Board of Directors
Naomi Alexis is a 39 year old Native New Yorker, mother, and doula looking for ways to build a future for our children and a present that allows us to make that a possibility. As the founder of It Takes A City Cooperative, a multi-stakeholder child and elder care cooperative, she hopes to fill the gap left wide open regarding the needs of families in need of care.
Julian Hill is an organizer, lawyer and a few other things, committed to winning, not only fighting, the fight toward the liberation of Black and other marginalized people. Before joining Georgetown University Law Center as a clinical teaching fellow, Julian advised dozens of worker cooperatives in New York City as an attorney at TakeRoot Justice. As an organizer with the New York City chapter of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), Julian helped steer the NYC Black Mutual Aid Initiative (BMAI), which centered Black trans folks, Black sex workers, Black migrants and Black folks returning home and provided cash, food and/or supplies to nearly 1,000 Black New Yorkers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. They joined TakeRoot after a stint with a large law firm where they represented mostly Latin American companies on a host of deals. Prior to law school, Julian taught high school Spanish in Compton, California. Julian is also a co-founder of Yo Hablo, a company that uses hip hop to teach Spanish, which he plans to convert to a worker cooperative in 2021.
Rachel is a Brooklynite, cooperative developer and facilitator, and beginner food grower and herbalist. For over 6 years, Rachel has been cultivating workplace democracy and worker-owned leadership at the Center for Family Life’s Cooperative Development Program, through direct work with coops and training community organizations to develop coops in their communities. Currently, Rachel is a consultant as well as a cooperative developer at RiseBoro Community Partnership, where they are organizing worker cooperatives as part of the Central Brooklyn Food Democracy Project, a Black-led food sovereignty project. Rachel has been organizing for over a decade at the intersection of gender, labor, and sexuality, including around sex work, gender-based violence, LGBTQ homelessness, transgender migrant workers, and immigrant-led worker cooperatives.
Sarah is a worker-owner at Radix Media, a commercial printer and independent publisher, where she designs and coordinates their social media. She’s been part of the co-op for almost four years, building strong relationships with other businesses and organizations. Sarah’s also an experienced organizer, who got her start in student organizing and environmental activism over ten years ago.
Jose Paulino is a founding member of New Deal Home Improvement and graduate of Green Workers Coop Academy. He came to New Deal with a strong background in sales and property management. As a digital native, he brings the capacity of tech platforms to the company. He has worked with subcontractors and customers to communicate with and through online tools. In real time he has forged practices that help small companies and co-op’s comply with industry regulations, streamline invoicing, collaborate on estimates and structure job scheduling. Jose spent his summers in the Dominican Republic helping with the family rice distribution company where he acquired a fundamental awareness of small business practices. He applies that with bi-cultural and bi-lingual skills when working with colleagues and other contractors and customers. After three years of working with the New Deal and NYCNoWC, Jose is dedicated to furthering the mission of equity and access through cooperative economics
Emily (she/her/they) is a Afro-Boricua womyn and New York-native from the Lower East Side and El Barrio. She’s been passionate about Marijuana Policy Reform since she was a student at New Design High School. She was motivated by the ways in which the racist War on Drugs has impacted her family and community; so she draws her inspiration from the Young Lord’s and the Black Panther Party in hopes to bring community together to build power, love and heal. She recently graduated the Green Worker’s Cooperative Academy and CoFed Summer Coop Academy, non-profit organizations supporting people of color in starting their own worker cooperatives. Emily co-founded ¡High Mi Madre! LLC. A womyn and femme of color Marijuana consumer worker-owned cooperative. Emily comes to this work recognizing that people of color have always been farmers and practitioners who have historically utilized this flower for medicinal and wellness purposes. She hopes to be a part of a movement of people of color and communities affected by the failed War on Drugs to help build, create, and sustain a legal and equitable Adult-use and comprehensive Medical Marijuana Program in NY State.
Joseph “Joe” Rivera is a native New Yorker born in the neighborhood of Sunset Park. Being born to Puerto Rican parents, one parent being physically disabled and him being born with a learning disability himself. He has seen and understands how easily people in the minority get over looked and brushed aside. He has worked in the cooperative community since 2015. He is the first Chairperson of Alianza CUSP Inc, a collective of worker cooperative located in Sunset Park. He continues to support worker owners/ people of color through programs provided by Alianza CUSP.
Zara Serabian-Arthur is a non-fiction filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. In both her independent and commissioned work, she is committed to helping others tell their stories and using media strategically as a means to shift narratives and support social justice movements.
