We are a group of organizers, educators, visionaries, cultural workers, thinkers and fighters committed to the systemic transformation of a society rooted in equity, justice and human dignity.

 

Claudia De La Cruz

Co-Executive Director

Claudia was born in the South Bronx to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic. She is a popular educator, community organizer and theologian. In her role as Co-Executive Director at The People’s Forum, Claudia is committed to contribute her experiences and skills in the creation of cultural-educational space with organizers, educators and cultural workers/artists to continue producing, promoting and uplifting the cultural traditions that nourish and strengthen our communities in our struggles towards social justice.

For over 20 years, she has been committed to movement building, and has actively participated in collective grassroots spaces, particularly in the communities of Washington Heights and The South Bronx.

Claudia was Pastor of her home-church, Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas-UCC- a community church rooted in the traditions of Latin American Liberation Theology and grassroots organizing. Through her ministry she found her passion, and has dedicated most of her life to the leadership development of youth through political education and culture.

In 2004, she co- founded Da Urban Butterflies Youth Leadership Development Project (D.U.B). Her experiences in D.U.B informed her participation in the development of cultural and political education programing at The Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDAC-BX) for almost 5 years.  

Contact Claudia at claudia@peoplesforum.org

Manolo De Los Santos

Co-Executive Director

Manolo is a popular educator and organizer from the Caribbean. He is committed to the radical transformation of the world at the hands of the poor and oppressed. Versed in the histories of struggle and methodologies of education, Manolo seeks to engage a new generation of visionaries and fighters.

Before joining TPF, he organized solidarity and education programs in Latin America. When in need of leisure time, nothing makes him happier than the fresh breeze of the Caribbean and good books at hand.

Contact Manolo at manolo.e@peoplesforum.org

Layan Fuleihan

Education Director

Layan is a popular educator, organizer, and lifelong student of historical and contemporary struggles of the oppressed. Layan developed her educational approach while working with youth and families in schools, libraries, and community and feminist organizations. In her role at TPF, she is committed to developing political education programming and resources to support the building of working class, internationalist movements.

Layan approaches her work with optimism and the conviction that a world free from the control of imperialism and capitalism is possible. When not studying or organizing, Layan cooks for friends, enjoys poetry, and dreams of returning to a liberated Palestine.

Contact Layan at layan.f@peoplesforum.org

Tahia Islam

Education Coordinator

Tahia Islam is an organizer, activist, and sometimes writer, born and raised in Queens, New York City to immigrants from Bangladesh. Her experiences growing up in a working class family in the most international neighborhood in the US, has deeply informed her commitment to community organizing, education for liberation, and workers’ rights.

In her role as Education Coordinator, Tahia studies contemporary and historical movements, manages 1804 Books, and coordinates political education programming designed to build solidarity between our struggles. Tahia studied Media and Global & Urban Education at NYU, studying things from social media surveillance to Freiran-based education spaces and worker cooperatives in Buenos Aires.

Outside of work she is tending to plants, thrifting, reading, and eating with friends: samosas, tamales, dosas, empanadas, arepas, and momos from street carts in Jackson Heights.

David Chung

General Manager

David is the General Manager at The People’s Forum where he handles administrative responsibilities and supports the effective operation of The People’s Forum.

David was born in Korea, immigrated at the age of three, and grew up in Woodside, NY. Before joining TPF, David held roles in development, advocacy campaign coordination, and community organizing in various organizations. David first started organizing in 2012 because of his lived experiences as an immigrant.

A graduate of Hunter College yet he credits his political education and principles to movement organizers and working class communities. During his free time, David enjoys being outdoors and taking long walks with his dog.

Contact David at david.c@peoplesforum.org

Rita Henderson

Operations Manager

Growing up in the most impoverished area in North Philadelphia, Rita Henderson was involved with community organizing since a child in the Kensignton/Badlands neighborhood. At 16, Rita became a teen mom and broke a ton of barriers proving to the society that she was more than just a statistic. She has led movement-building and popular education initiatives in the cities of Philadelphia, PA; Washington DC; Saint Louis, MO; Oakland, CA; and New York, NY.

