My name is Mike Araujo and I have been active in the labor movement since the 1980s. Besides my children, a full commitment to improving the lives of working people has been my central priority in life. My father, George Araujo, is from Fox Point and was the first Cape-Verdean-descended Light Weight World Championship Contender in 1951. He was also the first African-American in the Peace Corp. Additionally, he was a member of the ILA and an organizer for SEIU at Brown University, where he was a janitor. My mother is from Jamestown and has been dedicated to civil rights and fighting poverty and hunger, specifically among Rhode Island’s children. My aunt, Joan Casement, was an early President of NEARI and a long-time Special Education teacher.
Some of my earliest memories are of picket lines and practical solidarity.
I attended MLK and Holy Name for grade school and Our Lady of Providence and Hope for high school. I have worked as a stagehand since the late 80s as well as a union organizer. I have worked on union campaigns from Nuevo Laredo to New Orleans. I have started and helped maintain worker organizations with diverse populations, including some in prisons.
Most recently, I have served as the Business Agent for the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees' Local Union 23. As an officer, I was able to achieve full regulatory compliance and secure long-term funding for our health and welfare fund, as well as our private pension. I believe in good governance and the highest standards of ethics for workers' organization.
I served as a Policy Director and field organizer for Restaurant Opportunities Centers
United, an organization that builds power for those who work in the service industry. I am currently the Director of Rhode Island Jobs with Justice, Rhode Island’s only multi-issue standing working class coalition. Jobs with Justice was called by the Indian National Trade
Union, and the ILO as “The United States’ premier labor rights organization”. I also am the proud father of Xavier George (7) and Eleanor Sparrow (5). I love Rhode Island deeply and strongly believe in economic democracy.
Mary is a NEARI UniServ and member of the resistance. She previously taught 8th grade social studies in North Kingstown and was president of NEANK.
Kristin is a paraprofessional at East Providence High School. She is president of EPPA, NEARI vice president K-12 ESP and a graduate of NEA Leaders for Tomorrow.
Kristin Chase. Paraprofessional at East Providence High School, President of EPPA,
NEARI VP K-12 ESP,
Graduate of NEA Leaders for Tomorrow
Referred to as “bright and blunt” by The Providence Phoenix, Pat is Assistant Executive Director/UNISERV for NEARI, the largest teachers’ union in Rhode Island. Pat once leafleted a church from the inside during a labor dispute and it was never proven in a court of law that he had anything to do with an anti-privatization strike at a school where that type of thing "might" be illegal. He once made headlines for exposing right wing Governor Don Carcieri’s failure to pay property tax on his luxury condominium in Florida and for chasing then Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee around the State during his 2006 re-election campaign in a George W. Bush mask and a flight suit. A mountain climber in in off hours, Pat enjoys frequent trips to Vermont mostly because of its proximity to the Canadian border.
Andrea is the Director of Programs at Rhode Island for Community and Justice. She came to RICJ from the Institute for Labor Studies and Research where she served as Program Director. Prior to returning to RI, she worked as a Program Director at Just Communities of Arkansas as well as an organizer around immigrant rights issues for the Arkansas United Community Coalition. She has over a decade of experience facilitating social justice workshops and dialogue. An alum of Leadership for a Future Class of 2003 and the Latina Leadership Institute Class of 2015, she considers herself a life-long learner and always seeks opportunities for growth. Andrea appreciates creating a safe space for difficult conversation and being a part of others’ journeys towards better understanding of social justice issues.
Andrea James-Gómez has been the Program Director at the Institute for Labor Studies and Research since 2015. Prior to returning to RI, she worked as a Program Director at Just Communities of Arkansas as well as an organizer around immigrant rights issues for the Arkansas United Community Coalition. She has over a decade of experience facilitating social justice workshops and dialogue. An alum of Leadership for a Future Class of 2003 and the Latina Leadership Institute Class of 2015, she considers herself a life-long learner and always seeks opportunities for growth. Andrea appreciates creating a safe space for difficult conversation and being a part of others’ journeys towards better understanding of social justice issues.
Val has been an educator for 27 years. She teaches history and civics at East Providence High School. Val is currently secretary of the East Providence Education Association and she has served in every role in her local union including president from 2008 to 2014. She was recently elected to her third term as vice president of NEARI.
Val is a candidate for office; she is running for State Senate District 14 in her hometown of East Providence.
Sarah has been with NEARI since August of 2016, after having been an organizer in the NEA national office for six years. Her work has included organizing early childhood teachers in Massachusetts, leading a national campaign on Time to Teach and the reduction of standardized testing in schools, and piloting Bargaining for the Common good projects where the broader community and labor come together around shared interests. She lives in Wakefield with her sons Milo and Shane and her partner Patrick.
Amy, Tiverton teacher and union rock star, has been president of her local union for as long as most members can remember. She enjoys providing training to members because no one at home ever listens to anything she has to say. As a special education teacher, Amy has the patience of a saint, although her behavior outside of the classroom is anything but saintly. Amy has served as NEARI treasurer and is currently the NEA Director for RI and is plotting to take over the world.
Hi - I'm Jackie, and I'm currently a UniServ Director with the Front Range UniServ Unit working mostly with classroom teachers in the Denver metro area. I grew up just outside New Haven and so I'm thrilled to come back to visit you (and my parents) in New England! I've been with the NEA family for 3-ish years, after working on the Fight for $15 campaign talking fast food workers into going on strike, working on a variety of political campaigns for candidates and issues, and I still serve on the national board of 9to5, National Association of Working Women. I'm a social worker turned professional troublemaker and I believe educators have almost unlimited power to make this world a better place, and I am honored to be someone who gets to help make that happen.
Michele Ridolfi O'Neill
Michele is the Connecticut Education Association's Educational Issues Specialist and State Organizer of the CEA Student (Aspiring Educators) Program. Prior to beginning her career with CEA as a UniServ Representative, she taught for almost twelve years in a Connecticut public school district, served as her local union's vice president and president, and represented her county on the CEA Board of Directors. Michele earned two separate teaching certifications while completing a double major in English and history/social science at Eastern CT State University and received her master's degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford. She has delivered trainings and presentations for numerous statewide, regional, and national organizations—including Learning Forward and the National Education Association—and serves on the faculty of the Northeast Organizing Institute as well as NEA’s Training Cadre.
Amanda is an English teacher at Portsmouth High School, NEA Portsmouth President, and NEARI Region II Vice President. She is a lover of Faulkner and Victorian Gothic literature, but passionate about Freire, Shor, and all things oriented for social justice in and out of the classroom. #resist