Our Team

Staff

Aaron
Tanaka

he/him

Executive
Director

Alex
Papali

he/him

Director of
Regional Economies

Amrita
Wassan

they/them

Senior Director
of National Programs

Chrislene
DeJean

she/her

Chief
of Staff

Eliza
Parad

she/her

Director of
Municipal Democracy

Helen "Homefries" Matthews

no pronouns

Communications
Director

Jennifer
Near

she/her

Senior Director of
Philanthropy and Investing

Jenny
Gefrard

she/her

Finance and Operations
Specialist

Kat
Ramos

they/them

Communications
Associate

Kathy
Henriquez

she/her

Program
Associate

María Christina
Blanco

she/her

Administrative & Fiscal
Sponsorship Manager

Martin
Familia

he/him

Director of
Finance and HR

Michael McKinney Jr.

he/him

Finance and
Accounting Coordinator

Nadav
David

he/him

Capital Strategies
Manager

Sarah
Assefa

she/her or they/them

Worker Ownership
Coalition Organizer

Sarah
Wang

she/her

Research and Education
Manager

Board

Farhad
Ebrahimi

he/him

Khalida
Smalls

she/her

Penn
Loh

he/him

Sarah
Jimenez

she/her

Tiffany
Brown

she/her

Aaron Tanaka
(he/him)

Executive Director

Aaron is a Boston-based community organizer, economic development practitioner, philanthropic advisor, and impact investor. As the Director of CED, Aaron stewards funding and capacity building programs to social movement collaboratives that advance alternatives to capitalist economics in the US. Previously, Aaron served as the startup manager for the Boston Impact Initiative, Boston’s first place-based impact fund investing in Boston’s working class communities of color. Until 2012, Aaron was co-founder and executive director of the Boston Workers Alliance, a grassroots organization nationally regarded for its statewide Ban the Box policy victory in 2010.

Aaron is a former fellow with BALLE, Echoing Green, Green For All, and Tufts Department of Urban Planning, and serves on the boards of the Foundation for Civic Leadership, Neighborhood Funders Group and the New Economy Coalition. He is a graduate of Harvard College.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

The recuperated factories movement in Argentina in the early 2000's, where regular people took over their failing workplaces and began to run them cooperatively. In Japan, millions of seniors use a "timebank" to mutually volunteer their time to meet their daily physical and social needs. Susu's in West Africa, where people pool their money and lend to each other at 0% interest. And as an older movement millennial, the Zapatistas in Mexico and the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil, which have remained beacons of resistance and creation in the face of armed neoliberalism.

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

There's a lot of pain and injustice in the world: "patriarchy + slavery + colonialism = racial capitalism = neo feudalism" has not been great for a lot of people or our planet. But as bad as things get, I also see the daily acts of courage, kindness and cooperation that so many of us practice. These ways are embedded in our bones, and have allowed us to survive and sometimes thrive until today. I think we're fighting between our lizard brains (fear, feed, fight, flight) and the human heart (love, care, compassion), which manifests societally as the fight between Capitalism vs. Democracy. At CED, I feel lucky to be doing heartful work on the side of the people (though no disrespect to lizards).

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

Boston Ujima Project, our pilot community assembly / investment day (Solidarity Summit) in August 2016!

Alex Papali (he/him)

Alex Papali
(he/him)

Director of Regional Economies

Alex has lived in the Boston area 30+ years, organizing locally since high school. His areas of focus have ranged from political repression to immigrant rights to tenant organizing–with the common goal of addressing structural causes of injustice. He has worked with grassroots community, environmental and labor groups statewide towards ‘energy democracy’, including community-controlled energy microgrids and an accessible green economy.


