SI 2013 Speaker bios

John W. Bennett is former president and current treasurer of Massachusetts Senior Action Council, as well as president of the Greater Springfield Chapter of MSAC.  John is a retired labor educator who taught at Indiana University and Empire State College (SUNY).  He serves on the executive committee of Western Massachusetts Jobs with Justice and the Social Work Advisory Board of Elms College. He has been a member of the American Federation of Teachers for over fifty years.

Daphne Berry is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management and Marketing at the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business. In the courses she teaches, her students learn about different modes of governance and multiple perspectives when studying people and organizations. In 2009, Daphne received an Aspen Institute award for her dissertation proposal on outcomes to workers and businesses in different types of home health aide organization, one a cooperative. Her talk is about the results of that research.

Suezanne Bruce, a native Bostonian, is a activist in dynamic urban communities that face economic, social, and political oppression. Suezanne currently serves as Deputy Director of the Boston Workers Alliance where she directs the Boston Staffing Alliance (BSA).  BSA is an alternative staffing agency whose mission is to reverse CORI discrimination and the joblessness crises in Boston’s communities of color.  She previously served as the first elected woman Chairperson for Board of Directors of the Boston Workers’ Alliance, Inc.. Suezanne is multi-faceted and continues to educate about the right to raise a family and ways to exercise the ability to live productively.

Amber Cano-Martin is an Administrative Organizer with 1199SEIU, representing personal care attendants (PCAs) in Holyoke and surrounding areas in Western Massachusetts in their fight for dignity and better wages and benefits. Her activism began in the anti-globalization and student anti-sweatshop movement. She then moved to Guatemala to work with a non-profit organization for nearly 3 years, and also lived and worked briefly with an organization in El Salvador before returning to the U.S. to get her Masters in International Education from UMass Amherst.

Martina Carroll is the Systems Advocate at Stavros where she  is responsible for monitoring, research and advocacy on a range of issues important to people with disabilities at the local, state and Federal levels.  She has spent a lot of time in school but her most important learning occurred during and after a decade long period of unemployment caused by adult onset disabilities and her entrance into the disability rights movement.

Tony Dunn is the AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison assigned to the North Shore Labor Council. He has won numerous awards for community service and also founded a contextualized vocational ESOL program in Lynn. He is a Workforce and Economic Development Specialist for the council. Dunn is also Program Director for the E-Team Machinist Training Program in Lynn and is an instructor in the program. Dunn currently is developing a Worker-owned manufacturing cooperative. This model will encompass training in machining as well as community service spurring other new cooperatives in the City and region.

Asher Dvir-Djerasssi is senior at Hampshire College, who has studied economics and public policy and interned at the National Priorities Project. He is writing his Senior Thesis on the history and economics of a guaranteed minimum income in the US. His current research is dealing with the potential general equilibrium effects of a GMI in the US.

Jonathon Feinberg is a transplant to the North Shore of MA, and has been studying cooperatives and solidarity economy in relation to community economic development for the past two years.  He has an MA from Tufts’ department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning,  is a community leader with Working America and the New Lynn Coalition, and is a member of the US Solidarity Economy Network.

Nancy Folbre has taught economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and also been involved with the Center for Popular Economics for almost thirty years. She has published a considerable amount of academic research on caring labor, and writes regularly on this and other topics for the New York Times Economix blog.

Gerald Friedman is a Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is the author of State-Making and Labor Movements. The United States and France, 1876-1914 (1998), Reigniting the Labor Movement: Restoring means to ends in a democratic labor movement (2008), and many articles on labor history, economic history, and labor economics. He has consulted widely with advocates of single-payer health care financing, and with labor unions.

Vanna Gonzales is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Her primary research and teaching interests include the comparative development and reform of the welfare state, the formation and governance of social care markets, and the role of the social solidarity economy in community development. She co-edited Cooperatives and Community Development (Routledge, 2013) and her current research focuses on social cooperatives and social service partnerships in northern Italy.

Dr. Michael R. Grey graduated from Harvard College and obtained his medical degree from the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine.  He completed a Primary Care Internal Medicine residency at Cambridge Hospital in Massachusetts and then obtained his master’s degree in public health at the University of Washington. He is board certified in internal medicine and occupational/environmental medicine and practiced and taught in both disciplines at the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine for many years.   His scholarly interests are in the history of American health policy, medical education, and occupational/environmental health.

Lynn A. Hatch received her Ph.D. in economics from UMass Amherst and teaches at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. Her research interests include the low wage labor market, including childcare, and the relationship between turnover and worker voice. She has worked for the Urban Institute, Massachusetts Institute for Social and Economic Research (MISER) and with the Graduate Employee Organization, Local 2322 UAW.

