Leader's Bio


Marcela Briones­–Levin

Parent Coordinator and Leader

Marcela Levin is a Chilean native who has lived in the US for about 21 years.  During this time she has been a community leader and organizer in the Hispanic immigrant community in Ossining, New York.  In her native country, under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, she witnessed the cruel oppression of the Chilean people and the indifference of many toward injustice. As a teenager in her church’s youth group she was deeply influenced by the Liberation Theology movement and during her college years in Temuco she found her voice for social justice - fighting to bring democracy back to her country. Here in the US, she has overcome the same difficulties that many undocumented immigrants endure while seeking better opportunities. Marcela has been consistently engaged on behalf of poor and undocumented immigrants: supporting children’s education; a pathway to immigration reform; affordable housing; access to higher education; equal rights between men and women; LGBT rights, and rights for persons with disabilities. Marcela has participated in and helped organize rallies, protests and vigils in the hope of making a difference. She has gone before legislators pursuing equal rights and access for immigrants to driver’s licenses, health insurance, education and affordable housing. Marcela has worked for about 8 years as a parent coordinator in the Ossining school district. She is the voice of the Hispanic Parents Association in her school district. As a parent coordinator and parent leader, she fervently works in support of immigrant parents in their efforts to navigate the school system. She has been involved with Envisioning Westchester in their struggle to bring change and social justice to Westchester County. At her local church, she runs informative and educational parent meetings in support of Hispanic children’s religious education. She has been the Hispanic liaison for Ossining AYSO (American Youth Soccer Association) since 2010. In the spring of 2015, she became a Mental Health Association certified instructor for adult mental first aid. The latest chapter in Marcela’s journey has been her return to college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in social work. At age 44, Marcela has strived for academic success while working full time and maintaining her family life at the same time. She made the Dean's List in the Fall 2014, ­Spring 2015, and Fall 2015 semester at Mercy College.


LaMont Badru

Economic Development Strategist and Community Organizer

LaMont is a professional community organizer, community economic development strategist, and a lifelong South Yonkers resident. As a youth, Lamont attended Pearls Elementary, Museum Middle School, and Lincoln High School. LaMont also played football for the North Yonkers Knights. In 2006, LaMont organized a youth program out of the recreation room of his building teaching history and community responsibility to high-risk youth from his neighborhood. As a student at Lehman College, Lamont was the founder and president of the Black Student Union and a Student Senator. In his capacity as a student leader, he led the successful initiative to create Lehman’s new minor in Urban Community Development - the first student-initiated academic program at Lehman college in over 30 years. The minor was designed to give students, regardless of their primary major, the tools necessary to use their career skills towards the development of their neighborhoods. Lamont went on to become an organizer for a housing policy organization in the Bronx called 'Picture The Homeless' before deciding to dedicate his energy and passion for community development to his home community of South Yonkers.


Cornell "Lord Judah" Carelock

Artist, Social Justice Leader and Founder

Cornell “Lord Judah” Carelock, the one-and-only professional Hip-hop teaching artist in Westchester New York, has many years of experience as an artist and social justice leader. For the past ten years, Lord Judah has focused on collaboration and group learning through active, participatory experiences utilizing music and visual art. He has been working with the Westchester Martin Luther King Jr. Institute for Non Violence since 2006 building bridges between youth, adults, and law enforcement.

As a teaching artist for more than ten years, he works with arts agencies such as Arts Westchester, Dream Yard Project, Mount Vernon Youth Shelter Program, Wingspan Arts, Westchester Department of Corrections C.O.R.E Program a year-long Teaching Artist Training with Community Word Project, and the Mt. Vernon Youth Bureau to name a few

Lord Judah has a mission to engage in creative humanitarian projects and collaborations to share heart with the world. Receiving over 64 hours of Curriculum-based instruction with Mindful Schools has also enabled Lord Judah to present his workshops with a more coherent teaching style applying Mindfulness to his work with kids and adults. Lord Judah also directs a social justice group called “Highly Intelligent People Healing Our Planet” through which he trains in facilitation methods to give social justice presentations to youth and underserved communities.