As the Director of Regional Economies at CED, he is helping coalesce a broad set of partners to develop collective strategy and build out infrastructure for a democratic

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

The immense contributions of the Zapatista struggle in Indigenous Mayan communities, and more recently, the 'democratic confederalism' experiment in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan). Both emerged from highly oppressed communities, offering striking alternatives to the regressive politics enveloping them and convergence points for much of the global Left. Their inspiring eloquence, innovations with democratic decision-making and militant confrontation of illegitimate power are shining examples of what we can achieve collectively.

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

We are facing a tangled crisis of multiple failing systems, but arguably the most damaging of these has been the system whose logic governs the global political economy: capitalism. It's no exaggeration then that developing viable alternatives is an urgent goal for all concerned with the survival of human civilization. This will require a collective process of mental decolonizing, and strategic effort to build out the infrastructure for our democratically determined vision.

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

While critiquing the rapacious fossil fuel industry isn't hard, building out scalable alternatives is challenging in an economy oriented to profit and in communities unfamiliar with democratic governance of energy systems. This is why I'm so proud to be on the team developing the RUN-GJC community microgrid project, piloting clean energy networks that are controlled by local communities, respect workers and can be replicated and get us to scale quickly.

Amrita Wassan
(they/them)

Senior Director of National Programs

As an educator, organizer and solidarity economy practitioner, Amrita, situates themself in the interstices between individual and collective liberation. This focus has led to projects as diverse as cultural campaigns promoting healthy relationships in LGBTQIA communities, collectivization of resources for hyper local grant making, building multiple cooperative businesses, working to support youth both inside and outside schools with their creative and political desires, and creating spaces and economic opportunities for survivors of sexual and domestic violence.


As an educator and economic alternatives builder, they are constantly honing their craft with an ever expanding repertoire of tools as well as networks of learning communities. Amrita holds an Economics and International Relations degree from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, GA and a Masters in Community-based Education from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. They enjoy biking, camping, poetry and porch sitting.

As the Director of Regional Economies at CED, he is helping coalesce a broad set of partners to develop collective strategy and build out infrastructure for a democratic

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

I trace my curiosity about economic democracy to the Boycott of British goods and owning our own means of production as part of the South Asian freedom struggle against Colonialism. So many examples of attempting economic democracy inspire me from participatory budgeting in Brazil, trade and barter bazaar system in Equatorial Guinea, worker governance of corporate boards in Germany, sex worker cooperatives, public banking initiatives, time banking experiments, communal land ownership in Barbados, and the chore charts in collective activist homes that makes sure we take turns turning the compost.

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

Strengthening our collective muscle to show up for one another, build our power and embolden one another to attempt the unimaginable.

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

Chrislene DeJean
(she/her)

Chief of Staff

Chrislene is a Haitian American, born and raised in Boston. Chrislene studied government and minored in dance at Smith College. She’s a licensed clinical social worker that graduated from Boston College School of Social Work in 2020. Chrislene is really into wellness and healing as part of a contribution to better relationships with all of life on this planet. She loves delicious food, music, dancing, reading, taking pictures, and enjoying nature.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

I am really inspired by susus because of their Afro-diasporic roots. They are practical, intentional, and require a strong sense of trust between members. It reminds me that there are existing economic democratic practices.

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

I'm motivated to integrate worlds. I'm excited about building new systems that create wealth within and in community with each other. Exploring and creating a new structure that can claim from its roots builds solidarity and abundance within Black, communities of other, and poor people world wide is a transformative process I want to be a part of.

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

Prior to CED, some consultant friends and I attempted to build a consulting cooperative. Although we decided to end our pursuit in becoming a worker's cooperative, I am grateful for the truth, love, and honesty that went into creating a vision together and gracefully choosing to end.

Eliza Parad
(she/her)

Director of Municipal Democracy

Eliza has been organizing in Boston and Chelsea since 2009, first at La Colaborativa, then the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and most recently, the Boston Cyclists Union.

Eliza got involved in social justice issues in the early 2000s around what is now the #MeToo movement and immigrants rights organizing first in Connecticut and then in Chile. Eliza is a 4th generation Bostonian and proud Jamaica Plain resident where she lives with her family.

