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Michael Young

“Michael coordinates the Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative (TFOC), a network of 28 grassroots organizations in 24 states that are working to increase the fairness and adequacy of the state and federal tax systems.  Prior to joining UFE, he organized for safe, secure and affordable mortgage products for low-to-moderate income residents in Massachusetts, and ensuring banks were fulfilling their Community Reinvestment responsibilities.  Michael is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston with a B.A. in Urban Studies.  He lives in Roslindale with his wife Jennifer and enjoys gardening and cooking.”

Mazher Ali

“Maz serves a diverse role for United for a Fair Economy. Though varied, he finds that his position suits his personality well. He aspires to obtain a lifetime of broad experiential education that far transcends that of the classroom.  Maz is on UFE’s Communications Team with a primary role in media relations. He is a frequent writer and blogger for UFE, and was a co-author of UFE’s 2011 State of the Dream report.  Prior to his arrival in Boston in 2007, Maz was a Senior Field Guide and Trainer for a therapeutic wilderness program in the deep piney woods of East Texas, and clerked for the tax and real estate teams for one of the largest full-service law firms in Dallas. What he’s learned from his hodge-podge of past experiences is that he wants to serve a greater good, opting for collectivism, rather than individualism, as with the Zapatista aphorism, “Everything for everyone, nothing for ourselves.”  Maz graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.A. in Psychology. He is first generation American as a proud second child to his accomplished parents, Maria Ali of the Philippines and Syed Ali of Pakistan. If he’s not in UFE’s Communications Lab, he’s probably strumming a guitar somewhere.”

Reginald Fuller

“Reggie is a life-long resident of Boston and raises three daughters and two sons in the Dorchester area.  He came to City Life/Vida Urbana as a tenant living in a foreclosed building in the Fields Corners section of Dorchester in 2009. He has been involved in community building through religious and secular organizations beginning in the late 80’s in the area of substance abuse and community health workshops in Dorchester and Roxbury, MA. Reggie received training though the Dorchester Substance Abuse Prevention Training Program and through Suffolk University School of Social Work. He volunteered with CL/VU for over a year, then became a member of CL/VU’s Leadership Team, and then joined the staff in 2011.”

Cathy Silber

“Just laid off (lack of funds) as executive director of Granite State Priorities, Cathy Silber is a looking for her next gig to win hearts and minds. She used to be a professor, scholar and translator of Chinese language, literature and culture, and is preoccupied with issues of culture and ideology, texts and audience––that is, the question of how hearts and minds are won. (She nearly forgets it was love of the lyrical that started it all.) In 2004, she began (applying this knowledge in) progressive advocacy and organizing. Lately she’s been trying to figure out how to best apply the confirmation from cognitive science that rationality is the tail of the emotional dog. Currently reading The Righteous Mind. A midwesterner at heart, she has moved at least 40 times. The photo demonstrates a recent foray into millinery.”

Brett West

“Hi! I’m an anti-capitalist activist with an eclectic background in organizing and service work. I graduated from college in 2010 with a degree in Ethnic Studies and certificate in the Study and Practice of Leadership. I’ve started an urban farm, worked with at-risk youth, run a canvassing office, and done political mobilization work with Occupy Boston. Right now I’m looking at starting a worker-owned cooperative and reading up on new economic models on a regional level. Looking forward to the SCA!”

Monica Raymond

“Monica Raymond is a writer and artist whose work focuses on political/social transformation.  Her play, The Owl Girl, about two families in the Middle East who both have keys to the same house, has won several national awards, a Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, and recognition by the Mass Cultural Council. Her play A TO Z, which follows two women, one black and one white, through forty years of US history and all the letters of the alphabet, won the 2011 Ruby Lloyd Apsey Award for plays about race/ethnicity. She’s taught writing, literature, multi-disciplinary arts,  public speaking,  US politics,  at various  colleges and universities including Harvard, the Boston Museum School, Emerson, and Roxbury Community College.  She lives just outside Cambridge, where she fixes up an old house, protests corporate development, and tries to lead a carbon neutral life.”

Kenton Rhoades

“I grew up in Kansas and received a BFA from the University of Kansas, was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War shortly after graduating and then migrated to Boston to work as a graphic designer.  I studied architecture for 2 years at the Boston Architectural College, left graphic design, and joined a Boston museum design firm to eventually become a project designer.  The last museum project I worked on was in 2000 and I then transitioned to furniture design and construction.   I had a one-man shop in an old 19th century building where other artists also worked. I produced one-of-a-kind pieces until 2011 when the economy forced me to close down my shop.  This drastic and abrupt change was the major reason I have become more active in progressive causes.  I finally realized that voting in every election was not going to be enough to make the difference I knew was needed to make for a better and more civilized society.  I hope to gain some of the skills needed at this workshop to make my efforts more effective.”

Jeanette Huezo

“Jeannette coordinates UFE’s popular economics education work and facilitates many workshops, particularly for Latino groups. Originally from El Salvador, Jeannette came to the US in 1989. She has spent her life working for justice and social change. By developing confidence and leadership skills in others, she has increased the  number of activists in the struggle for social change, and has empowered  women, immigrants and others facing injustice to participate in the  decision-making process around issues that affect their lives.”

