Building power

For Black and Brown Working Class Detroiters.

Ammara Ansari

Development & New Initiatives Director

Ammara has experience in organizing, political fundraising, learning and evaluation in philanthropy, and in non-profit to create convening spaces for local and regional governments across the country to imagine a world where racial justice was our reality. She got her political start as an organizer for the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign, which motivated her to engage with and serve historically underserved communities. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Honors in Politics from the University of Virginia in 2016, and her Masters in Public Policy from the University of Michigan in 2019. In her current role, Ammara is focused on fundraising and grantmaking strategies in partnership with our members who are at the forefront of the movement for equality for black and brown lives.

Anthony Baber

Communications and Culture Director

Anthony is a storyteller, a concert-chaser, a lover of cats, and the Director of Communications & Culture for Detroit Action. Having grown up in Michigan, Anthony developed a strong sense of community and the importance of uplifting those without a voice. After college, he moved to Seoul, South Korea, initially to teach English as a second language, then eventually hosting a music show for a local radio station. Since returning to Michigan in 2019, Anthony turned his focus to organizing and empowering local Black & Brown communities with an emphasis on collaboration and the arts. His experiences, both at home and abroad, have informed his perspective as an organizer, centering deep relationship-building, equitable practices, and joy.

Alissa Barrett

Data Director

Alissa grew up in Central Michigan and got her start working in Flint for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign in 2016. Since then she has worked with national and state electoral campaigns, vendors in the progressive data space, and with a paid field firm in Washington DC. Alissa returned to Michigan with the goal of supporting and growing the effectiveness of data on progressive issues in her home state. Serving as Detroit Action’s Data Director, she hopes to spread knowledge and data skills among progressive orgs that work directly with the community. Alissa’s personal interests include history, philosophy, baking, Legos, and her beloved frenchie, Bean.

Cynthia Bell

Community Organizer

Ms. Cynthia is a mother of two girls and two boys and the second oldest of 8 sisters. She is a Leader and an empowered Black woman always ready to fight for change. She lost her oldest son to a rare form of cancer called Neuroblastoma back in 1994, at the age of 20, which sent her into a deep state of depression and the decision of turning to drugs. After struggling with addiction for many years, she placed herself in a treatment center in January 2009. She is now 15 years clean, as of January 9, 2024, and an organizer with Detroit Action. Here she helps people struggling with addiction through Detroit Action’s User Union (Action for a Better Life) offering harm reduction, mental health services, referrals to treatment centers, and words of encouragement.

LaToya Bell

Field Organizer

LaToya is a longtime organizer and Detroit native, born and raised. At the young age of 15, she endured the life-altering experience of being shot and was told by doctors she may never walk again. After a long recovery from physical, mental, and emotional pain, LaToya not only regained the strength to walk, but made the choice to help other young people in need, especially teen mothers like herself. In 2010, she began organizing by assisting families and individuals in need of food, water, clothing, identification cards, and much more to help them improve their circumstances. This same commitment to caring for community is what led her to join Detroit Action. LaToya credits the positive changes in her life to her daughter, whom she adores deeply, and to God for giving her another chance. She has spent years organizing and canvassing, but sees all of this work as only the beginning to create the financial growth and stability our communities need.

Piper Carter

Culture & Training Coordinator

Bio coming soon!

Randi Foust

Programs Director

Randi is a former Marine, bonus person of two amazing girls, sister, partner, avid reader, and dog mom. As a lifelong Michigander who personally experienced the impacts of housing insecurity, poverty, and lack of mental health resources, Randi rejoined the civilian workforce with an intense desire to radically change the systems which perpetuate these injustices. Since returning to Michigan from active-duty service in 2013, Randi has worked in community mental health, mobile unit COVID response, and community outreach. After her involvement with the mobile unit in Detroit and bearing witness to the gross inequities that the pandemic worsened, she decided to do more. Through her experiences at Detroit Action, Randi has become devoted to building relationships, fighting for accessibility & inclusivity, centering the most impacted, and being a partner in the struggle of black & brown Detroiters; building power and uplifting the voices of the community.

Remeta Hicks

Chief of Staff

Bio Coming Soon!

