Dr. Alexandra Piñeros Shields has worked in the field of immigration services and advocacy for the past 30 years with numerous organizations including, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), the International Irish Immigrant Center, Catholic Charities Immigration and Refugee Services, and the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN). Her advocacy and organizing has centered around building cross-racial cross-national immigrant solidarity and political power to address the challenges to democracy and human rights created by neoliberal capitalism and structural racism. To this end, she has developed political and economic popular education spaces for immigrants to empower themselves and their communities. In addition to grassroots immigrant organizing, Dr. Piñeros Shields served on the research design team for Governor Deval Patrick’s New Americans Agenda, which produced an immigrant integration policy agenda for Massachusetts. She has taught in the U.S., the Soviet Union, and China and lectures widely at universities and nonprofit organizations on immigration policy. She received her Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University. Dr. Piñeros Shields is currently the Executive Director at the Essex County Community Organization ((ECCO) and also teaches at the Heller School, Brandeis University.
In addition to serving ECCO, Rabbi Margie serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation Sha’arei Shalom in Ashland, MA. She is the founder of Moishe Kavod House in Boston, a community of over 600 young Jews dedicated to Tikkun Olam, the repair of the world. A graduate of Yale, Rabbi Margie is co-editor of Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice (Jewish Lights). She has appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the LA Times, CNN, and Newsweek for her faith-based social justice work, and was invited to the White House for her leadership. Rabbi Margie is inspired by the relationships and power our leaders build across race, class, and faith, crossing social boundaries because we share the same values and vision for justice. She feels called to work for racial and economic justice to ensure that all of God’s children are honored and valued.
Cherish Casey has been a Lynn resident for 14 years. Her love for social work sprouted from 10 years as a lead early childhood educator, developing a great interest in children’s social and emotional wellbeing. Reflecting on the trauma, poverty, and racial violence facing the families of the children she served, Cherish decided to work for racial and economic equality through policy and community transformation. After studying social work at Salem State University and serving as an ECCO leader at Zion Baptist, Cherish came on staff in 2016 as our Racial Justice Organizer. Now, she focuses on organizing communities of color to challenge mass incarceration, building trust between law-enforcement and people of color, and fostering relationships across ECCO’s diverse communities.