Gillian Mason

“Gillian is the coordinator of development and training for Massachusetts Jobs with Justice.  Before becoming a professional leftist, Gillian was an adjunct professor of English and American Studies at Boston University, the University of Massachusetts in Boston, and Suffolk University for 10 years.  She entered the movement through health care activism, and in addition to her work at Jobs with Justice, she has served as the Boston coordinator for MoveOn.org and worked at the New England regional office of the Institute for Policy Studies.  Gillian has a B.A. in English literature from New York University and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University.”

Susan Hecht

“I grew up on a farm in Iowa in the 70s when things were good and the 80s when things were bad for farmers. After attending college in Iowa, I moved to southern California for graduate school, and finished my Ph.D. in history in 2000. Since then I’ve had various jobs, including adjunct history teacher, paralegal, ESOL teacher (in Portugal), and most recently Development and Communications coordinator at the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) in Boston, which puts on training programs for women in labor unions & community groups. I’ve been concentrating on workers’ rights issues for the past couple of years and want to continue to stretch myself to find ways to contribute to economic justice causes into the future.”

Domingo Franco

“My name is Domingo A. Franco.  I was born in the Dominican Republic in 1955.  I moved to Boston in June 1995.  I have four daughters and a son of whom I am grateful to God. I am an unemployed carpenter, and because of losing my home for nonpayment of the mortgage as a result of the economic crisis that began in 2008 in our nation, I am convinced that the economic system that governs us is obsolete and needs to change to allow a more just society. That is why I decided to join the Leadership Committee of City Life / Vida Urbana about three years ago, to fight against evictions and displacement that support the financial corporations against a large segment of the American population.”

Phineas Baxandall

“Phineas is a recovering academic who has been combining research and activism on economic issues for most of his life. In college he was an econ major who published research for the Union of Radical Political Economy (URPE) and interned at the lefty economics magazine, Dollars & Sense. After graduation and a year of odd jobs in San Francisco, he taught at the University of Economic Sciences for an in Budapest in 1990. He then moved to the Boston area for his doctorate in political science at MIT, where he wrote his thesis (and eventually an academic book) on the politics of unemployment. During these years, he was involved with local organizing for The New Party (a precursor to the Working Families Party) and occasional street theater about economic inequality. He published a bunch of obscure academic articles and book chapters about unemployment, privatization, the economics of digital commodities, and why Americans work more hours than in other wealthy nations. During this time, he spent eight years teaching at Harvard’s interdisciplinary Social Studies major, where he taught a combination of classical political economy, gave big lectures about Marx, and designed new courses that were basically reading groups about whatever he was currently interested in. During these years, he won a half dozen teaching awards and published regularly on related topics in Dollars & Sense magazine, where he was part of the editorial collective. Leaving academia the first time, he took a job at the research department of the Boston Federal Reserve (the Deathstar building next to Occupy Boston). Here he wrote for and helped to edit Regional Review, a glossy feature magazine for non-economists about general issues that he’d vainly hoped to make more relevant and socially engaged. After a year, he fled to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where he worked at a couple of think tanks focused on state and local government. The most interesting projects there were: a major study on the effects of casino gambling, taking part in a metro mayors’ task force on state aid to localities, and helping mayors adopt programs for tracking and improving city services. In 2006, he left to develop a tax and budget program for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a network of 27 state organization and a federal lobby office. At U.S.PIRG, he works to close corporate tax loopholes, increase transparency and democratic accountability for business subsidies, stop bad privatization schemes, and increase funding for public transportation. He works with the media, strategizes on state and federal campaigns, trains staff, and has written a heap of research reports.   Sometimes he puts on a suit for TV interviews, give official testimony at state legislatures or Congress, or to lobby lawmakers. A long-time resident of Cambridge, he lives with his partner, two kids and a dog.”

Chris Messinger

“Hi, I’m Chris Messinger, Director at Boston Mobilization.  After 35 years of international and national grassroots organizing on peace, justice and anti-militarism work, we currently engage teens doing social justice education and community organizing for systemic change. We’re a founding member of the YMORE Coalition (Youth of Massachusetts Organizing for a Reformed Economy) an urban/suburban group which acts regionally to shift policies at the state and local level. The teens in our Sub/Urban Justice Program are just finishing up their summer organizer training, and have also published an anti-racism book (www.speakupstories.org) that has sold more than 1,000 copies in the past year. We’re excited to inject a little creativity into our progressive revenue campaign this year!”

Katherine Anderson

“Katherine Anderson is a dance artist living outside of Boston, MA. After applying to Oberlin College with a visual art portfolio, Katherine discovered contemporary dance and went on to study modern/contemporary dance technique, improvisation and composition at Oberlin with Holly Handman-Lopez, Nusha Martynuk, Ann Cooper Albright, Carter McAdams and Ashley Thorndike. Katherine’s choreography has been presented in Hall Auditorium, Oberlin College, at Mills Gallery at the Boston Center of the Arts, at Green Street Studios in Cambridge MA and in the Third Life Studio Choreographer’s Series curated by Kelley Donovan. She received the Green Street Emerging Artist’s Award in February, 2012 and a project specific grant through the Foundation of Contemporary Arts in December, 2011. Katherine is currently working on a series of performances as protest in conjunction with Roostrikers, a grassroots project of United Republic.”

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