As a white, Jewish person with privilege, she has put a lot of energy in her free-time into organizing others with those identities to move resources and be in solidarity with frontline organizing, especially through the Boston Workers Circle and Resource Generation.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

Community Land Trusts hold a special place in my heart after getting to work closely with land trusts in Boston when we launched the Greater Boston CLT Network and land trusts across the country through the Right to the City network. My first inspiration for the land trust model comes from Suyapa, a neighborhood leader in Chelsea, who created a land trust in Honduras with other women and organized Chelsea residents to create what is now the Comunidades Enraizadas land trust.

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

After spending a lot of time fighting against harmful systems, policies and people, I love getting to work to create the world as we want it to be. I am really energized by our grassroots partners that lead the work and tirelessly show up for their communities with so much passion and feel grateful that I get to work alongside them.

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

I was involved with the Boston Interpreters Collective (BIC) from about 2009-2018 as an interpreter, translator, trainer and collective member. This included a time period where we went through a big reboot to be able to ramp up interpreting services for grassroots organizations across Metro Boston, and really showed me the beauty and challenges of truely collective decision-making spaces. In 2013 I got to attend Escuelita Zapatista in Chiapas, Mexico, where I joined activists and change-makers from all over the world to learn from Zapatistas and recall having a sense that people all over the world were engaged in similar spaces to BIC and we were going to be stronger as a movement for staying true to democratic decision-making models even when it feels hard.

Helen "Homefries" Matthews
(no pronouns)

Communications Director

Helen “Homefries” Matthews has been active in various justice and liberation struggles since high school, including many years in the ecofeminist movement as a writer and workshop facilitator.

In 2010, Homefries joined with neighbors to organize against gentrification and displacement in parts of the Jamaica Plain neighborhood and has been involved in neighborhood-wide and city-wide housing justice organizing ever since, including many years on the staff of City Life/Vida Urbana and the Communications Committee of Right to The City Alliance.

As a radio journalist many years ago, Homefries covered rallies and other events from social justice, animal liberation and environmental justice movements throughout Boston, which became a springboard into leveraging mass media in grassroots organizations.

Homefries holds degrees in moral philosophy, feminist theory and social movements studies from New College of Florida and Goddard College.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

Growing up in Atlanta, there were anti-racist economic democracy projects, led by and for Black folks, all around - such as the Auburn Ave. business district or Sevananda cooperative grocery store. I'm also inspired by the neighborhood assemblies, based on the principle of horizontalidad, that grew in Argentina in the early 2000's after the IMF brought an economic crisis upon the people there.

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

I'm excited to support organized frontline residents in confronting and dismantling oppressive systems and building new liberatory and creative spaces.

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

In the Egleston Square area of Boston, a huge corporate landlord was trying to evict a Dominican restaurant that had been there for nearly 30 years. The neighborhood organized to not only stop the eviction but also to bring the property into community ownership for the construction of a new building that will house both low-income seniors and the restaurant for the long run.

Jennifer Near
(she/her)

Senior Director of Philanthropy and Investing

As a facilitator, resource mobilizer, cross-class organizer and solidarity economy practitioner, Jennifer has worked to weave relationships across donors, funders, grassroots organizations and social movements to imagine and build a world beyond capitalism. Jennifer is deeply moved by all the ways that frontline communities have historically organized to resist and build alternatives, and she believes that redistributing land, capital, and power into community and movement-governed structures is essential to the vision of collective liberation. Jennifer was raised on a small farm in central NH, and she graduated from Tulane University with a degree in International Development and the University of Sydney with a Masters in International Human Rights. She loves learning from international social movements, improving her salsa dancing, gardening, and hiking with her dogs.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

There are many historically and present day, I am particularly moved by global social movements for land sovereignty that have rooted their resistance, resiliency, and building of political, economic and cultural power to the land, including the Landless Workers Movement in Brazil as well as the long struggle for land-sovereignty in Gaza, the West Bank and Palestine.