Rita Henderson graduated with her Bachelors of Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with organizations such as TechActivist.Org, the Popular Education Project, and currently sits on the board of Tricontinental – An Institute for Social Research. She is passionate about empowering her community with knowledge, abolishing prisons, and ending poverty.

Contact Rita at rita.h@peoplesforum.org

Yuwei Pan

Communications Coordinator

Yuwei believes that art is a tool to make the unimaginable and invisible into the tangible and believable, and to invigorate radical re-imagination of our future. Born and raised in Fujian, China, they arrived in the United States at 18 to pursue an education in Fine Art at Washington University in St. Louis and recently completed her Master’s at NYU Gallatin in Speculative Design and Social Change.

Yuwei organized NYU grad workers towards a historical strike in Spring 2021 as the organizing co-chair and served later as a unit representative for GSOC-UAW2110. As the Communications Coordinator, Yuwei leads content and communications strategy and helps build relationships with the press, supporters, and our member organizations around the world.

You can reach Yuwei at .

Bryant Diaz

Communications Assistant

Bryant is from Washington Heights and the son of Dominican immigrants. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science at New York University, and has a passion for digital media. As Communications Assistant Bryant routinely creates graphic designs and animations while also practicing photography and videography. Before joining The People’s Forum, he was producing content for local nonprofits uptown New York.

Currently, his favorite foods are pernil, cachapas, and soup dumplings. He’s excited to build a new community of people, engage in new activities and work with the incredible team at The People’s Forum.

Contact Bryant at bryant.d@peoplesforum.org

Miya Tada

Research Assistant

Miya is originally from the Bay Area and is a budding student of and organizes around abolition and workers solidarity here in New York. She studied East Asian Studies at Barnard College. She is passionate about working to dismantle the elite class and building community care networks.

In her free time she is trying to read too many things at once, sharing food with friends, or making art. Before this, Miya has worked at coalition-based non-profits like the New York Immigration Coalition and the Coalition of Asian American Children and Families.

Reynaldo García Pantaleón

Art Space Manager

Reynaldo was born in the Dominican Republic and has been a New Yorker since 1995. He currently serves as the Elizabeth Catlett Art Space and Printmaking Studio manager.

He studied Arts at the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo and The Art Students League of New York. His works have been part of numerous group shows both in the Dominican Republic and abroad.

His artworks are part of private collections throughout the world and important public collections, among them: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC, El Museo Del Barrio, NY and El Museo Latino, Omaha, Nebraska.

He also works with The Hispanic Society of America, Alianza Cultural Center, The Gregorio Luperon HS and IS 52 as an After School and Special Sessions Teaching Artist and Mural Instructor.

Mary Gana

Accountant

Mary Gana was born and raised in Nigeria. Having traveled from Nigeria to the United States to exult in her independence, Mary graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. After planning a one month vacation to NYC, she fell in love with the city and decided to stay and began working. Prior to joining The People’s Forum she worked at a few start ups in the finance and accounting departments.

In her role as the staff accountant, she will manage the accounts receivables and payables, track budgets and financials and oversee other tasks as it relates to the finances and accounting of TPF.

Mary considers herself an ambivert and a spicy -food connoisseur, she loves to cook, travel, mediate and spend time with friends. She’s excited about connecting and building relationships with people from all backgrounds, because she believes there is beauty in diversity.

Contact Mary at mary.g@peoplesforum.org

Andy Damas

Janitor

Andy was born and raised in Haiti, then migrated to New York to better himself. He found an opportunity at Goddard Riverside as a custodian where he worked for several years. As a Janitor at The People’s Forum, he brings his experience and knowledge to get the job done effectively and efficiently.

Prior to working at TPF, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in health service administration and learned many ways to help people. Andy is a passionate and dedicated individual who on his spare time enjoys working at his church helping people with language translation and computers. Andy is a people person who enjoys working with and helping others.

Contact Andy at andy.d@peoplesforum.org