Leader's Bio

Marcela Briones­–Levin

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

Founder and Director of Community Governance & Development Council

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.

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.


Juanita O. Lewis

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's 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.


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