We Bring Our Full Selves to Our Work
Abby is a Brooklyn-based sociologist and writer who specializes in creating immensely readable research so that it will have the greatest impact. As a journalist, her articles and radio documentaries go a little deeper than straight reporting. She delves into the alternative economy, the U.S. Right, Labor and economic justice, women’s and immigrant issues. An Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies Program on Inequality & the Common Good, she is former editorial director of the progressive think tank Political Research Associates, where she also served as interim research director, and is former coeditor of the economic justice magazine Dollars and Sense, where she currently serves on the board. The Ford Foundation recognized her cross-community organizing work among New York’s immigrant and ethnic press with its Leadership for a Changing World Award. As a longtime nonprofit professional, she is seasoned in research tied to organizing campaigns and evaluation. She holds degrees from the University of Chicago and the New School for Social Research.
Andrew is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University, studying coal and development in the Navajo Nation. He cofounded the Dine Association for Self-Determination, a research clearinghouse for critical analyses of tribal politics. Previously he worked at the Dine Policy Institute, a research organization based at the tribal community college, and served on the tribe’s commission on government reform for two years. He has also written for the Navajo Times.
Chris is Director of UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. He studies labor markets, inequality, urban development, and public policies directed toward better jobs. He is particularly interested in understanding how combinations of institutions and markets generate unequal labor outcomes, and in how public policy and collective action can successfully be directed toward improving and equalizing such outcomes. Within this framework, Chris has examined part-time and contingent work, gender and racial disparities, job mobility, and other issues. In addition to conducting scholarly research, he served for 20 years (1986-2006) as editor of Dollars and Sense, a popular economics magazine, and frequently conducts research for advocacy groups, community organizations, and labor unions. He served on the Program Committee and later the Board of Directors of Grassroots International from 1991-2003, ending that time as the Chair of the Board. Before becoming an academic, he spent eight years doing community and labor organizing.
David is an anthropologist, political activist and author. He is currently a professor at the London School of Economics and was formerly an associate professor of anthropology at Yale University. David also played a role in the Global Justice Movement and was one of the earlier organizers of Occupy Wall Street. He is the author of numerous books including The Democracy Project (2013) and Debt: The First 5,000 Years (2011).
Emily is Co-Director of the Wellspring Cooperative Corporation, which is seeking to create an engine for new, community-based job creation in Springfield, Massachusetts. Wellspring’s goal is to use anchor institution purchases to create a network of worker-owned businesses located in the inner city that will provide job training and entry-level jobs to unemployed and underemployed residents through worker-owned cooperatives. She also serves as Coordinator of the United States Solidarity Economy Network. An economist by training, Emily served as the Director of the Center for Popular Economics from 2004 to 2013. Prior to that, Emily taught economics at Smith College, worked as the National Economic Justice Representative for the American Friends Service Committee and, in Northern Ireland, founded a popular economics program with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
Joann Lo is the Co-Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a national coalition of unions, workers center, and advocacy organizations joined together to improve wages and working conditions and to work towards a more sustainable food system. The daughter of immigrants from Taiwan, she graduated from Yale University with a degree in Environmental Biology and has organized with both unions and a worker center. In 2000 Joann was one of two staff who started the Garment Worker Center, and she organized with garment workers in Los Angeles who led a successful campaign against retailer Forever 21, memorialized in the Emmy-winning documentary “Made in L.A.” In 2005 Joann joined Enlace, an alliance of worker centers and unions and a year later became Co-Director. Joann is the Vice Chair of the Leadership Board of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Domestic Fair Trade Association, the City of Los Angeles’ Sweatfree Advisory Committee and the Enlace Institute Advisory Board.
Joe is the Founding President and Executive Director of the Labor Network for Sustainability and Voices for a Sustainable Future. He is the former Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Department and former Director of the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Campaigns. Joe spent over 30 years doing organizing, bargaining, and strategic campaign work in the labor movement. He also served as the Secretary to the North American Coordinating Committee of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, and Mine Workers (ICEM) unions, and the United Nations Commission on Global Warming from its inception in 1988 through the Kyoto Accords in 1997 until 2003. He is a founding Board Member of CERES (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economics) and served on CERES’ board for 23 years. He is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and served as a Senior Strategic Advisor to the Blue Green Alliance for five years. He is a current Board Bember of US Climate Action Network (USCAN). In the early 1970s, he worked in an aluminum mill in Mechanicsburg, PA as a member of the Steelworkers, and then on heavy and highway construction projects in central Pennsylvania as a member of the Laborers. He also serves on the Future of Music Coalition. Joe is a musician and a member of the American Federation of Musicians.
