Maurice BP-WeeksCo-Executive Director
Maurice is the Co-Executive Director of ACRE. He works with community organizations and labor unions on campaigns to create equitable communities by dismantling systems of wealth extraction that target Black and Brown communities. Maurice has many years of community organizing experience on issues such as housing, revenue and budgets, policing and incarceration, corporate accountability and education justice. He is an alum of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and the Center for Popular Democracy. Maurice currently serves on the board of Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity, National Institute for Money in Politics, Investors Advocates for Social Justice, National Black Workers Center, 482Forward and the Rucks Society. If he had a magic wand, he’d abolish the police, prisons, hedge funds, pharmaceutical companies, corporate landlords and white supremacy. Until then, he runs campaigns to fight for a world where those things no longer exist. Maurice believes deeply in a Black Liberation a Homes Guarantee, Medicare for All, Public Medicine, a Green New Deal and free migration. A native of Newark, NJ, Maurice now lives in Detroit, Michigan and he’s never going to leave. He graduated from Swarthmore College and has a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Detroit Mercy.
Saqib BhattiCo-Executive Director
Saqib is the Co-Executive Director of ACRE. He works on campaigns to win racial and economic justice by taking on the financial institutions that are responsible for extracting wealth and resources from communities of color and poor people in order to further enrich themselves. Coming from an immigrant Muslim family from Pakistan, Saqib’s first foray into organizing was as part of the student anti-war movement following 9/11. After college he spent 10 years working on corporate social responsibility campaigns with the Culinary Workers Union (UNITE HERE) in Las Vegas and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). He was awarded a Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship in 2013, which he used to launch the ReFund America Project, a predecessor organization to ACRE. Saqib serves on the boards of the Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund, the Midwest Academy, and Political Research Associates, and is on the Advisory Council of Community Labor United in Massachusetts. He graduated from Yale University.
Brittany AlstonResearch Director
Brittany is the Research Director at ACRE. She believes in using research to build power in poor communities and communities of color. Before joining ACRE, Brittany worked as a policy analyst at DC Fiscal Policy Institute and worked as a union researcher with UNITE HERE and HPAE. Her prior research advocated for responsible and transparent development in cities and examined the role of unionization in raising the standard of living for workers in low-income communities. Brittany holds a B.A. in urban policy and planning from Rutgers University and a Master’s degree in city planning from University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design.
Allyson AndrewsDeputy Operations Director
Allyson Andrews is the Deputy Operations Director at ACRE. She has deep experience in start-up, operations, and finance for non-profit and for-profit sectors with a specialization in Education and Mental Health.
Allyson has a strong passion for educational policy and reform, urban revitalization, corporate accountability and taxation, lowering unemployment, economic equity and social justice. A Detroit Native and Small Business Owner, Allyson is a firm believer in “being the change that you want to see”.
She holds an AS (Early Childhood Education), BS (Psychology & Human Development), MBA and is currently pursuing a PhD in Human Services with a concentration in Community & Social Services.
Cecilia BehgamSenior Research Analyst – Climate and Environmental Justice
Cecilia Behgam is a Senior Research Analyst at ACRE. Before joining the team, Cecilia held organizer and research positions with various economic justice organizations, including the Alliance for Fair Food, the Latino Economic Development Center and the National AFL-CIO. Cecilia is also a proud former Communication Workers of America (CWA) member and shop steward. Alongside work, Cecilia regularly volunteers at urban farms and plays music that is often influenced by their Mexican-American and Iranian heritage. They hold a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Brown University. Cecilia lives in their home state of Texas.
Gabriela BetancourtSenior Research Analyst – Public Services
Gabriela D. Noa Betancourt is a Senior Research Analyst at ACRE. Gabriela immigrated to Miami from Cuba at the age of 6. She has grown up with a deep commitment to build solidarity among black and brown folks in the South to take on corporate greed. Prior to her role at ACRE, she spent 6 years as a Research Analyst with UNITE HERE Local 355, where she helped build worker power in South Florida through research, community coalition building, and member-led electoral campaigns. In her free time, she enjoys making pottery and longboarding near the beach.
