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DrewChristopher Joy

Executive Director

Drew is a white, mixed-class, queer and trans* carpenter and organizer. After many years of “living away,” Drew moved back to their home state of Maine with a political commitment to multi-racial organizing in majority white, working-class communities, as part of a broad vision of movement building. In September 2012, Drew was introduced to the ...more Drew is a white, mixed-class, queer and trans* carpenter and organizer. After many years of “living away,” Drew moved back to their home state of Maine with a political commitment to multi-racial organizing in majority white, working-class communities, as part of a broad vision of movement building. In September 2012, Drew was introduced to the Southern Maine Workers’ Center and realized that they had found their new political home. Drew was politically raised in a combination of anti-racist DIY punk culture and people of color led organizations continuing a tradition of transformative community organizing. The overarching theme is activism rooted in love for our communities and a commitment to do what’s right with whatever you’ve got. In New Orleans Drew worked with residents organizing to regain access to their homes in public housing developments after Hurricane Katrina, primarily with the organization Survivors Village. Drew was formally trained as an organizer in San Francisco by the Catalyst Project and through a two year internship with POWER: People Organized to Win Employment Rights, which is now a part of Causa Justa::Just Cause.

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Arlo W. Hennessey

Work With Dignity Program Director

Arlo is a black & mixed race, life long New Englander, and as such has a deep commitment to fighting against the notion that “racism doesn’t happen here.” Their organizing back ground includes working as the Field Director for FairVote Maine and winning the campaign for Ranked Choice Voting. Founding member of Portland Racial Justice ...more Arlo is a black & mixed race, life long New Englander, and as such has a deep commitment to fighting against the notion that “racism doesn’t happen here.” Their organizing back ground includes working as the Field Director for FairVote Maine and winning the campaign for Ranked Choice Voting. Founding member of Portland Racial Justice Congress. “It’s an honor to be able to use my background in field campaigns to further the fight for workers’ rights in Portland. Building people power feels especially important, as our city faces rampant gentrification, segregation, xenophobia, racism under the guise of becoming more business friendly.” When not at work you can find them biking across town, or walking two magnificent dogs on the West End.

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Teddy Burrage

Administrative Coordinator

Teddy is a life-long Portlander and local activist who lives on the West End of Portland with his partner Jason, his two cats, Fredrick and Richard, and three goldfish, Oprah, Gale, and Dr. Phil. His passion for activism started during the first marriage equality campaign in Maine and grew further during the Black Lives Matter movement after the ...more Teddy is a life-long Portlander and local activist who lives on the West End of Portland with his partner Jason, his two cats, Fredrick and Richard, and three goldfish, Oprah, Gale, and Dr. Phil. His passion for activism started during the first marriage equality campaign in Maine and grew further during the Black Lives Matter movement after the extrajudicial killing of Michael Brown from Ferguson, Missouri. It was during this time when he first met Arlo and Drew and became introduced to the important work of the Southern Maine Worker’ Center. Teddy is a former congressional intern who has served on the Board of Directors of Frannie Peabody Center, as well as the steering committees of Portland Racial Justice Congress, the League of Young Voters, and Pride Portland. He believes that in order to achieve true equity, we must collectively commit ourselves to lifting up and empowering marginalized communities in our society, including transgender and non-binary folks, the working poor, people of color, disabled folks, and people who are otherwise heavily impacted by the oppressive systems around us. As someone who identifies as queer, black, and working class, Teddy is a staunch believer that justice can only be realized through a just and equitable movement that includes all people.

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Mike Lacourse

Health Care is a Human Right Organizer

Mike 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. Mike was born and raised in working class community and is passionate about building spaces, support, and power with working class people. In 2018 Mike was hired to support the organizing work of the Healthcare Is A Human Right committee.

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Sydney Avitia-Jaques

Research Coordinator

I’ve spent most of my time in Maine organizing with workers, renters, and unhoused people. I care a lot about making time to learn and reflect within movement spaces, and I identify as a structure-nerd. When I’m not organizing, you can find me roller-skating, reading, or spending time with my friends.

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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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Meaghan LaSala

Executive Chair

Meaghan became involved in SMWC in the fall of 2012. As a student at the University of Southern Maine she organized against against program closures and layoffs, and she’s also been active in the movement to end fossil fuel extraction.

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Heather Foran

Board Of Directors

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

Ali Mann

Board Of Directors

Ali has been on the Board of the SMWC since 2008, and currently focuses on developing the Work With Dignity committee. She practiced union-side labor law for five years and now makes documentary films and other videos for artists and nonprofits.

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Matt Beck

Board Of Directors

Matt is a union organizer for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. His work with labor and social justice movements has included dozens of issues and electoral campaigns, including the right to organize, fair trade, marriage equality, and voting rights. Matt is a representative from the Southern Maine Labor Council, and has been involved in SMWC for nearly a decade.

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Ina Demers

Board Of Directors

Ina (Indriani) Demers has attended the Southern Maine Workers’ Center (SMWC) Annual meetings for several years. An active member since 2014, now a member of the Work With Dignity. She is an active member of the Maine Education Association (MEA) and at the National level (NEA), and serves on the Human and Civil Rights and Cultural Affairs Committee. She is a full time educator at the Portland Public Schools district.

Sergio Cahueque

Board Of Directors

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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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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Victoria Rodriguez

Board Of Directors

Victoria was introduced to the SMWC in 2016 while working as an organizer with the Maine Women's Lobby. She was moved by the transformative, human rights-centered organizing efforts led by the SMWC community to expand health care across Maine. Victoria is especially interested in movements focused on improving public health and building power ...more Victoria was introduced to the SMWC in 2016 while working as an organizer with the Maine Women's Lobby. She was moved by the transformative, human rights-centered organizing efforts led by the SMWC community to expand health care across Maine. Victoria is especially interested in movements focused on improving public health and building power through electoral organizing. She joined the Board in 2020 and is a member of the Fundraising and Media Committees.

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Philippa Adam

Board Of Directors

Philippa is a white, queer, working class artist. They joined Work with Dignity's Earned Paid Sick Days campaign in early 2018, advocating for guaranteed paid sick time for all Maine workers and working with the Worker Support subcommittee during the early days of the Legal Clinic & Hotline. After EPSD disbanded, they worked with the Membership ...more Philippa is a white, queer, working class artist. They joined Work with Dignity's Earned Paid Sick Days campaign in early 2018, advocating for guaranteed paid sick time for all Maine workers and working with the Worker Support subcommittee during the early days of the Legal Clinic & Hotline. After EPSD disbanded, they worked with the Membership and Fundraising committees, and then took a break from SMWC to focus on organizing and establishing the Preble Street Workers United SEIU Local 1989 Union. Philippa is currently a full-time art education graduate student, and is excited to join the board and to start working with the Fundraising committee again, advocating for ways to expand our views of accessibilty and inclusivity; how to be anti-racist in a predominantly white region; developing a labor movement that is inclusive of unemployed, disabled, and homecare workers; and building community in a rural state during a global pandemic.