Current Board

CO-CHAIRS         

Walter Lipscomb

Tyletha Samuels

CO- SECRETARIES

Laura Case

Alexa Kasdan

TREASURER

Danielette Horton

NON-OFFICER MEMBERS

Agnes Rivera

Giancarlo Alicea Fernandez

Joseph Mpa

 

Staff

 
Afua Atta-Mensah, Esq. Executive Director   Afua Atta-Mensah joined the Community Voices Heard team in September 2016 as the Executive Director. Prior to joining as the Executive Director, Afua served on the Community Voices Heard board. From her work in Ghana, West Africa to the urban centers across America, Afua has worked to improve the quality and quantity of fair and equitable housing, defend racial and social justice initiatives, and galvanize support for programs benefiting low-income families.  She was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship in support of her work at the International Federation of Women Attorneys (FIDA) advocating on behalf of indigent women in Ghana. During her tenure at FIDA Afua represented indigent women in court and was a visiting university lecturerat Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology , where she taught a course on women's rights in the context of Ashanti-tribal law.  Afua and her husband are proud residents of Central Harlem. She is the mother of two children and holds a law degree from Fordham Univ. School of Law, and a BA in Sociology and Africana from Trinity College.  Pronouns: She/Her

Afua Atta-Mensah, Esq.
Executive Director

Afua Atta-Mensah joined the Community Voices Heard team in September 2016 as the Executive Director. Prior to joining as the Executive Director, Afua served on the Community Voices Heard board. From her work in Ghana, West Africa to the urban centers across America, Afua has worked to improve the quality and quantity of fair and equitable housing, defend racial and social justice initiatives, and galvanize support for programs benefiting low-income families.

She was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship in support of her work at the International Federation of Women Attorneys (FIDA) advocating on behalf of indigent women in Ghana. During her tenure at FIDA Afua represented indigent women in court and was a visiting university lecturerat Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology , where she taught a course on women's rights in the context of Ashanti-tribal law.

Afua and her husband are proud residents of Central Harlem. She is the mother of two children and holds a law degree from Fordham Univ. School of Law, and a BA in Sociology and Africana from Trinity College.

Pronouns: She/Her

Stephen Roberson Director of Organizing   Stephen Roberson joined CVH’s staff as Director of Organizing in June 2013. He has over 40 years of organizing experience. His last position was as Deputy Director of Organizing with SEIU Local 32BJ. Prior to that, he worked as a Lead Organizer and National Staff with the Industrial Areas Foundation for 25 years, building several organizations in metro NY, Chicago, and in Soweto in South Africa. He was also a Florida and National Representative with the United Farm Workers, working directly with Cesar Chavez. Stephen was also a Senior Fellow with the New Organizing Institute in 2012.  Pronouns: He/His

Stephen Roberson
Director of Organizing

Stephen Roberson joined CVH’s staff as Director of Organizing in June 2013. He has over 40 years of organizing experience. His last position was as Deputy Director of Organizing with SEIU Local 32BJ. Prior to that, he worked as a Lead Organizer and National Staff with the Industrial Areas Foundation for 25 years, building several organizations in metro NY, Chicago, and in Soweto in South Africa. He was also a Florida and National Representative with the United Farm Workers, working directly with Cesar Chavez. Stephen was also a Senior Fellow with the New Organizing Institute in 2012.

Pronouns: He/His

Juanita Lewis Hudson Valley Organizing Director   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 with her Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership Degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  She began her work as a community organizer with the Minnesota chapter of ACORN. Since 2004, she has worked on numerous electoral campaigns at the city, state and federal level in different staffing capacities.  Pronouns: She/Her

Juanita Lewis
Hudson Valley Organizing Director

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 with her Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership Degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

She began her work as a community organizer with the Minnesota chapter of ACORN. Since 2004, she has worked on numerous electoral campaigns at the city, state and federal level in different staffing capacities.

Pronouns: She/Her

 
Michelle Perez Director of Development   Michelle Perez joined Community Voices Heard in May 2002 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 was also a member of the Fall 2015 cohort of the NY Community Trust Leadership Fellows program.  Pronouns: She/Her

Michelle Perez
Director of Development

Michelle Perez joined Community Voices Heard in May 2002 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 was also a member of the Fall 2015 cohort of the NY Community Trust Leadership Fellows program.

Pronouns: She/Her

Gabriel Strachota NYC Lead 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 was elevated to NYC Chapter Lead Organizer in July 2016  Pronouns: He/Him

Gabriel Strachota
NYC Lead 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 was elevated to NYC Chapter Lead Organizer in July 2016

Pronouns: He/Him

Farihah Akhtar Westchester Organizer   Farihah joined CVH in 2018 as the base-building organizer in Westchester County.  Pronouns: She/Her

Farihah Akhtar
Westchester Organizer

Farihah joined CVH in 2018 as the base-building organizer in Westchester County.

Pronouns: She/Her

 
Valeta Brown NYC Base-Building Organizer

Valeta Brown
NYC Base-Building Organizer

Divya Sundaram Policy & Civic Engagement Coordinator   Divya joined CVH in 2018 to help put Black and brown folks in the driver’s seat of creating policy that impacts them. Before joining CVH, she helped elect Assembly Member Harvey Epstein. She also worked to  launch  the campaign of Tiffany Cabán, candidate for Queens District Attorney, serving as her Deputy Campaign Manager for the Democratic Primary. Divya is a recent graduate of  Columbia SIPA , where she studied urban and social policy. She is an organizer rethinking issues of race, civic engagement, and party politics. She’s also researched and advocated for: criminal justice reform, economic development, and labor organizing.  Pronouns: she/her

Divya Sundaram
Policy & Civic Engagement Coordinator

Divya joined CVH in 2018 to help put Black and brown folks in the driver’s seat of creating policy that impacts them. Before joining CVH, she helped elect Assembly Member Harvey Epstein. She also worked to launch the campaign of Tiffany Cabán, candidate for Queens District Attorney, serving as her Deputy Campaign Manager for the Democratic Primary. Divya is a recent graduate of Columbia SIPA, where she studied urban and social policy. She is an organizer rethinking issues of race, civic engagement, and party politics. She’s also researched and advocated for: criminal justice reform, economic development, and labor organizing.

Pronouns: she/her

Shelby Ketchum Operations Associate

Shelby Ketchum
Operations Associate