National Staff Directory
Lisa Adler, Campaign Organizer-Caring Across Generations
Lisa (at) jwj.org
Lisa Adler was born and raised in New York City. After graduating from Swarthmore College with a degree in political science, she taught 8th grade social studies in the Bronx through Teach for America. During this time, she received her Master’s degree at Teachers College, Colombia while also co-founding the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE). In 2004, Lisa moved to Los Angeles to attend the Labor/Community Strategy Center’s National School for Strategic Organizing. In 2005, she was awarded a New Voices Fellowship to continue working with the Strategy Center, where she was a community organizer for 6 years. During this time, Lisa helped lead several of the Center’s civil rights and environmental justice campaigns, including the Bus Riders Union and the Community Rights Campaign. In 2009, she moved to Atlanta, GA and joined the staff of Amnesty International USA as a Southern Regional field organizer where she worked on immigrant rights, death penalty abolition, and maternal health care. Currently, Lisa is the Caring Across Generations Lead Organizer for Jobs With Justice.
Mackenzie Baris, Field Organizer- Northeast
Mackenzie (at) jwj.org
(202) 393-1044 x107
Before joining the national Jobs with justice staff, as a Field organizer in January 2012, Mackenzie was the Director of DC Jobs with Justice. During her 9 years leading DC JwJ she built the coalition to include more than 40 local labor, community, faith, and student organizations and led campaigns to support union organizing and bargaining, to pass Living Wage and Paid Sick Days laws in DC, to protect immigrant rights and to organize day laborers to combat wage theft. Mackenzie studied history at Yale University and has been involved in both student and faith-based movements and as a rank-and-file union activist and elected officer. In addition to working with Jobs with Justice Coalitions in the Northeast, Mackenzie also coordinates JwJ’s Workers’ Rights Board project
Naomi Demsas, Executive Assistant & Program Associate
Naomi (at) jwj.org
(202) 393-1044 x103
Naomi Demsas was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz where her love for organizing was born with her work with The African Black Student Alliance and Engaging Education. She moved to Washington D.C. after graduating and started working at Jobs with Justice in January 2008. Naomi provides support to our Executive Director, works with a set of JWJ local Coalitions, provides logistics support for all of our National conference along with our training program and also is a lead for the Caring Across Generations Campaign for national JWJ.
Treston Davis-Faulkner, Field Director
Treston (at) jwj.org
Before becoming the National Field Director of Jobs with Justice in 2008, Treston served as the Southern Region Organizer for Jobs with Justice for nearly 7 years helping to develop JwJ Coalitions in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Kentucky, Virginia and locally in Washington DC. Prior to that, Treston helped to start the Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), and was selected to serve as the first National SLAP Coordinator in 1999. This selection was made partly due to Treston’s experience as a former local student, community, and labor organizer in Philadelphia (with the American Federation of Teachers) and at Temple University, as well as his steadfast activism and organizing around student issues on the national level with the US Student Association, the nation’s oldest and largest student organization.
Dyana Forester, Field Organizer - South
Dyana (at) jwj.org
(202) 393-1044 x113
Dyana is a DC native who began her career as an organizer a little over seven years ago, her experience in the social justice movement ranges from labor, to community and to educational organizing. For four years she worked with the United Food and Commercial Workers’ (UFCW) Union Local 400, and a year with the UFCW International. While with UFCW International, she worked on the both the Walmart Workers and Smithville at Justice campaign. In 2007 she joined Teaching for Change as a community organizer , where she supported parents of DC Public Schools student in fighting for quality and equitable education and successfully fought against public school closures. More recently, Dyana was Lead Organizer at ONE DC, where she organizing unemployed residents around demanding access to jobs and funding for job training programs. Before joining the National JwJ Staff she was part of the team at DC Jobs with Justice working on the Walmart: Respect DC campaign. Dyana brings deep knowledge of the DC political process and considerable campaign strategy experience. She is also a proud mother of two beautiful girls, Briana(14) and Dylan-Marie (3).
