Staff

a super fabulous team

laforestRachel LaForest, Executive DirectorRachel has been the Executive Director of Right to the City Alliance since May 2011. She joined the Alliance after eight years of working with progressive labor, directing the Organizing and Public Policy departments of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 and Actors Equity Association (AEA).  Rachel organized and led multiple mobilizations of thousands of TWU members to City Hall and the state government in Albany; conducted extensive research and designed education and training in public policy for rank-and-file union members and officers; and was one of the lead coordinators for TWU during the 2005 New York City transit strike, after which the union leadership was jailed. Prior to her career with TWU and AEA, Rachel served as Lead Organizer/Co-Campaign Director for Jobs with Justice/New York Unemployment Project, building community-labor solidarity and joint action and co-coordinating the campaign that won an increase of $2 per hour in the minimum wage for New York State.  Rachel holds a BA from Hunter College/CUNY in Political Science (Black and Puerto Rican Studies) and Education and she is a new mami!!

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tonyromanoTony Romano, Organizing Director. Tony was the co-founder of the Miami Workers Center. He is a native of Georgia and a veteran union organizer with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers and UNITE. Tony was schooled in politics and organizing as an English teacher in South Africa during the struggle against apartheid. He led a major labor/civil rights campaign against the Kmart corporation in Greensboro, North Carolina and arrived in Florida in 1996 to join an effort to unionize area nursing home workers. As part of MWC’s leadership team, Tony helped to build an innovative movement organization and guided the development of membership based formations in Black and Latin@ communities in Miami. Together with grassroots leaders and members, Tony guided campaigns that prevented the demolition of over 2000 affordable homes and generated $17 million in housing and childcare funds for low-income families. He served as a lead on the RTTC Housing workgroup that facilitated a participatory grassroots centered process that produced a national research paper, “We Call These Projects Home.” In 2011, Tony joined the staff of Right to the City Alliance as Organizing Director. He’s a papa too.

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leninasmileLenina Nadal, Communications Director. Lenina worked as the Development and Communication Manager of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition for three years. She received an MFA in Integrated Media Arts at Hunter College and studied historical documentary filmmaking in George Washington University. She has also been a writer and producer for Democracy Now!, PBS American Experience and the History Channel. She has led media strategic planning and leadership trainings in nonprofit organizations for the last 15 years. She is also a Boricua/Nuyorican poet, a student of playwrighting, spectacles and flash mobs, a new mami, and an editor of the growing radical comic book, occupycomix.

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lisetteLisette Le, Boston RTC VOTE Coordinator. Lisette Le joined Right to the City as the Boston Coordinator in November 2010. She then stayed on and in 2013  became RTC VOTE Boston's coordinator and has done excellent civic engagement work to mobilize RTC Boston groups around electoral and policy fights regionally. Prior to joining Right to the City, Lisette was the Civic Action Coordinator at the Chinese Progressive Association-Boston. She was responsible for supporting CPA's civic engagement and land use programming. A 1.5 generation Vietnamese American, Lisette grew up in Akron, Ohio and spent her teenage years in Gilbert, AZ. A graduate of Tufts University Class of 2006, she majored in American Studies with a focus on Asian American studies. Her first engagement in activism was through campus organizing fighting for ethnic studies on campus. She likes cheez wiz (shocking), organic apples and dreams of becoming a professional snowboarder once she learns how to stand up on one.

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MarkSwierMark Swier, Operations Manager. Mark joined RTTC’s staff in November 2010 after 4 years with Mothers on the Move/Madres en Movimiento. Mark was a fellow with Social Justice Leadership’s ACTIVATE! Fellowship for Transformative Organizing, and He was also MOM’s public housing organizer for two years before transitioning to spearhead fundraising and communications work. Mark has worked and electric-slided at the intersections of culture, sexuality, race and gender justice struggles with organizations including Teachers Unite, Generation Five and the Prison Moratorium Project. Periodically marauding dancefloors with smooth jazz while masquerading as DJ Slim Hug, Mark is a Michigan native, Brooklyn resident, joyful papa, shower singer, and has a BA from Goshen College.

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img 3839Yasmeen Perez, Development Director. Yasmeen is the former Co-Director of Seattle Young People's Project, a youth of color led community organizing group, and worked for several years as the Leadership Development Director and then Interim Director at FIERCE, a grassroots youth organizing group building the leadership and power of LGBTQ youth of color in NYC. More recently, Yasmeen worked at Domestic Workers United, an organization made up of nannies, house keepers, and elder care givers working for dignity and fair labor standards in NYC, as the Operations Manager. Yasmeen has a BA in Race, Class, & Gender Studies, with a focus in Participatory and Anti-Oppression Education from the Evergreen State College. In addition to fundraising and social justice, Yasmeen is committed to celebrity gossip, karaoke, and being an uncle.

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Darnell L. Johnson, Right to the City Boston Coordinator:  Darnell coordinates our Boston Alliance in its core strategies of base building, community leadership development, political education, and community building.  Darnell joined RTC’s staff in 2014 after years of community and labor organizing focusing on the intersections of race, class, gender and oppression. Darnell is a founding member of the African American Theatre Company at the University of Louisville and has been seen on stage with Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Kentucky Opera and the Juneteenth Legacy Theatre.