Scott Holiday

Political Director

Scott earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Alabama A&M University (HBCU). He then continued his education and earned a Master of Arts in Social Justice from Marygrove College in Detroit, MI. Throughout his career, he has acquired extensive experience in leading, training, coaching, and developing teams, managing multi million dollar budgets, talent management and development, Labor and Community Organizing, nonprofit administration, and public policy, electoral campaigns, and advocacy. Scott has served as Chief of Staff and Political Director at the Services Employees International Union (SEIU Healthcare Michigan), Political Director at American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, and Special Projects Coordinator at the Wayne County Department of Health Department, and now Political and Policy Director at Detroit Action. Scott is also a member of the Board of Trustees at Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) and a Bold – Rockwood Organizational, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow (2020).

James Johnson Jr.

Coalitions Director

James is a Pontiac, MI native and dedicated family man, committed to positively impacting communities. Prior to joining Detroit Action, he worked in government at the Municipal, State and Federal level, most recently as Chief of Staff at the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. Having worked in elected politics for the past several years, James saw that a few well organized, issue-educated, issue-impacted groups of people can make a real difference, and he wanted to be a part of that difference. While searching for a way to make an impact at the human level without bureaucratic hindrance, his conversations with Detroit Action members highlighted the value of ground level power building. James has seen coalitions in Michigan have a massive impact on elections and now with DA and groups like the Rent Is Too Damn High Coalition, he sees the opportunity to hold elected officials accountable and truly shape policy.

William Lawrence

Statewide Housing Organizer

Will is an organizer and political strategist from Lansing, MI. He is thrilled to be joining Detroit Action to coordinate the MI Rent Is Too Damn High coalition. Before getting into tenant organizing, Will spent 10 years organizing youth and students around climate change. He was a founder and national Partnerships Director of Sunrise Movement, the group that put the Green New Deal on the agenda. In addition to his tenant organizing, Will hosts the Hegemonicon podcast at Convergence Magazine, and he is also a resident and board member of the Spartan Housing Cooperative. Will is here to build power and implement a progressive governing agenda for Michigan.

Jerome Moore

Finance Director

Bio Coming Soon!

Alejandro Navarrete

Research and Policy Director

Alex grew up in Southwest Detroit, after immigrating from Northern Mexico at the age of four, and continues to live in the good ol’ 48209. He started his career in economic development work but desired to be closer to everyday residents who were interested in driving change in the city. To that end, Alex started looking for work in more progressive spaces like the Detroit Justice Center. There, he found common goals with Detroit Action and took on the opportunity to continue supporting grassroots organizing while developing his technical data and research skills. Alex’s life joys include visiting places that have anything to do with food, such as restaurants, grocery stores, and urban gardens, and learning about the history of what brought others to Detroit and what makes a certain neighborhood home for someone. Through research supporting organizing, he hopes to empower those with the courage to speak truth to power and take on disinformation.

Isaiah Oliver

Field Director

Originally from Baltimore, MD, Isaiah has immersed himself in field canvassing and organizing endeavors since 2012. Throughout his journey, Isaiah has had the honor of leading field programs across various states, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Kentucky. However, Michigan holds a special place in his heart. Since 2017, Isaiah has dedicated his efforts to running field and member programs in the state, contributing to significant legislative victories during his tenure as the Field Director for SEIU Michigan. Notable achievements include Michigan’s “triple blue” status and the election/re-election of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Now, at Detroit Action, Isaiah is eager to continue his mission of advancing Michigan’s growth, nurturing resilient communities, and expanding opportunities for the hardworking individuals who propel our neighborhoods forward.

Ja’Vay Palmer

Field Organizer

Ja’Vay (she/her/Jai) has been a community organizer with Detroit Action since 2019. She was born in Detroit Michigan and grew up in Highland Park, graduating from Highland Park high school. She is a Mother of 3LW (3 little women) ages 16, 10, & 5 who she loves to life. Ja’Vay was introduced to Detroit Action at a Soup Kitchen meeting, seeking help to obtain a birth certificate. She so enjoyed the information presented by organizers that she instantly got involved and 4 years later is still organizing. A highlight for Ja’Vay is the win for abortion rights secured for Michigan in 2022, because she has daughters who can’t yet vote for their needs. She loves to write poetry & listen to music that changes her mood. Due to unjustified situations seen locally, Ja’Vay believes in building power within the community and seeing equity everywhere. She continues to envision a world where we have equity over equality and everyone can get along.

