Saqib Bhatti is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and the Director of the ReFund America Project (RAP). He works on campaigns to rebalance the relationship between Wall Street and local communities by exposing the role that financial deals play in contributing to public budget distress and advancing solutions to fix inefficiencies in the municipal finance system that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year. He works closely with unions and community organizations across the country to develop campaigns that are based on a populist critique of the banking industry that is informed by his research. He also serves on the board of the Responsible Endowments Coalition. Bhatti was previously a fellow at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Prior to that he spent several years working on corporate social responsibility campaigns with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 in Las Vegas. He graduated from Yale University in 2004.
Helen is a rising senior at Barnard College majoring in Political Economy and co-founder of the Barnard fossil fuel divestment campaign. She has been organizing with Divest and working with REC since fall of 2014 (including interning at REC during the summer of 2015). Helen first entered the world of social justice organizing when she participated in the Key Stone XL Dissent march in the spring of 2014, where she first met climate justice organizers. While working with the Divest campaign she has been deeply inspired by the power, love, and bravery of her fellow organizers and has great hopes for the future of social justice organizing. In particular, she hopes to see an expansion of the analysis of student campaigns to critique the extractive economy at large and form deeper bonds of solidarity among broader anti-oppression campaigns. When she isn’t working on Divest, her other interests include mental and reproductive care work, Sci-Fi novels and Vietnamese history.
Kevin Connor is the Public Accountability Initiative’s director. The Public Accountability Initiative (PAI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog research group focused on corporate and government accountability. We specialize in conducting and facilitating investigative, public interest research on power and corruption at the intersection of business and government. We are particularly focused on bringing transparency to the role corporate power plays in shaping public policy. PAI got its start by launching LittleSis.org (the opposite of Big Brother), a database and research platform that tracks information on powerful people and organizations in the US. LittleSis is used by journalists, academics, and activists researching and challenging networks of power and influence. Kevin leads PAI’s research efforts and investigations from his home base of Buffalo, NY. Before co-founding LittleSis.org and PAI, Kevin worked as a researcher at SEIU 1199. He is a graduate of Harvard University.
Kristen Cox works in development and marketing for Self-Help Credit Union, the county's largest community development credit union, after 14 years as a cultural organizer, resource developer, non-profit program mana ger, and community builder working in Chicago. Finding the field of social justice finance has satisfied her quest to unite the personal and political. Kristen was an early fossil-fuel divestor and discoverer of socially responsible investing when she decided to sell her appreciated Exxon, Chevron and Ashland Oil holdings in her twenties. She used the proceeds to reinvest in a portfolio of renewable energy, healthy food, and clean water and founded the Fire This Time Fund (FTTF), a giving circle together with 11 others that between 2006 – 2010 awarded grants to small-scale creative social change projects in the Chicagoland area. Excited by peer-to-peer lending and the power of community investing, Kristen was an early investor in Spaulding Court, a 1918 series stone row houses that was condemned by the city of Detroit and bought and rehabbed by residents of Corktown in 2010. She has worked for a broad range of organizations in the arts, philanthropy, and community-based organizations. She was a contributing writer and advisor to AREA Chicago, a board member of Young Chicago Authors which produced the 2011 documentary Louder Than A Bomb, and is a graduate of the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in community development. She is an alumna of Resource Generation, part family-farm owner in Central Kentucky , and loves the water.
Yessica Gonzalez is an Undocumented Queer Femme, born in Tijuana, Baja California and raised in Perris, (Southern) California. Shortly after completing High School in 2012, they got involved with the undocumented youth movement after being unable to pursue a higher education. In 2013, they began organizing with the Immigrant Youth Coalition to stop the collaboration between ICE and local law enforcement. Their work has consisted of organizing alongside youth/family members to fight against deportations and lead “free the people” campaigns and challenge anti-immigrant legislation. This work has led Yessica to become a steering committee member of the Prison Divestment Campaign in California to denounce the exploitation of people of colors by private prison corporations. Their activism comes from an abolitionist perspective to ensure that directly impacted peoples are at the forefront to fight for liberation and to dismantle white supremacist, Cis-Hetero patriarchy systems of oppression. Aside from being a community organizer, they are currently pursuing their BA in Gender and Ethnic Studies and will be transferring to the University of California Los Angeles from San Diego Mesa College. They/them
Beth Herz is Associate Program Officer at the Surdna Foundation, a New York-based family foundation that supports sustainable and just communities in the U.S. In this role, Beth works with Surdna’s program staff and board to ensure collaboration and impact across the foundation’s three areas of work – sustainable environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. Beth joined Surdna as a member of the Sustainable Environments team, where she contributed to grantmaking and strategy development in climate change, transportation systems, and the green economy. She previously worked in community organizing and advocacy, including at WE ACT for Environmental Justice in Manhattan.Beth received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.S. in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan. In addition to the Responsible Endowments Coalition board, Beth sits on the Board of Advisors of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy.