2017 Lord Judah founded ”True He(ART) Academy" that is specially designed for Artist, Teachers, Law Enforcement and Community Members. True He(ART) Academies Focus will be Self-Healing and Resilience Strategies for Individuals using the Arts as the Catalyst.

 

 

Tarin Gonzales

Activist, Community Organizer and Assistant Director

 

Tarin is an Activist and Community Organizer. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, raised by Chilean parents that migrated to the United States after having witnessed the brutal murders, executions and disappearance of friends and loved ones committed by the Pinochet regime. Growing up in the 80s and 90s in the Bronx, with politically conscience parents in an urban, poverty-stricken environment exposed Tarin to the conditions and experiences that gave her a genuine perspective on grassroots organizing.

As a child, she observed the sacrifices her parents made to keep food on the table, while learning about capitalism through the workers perspective. By the time she was a teenager, culture-shock took its toll. The cultural differences between her parent’s upbringing and Tarin upbringing created a gap between them. Tarin, a first generation North American and New Yorker, had to adapt to the lessons only taught on the hard New York City streets, but so did her parent, but as adults. In high school, her grades began to decline and truancy and suspensions became the norm. Luckily, she met a teacher that took her under her wing and began to mentor her about her own culture but most importantly taught her to see and understand life under a systemic scope. Tarin became radicalized.

She volunteered at the October 22nd Coalition,  Free Mumia campaign and she also worked on issues involving schools being served as pipelines to prisons and the police brutality cases. Tarin has traveled to to study African Diaspora, Muslim traditions, Palestinian human rights violations committed under the Israeli Government. 

Tarin moved to Westchester County a few years ago. She has worked as Community and Family services coordinator, Community Organizer and facilitator of a Food Justice Committee. She currently serves as the Assistant Director at the Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action at Manhattanville College, Purchase N.Y. Tarin holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration: International Business and a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership.

 


Juanita O. Lewis

Community Organizer and Trainer

Juanita joined CVH in 2009 as the Yonkers Organizer. She was born and raised in Saint Paul, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a B.A. in History and Political Science, and with her Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership Degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She began her work as a community organizer with the Minnesota chapter of ACORN. Since 2004, she has worked on numerous electoral campaigns at the city, state and federal level in different staffing capacities. She currently is the Lead Westchester organizer, for Community Voices Heard. Juanita develops community members into leaders that work on strategic issue based campaigns that bring the issues of low-income people to the forefront. Juanita is trainer for the non-partisan women’s political group called, VoteRunLead and a member of several political and social groups such as, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Sierra Leonean cultural heritage group called, Krio Descendants Union, board member of African Communities Together, Yonkers Chapter of the Black Women's Political Caucus, Secretary- Treasurer of Westchester Young Democrats and Hudson Valley Region Vice Chair for Young Democrats Caucus of Color. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, going to Zumba and or kickboxing, spending time with close friends and family.

 

Jalal Sabur

Farmer, Organizer and Educator

 

Jalal grew up in Greenburgh, New York. He led the Black Student Union at SUNY Purchase College and organized students to distribute clothes and food to homeless people in NYC.  As part of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), Jalal co-created Potential 2 Power Project in East New York, Brooklyn, where he taught young people gardening, cooking, nutrition and know-your-rights skills. In 2011, Jalal started growing produce at South Bronx’s Wassaic Community Farm for sale at farmers markets. He also ran a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and a gleaning project. While at Wassaic, Jalal co-founded the Freedom Food Alliance, VROOM Cooperative and Victory Bus Project. The Freedom Food Alliance is a collective of small rural and urban farmers, activists, artists, community folks and political prisoners who use food as an organizing tool.  Based at a farm in Millerton, New York, they offer opportunities to minority groups inordinately impacted by systemic mass incarceration.  The VROOM Cooperative and Victory Bus Project connect urban and rural communities and support families of prisoners while transporting them to visit family members in prison in the Hudson Valley. Each passenger receives political education and a box of farm fresh food. Jalal continues the work of the Alliance, while also having co-founded the Sweet Freedom Farm in Germantown, NY, where he conducts farm education, a maple syrup operation and is helping to build the Farms Not Prisons movement.