Alejandra Roel

Lead Organizer

Alejandra became an organizer after four years of working in political mobilizing where she helped candidates get elected into office. After seeing firsthand that it takes much more than elections to make real lasting change in our community, she joined Detroit Action’s field team in 2021. As a child, Alejandra migrated to Detroit from the Texas-Mexico border, where she experienced state sanctioned violence, poverty and racism. When she moved to Detroit at 12 years old, it was unfortunate to see that she’d be experiencing and witnessing similar issues here. The parallels between the oppression faced by a majority hispanic population in Texas and the majority black population here in Detroit, made it clear that black and brown unity is more important now than it ever has been. The injustices that afflict us stem from the same root. Today, at Detroit Action, Alejandra believes that building power in our communities always begins with honest, and often difficult, dialogue with one another. Only through building real trust with one another will we achieve our vision for Detroit.

Tenesa "Ms. Tea" Sanders

Renters & Tenants Organizer

In 2009, Tenesa was introduced to Detroit Action by a neighborhood friend that worked at the gas station. She decided to attend a meeting with the understanding that she was getting a home. When Tenesa sat at this community meeting, she realized that it was grassroots, community-based, and helped community members, one person at a time. Tenesa was very intrigued with community outreach and started off as a part-time member, then went on to volunteer on several committees, which gave her the knowledge and expertise to pursue the positions of chapter president, executive president, and many more. Through hard work and perseverance, Tenesa is now an organizer. She would like to build a base with community members that are open to educate, relate, motivate and engage members in their community that will build power, community impact, and shared values that align city, state, and national levels.

Branden Snyder

Executive Director

Born and raised on Detroit’s East Side to a working-class union family, Branden has been involved in faith, electoral and community organizing projects throughout the United States for over 15 years. Previously, Branden was the Deputy Organizing Director in charge of Youth Voting for the Hillary For Michigan 2016 presidential campaign, the Deputy Campaign Manager for the Garlin Gilchrist for Detroit City Clerk campaign, as well as the Statewide Director of Organizing for Michigan United. Branden’s commitment to democracy and racial justice is fueled, in great part, by his experiences as a Detroiter and that of other Detroiters who have endured poverty and the criminal justice system. He believes in the power of bringing our communities together and challenging leaders to go from victims to victors by engaging the systems and policies that impact our lives. Branden is a graduate of the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor with a B.A. in Political Science and Afro-American studies and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School for Public Policy. Branden also is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity Incorporated and is a die-hard Detroit sports fan (GO BLUE!) filled with a love for dogs, random trivia from “The Simpsons”, Hip-Hop and the NBA.

Amanda Treppa

People and Culture Manager

Joanna Velazquez

Campaigns Manager

Joanna became an organizer after experiencing the impacts of poverty, addiction, and the lack of mental health resources in her home and communities. Coming to Detroit in October of 2000, she and her family moved across the city and Downriver area making school her safe space and giving her the opportunity to graduate from Michigan State University. In 2018, Joanna found her political home with Detroit Action and organizing became a natural fit for her as she found her way back home to figure out how to create the world we deserve to live in. Through her own leader development, Joanna has learned that in order for us to live in a world that allows us to thrive, we must build deep relationships with one another and center the most impacted and vulnerable communities in all of our work and policy. We must learn to see each other’s humanity and fight for the values that allow for the empowerment of Black and brown working class folks both here and abroad.

Vanessa Velazquez

Lead Organizer

Vanessa is a dog mom, sister, Michigan State alumna, organizer, and friend. She moved to Detroit, MI in the fall of 2000 and grew up in the Detroit and Downriver area. Vanessa’s life experiences led her to work full time at Detroit Action in 2018 and eventually take on the lead organizing role. Through her own leader development at Detroit Action, Vanessa learned that not only is it possible, but it is *crucial* that Black and Brown working class people in Detroit are empowered to organize power for themselves to create the world we know we deserve to live in.

Ray Vinson

Community Organizer

Chantel Watkins

Online to Offline Manager

Chantel specializes in engaging people through social media to become volunteers, organizers, and revolutionaries in real life. With over 14 years of experience in organizing, she has worked on issues such as defunding the police, reproductive justice, LGBTQ+ inclusivity, domestic violence, and more. Motivated by the trials and tribulations of her environment, Chantel’s overall goal is to try and take some of the pain out of this world and help people find their voice and strength. Chantel also serves as a Precinct Delegate, 13th Congressional District Chairperson for the Progressive Caucus, Radio Show Host at 910 AM, Ambassador for the United State of Women, and a very happy mom of a toddler and bonus mom of a pre-teen.

