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Sydney Avitia-Jacques

Political Education Director

Syd is a multiracial Chicanx organizer who grew up in Los Angeles straddling working class & middle class spaces. In 2014, they found themselves in Maine to study Sociology at Bowdoin College, where they organized with housekeepers to win a living wage. As a Portland tenant, Syd has organized with Maine People's Housing Coalition and Maine ...more Syd is a multiracial Chicanx organizer who grew up in Los Angeles straddling working class & middle class spaces. In 2014, they found themselves in Maine to study Sociology at Bowdoin College, where they organized with housekeepers to win a living wage. As a Portland tenant, Syd has organized with Maine People's Housing Coalition and Maine Renters United to create mutual aid networks and build power with tenants and unhoused people. Syd helped start a Maine Service Employees Association union chapter in 2022 as an Educator with Speak About It, a theater-based consent education company. They love learning, making zines, and talking about the political economy. Say hello (and send zines) at sydney@maineworkers.org

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Stacey Tran

Organizing Co-Director

Stacey is the founding organizer of Tender Table, a project celebrating Black and Brown community in Maine by connecting and honoring our identities, traditions, joy, resilience, and fight for collective liberation through storytelling and food. Stacey is passionate about building relationships, listening to ...more Stacey is the founding organizer of Tender Table, a project celebrating Black and Brown community in Maine by connecting and honoring our identities, traditions, joy, resilience, and fight for collective liberation through storytelling and food. Stacey is passionate about building relationships, listening to peoples’ stories, and imagining creative ways to take action to improve the conditions of our lives, which enrich and strengthen all of our communities. You can reach Stacey at stacey@maineworkers.org

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Ronny Flannery

Organizing Co-Director

Ronny is a mixed-race non-binary organizer of working class Vietnamese descent who grew up and lives in Lewiston, ME. They bring experience campaigning for the human rights to health and housing across Maine and California, and follow a transformative organizing practice that emphasizes relationship building beyond social differences and the ...more Ronny is a mixed-race non-binary organizer of working class Vietnamese descent who grew up and lives in Lewiston, ME. They bring experience campaigning for the human rights to health and housing across Maine and California, and follow a transformative organizing practice that emphasizes relationship building beyond social differences and the leadership development of those most impacted by structural violence. They studied English, Sociology, and Global Political Economy at the University of Maine at Farmington and the University of Kassel in central Germany. Ronny is also a board member of the Raise-Op Housing Cooperative. They see the interconnections between oppressive systems clearly, and believe an abundant world that meets our human needs is within our grasp. You can reach Ronny at ronny@maineworkers.org

Sergio Cahueque

Board Co-Chair

Sergio got involved with the SMWC in the late fall of 2017, joining the HCHR committee, the Portland Organizing Committee, and eventually joining the HCHR-Leadership Committee. He was drawn by the transformative organizing approach to ensuring that all people have access to health care and a dignified job. Sergio is an immigrant that grew up in a ...more Sergio got involved with the SMWC in the late fall of 2017, joining the HCHR committee, the Portland Organizing Committee, and eventually joining the HCHR-Leadership Committee. He was drawn by the transformative organizing approach to ensuring that all people have access to health care and a dignified job. Sergio is an immigrant that grew up in a middle class family in Guatemala City. He is inspired by Latin American social and campesino movements. Sergio is a full-time organizer at the Environmental Health Strategy Center, fighting for the right of people to healthy lives.

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Heather Foran

Board Co-Chair

Heather Foran is the Co-founder and facilitator of The Field Academy and a long-time server in Greater Portland area restaurants.

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Ali Mann

Board of Directors

Ali joined the SMWC in 2008 and has been learning from its members and staff ever since. Ali comes to the organization from a background of class privilege, and is always asking how that identity can be enlisted to advance movements for Black, brown, indigenous and working class power. When she’s not thinking about the SMWC, she’s often ...more Ali joined the SMWC in 2008 and has been learning from its members and staff ever since. Ali comes to the organization from a background of class privilege, and is always asking how that identity can be enlisted to advance movements for Black, brown, indigenous and working class power. When she’s not thinking about the SMWC, she’s often dreaming about solidarity economies and the commons. She enjoys sewing stuff, biking, and serving as a jungle gym to her two young kids.

