Jessica Clemente majored in Environmental Science at SUNY Purchase. After graduating she served as Project Manager for the NYU School of Medicine’s “South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study.” The study, sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and Congressman Jose E. Serrano in partnership with four local community organizations—the Point CDC, Nos Quedamos, the Sports Foundation, and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice allowed her to work closely with researchers and community partners on the relationships between air quality and public health. This work led Jessica to pursue a Master of Urban Planning at the New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
In 2011 Ms. Clemente was asked to become the CEO of Nos Quedamos. Under Ms. Clemente’s leadership, Nos Quedamos has grown, increasing in staff and program/service diversity. Some of these accomplishments include but not limited to:
• Financial stability for Nos Quedamos which now has an operating budget in excess of $1,000,000;
• Continued the work on sustainable affordable housing through the development of a new mixed-use residential building for seniors and families in Hunt’s Point;
• Developed a strong relationship with arts and cultural organizations in the South Bronx that has led Nos Quedamos to be the fiscal sponsor for a significant grant from the Dept. of Cultural Aairs and the formation of the Bronx Cultural Collective;
• Organizing the Melrose community gardens to form a coalition, known as the ‘Asociación de Huerto y Cultura,’ that is currently working towards 501(c)(3) status;
• Continued the work of Nos Quedamos with the Southern Bronx Watershed Alliance in its effort to decommission and re-envision the Sheridan Expressway;
• Increased the organization’s work in community and environmental advocacy through the following:
– voter engagement, the organizing of candidates forum as well as work with the Campaign Finance Board,
– board participation in the New York Environmental Justice Alliance,
– assisted in organizing the Bronx wide coalition “Build Without Displacement;”
– provided a leadership platform for the development of a major policy initiative on the development of Community Land Trusts.
Through all this work Ms. Clemente enjoys and is committed to a profound family life. With the strong support of her family, she and her husband are raising their two young children in the Bronx. As has been said, the creation of a better world that celebrates diversity and social justice begins at home.
Ana Melendez has over 15 years of experience working in community organizing and advocacy. While working as an Entitlements Advocate at Fifth Avenue Committee, she was granted the George Soros Open Society Institute Fellowship in 2003 which allowed her to develop Access Schools and Training to Exit Poverty Unity Project (A STEP UP). This organizing project was the vehicle used to build the base and leadership for what is now known as Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE).
Ana’s organizing training and experience also includes; Center for Third World Organizing Internship, Community Action Training, ROAR Advanced Organizer Training, School of Unity & Liberation (SOUL) Organizer Training, MS Foundation Institute for Women’s Economic Empowerment. She served as Member of the Board of Jobs with Justice and Legal Services of New York.
In 2010 she continued to work with families in Brooklyn at CAMBA through the City’s Family Self Sufficiency program through a contract with SEEDCO. Her dedication to social Justice and as a new Bronx resident lead her to We Stay/Nos Quedamos as Social Service Coordinator in 2012 helping to create systems to improve delivery of services and bridge WS/NQ Social Services with Programs.
In 2013 she advanced program work as the Community Development & Programs Manager working to increase partnerships and organizational capacity through programming and working directly with residents and community gardens to build a base and power in the Melrose Commons and South Bronx. As of 2017 she was promoted to Chief Programs Officer.
Eulogia Díaz earned her Baccalaureate in Liberal Arts from State University of New York The College at New Paltz in the spring of 1994. She began her social work career in 2001 at South Bronx Action Group. Inc. as a consultant teaching ESL and U.S. History and Government for their Immigration Program, and just a few years later, she advanced to an Immigration Specialist. In 2011, South Bronx Action Group, Inc. and We Stay/Nos Quedamos, Inc, merged and she continued to expand immigration work.
In 2014, Eulogia successfully completed Association for Neighborhood Housing & Development’s Center for Neighborhood Leadership community organizing internship. As Community Development and Programs Coordinator, she worked to organize residents and community gardens while helping to expand our network of partnerships to help strengthen our organization’s work.
As the internal liaison between Social Service Department and Community Development & Programs Department, Eulogia has focused her priorities on improving the NQ Tools data base alongside the IT Specialist to ensure that the information gathered captures data and analysis of the community needs and program activation.
Eulogia was recently promoted to Community Development and Programs Director and continues to care, advocate and work engaging and organizing the community.
Anna Vincenty has dedicated much of her life to serving her community.From her early days working as a volunteer to prevent young people from joining gangs in the Bronx, later in serving at her son’s school as PTA President – Anna has always given back to the community.
After more than 20 years in banking, Anna transitioned from volunteering to leadership in the Community Relations field. Anna went on to support and serve with one of our community’s most recognized community activists and leaders – her dear friend Yolanda García. Together with other key players, she helped build We Stay/Nos Quedamos, Inc. In the early days of the organization, she began as a volunteer and later became the organization’s Assistant Director for Community Relations.
Beyond We Stay/Nos Quedamos, Inc. where she gave many years of service, Anna also served as the Chair of the South Bronx Action Group, Inc. – an organization that focused on social services, housing and citizenship issues. In addition, she chaired the Solid Waste Advisory Board; appointed by two different Borough Presidents (Adolfo Carrión and Ruben Díaz). Her extensive list of service and accomplishments include involvement with such entities as; NY Lawyers for the Public Interest, 40th and 42nd Precinct, the Point CDC, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, the South Bronx River Watershed Alliance, Sustainable South Bronx, Bronx River Alliance, The Botanical Garden, Bronx Zoo.
