Staff

The Southern Maine Workers’ Center is run primarily by a core group of dedicated volunteers from our membership. The job of SMWC staff is to coordinate our programs  and support the leadership of our members. We currently have two paid staff positions.

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 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. Contact Drew at drew@maineworkers.org.

 

Melissa Dunn, Health Care is a Human Right Statewide Organizer

Melissa is a poor, queer, multi-racial, and disabled woman who resides in Lewiston. In 2011 Melissa began organizing for tenant’s rights with the Neighborhood Housing League, a project of The Visible Community. Soon after, Melissa found herself on the steps of the State House speaking about her experience of trauma and how healthcare helped her to do the organizing work she loves. Melissa has found through her work that many poor and working class people in her community share her experience of falling through the cracks due to the structure of our current health care system. Melissa became passionate about reducing barriers and increasing access to health care. She now serves as the chair of Community Clinical Services in Lewiston, Federally Qualified Health Center affiliated with St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. She also serves on the board for Maine Community Integration, an Ethnic-Based Community Organization geared towards supporting the integration of community for Maine Immigrants through public health and prevention education.

Erin Hennessey, Work With Dignity Community Organizer

10847730_325181944341197_2265597802836191702_oI have been living in Portland for the past 5 years. I was born and raised in Western Mass, and have lived in Vermont, New Jersey, and Upstate New York. I hold a B.A from Drew university in Pan- African Studies. My experience as an organizer includes includes working as the Field Director for FairVote Maine, winning campaign for Ranked Choice Voting. I first encountered the Workers’ Center when I was organizing with a local Black Lives Matter group and always appreciated the way they showed active allyship at our rally’s and demonstrations.

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.
As a mixed race black person, and life long New England-er I feel personally accountable for fighting against the notion that “Racism doesnt happen here.”