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

It’s very meaningful for me to step into this organization, role and the capital strategies work in this political moment. From the genocide in Palestine to cop city and the violent response to student-based organizing and resistance across the country, this is a time of intense political struggle. I am honored to have the opportunity to work alongside this team and our movements to divest from and reduce state, military, police and corporate power and to reinvest resources into frontline communities and solidarity economy projects.

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

Prior to joining the CED team, I have been working as a consultant on the Community Movement Commons project, in which CED is a core partner. It is deeply challenging to build alternatives and land-based projects within our current systems, and I love the vision, what we are building, and the creative ways we are engaging in capital strategies through this project.

Jenny Gefrard
(she/her)

Finance and Operations Specialist

Daughter of Haitian immigrant parents, eldest of three, and self-proclaimed planner/organization addict. Jenny is a serial entrepreneur, visionary, credit repair specialist, and money coach whose mission is to help individuals take the stress and shame out of managing their finances.

A graduate of Curry College with a degree in Community Health & Wellness, her vision is to marry wellness and financial literacy, making complex concepts simple.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

When I think of economic democracy that inspire me what immediately comes to mind are collaborative groups in Haiti created by women to support their entrepreneur endeavors and families.

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

What excites me about our work is the possibilities for a better narrative and existence for marginalized people

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

Kat Ramos
(they/them)

Communications Associate

Kat Ramos was born and raised in Newark, NJ and moved to the Boston area for college. They have worked at various youth centered organizations in the area since then and really believe that young people have so much wisdom we can learn from.

Kat is really passionate about and interested in exploring the intersections of healing justice and movement work to help create and transform present day conditions into something that allows us all — people and planet — to thrive.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

I am very inspired by the community and worker-owned Dorchestor Food Co-op that opened in 2023. This space adds an additional healthy food option located in the center of Dorchestor's rich and vibrant cultural community that is sustainable, local, and contributes to the people's economy.

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

I am very excited to collaborate across movement spaces and ongoing campaigns within the Boston community as well as on a national level. There's endless opportunities to learn, build, and transform.

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

Kathy Henriquez
(she/her)

Program Associate

Kathy Henriquez was born and spent her formative years in El Salvador. Kathy migrated to East Boston, where she now lives and calls her second home. Kathy’s lived experience with insecure immigration status led her to learn more deeply about the systems of oppression held by capitalism and white supremacy that affect immigrants and other BIPOC communities. Kathy in 2020, while attending Lasell University began to advocate with the COSECHA movement, advocating for drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants in the state of MA and then with other grassroots organizations in Boston. As Kathy continues to learn and grow in the economic democracy movement, her current  interest has been about learning and engaging everyday  people in the intersection of resistance based organizing and the building of alternatives to the current systems of oppression.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

The Chilean Arpilleristas movement Especially during Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1991). It’s inspiring to me because it demonstrates the deep courage that these women had, not only in politically resisting Pinochet's authoritarian regime but also they utilized their art as a tool for deep cultural and narrative shift in the patriarchal society, they also organized to fight against the privatization of the natural resources and their land, and through their strategic sales of their art, they were able to bring global awareness to their fight. There are so many more things that inspire me about this movement in terms of resistance that weave in economic democracy practices but I’ve linked a another resource here

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

Being able to name capitalism as the root cause of our harmful systems and experiment, explore, and learn alternative ways of living motivates me and keeps me hopeful.

María Christina Blanco
(she/her)

Administrative & Fiscal Sponsorship Manager

María Christina Blanco is a Bolivian-American mother, organizer, and health worker who has engaged in human rights and social/economic justice activism over the past 20+ years in the Boston area.

As CED’s Administrative & Fiscal Sponsorship Manager, she provides administrative capacity to CED and its projects, in English and Spanish. She was a community organizer at City Life/Vida Urbana from 2011-2016, helping hundreds of her neighbors resist displacement due to predatory lending and evictions for the profit of corporate landlords.

