About Board of Directors
Lawrence Barriner II (Chair)
Lawrence is a communications strategist, connector, and systems thinker. He loves quotes, facilitating groups and processes, baking bread, feeding his worms, and cooking/eating good food with good friends. His current work includes communications and narrative strategy at the Community Innovators Lab at MIT and running a productivity coaching practice. His previous work includes food systems & food justice research and consulting, web design, and graphic design. He plays a lot of volleyball, keeps busy with a million side projects, writes daily, and has a weekly newsletter. He has an undergraduate and graduate degree, both in City Planning, from MIT. www.lawrencebarrinerii.com/
Miabi Chatterji is a Senior Grants Manager at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice. She has been participating in and supporting cross-issue movements for justice for more than a dozen years. In the past she has been Co-Director of Grants at Resist, a public foundation with a 45+ year history of funding intersectional social movements, and Senior Program Officer for Astraea's LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund. She has worked with organizations such as Manavi for South Asian Women, UAW Local 2110, Restaurant Opportunities Center NY, and received much of her formative political training through Youth Solidarity Summer, a (now on hiatus) inter-generational collective of South Asian activists in the New York area creating youth political education. Miabi has a PhD in American Studies from NYU, where she studied and taught in the fields of race, gender, sexuality, labor, and immigration. She is a dogless dog-lover, has become terribly dependent on hot sauce of all kinds, and loves working with data to make everyone's experiences with Astraea better and smoother.
Joby Gelbspan (Treasurer)
Joby has organized for decades against many forms of oppression and abuse, especially those perpetrated with the power and shield of big corporations. She especially loves to share financial tools and analysis to help people build strategic and sustainable movements, individually and organizationally. She has served a range of groups in roles from adviser to director to CFO, and currently coordinates corporate research and financial analysis for Corporate Accountability International’s grassroots campaigns. She also teaches on politically-informed investing, and shows up in her local Providence community in as many other ways as her limited human form will allow.
Kendra Hicks (Clerk)
Kendra is a first generation Afro-Latina and is committed to building resilience in communities and capacity in organizations to better center the leadership of those most impacted by structural inequities. A deep spiritual practice, capoeira angola, and snarky humor keep her grounded in the work. She's your local radical negra.
Lisa Owens is the Executive Director at City Life Vida Urbana. City Life's principal work is to defend against forced displacement and to work toward community control of land and housing.
A long time Boston resident, Lisa has been active in movement building groups for 25 years and has helped to start and/or nurture a number of local grassroots groups and projects led by people of color. As an activist and an educator, Lisa participates in projects that study the roots of economic inequality in the US and that offer alternative visions for true economic democracy. She has taught courses on structural racism and US social welfare policy, participatory action research, community organizing, designing community projects, and nonprofit management at Boston University and Springfield College. Lisa is currently a board member of the Coalition of Occupied Homes in Foreclosure (COHIF), where she is working to build the Boston Neighborhood Community Land Trust, an anti-displacement land trust linked to local tenant organizing struggles.
Nisha Purushotham is an artist, cultural worker and facilitator passionate about the intersections between creative, spiritual and cultural practices, inner transformation, and radical movements of transformative change. Since 2000, she has facilitated interdisciplinary workshops and residencies with over 70 grassroots groups, non-profit organizations, urban public and charter schools, arts institutions, universities, and youth detention programs. In the next chapter of her life she hopes to strengthen her skills in South Indian cooking, memoir writing, ultimate frisbee, and collective visioning and transformative practices that honor diverse ways of being, knowing, doing, and valuing,
Maanav Thakore has dedicated his life to facilitating the evolution of social justice work and culture with a keen focus on racial justice efforts. He is a self-described “transformative systems nerd” and has spent more than a decade leading change processes in support of countless individuals, organizations, networks and municipalities.
Maanav has lived, learned, worked and organized in Louisiana, New Mexico, Connecticut, Minnesota, Colorado and Massachusetts. In every part of the country he has lived, learned loved and been shaped by the deep lifelong relationships he’s forged in the social justice and arts communities. His primary focus has been on developing thousands of intersectional racial justice leaders across many sectors and consulting with over one hundred organizations to live their values and integrate them to day to day programs and operations. He is an expert facilitator with an organizer’s heart and has extensive experience leading winning campaigns, applying network theory to movement building and developing cultural change strategies. Most recently as Senior Associate at Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC), with their collaborative change lens of “Power/Networks/Love” he helped build the capacity of organizations, networks, cities and foundations across the country through large-scale racial equity initiatives.
He is currently launching a co-op consulting firm focused on advancing racial equity and gender justice in nonprofits, tech, media and sports leagues. In addition to being a profoundly impactful change agent, Maanav is a deejay, multi-instrumentalist, holistic-foods chef, and father to two beautiful children.