Michael founded MAPA Group more than 20 years ago in 1994, outlining a recognized triangular business development approach to the “Iberoamerican Marketplace” involving best practice, cross-border commercial opportunities between the Iberian Peninsula (mostly Spain), Latin America, and the United States. Since 2000, Michael has served as the North American delegate for Mondragon, the world’s largest industrial worker cooperative with USA 2013 sales at the $250 million level. In January 2014, Michael helped to launch the nonprofit 1worker1vote.org, dedicated to solving America’s unhealthy and unequal opportunity, mobility, and wealth divides through broad-based, equal share worker ownership. Michael participates on the Apollo Alliance Advisory board as well as the Blue Green Alliance Corporate Advisory Council, Penn State University’s Sustainability Institute board and GridStar Advisory Board, the American Sustainability Business Council board (ASBC with over 350,000 business members operates from the MAPA DC office), and is a policy advisor to the Heartland Capital Strategies Responsible Investing nonprofit.
Parag Rajendra Khandhar, Esq.
Asian American Solidarity Economies
Parag is a principal in the Maryland/D.C. solidarity economies law firm Gilmore Khandhar, LLC and a co-founder of Baltimore Activating Solidarity Economies (BASE). He recently finished a clinical teaching fellowship in the Community Development Clinic of the University of Baltimore School of Law where he worked with grassroots groups, community-based enterprises, and cooperatives. He has worked over the past 20 years in NYC, DC, and Baltimore with Asian/immigrant communities in direct and emergency relief services after September 11th, data advocacy, technical assistance, and as a community lawyer focused on tenants’ rights and language access. He is a facilitator-participant in the 2016 Law and Social Change Jam. He is also co-facilitator of a new Asian American Solidarity Economies project that will launch at CommonBound 2016 to map and support a peer network of Asian American groups exploring and building solidarity economic projects across North America. He is on the board of the Asian American Literary Review.
Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou
Rev. Sekou is an author, documentary filmmaker, public intellectual, organizer, pastor and theologian. A graduate of St. Louis Soldan High School, Rev. Sekou has deep ties to the region. He began his ministry at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, where Michael Brown’s funeral was held. He has been on the ground in Ferguson for months on behalf of the Fellowship of Reconciliation — the country’s oldest interfaith peace organization. Rev. Sekou was a 2014 Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Martin Luther King Education and Research Institute at the time of Michael Brown Jr’s killing. He published a collection of writings, Gods, Gays, and Guns: Essays on Religion and the Future of Democracy (Campbell & Cannon Press, 2012). Based on his in-depth reporting on the London Riots in 2012, Rev. Sekou has a forthcoming book entitled Riot Music: British Hip Hop, Race, and the Politics of Meaning (Hamilton Books, 2015).
Saba brings over a decade of experience in labor and low wage industry research such as taxi, restaurant, nail salon, domestic work, etc. The research has informed campaigns and policy victories such as the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights and the Wage Theft Ordinance in San Francisco. Community engagement and research skill-building are at the core of her work and she has extensive experience in participatory research, curriculum development and popular education. Saba also co-produces the the radio show “Re:Work”, a storytelling show about work and “Flip the Script” on KPFK. She strongly believes that research and media are powerful tools for community storytelling. She received an MA in Anthropology from Columbia University.
Yvonne Yen Liu
Yvonne is based in Los Angeles, California, where the sun smiles on her every day. Although a native of NYC, she and the city have broken up and went their separate ways. She is a practitioner of research justice with over 15 years of being a nerd for racial and social justice organizations. She has a BA in cultural anthropology from Columbia University and a MA degree in sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center, where she pursued a PhD. Yvonne serves on the board of the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network.