Anna serves on the committee for Women’s History Month with the Bronx Chamber of Commerce,on the committee of the 25 Most Influential Women of the Bronx and is a Board Member of Housing Options and Geriatric Association Resources (H.O.G.A.R.). She as Community Service Liaison in the office of the Honorable Congressman José E. Serrano.
Anna has come full circle continuing her commitment to affecting positive change for Melrose and the greater South Bronx community advancing her career in Community Relations in her capacity as Administrator of Special Projects in We Stay/Nos Quedamos, Inc.
Awilda Santiago began her career in education as a Teacher’s Aid in a Day Care Center for seven years. When she moved to the Bronx in 1970 she became involved with a political group called Los Amigos del Bronx. She went on to work as a Receptionist for Neighborhood Family Care Center (NFCC), an annex of Lincoln Hospital.
In 1980, she moved to 941 Rogers Place where she found her passion for organizing and tenant work as they formed a tenant’s association. She worked tirelessly among other residents to convert her building to a Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC), of which she is currently Member of the Board and Treasurer.
In 2007, she worked for South Bronx Action Group, Inc. as a Receptionist and quickly advance and excelled to her position as Housing Counselor Assistant.
In early 2011, South Bronx Action Group, Inc. merged with We Stay/Nos Quedamos where she worked in the capacity of Office Administrative Assistant. Since 2012, she has been the lead in social service delivery, overseeing We Stay/Nos Quedamos’ Community & Social Service Department while providing support and social services to constituents in the South Bronx.
Edwin Pagán is a New York-based artist, cultural advocate, and thought leader with over 25 years of hands-on experience in communications,content creation, program development and implementation in the non-profit and commercial sectors, leveraging his narrative massaging skills to craft uniquely relevant marketing and design concurrence campaigns that meet the needs of a diverse target base.
Pagán gained his extensive experience in providing arts-based communications, marketing, and technical assistance experience as a result of stints at the Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA), Association of Hispanic Arts (AHA), Black Filmmaker Foundation, National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), and Hispanic Organization of Latino Actor (HOLA).
He is also the program manager for the Bronx Culture Collective (BxCC), where he works with the South Bronx-based arts community on a “Cultural Identity Reclamation” project that seeks to strengthen and unify the arts resources in the region as a tool for empowerment and expanded collaboration to collectively address the most pressing social issues, including gentrification.During his tenure, he has developed the ‘South Bronx X South Bronx’ community resource portal,an online platform that is helping to realign how the region is perceived beyond its borders.
His rare skill-set of creative and administrative experience ideally lends itself to leading project management initiatives that require interaction and facilitation among culturally diverse populations, and where critical long-term network building capacities are required.
Rafael Ocasio Barreto is a seasoned community organizer and environmental advocate. He is a graduate of the San Juan University of P.R. where he earned a Mechanical Engineer degree and worked as a Technical Draftsman for an engineering rm for over 21 years.
In 2013, his work lead to a collaboration with the non-prot organization G-8, a people-led Community Land Trust comprising approximately 30,000 residents in 8 communities in San Juan, P.R, that is celebrated for the significant contributions to the health and welfare along the waterway. His innate organizing skills and agricultural experience were instrumental in the successful development and resiliency work undertaken in the region.
Rafael Ocasio Barreto, Community Leadership and Advocacy In 2017, Rafael was evacuated to the United States due to Hurricane Maria and immediately began providing technical assistance to on behalf of other displaced refugees in New York City via We Stay/Nos Quedamos, Inc. where he is also helping to organize a coalition of South Bronx-based community gardens and self-sufficient eco-friendly environments. He was recently proled in the NY Times for his efforts.
Petr Stand has over twenty-five years of design, production and project management experience covering a broad range of planning and design projects, including housing, educational facilities, medical facilities, and urban design. He works extensively in affordable housing, completing a variety of multi-family developments in the Bronx, including senior housing, townhouses, affordable rentals, and home ownership buildings. Currently, he is the Principal-In-Charge for a 41-unit supportive housing project in the Bronx that is on track for LEED-Silver certification. He is currently working with the City of Glen Cove, NY on a study assessing the real estate uses of the area and developing a marketing approach and strategy.
For over a decade, Mr. Stand worked alongside a local non-profit group in the South Bronx in rewriting the City’s Urban Renewal Plan to reflect local and environmental priorities and revitilizing the Melrose Commons neighborhood. Under the revised Urban Renewal Plan, he has led many project teams in designing and building over 2,000 new affordable units in the neighborhood. Recently completed in the neighborhood was an 84-unit affordable housing development that is on track for LEED-Gold certification, of which Mr. Stand was Principal-In-Charge.
Mr. Stand’s completed work ranges from renovation to new construction. He provided zoning analysis and building code studies, guided projects through the New York City ULURP process, managed sweat-equity rehabilitation contracts, was responsible for the production of high rise buildings and medical facilities, and designed and managed affordable housing projects.
Mr. Stand is especially adept in the design and project management of urban design and planning projects. His work includes site studies for Bausch and Lomb’s new world headquarters in Rochester, New York, and site analysis studies for the Westchester County Planning Department.
Mr. Stand is a member of the American Planning Association and sits on the Board of several community-based planning, development and open space groups.