Resilient New York

May 20, 2017
11:00 AM Registration
11:30 AM - 5:30 PM Program
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM Reception
Tishman Auditorium 63 5th Ave, New York (Map)

Join North Star Fund and our partners on May 20 for Resilient New York, a forum to advance grassroots organizing as a key strategy to protect the dignity and rights of all New Yorkers. The event is a call to community members, donors, grantmakers, and organizers to unite around a proactive shared vision to support the grassroots for the next four years and beyond.

As the Trump administration escalates multi-front attacks on our communities, New York’s grassroots organizers bring decades of experience fighting against inequity and oppression. In this moment when so many communities are being targeted, we must sustain our commitment to longstanding campaigns and the Movement for Black Lives, while embracing new and emerging work.

Participants will leave with an understanding of the role that all New Yorkers can play to resource grassroots organizing movements and build resilient communities. This interactive and solution-focused event is free, and Eventbrite registration is required.

Goals of the Resilient New York forum:

  • HIGHLIGHT the vision and analysis of grassroots leaders and the critical role that community organizing plays to protect the dignity and rights of those impacted by the policies of the Trump administration.
  • CREATE cross-sector spaces for organizers and allies to share strategies to respond to crises now and to grow and sustain grassroots power over time.
  • BUILD support for deep, long-term investment in local community organizing in New York.
  • ADVANCE a grassroots-led agenda for progressive social change and explore how local organizing and funder-grantee partnerships can serve as a model for grassroots work around the country.

If you have questions about Resilient New York or would like to volunteer, please contact Helen Stillman (


Tishman Auditorium is a non-smoking and wheelchair accessible venue. We are working to make Resilient New York as accessible as possible. Additional accessibility resources are included in the registration form.

Help us create a scent-free environment at the Forum. There are members of our community attending the forum living with chronic illness and chemical sensitivities that are triggered by fragrances and scents. To increase accessibility, we are asking participants to work towards not wearing products with fragrances or scents on your clothes, hair, or skin from colognes, perfumes, scented laundry detergent, hair and body products. You can prepare in advance by not using products with fragrance, or by using fragrance-free, non-toxic products.  For more information on supporting community with chronic illness and chemical sensitivities please read:


11:00 – 11:30 am

Opening Plenary
The State of New York: Lessons from Innovative Organizing for National Resistance

11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Tishman Auditorium

Opal Tometi, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, #BlackLivesMatter

Jennifer Ching, North Star Fund

Bianey Garcia, Make the Road New York
Fahd Ahmed, DRUM South Asian Organizing Center
Maggie Williams, Advocacy Institute
Monifa Bandele, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Communities United for Police Reform, Brooklyn Movement Center

Lunch and Networking

1:00 – 1:30 pm


1:30 – 3:30 pm

Beyond Sanctuary Towards a More Inclusive Vision
Tishman Auditorium

Whether taking an intersectional approach to organizing or building mutual solidarity between immigrant rights and Black-led organizing, grassroots movements are expanding the concept of "sanctuary" to create a more inclusive vision of what and whom that represents.

Jennifer Arieta, North Star Fund

Amaha Kassa, African Communities Together
Dante Barry, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice
Guadalupe Ambrosio, New York State Youth Leadership Council 
Nikeeta Slade, Workers Center Central New York


Redefining Justice: Community-Led Initiatives
Downstairs Lecture Hall

Historically underserved, over-policed, targeted, or facing the threat of state violence, communities across New York are creating alternative models for justice because they cannot depend on the state to keep them safe. As they re-envision what community safety looks like in schools, local economies, and within their neighborhoods, some of these local initiatives are inspiring national change.

Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele, Organizer

Gonzalo Mercado, La Colemna and NDLON
Jamel Burgess, Urban Youth Collaborative and Future of Tomorrow
Kazi Fouzia, DRUM South Asian Organizing Center
Martha Maffei, SEPA Mujer


Building a Just Economy and Equitable New York
Event Cafe

Gentrification, policing, immigration, and homelessness are interconnected issues that expose the impact of a discriminatory and unjust economy. Grassroots groups and their allies are developing creative grassroots approaches to organizing and working together across movements towards a new vision of a just and equitable New York.

