A message from outgoing Executive Director Jennifer Flynn:
We have exciting news: Last week, our Board of Directors named Alyssa Aguilera and Jeremy Saunders the new Co-Executive Directors of VOCAL-NY!
Jeremy has been the Lead Organizer at VOCAL-NY for eight years, where he oversees our community organizing, leadership development, and campaign work. He has worked as a professional organizer in NYC for fifteen years, training and supervising dozens of community organizers and winning major victories that have improved the lives of tens of thousands of low-income New Yorkers across the city and state. His brother, a former member of ACT UP New York and long-time AIDS activist, was one of his inspirations for coming to work at VOCAL-NY.
Alyssa came to VOCAL-NY three years ago as our Political Director, leading our government relations, advocacy, and communications work. Since joining our team, she’s also managed our campaigns to reform discriminatory policing practices, create alternatives to the drug war, and address the collateral consequences of mass incarceration. In 2014, Alyssa became the Executive Director of our sister 501(c)4 organization, VOCAL-NY Action Fund, where we house our electoral organizing that has helped elect progressive candidates in Albany and City Hall.
I would not be leaving unless I knew for certain that the organization was in good hands – and with Alyssa and Jeremy at the helm, along with our talented and dynamic staff, there’s no doubt that VOCAL-NY will continue its legacy of winning for many years to come.
Last year, I returned as Executive Director of VOCAL-NY to help guide the organization through a critical transition. I loved the opportunity to re-join the organization I co-founded sixteen years ago and was blown away by the tremendous work that was happening in every corner of the organization.
In 2015 alone, we passed groundbreaking laws like the NYC Fair Chance Act that revamped the job application process so that people with criminal records will have a better shot at employment. We moved forward bold, visionary ideas like a Plan to End AIDS in NY by 2020 and won funding commitments from Governor Cuomo & Mayor de Blasio to turn the plan into a reality. We launched a new organizing project to combat the growing homelessness crisis in our city and won 35,000 new units of supportive housing across New York State. We trained hundreds of New Yorkers on overdose prevention and distributed thousands of sterile syringes, condoms, and other public health tools. We grew our budget by 20%, our staff by 25%, and continue to broaden and deepen our membership base.
As you can imagine, this is a transformative place to work. I can’t convey how incredible it has been to come back home and work with such an amazing array of passionate activists who are changing New York and the world for the better.
Even though I’m transitioning out of my role as Executive Director, I’m committed to remaining an active supporter and donor to VOCAL-NY, and I hope you will too. Please consider donating online to VOCAL-NY or, to directly support our political advocacy, the VOCAL-NY Action Fund (contributions to our 501(c)4 are not tax deductible).
If you’d like to stay in contact with me, you can reach me at my personal email or by phone at 917-517-5202. Thank you for all the support over the years. I will definitely continue to see you in the streets.