Zara is a co-writer/co-director of the collective’s award-winning feature documentaries, Stages and Brasslands, as well as many independent documentary shorts, including Consensus and Into the Streets. She has also directed, produced and edited dozens of commissioned short films, collaborating closely with non-profits, foundations and grassroots organizations, including the Tenement Museum, the Participatory Budgeting Project, Ford Foundation, Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung and Make the Road New York among many others. Alongside her filmmaking work, Zara worked as a teaching artist and arts program administrator in schools and community centers across New York City for over ten years. She has been a member of Meerkat Media Collective since 2006.
Andrea Jácome, Communications Manager
Andrea Jácome is an herbalist, writer, cultural organizer/educator, and descendant of farmers, weavers & hustlers from the coasts and mountains of so-called Colombia and Ecuador. Coming from a background in cultural organizing as the former Creative Director at Girls Rock Philly and other art/educational projects in Philly and Colombia — she comes to NYC NOWC with an interest in narrative, strategic communications & design as a means of stewarding a culture shift guided by cooperation over competition, collectivism over individualism, eco over ego. She carries a BA in History & Latin American Studies from Swarthmore College. She is also the creator behind Cocarosa Apothecary.
Emmanuel Pardilla, Membership Director
Emmanuel (he/el) is a communist, vegan, writer and the son of black poor-working class Dominican immigrants that found their way to the US after enduring years of dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. He is a volunteer tenant organizer with a grassroots mass organization known as the South Bronx Tenants Movement where he organizes Black and Brown tenants in his neighborhood of Mott Haven. Being involved in a range organizing fights throughout the years has shaped and molded his worldview and commitment to social change. He graduated with his Master in Labor studies from the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. And in his free time, you’ll find him either riding his bike around or out of the city, or chilling at the Uptown Veg juice bar drinking a random natural juice with a lot of ginger.
Tamara Shapiro, Director of Programs
Tamara Shapiro is co-creator of the InterOccupy network, which has facilitated democratic, interactive conference calls that have led to regional and national actions, conferences and multi-city events. Later, Tammy helped initiate Occupy Sandy and now works on two projects that grew out of that network: Rockaway Wildfire, and Worker-Owned Rockaway Cooperatives (WORCs) a worker-owned coop incubation project with residents hit by the hurricane. She also works for the Murphy Institute for Labor Studies.
Sadé Swift, Interim Advocacy Council Coordinator
Sade Swift (she/they) is a queer Black Dominican freedom fighter who has been organizing for the last 10 years. A graduate of The New School, she founded the Generation Citizen New School chapter and seminar class called Becoming Generation Citizen, which trains college students to work in middle school and high school classrooms to find solutions for community issues. She believes that in order to create real systemic change and dismantle the systems of oppression that we are working under, we must first start with young people. Sade has received many awards for her social justice work on and off campus. One that she is particularly proud about is the Gural Scholars Scholarship that has allowed her to travel to Colombia, twice to work with Afro-Colombian communities around the Peace Process, displacement, and ancestral land preservation. While in Colombia, she facilitated multiple conversations around gentrification, women inequalities within institutions, microaggressions in universities, gun violence, mass incarceration and those are just to name a few. She was involved with Sadie Nash since the summer of 2011, participating in six programs and as a mentor for two programs. Sade was also a member of Girls Write Now and served on the Youth Board for four years. In the Fall of 2016, she joined the Green Party as the campaign manager for the Vice Presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka, making her one of the youngest campaign managers in U.S. history. Sade’s latest work includes developing two worker-owned cooperative business, Cards by De, a handmade greeting card cooperative and Rebellious Root , a consulting cooperative working towards justice and social change through training, curriculum design and intentional conversations.
Saduf Syal, Coordinating Director, NYC NOWC
Saduf has worked within various community-based organizations throughout New York City for over a decade as a community organizer, direct service provider, and cooperative developer. Prior to joining NYC NOWC, she focused on building competent workforce development services that aimed to address the needs of immigrants through integrating workers’ rights and occupational health and safety training, narrowing the gap between communities and other workforce organizations, government agencies, unions, and academic institutions, and finally, through working with community members for the development of worker cooperatives that seek to create quality jobs with living wages.
In her current role at NYC NoWC, she hopes to contribute to building a strong network and movement of worker cooperatives in the city. Saduf holds a BA from New York University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University where she focused on Latin American, Caribbean and South Asian studies, economic and political development, and global labor issues. She is Pakistani-American and a strong believer in worker control and workplace democracy.