The Coordinating Committee of the Baltimore Black Worker Center is made up of Black workers, trade unionists, organizers, legal workers, students, and advocates. Together, we represent an inter-generational perspective on Black worker organizing and movements for Black liberation in Baltimore.
Avais Ransom has may years of experience as a workforce developer on Baltimore’s Workforce Investment Board and is currently an anti-racism consultant and workshop facilitator with Baltimore Racial Justice Action. She is a board member of Baltimore Algebra Project and Jobs Opportunity Task Force and a member of Baltimore City’s Commission on Sustainability. Until recently she was a researcher on energy efficiency with Morgan State University’s School of Engineering. Ransom has many years of entrepreneurial experience as a business planner and developer of worker cooperatives. With an MBA from Loyola University and 15 years experience as a systems engineer earlier in her career, she brings a systems analysis framework to her work with the Baltimore Black Worker Center.
Courtney "CJ" Jenkins is a 29 year old mail processing clerk working at the United States Postal Service. Brother Jenkins was born and raised in Baltimore and the surrounding suburbs, and is a proud member of the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO where he serves the Baltimore Local as its Director of Organization & Legislation. He currently represents the Baltimore Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists as it's President, making a commitment to building strong relationships between our community and the labor movement.
Dorcas R. Gilmore has spent the past 17 years as a racial and economic justice advocate, attorney, and consultant working with nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, and small businesses. Currently, she is a principal of Gilmore Khandhar, LLC, a solidarity economies law firm, and a teacher in the Small Business & Community Economic Development Clinic at The George Washington University Law School. Dorcas was an attorney with the national office of NAACP and Community Law Center in Baltimore and taught at American University Washington College of Law. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Black Worker Center Project, the Baltimore Algebra Project, and co-founder of the Baltimore Action Legal Team.
Joel Tejeda is a proud Afro-Dominican who grew in Washington Heights in New York City. He moved to Baltimore in 2014. Tejeda started working at 18 years old: he’s worked low-wage jobs in the warehouse, food service, construction, and janitorial industries. Tejeda currently works as a maintenance technician at an apartment complex in Northwest Baltimore. He first heard of the Baltimore Black Worker Center while attending a Know Your Worker Rights Training. Tejeda is motivated to form a space for Black Workers to come together to get educated, build community, and engage art as tool for liberation.
Lenora R. Knowles began organizing as a first generation college student for the rights of campus workers, hotel workers, and workers making her university’s apparel. Since moving to Baltimore in 2014 she has been involved in various local organizing campaigns for economic and racial justice. Lenora is currently a doctoral student in Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her academic work centers the question of how radical working class African American women and Latinas are organizing within their respective communities and together across lines of race, ethnicity, and immigration status.
Marisela B Gomez has been doing organizing around building communities of housing equity and wellness for more than 25 years in Baltimore. She is a pubic health researcher with a focus on preventing gentrification and displacement. Her focus is the social determinants of health as a framework for understanding and addressing why folks in neighborhoods of color and poverty continue to die 15-20 years before adjacent neighborhoods of white privilege and class privilege. She centers healing and wisdom justice as the base for her work in radical personal and social transformation. She is the lead consultant for Social Health Concepts Inc, co-founder of VOLAR (Village of Love and Resistance-an intentional residential and social justice community), and co-founder of Baltimore and Beyond Mindfulness Community.
Ralikh Hayes is the former coordinator for the Baltimore Bloc, a grassroots collective of friends, families & neighborhoods united to rebuild communities & organize for justice in Baltimore. Hayes is also a former employee of the Public Justice Center. He is former member of the Baltimore City Youth Commission where he represented the 9th District and served as Treasurer of the Executive Board. He also has served as Board President of the Baltimore Algebra Project and was previously the organization’s Co-Executive Director. He has volunteered as a community organizer in Baltimore for the past nine years and has received national recognition for his organizing work. Ralikh continues to be an organizer with various organizations in Baltimore City.
In memoriam of Camilla Roberson
Camilla Roberson was a staff attorney at the Public Justice Center (PJC) working primarily in the areas of health rights, access to safety net benefits, and race equity. While at the PJC, she also worked in the areas of workplace justice, juvenile justice, and housing. She was the current chair of the Maryland Alliance for the Poor and chair of the Governmental Access Workgroup, a public private partnership focused on language access. Prior to joining the PJC, Camilla worked in a variety of settings, including almost four years as a class action litigation associate at Schneider Wallace Cottrell Brayton Konecky LLP, a plaintiffs' side civil rights firm in San Francisco, California. She also completed a Skadden Fellowship as part of the Safe Families Project at the Legal Aid Society- Juvenile Rights Division in New York, where she represented child witnesses of domestic violence in child protective proceedings.