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.
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.
Monique "Mo" George
DIRECTOR OF INDIVIDUAL GIVING & EVENTS
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.
DIRECTOR of Organizing
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.
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.
Sustainable Communities Organizer
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.
Rae Leiner joined the CVH staff, as our Newburgh Organizer, in 2010. Rae is a native child of the Bronx. Born, raised and nurtured in the cultural and economic diversity of the landscape, the need to find a balance as a multi racial queer identified person became essential to survival. Rae has been actively involved in racial, social, environmental, food and economic justice struggles of people of color for the past 10 years. Working with a diverse population dealing with diverse issues throughout the Bronx and New York City, Rae’s work was primarily focus on youth and youth development for the past 9 years. Rae has worked for various organizations such as Critical Resistance, For A Better Bronx and Youth At Risk to name a few. Working in coalitions such as Community in Unity and with organizations like Malcolm X Grassroots Movement against police brutality, conducting cop watch trainings and know your rights workshops. Rae has actively engaged in food justice work in the Mott Haven neighborhoods of the South Bronx helping to launch the second urban farm, La Finca del Sur and helping to support the farmers market at Padre Plaza Community Garden. Rae has engaged in consensus building work, non-violent communication, undoing racism and internalized oppression work and has been trained in deep listening techniques through a model called Be Present.
political & communications director
Chris Keeley recently coordinated the New York Stimulus Alliance and New Deal for New York, which fought for progressive taxation in New York and accountability in the federal Stimulus/ Recovery Act. Chris has been associate director of Common Cause/New York and campaigns organizer at NEDAP-Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project. He has served as interim chief of staff, director of community and legislative affairs, and campaign treasurer in Pennsylvania for a member of the State House and a candidate for State Senate. Chris holds a Masters of Urban Planning from the New York University Wagner School with a specialization in housing and economic development and a B.A. from NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. He also serves as Political and Communications Director at CVH’s sister organization, Community Voices Heard Power.
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.
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.