Roksana BorzoueiSenior Organizer – Crescendo Project
Roksana is the Senior Organizer of ACRE’s Crescendo project. She is a community organizer with experience in directing electoral and issue-based campaigns and field programs around labor, immigration and racial justice. A writer, organizer and former social justice educator, Roksana was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up in Tampa, Florida navigating life in post-9/11 America as an Iranian-American. She is committed to supporting working class leaders of color in growing a strong working class leftist movement. Roksana has previously worked as canvass director and campaign coordinator at One Pennsylvania, program director of Student Power Network at Movement Voter Project, organizing fellow for the 2012 Obama for America campaign, and as a policy intern for the National Iranian American Council. She designed NIAC’s youth and student engagement program that serves as its organizing model today. As a student organizer, she worked to build a coalition of Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) students to receive institutional support and to begin organizing together around shared struggles. Recently, she was a research aide to Dr. Neda Maghbouleh for her book “The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race.” Roksana holds an AB in International Relations from Brown University.
Jamee' BurbridgeSenior Executive Assistant
Jamee’ is the Senior Executive Assistant at ACRE. Jamee’ is an advocate for social justice on multiple fronts in her hometown. As the Senior Executive Assistant, Jamee’ leads the coordination of ACRE’s scheduling, project management and operational support. Jamee’ believes that it is always the unforeseen that produces marvelousness.
Tracey CorderCampaign Director – Policing and Incarceration
Bianca CunninghamCampaign Director – Bargaining for the Common Good
Bianca Cunningham is a former Verizon Wireless worker who led her coworkers in 7 stores across Brooklyn, NY to join CWA in 2014, making them the first unionized retail workers in the company. She later led her coworkers on a 49 day strike to secure their first contract. Verizon fired her for organizing, and during the Verizon strike, picketers across the country chanted “Bring Back Bianca!” Bianca was on the bargaining team to help secure their first contract for stores in Brooklyn as well as a store in Massachusetts.
Bianca co-founded the DSA’s AfroSocialists and Socialists of Color caucus, a caucus for Black Indigenous and people of color within the organization. She also served as co-chair of the NYC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America for two terms.
She most recently was on staff at Labor Notes where she sometimes wrote and more often facilitated training on Race and Labor.
Vasudha DesikanPolitical Director
Vasudha Desikan is the Political Director at the Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE). Vasudha comes from a long history of campaigning in the labor movement, mostly with low-wage workers at SEIU. Most recently, Vasudha was the Policy Director at United for Respect where she worked closely with progressive Congressional members to amplify the voices and leadership of retail workers at Amazon, Walmart, and private-equity owned retail companies. She holds a M.A. in International Relations from American University.
Vasudha can usually be found oceanside with her family in San Francisco.
Kimberly FloresDeputy Digital Director
Kim is the Deputy Digital Director at ACRE. She believes the internet is a powerful tool for change and frequently uses campaign microsites, mass email, social media graphics & video, and digital ads to accomplish organizational goals. Prior to joining the ACRE team, Kim was the Digital Deputy at Movement Voter Project, working to strengthen their digital presence with grassroots organizations before and after the 2018 midterm elections. She has also worked as the Digital Manager at TaskForce, Shella Films, and Brave New Films, working on a variety of campaigns from equity in public education and health advocacy, to criminal justice, income inequality, and taking on the military industrial complex. She has a BA in Film & Digital Media from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Michele GilliamDeputy Political Director
Michele Gilliam is the Deputy Political Director at ACRE. Previously, she worked on Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign as her National Deputy Political Director. Michele was formerly the Political and Legislative Director of the Transportation Workers Union Local 100. She’s a proud trade unionist and started her career in labor as an organizer for TWU Local 100, before having the opportunity to work for two presidential campaigns in 2016. She started in New Hampshire with Bernie 2016 as the state’s Constituency Director and traveled throughout the country, ending her tenure with his campaign as the New York Political Director. She went on to work for Hillary for America as the National Deputy Labor Campaigns Director.
A native of Southeast Queens, New York, Michele is also a writer and has been volunteering with the New York Writers Coalition for over ten years. She dabbles in fiction but is currently working on a memoir, working title: A Madwoman in Her Most Incandescent Bloom. Her first play, Displaced, was read at the Castillo Theater in 2012.
Kena GilmourDevelopment Associate
Kena is a Development Associate at the Action Center on Race and the Economy. He collaborates across campaigns to amplify the work of fellow staff members and finds joy in bridging BIPOC led movements and funders. Prior to ACRE, Kena spent time in non-profit development and taught History and English at an independent high school. He holds a B.A. (Hamilton College ‘20) in Government and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, and was the sole recipient of The James Soper Merrill Prize, awarded to the member of the graduating class “who, in character and influence, has typified the highest ideals of the College.”