Afua Atta-Mensah, Community Voices Heard

Deyanira Del Rio, New Economy Project
Ethan Earle, The Working World
Imani Henry, Equality for Flatbush
Mo George, Picture the Homeless


Transforming the Political and Legislative Landscape
Starr Hall

The political landscape at the State and local levels have a significant impact on the daily lives of millions of New Yorkers. Grassroots movements have tremendous potential to impact outcomes through civic engagement, grassroots leadership, and issue-driven campaigns to build—and win—lasting regional and statewide power.

Maggie Williams, The Advocacy Institute

Anthonine Pierre, Brooklyn Movement Center
Brad Lander, New York City Council
Juan Antigua, Working Families Party
Walter Barrientos, Make the Road New York

Closing Plenary
Resourcing the Resistance, Building Power Over Time

3:45 – 5:30 pm
Tishman Auditorium

Kevin Ryan, New York Foundation


Camille Emeagwali, New York Women’s Foundation
Cathy Dang, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Iimay Ho, Resource Generation
Mo George, Picture the Homeless
Tynesha McHarris, NoVo Foundation


5:30 – 6:30 pm

Stay tuned for additional information about our speakers as the Forum gets closer.

OPAL TOMETI, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, #BlackLivesMatter

Opal Tometi is a Black feminist writer, commulumnications strategist, and cultural organizer. She is a co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, the historic political project and leader-full network that was launched in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin in order to explicitly combat implicit bias and anti-black racism and to protect and affirm the beauty and dignity of all Black lives. Ms.Tometi is the executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), a national organization that educates and advocates to further immigrant rights and racial justice together with African-American, Afro-Latino, African and Caribbean immigrant communities.


Jennifer Ching is the executive director of North Star Fund. Ms. Ching has devoted her career to supporting social justice movements. Prior to North Star Fund, she led Queens Legal Services, a community-based legal advocacy program that fights for racial and economic justice for low-income New Yorkers. Prior to joining QLS, she was the director of New York Appleseed, a public interest center connecting grassroots groups with policy advocates. Ms. Ching was a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest Law and Constitutional Litigation, where she supported the rights of Muslim communities post-9/11 and a Skadden Fellow at the ACLU of New Jersey, where she founded an immigrant workers' rights project.

BIANEY GARCIA, Make the Road New York

Bianey Garcia-D la O is a warrior combating the hate violence against trans Latinas in Queens. At 19, she began attending transgender support groups and worked with community leaders to educate them on STD prevention. After an unfair and discriminatory experience from the police with community members, Bianey joined Make the Road NY to combat discrimination, build leadership and educate LGBT community members about their rights. She is also the organizer of the Trans-Latina March, the largest annual march in Jackson Heights. Ms. Garcia-D la O uses her story as fuel to combat discrimination and support community members as one of the LGBT organizers at Make the Road NY.

FAHD AHMED, DRUM - South Asian Organizing Center 

Fahd Ahmed is the executive director of DRUM - South Asian Organizing Center. He has been a grassroots organizer on the issues of racial profiling, immigrant justice, police accountability, and national security over the last 13 years. Mr. Ahmed has been involved with DRUM in various capacities since 2000 when he had family members facing deportation and entrapment as part of the War on Drugs. Within DRUM, he co-led the work with Muslim, Arab, and South Asian immigrant detainees before, and immediately after 9/11, by coordinating the detainee visitation program. Mr. Ahmed ran the End Racial Profiling Campaign and brought together the coalitions working on Muslim surveillance, and “stop and frisk,” to work together to pass the landmark Community Safety Act.

MAGGIE WILLIAMS, Advocacy Institute

Maggie Williams is a co-founder of the Advocacy Institute, which equips grassroots activists and community organizers with critical skills and tools to effect legislative change. Through powerful trainings, visual tools, and a growing strategic network, the Advocacy Institute builds the power of social justice organizations and fuels legislative wins. For nearly two decades, Ms. Williams has worked to support progressive policy issues as a lawyer, legislative counsel, and advocate. She has extensive experience with community organizing and working to ensure that all communities have their voices heard in the political and legislative process.

MONIFA AKINWOLE-BANDELE, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Communities United for Police Reform, Brooklyn Movement Center

Monifa Bandele has more than a decade of experience in policy analysis, communications, civic engagement organizing, and project management. As the vice president of, she leads the Healthy Kids campaign working to build better environments for children and families through increasing food justice and dismantling the school to prison pipeline. During her tenure at the Brennan Center as national field director for the Right to Vote Campaign, the coalition successfully changed laws in five states expanding the franchise to more that 250,000 formerly incarcerated people. Finally, Ms. Bandele sits on the steering committee for Communities United for Police Reform and is an activist with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. 