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Kirk Robbins

Board of Directors

Having a long term interest in social justice issues, Kirk Robbins was drawn to the SMWC after doing a Health Care is a Human Right survey, and became part of the Political Education Committee after the Annual Meeting in the spring of 2016. Kirk also joined the Membership Committee this year. Growing up in poverty in central Maine and living below the poverty line his entire adult life has impacted his political outlook.

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Doug Born

Board of Directors

Doug is a busy guy. He is a stagehand with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 114, Maine AFL-CIO delegate, President of the Southern Maine Labor Council, and a member of the Maine Fair Trade Campaign. Doug is a representative from the Southern Maine Labor Council.

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MJ Lacourse

Board of Directors

MJ got involved with the Worker Center’s Political Education committee at the tail end of 2016 and was drawn in by the committees work on class and classism. MJ was born and raised in working class community and is passionate about building spaces, support, and power with working class people. MJ is currently on the board and the staff organizing committee.

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Kathy Kilrain del Rio

Board of Directors

Kathy Kilrain del Rio is passionate about making organizations, advocacy, and government inclusive for all people and raising up the voices of the people who are most impacted by injustice and inequitable policies in our work toward a truly equitable future. She began her career as an educator—teaching people of all ages from preschool to middle ...more Kathy Kilrain del Rio is passionate about making organizations, advocacy, and government inclusive for all people and raising up the voices of the people who are most impacted by injustice and inequitable policies in our work toward a truly equitable future. She began her career as an educator—teaching people of all ages from preschool to middle school classrooms to pre-GED and GED programs. Kathy made Maine her home in 2006, working to improve literacy and language skills of adult learners both in local literacy and adult education programs and through systemic work at a statewide organization. In 2012 she joined the staff of the Maine Women’s Lobby where she oversaw programs, outreach, fundraising, and communications efforts. Kathy organized three Maine Women’s Summits on Economic Security and helped engage activists, media, and policymakers on a range of issues impacting women’s lives. In 2018 she joined Maine Equal Justice where she currently works as Director of Campaigns and Healthcare Advocacy, fighting for expanded and improved access to affordable health care for all Mainers. Kathy is finishing up service on the board of Emerge Maine and also serves on the board of Mabel Wadsworth Center. She is recharged by reading, music, and having fun adventures with her family and dear friends.

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Mia Dyson

Board of Directors

Mia Dyson lives in Freeport Maine, where she raised her four children, and where she breeds Labrador Retrievers. Mia is a registered nurse; she works in Labor & Delivery at Maine Medical Center. Mia was very involved in the recent union organizing campaign at Maine Med, and is very very hopeful for a good outcome by early May! Mia is also an ...more Mia Dyson lives in Freeport Maine, where she raised her four children, and where she breeds Labrador Retrievers. Mia is a registered nurse; she works in Labor & Delivery at Maine Medical Center. Mia was very involved in the recent union organizing campaign at Maine Med, and is very very hopeful for a good outcome by early May! Mia is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); she pastors a congregation (remotely these days) in Wales ME.  Mia loves to go birding, walks her dogs, bakes sourdough bread, reads, and writes poetry. She has been involved in several initiatives at SMWC, including the Political Economy study, the Healthcare is a Human Right committee, the Cantastoria project, and Karaoke fundraisers.  Mia has really enjoyed meeting the amazing people at SMWC, young and old alike!

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Shelby Leighton

Board of Directors

Shelby is an attorney at a national public interest advocacy organization that fights against abusive corporate power and predatory practices, the assault on civil rights and liberties, and the destruction of the earth’s sustainability. Her work focuses on access to justice for workers and others who have been injured by corporate and government ...more Shelby is an attorney at a national public interest advocacy organization that fights against abusive corporate power and predatory practices, the assault on civil rights and liberties, and the destruction of the earth’s sustainability. Her work focuses on access to justice for workers and others who have been injured by corporate and government wrongdoing. Previously, she represented workers whose rights were violated at work, including in discrimination and wage theft cases. Shelby got involved with SMWC in 2018 as a volunteer for SMWC's Workers' Rights Legal Clinic, and she continues to volunteer with the Clinic and Hotline, as well as serving on the Board's Personnel Committee. Shelby lives in South Portland with partner Kris and terrier mix Jackie.