Outside of work, Kena presents at various universities and institutions as a DEIJ (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice) speaker and panelist, discussing the intersections of Blackness, Queerness, class, and athletics. In his free time, he enjoys painting, reading, writing, hiking, building community, and taking recreational Basketball leagues far too seriously.
Alyxandra GoodwinDeputy Campaign Director – Policing and Incarceration
Alyx is currently a Deputy Campaign Director at Action Center on Race and the Economy, organizing with BYP100 Chicago, and a co-founder and writer with LEFT OUT Magazine. Her writing and activism are centered around the momentum and challenges of building Black power and self-determination. Her work at ACRE currently focuses on the relationship between the finance industry and policing, racialized capitalism, and how these things exacerbate oppressions.
Arielle KlagsbrunDeputy Campaign Director – Philly Revenue Project
Arielle is a Deputy Campaign Director with ACRE, specifically working with the Philly Revenue Project to help support campaigns to win progressive revenue in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Arielle has nearly a decade of organizing experience around racial justice, climate justice and corporate accountability. She has worked predominately with basebuilding organizations in the Center for Popular Democracy-network, both in St. Louis and Philadelphia. Most recently, Arielle managed the campaign of Councilmember Kendra Brooks, the first Working Families Party councilmember in Philadelphia history, and previously led the Our City Our Schools’ campaign to end the 16-year state control of Philadelphia’s schools. She loves to eat, perfect laminated dough recipes and plan actions to disrupt the lives of billionaires.
Ramah KudaimiCampaign Director – Crescendo Project
Ramah Kudaimi is the Campaign Director of ACRE’s Crescendo project. She was previously the Deputy Director at the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, where for nine years she led and supported BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) campaigns in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. She has served on the board of the Washington Peace Center and has been a member of the National Committee of the War Resisters League. She also organizes with the Syrian Solidarity Collective and has been an activist with other organizations including the Arab American Action Network. She holds an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University. She dreams of a world without war, militarism, and borders, and believes we can create that world through a commitment to collective liberation and transnational solidarity with all those fighting oppressive regimes and systems.
Sofia LopezDeputy Campaign Director – Housing
Sofia is a Deputy Campaign Director at ACRE, where she does research in support housing and racial justice campaigns across the country. Sofia works to expose how the financial and real estate sectors extract maximum profit from communities of color through housing and use their wealth to wield immense political power at the local and national level. Prior to her role at ACRE, Sofia worked at a community development intermediary, where she supported Latinx-serving asset-building non-profits across the country. Sofia has worked in city government, and prior she worked as a community organizer. Sofia is based in San Antonio and holds a Master of City Planning from the MIT and a BA from Swarthmore College.
Aly PanjwaniSenior Research Analyst – Tech
Aly Panjwani is a Senior Research Analyst at ACRE working to dismantle Big Tech’s carceral
control of our lives. He is also a Take Back Tech Fellow with Just Futures Law & Mijente,
where he works against the surveillance machine which facilitates ICE’s policing, detention, and deportation. Additionally, Aly organizes religious and political education programming for Muslim youth. Prior to joining ACRE, he led advocacy to expose and abolish the NYPD’s surveillance infrastructure, coordinating an ongoing campaign to ban facial recognition in NYC. Aly also worked as a paralegal with the ACLU’s National Security Project. He graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in Culture & Politics, conducting research on the role of theatre as a form of grassroots resistance in subverting nationalist state narratives in Palestine and India. Aly is a playwright, musician, and pun expert. He can be found at his favorite halal cart and Korean fried chicken spot in New York City or eating biryani with his family in Texas.
Erika Thi Patterson
Erika Thi PattersonCampaign Director – Climate and Environmental Justice
Erika is a Campaign Director for ACRE’s climate and environmental justice work. Erika grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and credits her early radicalization to punk music for exposing her to the political context that prompted her mom’s family to resettle in the U.S. from Vietnam. Prior to joining ACRE, she served as Jobs to Move America’s Deputy Director, where she led a coalition of industrial unions and community groups to winning the first community benefits agreement and union agreement in the U.S. with an electric bus company. She also ran state and local advocacy campaigns, including one that pushed the largest transit agency in California to swap out its fossil-fuel powered fleet for clean vehicles and to create pathways into good union jobs building our buses of the future for communities of color, people experiencing homelessness, and formerly incarcerated individuals. Erika earned her Master of Urban Planning and Community Economic Development degree from University of California, Los Angeles. In her spare time, she loves wandering around cities and co-leading a women-of-color centered book club.
