Organizing Upgrade

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Lead Editors


Harmony Goldberg is a left educator and writer, based in Brooklyn, New York.  Harmony helped to found SOUL, the School of Unity and Liberation, when she was 19 years old, and she’s been running radical political education courses for grassroots organizations rooted in multi-racial working class communities ever since.  She currently works closely with Domestic Workers United, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and other independent worker organizations around the country.  Harmony is currently a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center, and her research focuses on the work of Domestic Workers United in New York City. And she talks about Gramsci alot.



Sushma is a communications strategist and organizer. In 2001, she returned to her hometown to join the Miami Workers Center, an emerging grassroots organizing and progressive strategy center. She jump started the strategic communications program, directed staff and programs, as well as convened regional coalitions to move progressive initiatives in Miami. Sushma was awarded the 2002 New Voices Fellowship and named 2007 Miami Fellow and “Top 25 Power Women of Miami” in 2006. Currently, Sushma is a graduate student.


joseph-150x150Joseph Phelan has been active in left movement work for the last decade. Originally from New York he cut his teeth in the global justice movement as an activist and agitator, was grounded in organizing in the CUNY student movement, and now builds the capacity of grassroots leaders to tell their own stories. And he wants to win.


Josh Warren-White

Josh Warren-White is a long-time social justice organizer and graphic designer. He is a member of the Design Action Collective, where he works serving movement organizations with professional graphic design, branding, and web development services. Josh came to full-time political work as a direct action activist in the global justice movement of the late 90s, during which time he led anti-racism workshops for activist organizations around the country with the Catalyst Project and the Active Solidarity Collective. In the following years he worked as a community organizer for economic and racial justice issues. He has served as staff at Just Cause Oakland, the Catalyst Project, AK Press, and holds a degree in Political Science and Community Organizing from the Institute for Social Ecology.


Beyond Capitalism Editors

Steve Williams is a Black organizer based in San Francisco— home of the 2010 World Series Champion Giants. After leaving his staff position at POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights)— a community-based organization that he co-founded in 1997, Steve is talking with other organizers and activists across the country about how to grow and strengthen the movement to move beyond capitalism and U.S. imperialism.


Rishi Awatramani has served as Lead Organizer and Communications Director at Virginia New Majority since early 2009. He has previously worked as Leadership Development Director at Just Cause Oakland, Community Organizer with the Youth Media Council, and as a union organizer for homecare providers and low-income women of color with both SEIU Local 1199 in New York and SEIU Local 715 in San Jose. Rishi is a long-time activist with several organizations, and recently served on the National Planning Committee of the US Social Forum. He has worked with social movements in India and Southern Africa.  


Black Organizing Community Editors

Ingrid Benedict: I’m a first generation immigrant from Nicaragua, my family moved to California in the early 80’s.  I started in this work as an organizer against anti-affirmative action ballot initiative – Proposition 209 – when I was in college.  This led me to the world of youth organizing where I’ve spent most of my time learning, laughing, making mistakes, trying my best and working to win.  As a previous organizer, trainer and facilitator – I’m trying to learn ways to improve our work, be creative, have fun while we’re doing it and build good relationships.  The last few years I have been working with funders trying to understand how we can better resource grassroots organizing.


Denise Perry has been organizing for 28 years. She began as a union organizer for a couple local and national unions following the lead of her father. Majority of her organizing and organizer training work has been in the south where she was a co-founder of Power U Center in historic Black Miami, Overtown. Currently, she is directing the BOLD project a training center committed to building Black leadership and organizing infrastructure.


Communications Editor

B. Loewe has been organizing and doing communications work for fifteen years and now primarily works within the migrant rights movement. Originally from the Maryland suburbs of DC, B. was recruited into social justice work by his older sister and has since been a farmer in Maine, a student in Cincinnati, and proudly an unofficial volunteer ambassador for the city of Chicago since 2003. Read more of B's writing on movements, love, spirit, and care at and follow B. on twitter @bstandsforb


Culture Editors

Purvi Shah is a lawyer who has worked for economic and racial justice at various civil rights, organizing, legal, and policy organizations across the country. Along with being a freedom-fighter she is science fiction nerd, fashion junkie, photographer and amateur dancer.




