October 5, 2022


William Fitzgerald,

Longtime Racial and Economic Justice Organizer, Bree Carlson, Joins ACRE & ACRE Institute as Co-Executive Director

We are pleased to announce that Bree Carlson will be joining the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) as its new co-executive director.

“Bree has a proven 20-year track record as a leader of racial and economic justice campaigns across the country,” said Saqib Bhatti, one of the founders and co-executive directors of ACRE. “I have known and worked with Bree for years, and her dedication to building organizations and campaigns that center race as a central tenet, not just an afterthought, will be right at home in ACRE.”

Bree was raised in Reno, Nevada, by a single mother who worked as a cocktail waitress while serving on the board of Planned Parenthood. Bree has childhood memories of being on the picket line with her mother; some of her earliest were of fighting for abortion rights in a 1990 statewide referendum, which passed and enshrined abortion rights in Nevada.

Bree moved from activism to organizing in college when she became a member (and later, staff) of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN). Bree cut her teeth as an organizer at PLAN, working on a variety of local campaigns, including a campaign to restore voting rights and another to increase casino taxes in a state notoriously deferential to gaming interests.

Bree continued working as an organizer and trainer, first with the Peace Development Fund in Massachusetts and then with the California Nurses Association. Her time in the nurses union gave Bree a taste for “how to win in concrete terms,” and she still urges all community organizers to spend time working with unions to learn how to accomplish tangible victories. “I think that all organizers should do some time in labor.”

Bree spent a decade and a half with Dismantling Racism Works leading anti-racism trainings across the country. There, Bree built off of the work of her long-time mentor, Kenneth Jones, and his intellectual partner, Tema Okun, to lead a process to support organizations in understanding and centering race in the fight for economic justice. Bree then served as senior trainer at the Center for Third World Organizing in Oakland, CA.

Bree spent the last 10 years at People’s Action, first as the director of the structural racism program and then as its Deputy Director and Director of Organizing. Under Bree’s leadership, People’s Action undertook the creation of The Long-Term Agenda for a New Economy, which inspired a slew of other organizations to develop years-long strategies for winning structural change rather than one-off campaigns. “The Long-Term Agenda moved us from checkers to chess as an organization.”

At ACRE, Bree will continue that dedication to comprehensive, structural victories and help lead an organization at the forefront of battles to secure racial and economic justice for our communities.

“I’m excited and humbled to be joining ACRE, an organization I have seen grow into a formidable force for real campaigning,” said Bree. “At ACRE, I’m at home with people who know that racial and economic justice are interdependent in the United States. Justice for people and communities is only possible if we fight for and win racial equity and fundamental restructuring of our economy. At ACRE, I know I’m singing with a choir that already shares this analysis and has the space to experiment and take risks to win.”

Bree will serve alongside Saqib Bhatti, one of ACRE’s original co-executive directors. Maurice BP Weeks, ACRE’s other founding co-executive director, announced earlier this month that he was leaving ACRE after five years with the organization.


The Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE) is a 501(c)(4) organization formed in 2017 that drives political and policy campaigns that fight for structural change. We directly take on the financial institutions and anti-democratic actors that are responsible for pillaging communities of color and poor families, subverting voting rights, and destroying our environment. 

We support racial, economic, and environmental justice organizations with strategic planning and advocacy coordination on political campaigns. We also lead campaigns to spotlight the political influence that corporate and financial profiteers wield as they erode the basic racial and economic rights of communities of color.