Staff

Anusha Alles

Behind the Walls Community Organizer

I am a first generation American whose family comes from Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean. I grew up in Texas and have been in Rhode Island for six years. I joined DARE as a volunteer member of the Tenants and Homeowners Committee in 2016, and volunteered for the Board as the Secretary in 2017-2019. In 2019 I was hired as the Behind the Walls Staff Organizer. I am not formerly incarcerated, and I did not grow up in a heavily policed neighborhood. Many people I love are impacted by incarceration and the prison system, including blood and chosen family. I am committed to organizing resistance to the prison system because I believe that everybody has stakes in dismantling it. Incarceration is a blight on our collective humanity and we will never build a safe, loving world as long as people are held in cages. Sharing this Angela Davis quote: “Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages.” No freedom for any of us until there’s freedom for all of us.

Christopher Samih-Rotondo

Interim Director

Christopher Samih-Rotondo grew up in Bristol, RI and attended the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, studying political economy, the historical development of capitalism and liberatory social movements, as well as popular education. After returning to RI and relocating to Providence in 2009, he began volunteering with DARE’s Tenant and Homeowner Association (THA) as a canvasser. After supporting the committee as a volunteer for over a year, Christopher became the committee’s staff organizer in 2011 and held that position until 2019, when he transitioned to Director of Organizing, Development, & Communications. Christopher lives in the North End of Providence with his wife and three kids. He’s also a writer, musician, soccer player and martial artist who believes that Palestine will be free in his lifetime.

Deborah Harris

Outreach & Recruitment Coordinator

I worked at DARE for 5 years. I did Data Entry for the first 4 years, now I am Outreach & Recruitment Coordinator and a member on the Behind the Walls committee. I was formerly incarcerated. I love what I do that is to help the incarcerated population.

Dee Wojcicki

Administrative Coordinator

Mixed-race woman, mother and grandmother, experienced in finances and keeping people organized, advocates for the elderly. Board of Directors Secretary for RI Black Storytellers (www.ribs.org) I enjoy teaching and sharing gardening knowledge.

Terri Wright

Tenant & Homeowner Association Community Organizer

Board

Antonette Wallace

Treasurer

Black woman. Mother and grandmother, experienced in finances and property management. Homeless rights, domestic violence, and women’s health activist. Antonette lives in Providence, RI.

Brenda Taylor

Committee Representative

Black Woman. Born and raised in Boston where she was a youth activist during the Civil Rights Movement. Member of the Tenants and Homeowners Association. Stands for love, compassion, and solidarity. Brenda lives in Providence, RI.

Joe Benton

Member-At-Large

Joe is a graduate of Community College of RI and a graduate of Leadership Rhode Island. He’s received a number of awards throughout his divinity education and one of those awards is the spirituality award from the Lamp Stand Institute. He has a Citizen’s Citation from David N Cicilline, when he was Mayor of Providence, for outstanding contributions to Providence and its residents. He also received a Proclamation from former Mayor and current state representative, John Lombardi. He worked for MAP, alcohol drug and rehab center where he was a counselor and developed several re-entry programs for formerly incarcerated and substance abusers. He also worked for Amos House, counseling young men from the community and who were residents at Amos House and coming in from prison. He loves this community and these people and they’re part of his life. He also served a substantial amount of time in prison but came back to be part of a community solution, as opposed to a community problem.

Justice Gaines

Committee Representative

Black member of the Behind the Walls Committee. Ze is a community organizer at PrSYM and a nationally renowned spoken word poet. Justice lives in Providence, RI.

Martha Yager

Secretary

Martha Yager has been a member of DARE since 2008 and been involved in most of the campaigns since then. She has been DARE treasurer since 2017 and loves to help out with member meetings and events. When not at DARE she volunteers at Movement Ground Farm. She and her partner Kathy have 2 kitties and a puppy.

Mónica Huertas

Vice Chairperson

DARE member since 2015, environmental Justice Organizer, Birth and Breastfeeding Doula, R.I.C Alumnus (BSW), Wife and Mom

Sheila Wilhelm

Board Chairperson

Sheila Wilhelm is a DARE co-founder, mother and grandmother and long-time resident of the West End, fighter around schools, neighborhood issues, police injustice, and prison reform, and is an ice cream connoisseur.

Partners

Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance (AMOR)

We are an alliance of grassroots organizations providing community support in Rhode Island and southern New England for victims of hate crimes and state-sponsored violence. The AMOR Support Line is a 24-hour multilingual (currently English & Spanish) line that connects community members to AMOR’s network of services, including comprehensive mental health care, legal support, court accompaniment, community support, transportation, and interpretation.

Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM)

PrYSM organizes at the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation by centering youth, female, queer, and people of color leadership in our campaigns, our organization, and our communities. PrYSM mobilizes queer Southeast Asian youth, families, and allies to build grassroots power and organize collectively for social justice.

SistaFire

SISTA FIRE seeks to support and nurture women of color to come together to build our collective power for social, economic and political transformation. Our work towards these goals is supported by four mission-aligned strategies:

1) Building a Strong Network: Networking is critical to strengthening women of color’s local power

2) Healing and Wellness: Integrating wellness and holistic practices, members gain new knowledge, understanding and practice to transform their lives individually and collectively

3) Growing our Economic Power: Forging community-led solutions to build economic strength

4) Organizing for Change: Organizing and the collective action of members will have a direct impact on the current conditions and policies women of color face

The George Wiley Center

For 40 years, The George Wiley Center has been a grassroots agency that organizes members of the low-income community to advocate for systematic changes aimed at alleviating problems associated with poverty. The work of the George Wiley Center is based on the belief that each person in our community is endowed with innate dignity and worth. Each deserves a decent home, adequate clothing and nutritious food, the essential resources for intellectual and emotional development. These goals are achieved through community education and awareness and community organization and development. We are committed to forming cooperative alliances with church, business, labor and community groups and to bringing those directly impacted by poverty into leadership roles as community change agents. Our agency holds open (free & public) membership meetings in numerous locations around Rhode Island.