KEVIN RYAN, New York Foundation

Kevin Ryan is the program director at New York Foundation where he manages a portfolio of active grants for start up organizations that focus on community organizing and advocacy and also oversees the Foundation’s Capacity Building Program that includes workshops, small grants, and individual technical assistance requests. Prior to his work at the New York Foundation, Kevin was the Executive Director of Community Training and Resource Center, a housing preservation organization.


The Peace Poets are a collective of five artists that celebrate, examine and advocate for life through music and poetry. They’ve invigorated the social movements of our time with chants, songs, and poems used throughout the nation. They hail from The Bronx and have performed across the world in over 40 countries.

CAMILLE EMEAGWALI, New York Women’s Foundation

Camille Abrahams Emeagwali is a director of programs at The New York Women's Foundation (NYWF) where she oversees all capacity building strategy and initiatives, as well as a portfolio of grantees, focused on the economic security of women and girls in New York City. Prior to NYWF, Camille was the director of capacity building at Harm Reduction Coalition, where she oversaw the National Training Institute, the HIV Prevention Capacity Building Initiative, and the CBA for Syringe Access Community Mobilization Program. Since 2000, Camille has provided technical assistance, consultation, and skills-building trainings to community-based organizations in the areas of organizational development and program sustainability.

CATHY DANG, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities

Cathy Dang is the executive director of CAAAV and has organized in labor and community-led planning for over a decade with Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, the Retail Action Project and other grassroots organizations including the fight to keep Wal-Mart out of Los Angeles' Chinatown. At CAAAV, she has helped lead campaigns winning victories securing dozens of Chinatown tenants' homes and started the first project to organize NYCHA's Asian immigrant tenants. More recently, she has led CAAAV in fighting for accountability of former NYPD Officer Peter Liang in the killing of Akai Gurley, a Black father killed in an NYPD vertical patrol in NYCHA's Pink Houses.

IIMAY HO, Resource Generation

Iimay Ho is the executive director of Resource Generation, a membership-based organization which organizes young people with wealth for the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power. Prior to Resource Generation, she was the director of operations and finance at The Management Center. Born and raised in North Carolina, Ms. Ho was politicized through interning with Southerners on New Ground (SONG), which builds, sustains, and connects a Southern regional base of LGBTQ people in order to transform the region.

MO GEORGE, Picture the Homeless

Monique “Mo” George is the executive director of Picture the Homeless where she sees organizing with homeless and formerly homeless folks as an extension of her work to change the world and her deep belief that housing is a human right. Prior to Picture the Homeless, Ms. George was the director of organizing for Community Voices Heard’s New York Chapter. As a proud product of public housing, she feels that her past work at CVH has helped to preserve public housing, and the campaign has won over $700 million towards that preservation. Ms. George’s organizing work has led her from meetings at the White House, to becoming a fellow with the U.S. Department of State through their work with the Greater Lakes Consortium out of Toledo, Ohio.


Tynesha McHarris is a fellow at the NoVo Foundation’s Advancing Adolescent Girls’ Rights Initiative. Tynesha engages her work fueled by the desire to see the ideals of truth and justice actualized in the lives and conditions of every young person that she encounters. She brings over a decade of experience advocating for racial and gender justice in movements and organizations across the country. Tynesha has worked extensively with foundations, community organizations, and young people that seek to challenge the systems and institutions that perpetuate inequity. Before joining NoVo, Tynesha served as director of programs at the Brooklyn Community Foundation where she led community engagement efforts and helped the foundation design and implement its new core program strategy.


Jennifer Arieta is a program officer at North Star Fund. She brings over seven years of experience organizing low-income immigrant communities across New York City. Ms. Arieta began her career in grassroots activism as a youth volunteer of Centro Hispano Cuzcatlan, a community-based organization advancing affordable housing and immigrant rights in Jamaica, Queens. Later, as a staff member of Centro, she developed a passion for building the sustainability of grassroots organizations. She also served as the development manager and organizer at VAMOS Unidos, an organization dedicated to the empowerment of Latina immigrant street vendors. Prior to joining North Star Fund, Jennifer was a Colin Powell Fellow at the City College of New York where she conducted policy research on the detention of immigrants.