Thomas Herndon is a doctoral student in economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a staff economist for the CPE. His research interests include political economy, macroeconomics, inequality, financial institutions and public debt.

Karen Higgins is an outspoken critic of the current health care system and its impact on nurses and patients who brings a wealth of experience as a leader and spokesperson within the Massachusetts Nurses Association on a variety of issues. Higgins was a driving force behind MNA efforts to disaffiliate from the American Nurses Association in order to pursue an independent, more progressive agenda to address the crisis faced by nurses today. She is now co-president of National Nurses United, the largest nurses union in the United States.

Kursten Holabird graduated from the University of Washington in 2003 with a Masters in Public Administration. She currently works for the national office of the Service Employees International Union as the New England Child Care Campaign Coordinator. For the past decade she has worked in the child care division of SEIU in Washington state-SEIU Local 925 which represents 7,000 child care workers, primarily family child care providers.  She has held a variety of positions as an organizer, policy specialist, lobbyist and field director. She recently moved from Seattle and lives in Amherst with her husband and two kids.

Kiaran Honderich is an AIDS activist and lecturer in social studies at Harvard University. She has taught economics and women’s studies at Williams College, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Massachusetts, and worked from 1999-2000 as  an economist with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in Johannesburg. She received her Ph.D from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her current work is on African women fighting AIDS, and on the impact of the US prison system on women and children.

Emily Kawano is an economist and the Director of the Center for Popular Economics and the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network. She serves as a Board member of RIPESS (the Intercontinental Social Solidarity Economy Network). In Northern Ireland, she founded a popular economics program with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, was part of the N.I. Social Economy Network Working Group, and worked with Belfast Community Development Agencies to develop and deliver social economy training.

Mr. Jose A Molina is Chaplain, a Veteran and member of numerous organizations in Springfield. He was born in Ponce, PR. For nine years, he has been an active member of Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N). Molina has worked in every election by door knocking and making phone banking. For the Special Senate election, he was part of the N2N group that identified about 1,300 voters in Springfield. He is mentor to many and is part of the American Medical Response in Springfield. For over 40 years Mr. Molina has been  part of the great group that is building a Progressive Movement nationwide.

Kimberly Otis has held leadership positions with private foundations, non-profits, associations, and women’s organizations for over twenty-five years.  Since 2008 she is Senior Advisor to the Center for Partnership Studies and is Director of its Caring Economy Campaign, where she has achieved significant organizational growth.  Previously, Otis was Executive Director of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, President of Women & Philanthropy, Executive Director of the Rauch Foundation, founding Executive Director of The Sister Fund, and Director of Research and Development for Nontraditional Employment for Women.

Elsie Sanchez N2N organizer Springfield, MA. Elsie is a Pastor and the Co-Founder of New England International Chaplaincy. Elsie has been with N2N for over three years, but has been involved in Social and Economic Justice for over 23 years. She is very interested in following the model of Participatory Democracy, especially on Participatory Budgeting. Her goal is to empower women to become leaders into their own communities, religious, municipal and political.

Steve Schnapp has designed and led UFE’s popular economics education workshops and training of trainer events around the country, since 1998. He has nearly 40 years experience as a community- and labor-based organizer, educator, and activist in New York City and the Greater Boston area. Steve taught Community Organizing at the Boston University School of Social Work and Springfield College/School of Human Services. Steve gets support and encouragement from his lifelong partner, Honey Schnapp, his daughters, Tania and Jessie, and his granddaughter Zuzu.

Natalicia Tracy is the Executive Director of the Brazilian Immigrant Center in Boston.  She is the co-founder of the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers.  She is also a Boston University Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, studying immigration policy and family among Brazilian immigrants in Boston and Lisbon.  She is a member of the MTA and teaches Sociology at UMass Boston.  She serves on the board of WILD, the National Domestic Worker Alliance, and Massachusetts Jobs with Justice.  Recently she was awarded the National Petra Award for being an unsung hero in the struggle for social justice.

Ann Withorn worked for over 35 years as a Professor of Social Policy at the College of Public and Community Service (CPCS), University of Massachusetts/Boston. There she taught and organized with working class and low income adult students in an alternative, non-traditional College. For 40 years she has been involved with social and welfare rights movements for economic justice, labor and women’s rights, against racism in the US, and against global Neoliberalism. Now retired, her current goal is to engage in “radical re-entry” into the Movement, by reconnecting with activist friends and new comrades from the wide array of progressive movements around the US and elsewhere.