For over a decade prior to entering the organizing field, she did maternal-child community health work. María Christina studied public health as an adult learner at UMass Boston. Her history of involvement in cooperatives dates back to her first job, stocking groceries at the Harvest Co-op.

She serves on the Governing Board of the Boston Community Leadership Academy high school and advised their Immigrant Youth Leaders chapter during a successful 2018 student deportation-defense campaign.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

I will always be proud to be able to look back and say that when the Covid-19 pandemic began, I was helping get direct relief to the hardest-hit people, through CED’s Mass Redistribution Fund!

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

My history of involvement in cooperatives dates back to my first job, stocking groceries at the Harvest Co-op, a 40-year-long experiment in alternative economics and food justice.

Martin Familia (he/him)

Martin Familia
(he/him)

Director of Finance and HR

Martin is the Director of Finance and Human Resources at CED. He has been working in finances in different capacities since graduating from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2009.

Originally born in the Dominican Republic, Martin came to Boston at the age of two where he has resided ever since. Martin demonstrates a commitment to community with his involvement at different organizations including his former school Codman Academy Charter Public School where he is an active member of Codman Academy’s Board of Trustees.

Martin also holds financial literacy seminars for different groups of high school students, including current students as they prepare for life after high school.

After beginning his career in commercial banking, Martin was the Director of Finance and Administration at the College for Social Innovation, a startup where he played a major part in building systems around financial administration, compliance, internal controls, and human resources.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

My time growing up in Boston and the support we all have each other whether it is childcare or food or even healthcare was amazing to be a part of.

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

Working with different groups of people doing great work in the community.

MICHAEL MCKINNEY JR.
(he/him)

Finance and Accounting Coordinator

Michael, born and raised in Boston to Dominican immigrant parents, earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in May 2023. Growing up in the city as the son of a minority entrepreneur, he closely observed the economic challenges faced by communities of color. Motivated by these experiences, he aspires to further his expertise in finance and accounting to empower and uplift individuals within his community. 

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

My upbringing in Boston exposed me to solidarity within the community whenever support was needed. I’ve long admired the reliance on local resources to continually bolster the strength of our community.

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

The ability to collaborate with diverse teams engaged in impactful community initiatives.

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

Nadav David
(he/him)

Capital Strategies Manager

Nadav is a multiethnic Jewish organizer who’s lived in Boston, on Massachusett land, for 10+ years. His organizing journey has been shaped by weaving together cultural traditions and histories from his Mizrahi (Iraq) and Ashkenazi (Poland/Belarus) families.

He organizes with a deep commitment to and belief in the possibilities of solidarity economy and abolitionist visions, and works with local and national groups to bring them to life.

He’s coming to CED from Resource Generation, where he organized his peers, young people with access to wealth, towards the equitable distribution of wealth, land and power.

He’s also involved in efforts to strengthen the Jewish Left ecosystem and is part of building Mizrahi (Arab Jewish) futures across borders.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

I’m inspired by Right to the City’s emerging loan fund. RTTC is bringing to life the possibility, and growing reality, of connecting the transformative work of locally rooted, base-building organizations fighting for housing justice to the resources and infrastructure needed to not only stop displacement, but stabilize neighborhoods in the long-term through decommodifying housing and centering community control!

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

I’m excited by the opportunities at CED to dream and build at the intersections of work with grassroots organizations, who are shaping the strategy and direction of our movements, and organizing the resources, relationships and infrastructure that are necessary to actualize transformative visions. CED is also well positioned to share and learn from from local experiments with communities across turtle island, and globally. And finally, CED’s work has embodied, and can continue to grow, in weaving together resist and build strategies in critical ways through cultivating, convening and supporting solidarity economy ecosystems.

