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 three 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 poor, queer, multi-racial, and disable resident of Lewiston. In 2011 Melissa became a tenant’s rights organizer for the Neighborhood Housing League, a project of the Visible Community. As an organizer, Melissa found that many poor and working class people in her community had  fallen 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 serves as the chair of Community Clinical Services in Lewiston, a federally qualified health care center affiliated with St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. She also serves on the board for Maine Community Integration, an Ethnic-Based Community Organization that supports integration of community for Maine Immigrants through public health and prevention education.

Erin Hennessey, Work With Dignity Community Organizer

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

Erin says, “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.” Erin is a mixed race black person and life long New Englander, because of this Erin has a deep commitment to fighting against the notion that “Racism doesn’t happen here.”