Sarita Gupta, Executive Director
Sarita (at) jwj.org
(202) 393-1044 x103
Sarita Gupta is the executive director of Jobs with Justice (JwJ) and American Rights at Work. Jobs with Justice is building a strong, progressive labor movement that works in coalition with community, faith, and student organizations to build a broader global movement for economic and social justice. In over 45 communities in 25 states, JwJ local coalitions are organizing to address issues impacting working families. American Rights at Work is an independent labor policy and advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the right to organize and collectively bargain. By this fall, American Rights at Work and Jobs with Justice will emerge as one organization united by a common mission to advance workers' rights and social and economic justice.
Sarita began organizing as a student on campus and was elected president of the U.S. Student Association (1997–1998). Sarita has 15 years of local, national, and global coalition-building experience through her time at Chicago JwJ and National JwJ. She has a long history of organizing at the intersections of workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights, global justice, racial justice, and women’s rights issues and movements. In recent years, Sarita has provided leadership to various movement-building processes that have attempted to converge movements across different sectors in order to build the kind of power we need to make transformative change.
Sarita serves as co-director of Caring Across Generations, a national coalition of 200 advocacy organizations working together for quality care and support and a dignified quality of life for all Americans. Caring Across Generations is dedicated to building a movement of everyday people committed to transforming long-term care and implementing solutions to fill the care gap.
She also serves on the following boards: International Labor Rights Forum, American Rights at Work, the National Planning Committee of the U.S. Social Forum, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Inter-Alliance Dialogue/UNITY, the Institute for Policy Studies, Other Worlds Are Possible Giving Circle, and the Discount Foundation Board of Trustees.
Chris Hicks, Student Debt Campaign Organizer
Chris (at) jwj.org
(202) 393-1044 x137
Currently serving as the Student Debt Campaign Organizer, Chris joined the Jobs with Justice staff from 2010 – 2012 as the National Student Labor Action Project Coordinator. A graduate of Wichita State University, Chris was active in campus organizing through multiple student organizations and became a national GrassRoots Organizing Weekend (GROW) trainer with the US Student Association and Midwest Academy, providing weekend long trainings for students organizing on their own campuses. During college Chris worked with ProKanDo, a pro-choice grassroots lobbying effort around media coordination. Immediately following his graduation, Chris began working with SEIU Local 513 as a union organizer with public school district custodians.
Carlos Jimenez, Field Organizer - Midwest
CarlosJ (at) jwj.org
(202) 393-1044 x132
Raised in a working-class immigrant family in Los Angeles, Carlos first became politically active in high school when he joined M.E.Ch.A. Access to higher education, immigrant rights, as well as fighting back constant budget cuts were some of the first issues around which he organized; subsequently he worked on union organizing campaigns involving diverse workers including healthcare workers and hotel workers. In 2006, Carlos moved to DC where he served as the national coordinator for the Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), where he worked with local SLAP chapters and other student groups to develop and implement campus campaigns promoting worker's rights by winning living wages, good contracts, and the right to form unions. He remained on staff at Jobs with Justice where he oversaw the creation of a Young Worker Project which convened various unions, worker centers, and student/labor organizations around engagement, development, and promotion of various initiatives that aimed to increase young worker density and visibility in the union and worker's rights movement. He most recently worked as an organizer for 1199SEIU where he campaigned to build up the ranks of the 350,000 member local through the new organizing department. On occasion he will write articles and train as a member of Wellstone Action’s campus team.
Scarlet Jimenez, Finance and Operations Director
Scarlet (at) jwj.org
(202) 393-1044 x112
Scarlet was born in Dominican Republic and moved to The District of Columbia at the age of two, where she lived until moving to Boston to pursue her studies. Scarlet attended Suffolk University and returned home to finish her degree in Economics, she received her BS in Economics at Strayer University in Washington DC. She joined the National Jobs with Justice office as a volunteer in the spring of 2004 where she was very inspired by the work and jumped at the opportunity to be part of the Jobs with Justice Network, in July 2004 she joined the staff full-time as our Office Assistant. In 2009 Scarlet became our Operations Director, since then she has overseen national finances, our group exemption program, human resources and general operations for Jobs with Justice.
