Get to Know Us

About 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.

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!

Melonie Perez

Behind the Walls Co-Organizer

I am a Colombian-American woman who was born and raised in South Providence; eventually moving down the street to the Edgewood-Cranston area. I have a 23 year old son who is serving life at RIDOC for protecting me in an abusive relationship. He was a juvenile when the crime occurred, so juvenile sentence reform is important to me. I have been around incarcerated individuals my entire life. My family members and loved ones have always struggled with racism and prejudice in Washington Park, so fighting for equality in all walks of life has been a lifelong struggle. I have a business degree, real estate license, CNA license and have always been in the hospitality industry. Helping my son and others like him is what drives me every day to help make a change with prison reform.

Terri Wright

Tenant & Homeowner Association Community Organizer

My name is Terri Wright. I was born and raised in Providence RI. I am a mother of five beautiful children. I organize to mitigate past harm and ensure that gentrification is not an ongoing barrier in BIPOC communities while advocating for tenants’ rights. I love to write, and aspire to direct and produce my own movies, connected to an old childhood dream of mine. I love to sit by the water and listen to music and eat Iggy’s clam cakes and chowder. I am currently working on my first documentary centered around the housing crisis in RI. I also advocate for housing justice and the production of low income affordable homes.

Juan Turbidez

Member Development Coordinator

I was born and raised in Providence by a single mother. I have been in and out of jail since the age of 18. I was released a couple of years ago after serving 15 months and a friend brought me to DARE for help with court debt and I became a member of the Behind the Walls committee. I was very optimistic about the work and got hired as the Communications Specialist in 2022. I’m bilingual in English and Spanish.

Debra Harris

Outreach & Recruitment Coordinator

I have worked at DARE for eight years. I did Data Entry for the first 4 years through Maturity Works and also became a volunteer member of the Behind the Walls Committee. I was eventually hired as Outreach & Recruitment Coordinator. 

I started my own organization, Teen Matters Suicide Awareness in 2008, and I am also an event organizer and promoter. 

I am formerly incarcerated and in recovery for eleven years. I love what I do 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. I enjoy teaching and sharing gardening knowledge.


Mónica Huertas


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

Joe Benton

Vice Chairperson

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.

Andrew Poyant


A dad, environmental scientist, and an environmental justice organizer fighting for healthy and affordable housing for all.

Ramaar Logan


I am a lifetime resident of Providence RI and a member of the community, a family man and a great friend that is willing to listen, pay attention to detail and the concerns of my peers. I am very dedicated and at times take on more tasks than one can handle but manage to get them done. I’m a part of the Bail on 32 campaign and the Behind the Walls committee. I got connected with DARE at the age of 14 through community service, but as I got older I fell back for a while. Then I heard about the restitution program that helped pay for past fines and after that I’ve been back attending. I respect everyone at DARE, new and old to the organization and hope it lasts for another 30+ years!

Brandon Robinson


Brandon Robinson was born and raised in South Providence. He served extensive time in the ACI, came home in 2019 and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Development from College Unbound in August 2020. He is now working on his Master’s degree at Roger Williams University in Public Administration and is scheduled to graduate May 2024. He is also the Campaign Manager and Lobbyist at Open Doors for the Stop Torture RI Coalition and is a DARE member. He also is the CEO/Founder of his own Nonprofit organization called Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Initiative (JDPI), which he founded in 2019. JDPI works with at-risk youth to help them avoid the school-to-prison-pipelines.  JDPIRI.ORG.

David Chavez

Board Member At-Large

My name is David and I am currently doing social outreach and am an active member of society. I am in CCRI becoming a social worker and have two part-time jobs. 

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.

Sheila Wilhelm


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.

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