Jasson PerezSenior Research Analyst – Policing and Incarceration
Jasson Perez is a Senior Research Analyst at ACRE who studies the connections between police violence, mass incarceration, and economic injustice. Through his research, he works to create campaigns to end mass incarceration and police violence and demonstrate that the fight for democratic socialism must embrace the politics of decarceration and abolition. Previously, at the Cook Center on Social Equity, Jasson did research on the racial wealth gap created by housing discrimination against Black homebuyers. Before becoming a researcher Jasson was a lead organizer for SEIU Local 73 and BYP100. When Jasson isn’t selling his labor for sustenance, you can find him subpar rapping with the rap group BBU, organizing with the Afro-Socialists & Socialists of Color Caucus and learning how to write about politics and economics in a manner that won’t bore you.
Renata PumarolChief of Staff
Renata is the Chief of Staff at ACRE. She was previously the Deputy Director at New York Communities for Change where she worked on housing, climate justice, and Wall Street accountability campaigns among many others. As an internationalist and an immigrant from the Caribbean, Renata is deeply committed to improving the lives of working-class women here and abroad, she has experience with both national and international movements. Renata sits on the board of Americans for Financial Reform and on the advisory council of WILL Empower. She holds a B.B.A. from the City University of New York and a Master’s degree in Human Rights from the University of Barcelona.
Jessica QuiasonDeputy Research Director – Tech
Jessica Quiason is a Deputy Research Director at ACRE. She uses research to help build campaigns that interrogate concentrations of power and dismantle systems that oppress people of color and low income people. She is proud to have worked at 1199SEIU and the Alliance for a Greater New York, and alongside labor unions, progressive coalitions, and think tanks as a consultant, supporting organizing campaigns and progressive political reform at the city and state level. She also loves to cook for others as she strongly believes fostering community and solidarity is easiest when food is involved.
Lacey SlayDeputy Development Director
Lacey Slay is the Deputy Development Director at ACRE. She collaborates across pillars and departments to help bring ACRE’s work to life for funders. Lacey has spent the majority of her career in the non-profit sector, with deep experience in digital fundraising, direct appeals, grant writing and streamlining fundraising systems. She has a B.A. (Spelman College) and M.A. (Wayne State University) in English that she still occasionally has to justify pursuing during holiday dinners with extended family. A proud lifelong Detroiter, Lacey shares her life, home and food with her partner and daughter.
Tab SkervinSenior Organizer – Climate and Environmental Justice
Tab Skervin (they/them) is a black, queer, Jamaican, campaigner and organizer currently residing in occupied Lenapehoking and black-liberator lands, so-called Philadelphia. Tab has been organizing in their communities for climate justice, abortion liberation, and housing cooperatives for over a decade, towards BIPoC liberation from white supremacist capitalism, reproductive justice, and a livable future. When they’re not taking on power holders, Tab enjoys studying plant medicine and other practices that heal their ancestral ties through (re)connection to the Land.
Carrie SloanDirector of Special Projects
Carrie is the Director of Special Projects at ACRE and the ReFund America Project. She works on campaigns to restore the balance of economic power from Wall Street to Main Street. Prior to that, she spent more than 10 years working in the labor movement as a strategic researcher for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and a rank and file member of the United Auto Workers (UAW). She holds a master’s degree from the University of California at San Diego.
Bahar TolouCampaign Director – Public Services
Bahar Tolou is the Campaign Director for ACRE’s Public Services work. She has more than 15 years experience working on campaigns to organize low-wage workers at Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on Justice for Janitors and Stand for Security campaigns, as well as working with labor / community coalition on revenue and budget, housing, and education justice campaigns. She has led teams to analyze budgets, tax systems, and municipal finance deals that have led to policy considerations in cities and states across the country. In all her work, she has worked on campaigns that hold the largest corporations and financial institutions accountable for their extractive practices in low-income and communities of color.
Chanelle YangDeputy Campaign Director – Climate and Environmental Justice
Chanelle Yang is a Deputy Campaign Director for ACRE’s climate and environmental justice work. Her experience spans organizing, research, politics, policy, and campaigning. Previously, she was the Illinois Senior Policy Associate at Jobs to Move America, where she worked with coalitions to develop and advocate for policies and legislation addressing the intersections of economic, racial, and environmental justice. Chanelle has also conducted strategic research for Democratic campaigns on the local, state, and national levels. In college, she got her start in the movement as an organizer on labor rights campaigns.
Chanelle has a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy from the University of Southern California. In her free time, she enjoys singing, acting in plays, and pushing for equity and safety for BIPOC creatives in Los Angeles theatre.