Roberta Whigham

Field Organizer

Roberta (aka Ms. Revolutionary) is an Eastside Detroiter and artist with family roots in what’s formerly known in Detroit as Paradise Valley or the Black Bottom. She was inspired to support community needs by her great-grandmother, who also worked as an organizer, and local youth programs that provided education on the Civil Rights Movement and introduced her to Rosa Parks. Over the years, Roberta has taken on numerous community care roles, including delivering meals to seniors, caregiving for family and friends, and serving as a poll worker during elections. While she spends her free time mainly with family and friends, or making music to motivate her community, Roberta also aims to be a part of the change she wants to see in the city of Detroit, through organizing and artistry.

Martissa Williams

People, Culture and Operations Director

Martissa is a Detroit native, passionate about creating a future characterized by liberation and interdependence. They have years of experience in building operational systems for teams, project management and people management. She is fiercely committed to building communities of care and centers Black joy in all of her work. Martissa currently lives in old Cass Corridor with their partner and fur baby.

Jay Williamson

Youth Vote Director

Naadia Wilson

Field Organizer

Naadia is a born-and-raised Detroiter, spending most of her life on the Westside, but having lived all over the city. She first saw Detroit Action’s power at home through the work of her big sister, who was finding unique ways to affect her neighborhood. Naadia was already familiar with community work through joining protests and mentoring youth, but seeing Detroit Action’s values come to life through social justice, economic justice, and creating a political home for Black and Brown communities, made her want to do more. Most important in her life is family, both blood and found members, and the beauty of nature, especially animals. As a Field Organizer, Naadia seeks to uplift ambitious youths ready to take on the world, strengthen communities with necessary education, and see native Detroiters take the lead on what’s needed here in the city.

Renee Wilson

Executive Assistant

Timothy Wilson

Operations Coordinator

Timothy is the Operations Coordinator at Detroit Action, serving as lead on office management systems, administrative tasks, IT support, and logistics vital for the organization’s daily functioning. A proud Detroit native, he brings a passion for organizational development and a commitment to justice and equity to his role. A self-proclaimed citizen of the world, his interests include wall-climbing, expressing his creative side through the arts, exploring diverse cultures through food & travel, plus more. His global perspective fuels his dedication to building connections within and beyond his community. Timothy is not only proficient in managing the intricate details of daily operations at DA, but is also a staunch advocate for positive change. Proudly supporting initiatives that uplift and strengthen communities, he continues to be a driving force behind the organization’s mission.

John Conyers III

Detroit Area Campus Organizer

Bio coming soon!

Hope Marie Delgado

Campus Organizing Manager

Zach Deubel

West MI Campus Organizer

Christian Alverado

Washtenaw Campus Organizer

Trinity Battle

Operations Assistant

Deepa Krishna

Strategic Advisor


Art Reyes


Londell Thomas


Molly Sweeney

Jamila Martin

Kortni Malone


Lauren Mason

Tameka Ramsey

Ekanem Obong

Farhana Aktar

Program Manager

Farhana is a Bangladeshi American, Muslim, woman based in the Detroit area. Growing up in a culture where she was told she wasn’t good enough because of her gender, she faced tremendous challenges that impacted her education and opportunities for success. However, these obstacles strengthened her to become an advocate for her community. She is a proud social worker and program manager at Detroit Action, where she leads programs that empower Black and Brown communities and encourages people to be the change they want to see in the world. Her background and experiences have instilled in her a deep sense of empathy and compassion for others, and she strives to create positive change wherever possible.

Dominique Burton

Community Organizer

Dominique Burton is an organizer, neighbor, sister and a dog mom. She’s from Flint, MI but moved to Detroit to finish her college education at WSU- which she did in the summer of 2019. Following graduation she attended an abolition meeting at Detroit Action where her journey into organizing began. It was the first place she was able to reimagine a better future and then plan the steps to get there. Since then she’s worked on campaigns to defend Detroiters housing rights, elect progressive leaders and to defend democracy.