AMAHA KASSA, African Communities Together

Amaha Kassa is the founder and executive director of African Communities Together (ACT). Mr. Kassa is an Ethiopian immigrant with 22 years of professional experience as a labor and community organizer, nonprofit director, and social entrepreneur. In 2012, he launched ACT with the support of a Black Male Achievement Fellowship from Echoing Green and Open Society Foundations. Since then, ACT has grown into a membership organization with chapters in New York and D.C., run several successful policy campaigns, and emerged as a key voice on African immigrant issues. Prior to ACT, Mr. Kassa directed East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, a workers’ rights nonprofit in Oakland, California, growing it from a startup to one of the leading organizations in its field.

DANTE BARRY, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice

Dante Barry is a queer Black writer, grassroots organizer, and executive director of Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, a human rights membership organization working to end anti-black racism and systemic violence. Prior to Million Hoodies, Mr. Barry organized a network of justice-based organizations to fight for communications rights and access for all through the Center for Media Justice. Prior to that, Barry spent years at the Roosevelt Institute running operations and directing a three-city summer fellowship program for young organizers. Mr. Barry also spent time in Washington, D.C. at the School Based Health Alliance advocating for health and education policy for low-income access to school based health centers.

GUADALUPE AMBROSIO, New York State Youth Leadership Council

Guadalupe Ambrosio is the co-director of the New York State Youth Leadership Council, the first and only undocumented youth-led organization in New York State. NYSYLC empowers undocumented youth to create the change they want and deserve. Ms. Ambrosio joined the organization as a volunteer when she was pushed to drop out of high school by a counselor because of her immigration status. Since then, she has been an educational justice advocate. In her free time, she creates, with her younger sister, body-positive content that centers fat women and girls to increase the visibility of many of the leaders advancing the movement work that often erases them. Disrupting European beauty standards, patriarchy, and xenophobia are among her goals.

NIKEETA SLADE, The Workers' Center of Central New York

Nikeeta Slade is an organizer at The Worker’s Center of Central New York. She has been an activist and organizer in environmental justice, women’s rights, and anti-racist struggles for almost a decade. Though she has lived in a few different states, she considers Texas to be her home because it’s where she first joined the fight for social justice. When not fighting the good fight, she likes to watch Frasier and Golden Girls, read fiction, and spend time with loved ones.


Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele is a community organizer and educator from Central Brooklyn and the Senior Community Organizer in the Legal Defense Fund Criminal Justice Practice. He helped establish a campaign to counter police abuse and misconduct as an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. He also co-founded the world-renowned Black August Hip Hop Project which raises awareness and support for political prisoners in the United States. He currently serves on the boards of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute and the Center for Constitutional Rights and is an adjunct lecturer teaching community organizing at Lehman College/CUNY.

JAMEL BURGESS, Futures of Tomorrow

Jamel Burgess is a community organizer and advocate in East New York, Brooklyn. Mr. Burgess directs Future of Tomorrow, a youth advocacy group in his former high school in Brooklyn, addressing school reform, education policy, and social justice issues. He received an associate degree from Queensborough Community College and is currently self-designing a major at The New School on art and activism.

KAZI FOUZIA, DRUM - South Asian Organizing Center

In her native Bangladesh, Kazi Fouzia was a community organizer involved with a street vendors union, community health clinics, and free education for slum children. After immigrating to the U.S. in 2008, Ms. Fouzia has been involved with DRUM as a member, leader, community organizer, and now as the director of organizing. In 2010, she trained with the Center for Third World Organizing and the School of Unity and Liberation. In 2013, she received the Immigrant Heritage Award from the office of Councilmember Daniel Dromm. She regularly writes in the Bangla media about DRUM’s work and regarding workers, immigrant rights, and racial profiling, as part of her commitment to fighting for the rights of low-income South Asians

MARTHA MAFFEI, Services for the Advancement of Women

With more than 20 years of experience in community development, nonprofit management, industry and health sector, Martha Maffei is deeply committed to working in and with women issues, communities of color and immigrant communities. Ms. Maffei is the executive director of Services for the Advancement of Women (SEPA Mujer). SEPA Mujer empowers Latina immigrant women in Long Island to overcome fear and understand the reality of discrimination in order become their own advocates. SEPA Mujer specializes in nurturing and improving the physical and emotional security, self-esteem, legal status, and economic independence of women through education, friendship, capacity-building workshops, advocacy, community organizing, and legal representation.

line Previous next