 

Carmen PiƱeiro

individual giving & events coordinator

Carmen Pineiro has been an activist for over 11 years and an organizer for a year as CVH’s Harlem-based Sustainable Communities Organizer.  Her work and passion focuses on low- and moderate-income communities.  She has an Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies from Bronx Community College and a Bachelor’s in Government with a concentration in law from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is currently working on her Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Government and the Law, also from John Jay. She has participated in programs such as the Minority Worker Environmental program where she earned 15 licenses and certificates in Environmental Remediation as well as a program through (NEW) Non-traditional Employment for Women where she learned basic construction skills. She is a domestic violence survivor who grew up in the Morrisania Air Rights Projects in the South Bronx, who also went through the shelter system and now lives in rent stabilized housing. She has had to navigate the system in various capacities which has led her to the important work she feels is necessary in our neighborhoods.  She is a single mother of three children - a teenage daughter and 2 boys.

Carmen@CVHaction.org

 

BLAIR GOODMAN

DUTCHESS COUNTY Organizer

My first memory of injustice is sitting on my father’s knee and watching the kids integrating Central High in Little Rock. The White mob was attacking the bus with Black school children. I’m sure that my father explained things to me but all I could see was hate crazed adults trying to kill children. I took it personally and I still do. The ant-war movement occupied my teen years and the labor movement became my home in early adulthood. I worked for years in progressive electoral politics and have been an active member of the Working Families Party in New York since its inception. The housing bubble and the following crisis we are still in hit me hard and I was thrilled to join the Occupy movement. We held Hulme Park in Poughkeepsie for 53 days and that experience reinvigorated my commitment to transforming our world into a more caring and cooperative place.

I am proud to be able to work with low-income Dutchess County residents to stand up and fight back.

BlairG@CVHaction.org

 

Julia Solow
Westchester County Organizer

Julia Solow began at CVH in November 2013 as a Westchester County Community Organizer based out of the Yonkers office. Ms. Solow brings a background in community organizing, program development and research through her experiences as a MSW Field Intern at the Latino Leadership Institute, Member Mobilization Intern with the AFL-CIO National Campaigns Department in DC, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with John Carroll University’s Center for Service and Social Action in Cleveland and an organizer with the DREAM Act movement. Ms. Solow is bilingual in English and Spanish and is dedicated to building inclusive movements for social and economic justice in the home, the community and the workplace.


Julia@CVHaction.org 

 

gabriel strachota

nyc chapter organizer

After working as a boost organizer in CVH’s participatory budgeting campaign in early 2014, Gabriel joined CVH’s staff as the new NYC Chapter Organizer. Gabriel first became politically active in the lead up to the wars in the Iraq when his mother brought him massive anti-war protests happening throughout the northeast. After graduating from high school in 2005 Gabriel went to New Orleans to work with the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund. His time there working under veteran Black leadership for a just rebuilding of the city would set him on his life path as an anti-racist organizer. After getting his feet wet in New Orleans Gabriel would go on to learn the basic skills of community organizing in ACORN in Massachusetts, and eventually pursue further training in at Labor Community Strategy Center’s National School for Strategic Organizing in Los Angeles. In 2008 Gabriel joined the Labor Community Strategy Center’s staff as an organizer for the Bus Riders Union where he would work for five years doing base building work and political education. In late 2013 he moved back to the east coast and looks forward to working with public housing residents to build power in their struggle for dignity and justice.

gabriel@CVHaction.org

 

natalie ward

Orange County Organizer

Natalie joined the CVH team in February 2014 as the NYS Transit Equity Alliance (NYSTEA) Fellow/ Public Transportation Organizer in Dutchess County, where she organized bus riders in Dutchess to build a campaign to improve bus transportation in the region and make the transportation planning processes more inclusive of ridership. After helping to successfully block a plan to eliminate city of Poughkeepsie buses, Natalie transitioned into the role of Orange County Organizer and is currently working to rebuild the chapter based in Newburgh. Natalie graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Sociology. As an undergrad, she organized with Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, a grassroots anti-foreclosure organization in the Hudson Valley, and was active in the student/ labor solidarity organization on her campus. She is passionate about political education that addresses the intersection of race, class, and gender inequality and hopes to make this central to her work.

natalie@CVHaction.org

Negesti Cantave

Nyc chapter organizer

Negesti Cantave is very proud and honored to be the new CVH NYC Chapter Organizer. Negesti is a life long New Yorker who started her community organizing work five years ago fighting gentrification in her home neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. She has worked across many movement struggles since then including the fights for racial, economic,and environmental justice.  Negesti was very active in the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City where she honed her skills as a facilitator, trainer, and conflict mediator.  Negesti joins CVH fresh off helping to organize New Yorkers to attend "The Peoples Climate March", the largest march on climate change to date.  She is very excited to have the opportunity to work with an organization with such deep community roots and set down some long term organizing roots of her own at CVH.

negesti@CVHaction.org  

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