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

In recent years, I worked at Resource Generation, organizing peers, young people with access to wealth and/or class privilege committed to the equitable distribution of wealth, land and power. We developed the Transformative Investment Principles in partnership with movement partners and our wider RG community, and supported hundreds of members to learn solidarity economy concepts and frameworks (shout out New Economy Coalition and Solidarity Economy Principles Project), connect with local and national SE projects and ecosystems, and to divest millions of dollars out of Wall Street and into solidarity economy and community investments.

Sarah Assefa (she/her or they/them)

Sarah Assefa
(she/her or they/them)

Worker Ownership Coalition Organizer

Sarah Assefa values participating in the decisions that affect her life, and likes creating spaces where others can too.

In the early 2000s, Sarah was sustained by the cooperative ecosystem in Worcester Mass, which gave her housing, food, office space, transportation, and work. With Empower Energy Cooperative and Worcester Roots, she was involved in entrepreneurial initiatives that created cooperative community jobs for youth and ex-prisoners, generating revenue through delivery of environmental justice in the form of carbon neutral fuel and lead remediation services.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire Sarah?

One of the most pivotal experiences in her life was participating in EPOCA and the Massachusetts CORI reform campaign, in which ex-prisoners - and many allies - wrote the law, seeking to build a system that would make it easier for people with past criminal records to find positive work and close the revolving prison door. More recently she has been involved in the agroecology movement in Ethiopia, facilitating a national Agroecology Network and advocating with farmers, youth, and many other stakeholders for sustainable food systems and food sovereignty. Tangible collaborations included advocacy and awareness to strengthen local seed systems, support of government policies and strategies for healthy soil management, and re-organizing system actors to build local supply chains for soil amendments to regenerate degraded soils and offset imported fertility inputs.

What motivates/excites Sarah about our work?

Great things are possible when we dare to be visionary and co-create!

Sarah Wang
(she/her)

Research and Education Manager

Sarah is committed to building a world where everyone can lead meaningful and dignified lives, while being able to take care of themselves, their families, and their communities.

She was born and raised in Boston’s Chinatown, where she first explored what it means to be in community with others. In Chinatown, she developed youth & education programs, and organized residents and young people around housing and environmental justice issues.

Her experience and passions are in youth organizing, popular education, research, and program development. She is a first-generation graduate of Harvard College, where studied Psychology and Educational Studies.

What are examples of economic democracy that inspire you?

I am inspired by the work of the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative in building "an equitable, sustainable, and democratic local economy that creates shared wealth and ownership for low-income people of color." Their model shows the beautiful possibilities when we center everyday people in decision-making about the development of their own local economies and communities.

What motivates you/excites you about our work?

I am excited to educate and learn in community with others about how we can collectively build a more just and sustainable world that centers the well-being of low-income communities of color. I am especially excited to see how we can work with communities in Boston to design the municipal participatory budget process so that it is more inclusive, equitable, and responsive to residents' needs.

Tell us about an economic democracy/solidarity economy project you have participated in.

Farhad Ebrahimi
(he/him)

Board Member

Farhad Ebrahimi is an organizer, trainer, and story-based strategist active primarily in the philanthropic sector. For the past 16 years, his principal role has been as the Founder and President of the Chorus Foundation, which works for a just transition to a regenerative economy in the United States. In addition to his work at Chorus, Farhad is a member of the Center for Story-based Strategy’s trainer network, a Co-founder of Solidaire, and sits on the boards of Solidaire, the Center for Economic Democracy, the National Committee For Responsive Philanthropy, and The Forge.
Farhad identifies first and foremost as an abolitionist with respect to the concept of private philanthropy. As such, he’s most interested in the question of how extracted and consolidated wealth can be redistributed in ways that directly support a Just Transition to a world in which such wealth is no longer extracted and consolidated in the first place. It’s in this context that the Chorus Foundation itself has been structured as a transitional form, and will have spent down its entire endowment by the end of 2023.