Beatrice is a student at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia pursuing a B.A in Geography, a minor in Environmental Sustainability and a certificate in Geographic Information Science. For the past 2 years, she has been a student organizer with the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition (VSEC) and the Virginia Student Power Network (VPSN) which both promote social justice and student power throughout the state of Virginia. She organized for the DivestUMW campaign on her campus, which has helped remove investments of the University's endowment from the fossil fuel industry. She also works very closely with UMW Students United, which advocates to create a greater sense of transparency as well as social and economic responsibility on campus. She is very excited to join the Board for REC. In her free time Beatrice can be found enjoying mangos, reading about the intersections of environmental and racial justice issues, or playing the violin.
Marilyn G. Sneiderman
Marilyn Sneiderman directs the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization at Rutgers’ School of Management and Labor Relations, bringing with her 30 years of experience in labor, community, faith based, immigrant and racial justice organizing, as well as extensive experience in managing large staffs and managing intensive organizational change work. For 10 years, Sneiderman directed the National AFL-CIO’s Department of Field Mobilization, where she helped launch the national "Union Cities" initiative. The campaign focused on increasing the capacity to support and win organizing, political and policy campaigns in states and cities throughout the country. Working with the AFL-CIO's International Unions, State Federations, and Central Labor Councils, the program was designed to unite community, union, religious, and civil/immigrant rights groups to build local movements to fight for social and economic justice in states and cities. Sneiderman most recently served as Executive Director of AVODAH, a national Jewish social justice organization where she expanded the scope, impact and budget of the organization. Prior to her work at the AFL-CIO, she served as education director at the Teamsters International Union and on the senior faculty of the George Meany Center for Labor Studies, where she focused on leadership training, civil and women's rights, and labor/community organizing. She also served on the faculty at Georgetown Law School and was the community organizer at AFSCME. Sneiderman has consulted with a number of national unions on organizer training, organizational development, leadership and management, and in executive coaching. Sneiderman edited Organizing Guide for Local Unions and Numbers that Count, which introduced the “organizing model of unionism.” She also co-authored Labor in the Pulpits with Kim Bobo. She started her work in the labor movement as an AFSCME shop steward, local officer and delegate to her labor council in Madison, Wisconsin. Sneiderman has a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin. She serves on the boards of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund and Interfaith Worker Justice. In 2000 she was named one of the 25 most influential working mothers in the United States by Working Mother magazine.
Molly Thomas-Jensen is an attorney with the NYC Public Advocate’s Office. Prior to working with the NYC Public Advocate's office, she worked at Change to Win Labor Federation, and the South Brooklyn Legal Services, where her work focused on employment discrimination against individuals with criminal records. Molly is an active member of the New York State Bar Association's Labor & Employment Law Section Executive Committee and the New York City Bar Association's Committee on Legal Issues Affecting People with Disabilities. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Brown University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Nancy Uddin is a South Asian Muslim activist born and raised in Queens. She identifies as an abolitionist and supported in launching the CUNY Prison Divest campaign. She currently is studying Journalism and Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University. Nancy is perpetually learning and unlearning through her efforts in the Youth Activists-Youth Allies (YA-YA) Network and Sadie Nash Leadership Project. She had the opportunity to work with people in prison at an internship at Justice Now in Oakland. Nancy hopes to continue collaborating with other deep thinkers who envision a world where strong communities strive and prisons are dismantled. Her political beliefs are constantly challenged and developed by her resilient community of broke students, artists, and brown and black sisters.
Maurice is the Housing Justice and Wall Street Accountability Coordinator at the Center for Popular Democracy, where he supports CPD partner work across the country. Maurice has direct experience planning effective ground campaigns with community organizations. Prior to CPD, he was the campaign director for Rise Up Georgia and before that spent four years as the Campaign Coordinator with The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment where he led community campaigns in the areas Education, Predatory Debt, Racial Justice and Housing Justice. As a campaign organizer, his main focus has been on exposing injustices spurred by Wall Street and White Supremacy in ways that lead to wins for the working class and people of color through policy innovation and direct action. In 2009, Maurice graduated from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania with a degree in Sociology and Peace and Conflict Studies. He is originally from Newark, New Jersey and lives in Detroit, Michigan.
Patrick Young is a member of the Rising Tide North America Collective. Rising Tide is a continent-wide network of grassroots environmental justice and climate justice organizations and individuals working to confront the root causes of climate change. He works as a campaigner with the United Steelworkers based in Pittsburgh, PA, serves as Vice President of USW Local 3657, and is a founding member of Fight Back Pittsburgh, a worker-center style community union in Pittsburgh, PA. Patrick is a graduate of Cornell University’s school of Industrial and Labor Relations and he has an extensive background in community organizing, union campaigning, shareholder advocacy, and non-violent direct action.