 

Myra Hidalgo salazar

Board President and Program Officer

 

Originally from Naranjo, Alajuela, Costa Rica, Mayra came to the United States when
she was six months old. Her journey through high school and college as an
undocumented immigrant laid the groundwork for her commitment to social justice. In
2010, at age 17, she served as a project manager for the Trail of Dreams, a walk for
immigrant justice from Miami to the nation’s capital. She coordinated actions and
arranged legal representation for four demonstrators walking through the southeastern
United States. A former board member and community organizer for the Florida Immigrant Coalition,
Mayra led efforts on the We Are Florida! and ¡No Somos Rubios! campaigns and
traveled to Alabama to organize against anti-immigrant legislation. Most recently, Mayra
served as the executive director of the Hudson Valley Community Coalition, a
grassroots group organizing for immigrant rights. She currently serves as the board
president for United We Dream Action.

 

Diana Sanchez

Founder and Community Organizer

 

Diana Sanchez is originally from Tehuitzingo, Puebla, Mexico. She came to this
country at age four. She attended the Portchester and Yonkers Public School
Districts. As a young teenager, she was the first student to speak in a Yonkers town
hall against the Yonkers’ public school budget cuts. In 1999 her parents organized
buses to Washington D.C and New York City where she participated in rallies,
marches, and gave speeches to large crowds in support of the immigration reform.
Diana is one of the directors for a Mexican folk-dancing group named
“Espiritu De Mexico”. She has taught children, teenagers and adults for over 18
years as volunteer work. In 2016, she participated in a Binational program with the
organization US-Mexico Foundation. This organization gave her an opportunity to
learn about Mexico’s Economy, Culture and Government.
Diana is one of the founders and a community organizer for a grassroots
organization named Yonkers Sanctuary Movement. She is a Board Member of
Hudson Valley Community Coalition and has done a fellowship with a national
Organization named United We Dream. These organizations focus on Deportation
Defense and Advocating for pro-legislation for the undocumented community. She
will be joining North Star’s Hudson Valley Grantmaking Committee. Diana will be
attending Lehman College to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.

 

Ibrahim Asad Siddiq

Spoken Word Artist, Activist and Philosopher

 

Ibrahim Asad Siddiq aka P.O.E.T is not your average spoken word artist, more so an activist and
philosopher rooted in poetry. P.O.E.T is an acronym for Putting Out Eternal Thoughts. Ibrahim believes thought is creative energy, it creates our collective reality and affects the world in which we live. He wishes to serve as a light for our youth’s potential. Just as when you walk into a dark room and flip a switch the light does not create the objects within that room but merely makes you aware of its presence. He wishes for our youth to realize their potential for greatness.
In addition to performing, he is the Artistic Director of a grassroots arts program known as The FREE ART Project in which he facilitates workshops and hosts open mics and showcases throughout NYC and Westchester County, as well as workshops with incarcerated youth and various ATI programs in the Bronx and Westchester. Ibrahim has recently started a product line, Earth’s Pantry. Skin and hair care products made from organic plant based ingredients. The proceeds of this company go towards funding his art program. He hopes to build the company in order to expand his art program in the future, as well as sponsor other programs around the world.

 

Julia Solow

Community Organizer and Co-Creator

 

Julia Solow has been the Westchester County Community Organizer at Community Voices Heard since November of 2013. Ms. Solow was inspired to build a life in pursuit of justice by her grandparents' union, community and political organizing. She started organizing as an undergraduate at James Madison University in solidarity with the Virginia chapter of DREAM Activist. Before coming to Community Voices Heard, she had the privilege to work with students, labor leaders and community activists through positions at John Carroll University's Center for Service and Social Action, the AFL-CIO National Campaigns Department and the East Harlem-based Latino Leadership Institute. As a CVH organizer, Ms. Solow has helped build the chapter from a Yonkers-only chapter to a Westchester County-wide chapter. She is a member of the national training team at People's Action and is a co-creator of CVH's Ella Baker School of Community Organizing. Ms. Solow has a Bachelors in Social Work from James Madison University and a Masters in Social Work from Hunter College. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.