As the Director of Regional Economies at CED, he is helping coalesce a broad set of partners to develop collective strategy and build out infrastructure for a democratic

Khalida Smalls
(she/her)

Board Member

Khalida is the Organizing Director for the Right to the City (RTTC) Alliance, which encompasses over 90 community-based racial, economic, gender, and environmental justice organizations located in 26 states and 45 cities. Representing true grassroots power and leadership of the most impacted, RTTC’s member organizations weave together local on-the-ground organizing, policy, and advocacy campaigns to build a robust and unstoppable national movement for inclusive, healthy housing and community development.

Born, raised, and based in Boston, Khalida is a queer Black woman of African and Caribbean descent. She’s also mom to young adult activist, Ziquelle G Smalls who was active in the youth justice movement in Boston before moving to Miami Florida and joining Power U the Center for Social Change as their organizing director – organizing runs in the family!

Khalida began organizing in 1997 with the community-based environmental justice organization ACE in Roxbury, MA where she helped form Boston’s first public transit riders’ union. She has experience in labor, having developed and coordinated the Community Support and Strategic Partnership Program at Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ New England District 615 in Boston, MA, and been Organizing Director for the 10,000 member strong Boston Teachers Union (BTU),and also served as the Director of Organizing at Community Labor United (CLU) in Boston.

Khalida attended Springfield College School of Human Services, (Boston Campus) completing a bachelor’s degree in science in Human Services. She hopes to soon return to Tufts University’s Urban Environmental Policy and Planning program (UEP) to complete her master’s degree in public policy.

Penn Loh
(he/him)

Board Member

Penn is Senior Lecturer and Director of the Master of Public Policy Program and Community Practice at Tufts University’s Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning. From 1996 to 2009, he served in various roles, including Executive Director at Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE), a Roxbury-based environmental justice group. Before joining ACE, he was Research Associate at the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, California and a Research Analyst at the Tellus Institute for Resource and Environmental Strategies in Boston.

He holds an M.S. in environmental science and policy from Energy and Resources Group of the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in electrical engineering from MIT. He has published broadly on environmental and social justice issues and is currently a trustee of the Hyams Foundation.

Sarah Jimenez
(she/her)

Board Member

Sarah Jimenez is a Senior Researcher with Community Labor United (CLU) and lead organizer for the Care That Works coalition, a multiracial feminist labor and community coalition fighting for an empowered, community-based child care workforce and an equitable child care future in Greater Boston and Massachusetts.

Since the coalition’s formation in 2017 Sarah has provided the research for key initiatives such as strengthening child care requirements in Boston’s zoning code, launching the Pilot to organize early-hour child care for low-income BIPOC parents in Boston to access unionized construction careers, and launching a campaign to organize family, friend, and neighbor caregivers to fight for greater recognition and resources in Massachusetts. She has also contributed research to support campaigns on wage theft, community-controlled energy, public transportation, and short-term rentals.

Outside of CLU, Sarah was a co-founding organizer and action researcher for the Boston Ujima Project and co-authored a report on solidarity economy organizing in low-income communities of color across Massachusetts. She is interested in leveraging practices from contemplative traditions to strengthen social justice organizing.

Tiffany Brown
(she/her)

Board Member

Tiffany worked in the non-profit sector for over a decade before transitioning into her work in finance. Her career has ranged from being Co-Director at YES!, Board member at Common Fire Foundation, founding advisor to Kindle Project Foundation, to directing national leadership retreats at Resource Generation, and serving on the Finance Committee for Haymarket People’s Fund. Most of her work has been focused on working with young people with wealth. She currently serves on the board of Pie Ranch, and Resource Generation.

Her entry into social justice work was through learning about race and racism in the US, and interning with the SE Regional NAACP’s Prison Project in Atlanta, GA. Tiffany cultivated her zest for justice at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in Community Studies.

Tiffany loves hosting dinner parties, dancing and homemaking. She enjoys karaoke with friends, where she can allow her inner performer to run wild.