Terry Marshall has been involved in youth and social justice struggles for over 15 yrs. In 2008 Terry became the Lead Youth Organizer of the Healthcare Education Project, an initiative of 1199 SEIU in New York City. While there he led the innovative "Young Voices For Healthcare" campaign to involve young people in the healthcare reform struggle. Today Terry is the Co-Founder and Co-editor of Occupy Comix, a bimonthly comic book that depicts the stories of the 99% and is working on a book presented by his young voices nation project depicting creative activist of color.


Thanu Yakupitiyage is a media profesional and immigrant rights activist in New York City. She has worked with the Occupy movement with the people of color caucus and the immigrant worker justice group to put issues pertaining to immigrants and communities of color at the forefront of discussions on social change. Her research interests are in migration, neoliberalism, globalization, and racial justice. She is interested in the intersections of cultural and political organizing.



ASR org upAdrienne Skye Roberts works in the crossroads of art, education, and social justice organizing. She has a background in housing rights, reproductive justice and queer youth organizing. She is currently a member of the grassroots prison abolition organization, California Coalition for Women Prisoners and helped to found Fired Up!, a re-entry collective building from both inside and outside San Francisco county jail. Adrienne occasionally teaches sculpture at UC Santa Cruz, where she is able to implement her anti-racist, feminist, queer art curricula. Her writing is featured in SFMOMA's Open Space, Art Practical, and Make/Shift: Feminisms in Motion. Adrienne was raised by communists and feminists in the Bay Area and currently lives in Oakland.


Environment & Climate Editor

Jason Negrón-Gonzales has been active building the Left and the racial, economic, and ecological justice movements since 1997.  He got politicized around Puerto Rican community issues as a student, and worked against the elimination of affirmative action and cuts to ethnic studies.  His former work includes training, organizing, campaign and alliance-building work with People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), serving as director of Movement Generation, and a co-founder of the MG Justice & Ecology Project.  He now works as a trauma nurse in a public hospital, and with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, supporting their Care Across Generations campaign.


Gender & Sexuality Editor

RMananzala2Rickke Mananzala has been involved in racial, economic, and gender justice issues for more than a decade and currently works as a consultant for grassroots non-profit organizations. He most recently served as the Executive Director of FIERCE, an organization that builds the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City and nationally. As a former New Voices Fellow at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP), he worked to develop methods for legal work to increase support for organizing efforts by transgender and gender non-conforming people in New York City. Rickke was a founding National Steering Committee of the Right to the City Alliance and he also served on the Board of the Third Wave Foundation for five years where he helped to advance grant-making strategies to support feminist youth organizing work. Rickke is currently studying Political Science at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn, NY.


Immigrant & Migrant Rights Editors

Haeyoung Yoon is a staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project in New York City. Her primary areas of expertise are the labor and employment rights of low-wage and immigrant worker.  She has extensive experience working with worker centers, unions, and community groups at the national, state and local levels to establish labor standards and strengthen workplace protections for low-wage and immigrant workforce.  


trishala-photoTrishala Deb currently works with the Caring Across Generations campaign.  She has worked at the intersection of a variety of prominent issues, including immigrant and refugee rights, gender justice, anti-violence and militarization, community organizing based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and supporting the capacity building efforts of emerging grassroots organizations. Previously, she coordinated a program for LGBTST immigrants at the Audre Lorde Project, a community organizing center for LGBTST people of color in New York City.

marisaMarisa Franco is currently working with the National Day Laborers Organizing Network.  Prior to working at NDLON, Marisa worked as the Lead Organizer with the Right to the City Alliance, a national alliance of grassroots organizations working for urban justice, and as an organizer at POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights) in San Francisco where she focused on building the Women Worker’s Project. Marisa was one of the authors of Towards Land, Work and Power: Charting a Path of Resistance to U.S.-led Imperialism.


Labor Editors

Stephanie Luce is Associate Professor of Labor Studies and has gained national and international recognition for her research on living-wage campaigns and on the impact of globalization on jobs and workers.  She serves on the editorial boards of New Labor Forum and Labor Studies Journal.

Erica Smiley is a Senior Field Organizer for Jobs with Justice, with a focus on the southern region.  As a part of this position, she relates to southern JwJ coalitions and engages in strategic campaigns.  She is originally from Greensboro, North Carolina.

News Collectors:

Harmony Goldberg
Joseph Phelan
John Whitlow
Michelle O’Brien
Laboni Rahman

Copy Editors:

James Lock
Amy Pickering
Julian Hudson
John Mark

Organizing Upgrade 2012 / Built by Union Labor