Akosua Meyers, Director of Development
Akosua (at) jwj.org
(202) 393-1044 x109
Akosua Meyers’ passion for social justice issues led to her career as a fundraising and development professional. Originally from Ghana, her personal experiences motivated her to help nonprofit organizations engaged in social justice work generate the revenue needed to accomplish their mission. Before to joining Jobs with Justice, Akosua worked as Grants Manager for The ONE Campaign helping to manage the organization’s grant related efforts. Prior to The ONE Campaign, she served as Development Manager for the Center for Community Change managing the fundraising portfolios of program directors while supporting the Development Department's overall fundraising and development campaign efforts. In her spare time, she offers pro bono fundraising assistance to start-up organizations in the DC Metro area. Akosua holds a Bachelors degree in Communications from Howard University and a Masters degree in Public Policy from George Mason University
Huy Ong, Field Organizer - West
Huy (at) jwj.org
Prior to joining the JwJ network, Huy worked at the United States Student Association (USSA) where he led their state expansion efforts. He was charged with strengthening and developing local coalitions of student organizations and activists by building grassroots power while connecting them to the national student network. In addition, he organized national trainings and provided technical assistance for the staff of these local coalitions. Prior to his this work, Huy served as a field organizer for the USSA Foundation’s successful 2004 national electoral organizing project. Previous to joining USSA, Huy worked as the lead organizer for the Oregon Student Association (OSA), and served as a field organizer for the Oregon Students of Color Coalition. Huy attended the University of Oregon where he studied Sociology and was actively involved in student labor and anti-racism campaigns.
Natalie Patrick-Knox, Campaign Organizer - Immigration & Workers Rights
Natalie (at) jwj.org
(202) 393-1044 x130
Since a trip to El Salvador with a women’s right solidarity group in 2000, Natalie has been propelled by social justice and immigrant rights causes. Natalie is originally from Kansas, where she was active in student, interfaith, and community organizations. She then moved to London to pursue a Master’s in international civil society, where she worked on issues related to women’s rights, social accountability, and grassroots participation in community and international development initiatives. Prior to moving to DC, Natalie lived in Portland, OR where she was a regional and campaign coordinator for Causa, Oregon’s Immigrant Rights Organization.
Erica Smiley, Campaigns Director
Smiley (at) jwj.org
(202) 393-1044 x105
Erica Smiley is the Campaigns Director for Jobs with Justice. In the past, she has organized with community groups such as Progressive Maryland and the Tenants and Workers Support Committee (now Tenants and Workers United) in Virginia. She was National Field Director of Choice USA, a pro-choice organization focusing primarily on youth access to reproductive healthcare. And she previously held the position of Senior Field Organizer for the Southern Region. She is originally from Greensboro, North Carolina.
Isaiah Toney, Student Labor Action Project Coordinator
isaiah (at) jwj.org
(202) 393-1044 x139
Isaiah Toney joined Jobs with Justice/ American Rights at work as the Student Labor Action Project Coordinator in November of 2012. SLAP is a joint project with the United States Student Association, for which Isaiah has also served as a GrassRoots Organizing Weekend (GROW) trainer. As a SLAP member and Women’s Studies major at The George Washington University, Isaiah worked with the Progressive Student Union to fight for workers' and students' rights on campus. From September 2010 to January 2012 he served as Student Labor Action Project coordinator for DC Jobs with Justice, organizing with students and workers on five campuses in the DC area. Isaiah is an amateur musician, meaning that he plays music out of love.
Jonathan Williams, Communications Organizer
Jonathan (at) jwj.org
(202) 393-1044 x122
Jonathan is a graduate of University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he began his activism organizing with service workers on campus to fight for a living wage. Before joining the staff of JwJ, Jonathan spent five years as a national organizer for Peace Action, the nation’s largest grassroots peace organization. He has organized with students and youth across the country on a variety of campaigns, from stopping uranium mining on indigenous land to protecting student privacy from predatory military recruiting. Jonathan is an avid trainer in direct action, organizing, and strategic planning. He is also a passionate civilian ally to service members and veterans. He is the co-founder of Civilian-Soldier Alliance, a national organization of civilian organizers working with service members and veterans to stop the deployment of traumatized troops in a campaign called Operation Recovery.