"The kind of beauty I want most is the hard to get kind: strength, courage, dignity." — Ruby Dee
FUREE staff can be reached by calling (718) 852-2960 and dialing the extension listed below.
Desireé comes to FUREE with a background in LGBTQ youth organizing and housing organizing. As a Senior Organizer, she supports the leadership of members and campaign development in our Youth Organizing group, FUREEous Youth and our Voter Engagement for Empowerment Project. Desireé has been organizing since graduating in 2006 from Hofstra University, where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and Philosophy. She is a graduate of the Center for Third World Organizing's Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program. She previously worked at FIERCE as their Lead Organizer, where she helped create curriculum for leadership development, recruited members and supported leaders in the coordination of two campaigns for safe space for LGBTQ youth. She is passionate about social justice, and firmly believes in the leadership of members in the struggle. Desireé is also a Spoken Word poet and makes a mean batch of stuffed pasta shells.
Valery Jean has a sixteen-year history of working for and consulting with activist, progressive and human service organizations in the areas of community organizing, housing development, youth development, management, marketing, program evaluation and funding development. She has since raised over $16.5M for organizations led by women and people of color and developed policy recommendations in child welfare, community development, public housing, community benefits agreements and access to jobs. Valery came on board as FUREE’s development director in 2006 and previously worked with the Student Liberation Action Movement at Hunter College, Neighborhood Youth & Family Services and The Brotherhood-Sister Sol. She co-founded The Share for Life Foundation and served as an Advisory Board Member of the Medgar Evers College School of Professional and Community Development. Valery serves on the steering committee of Living Wage NYC, a labor, clergy and community coalition. She is also a coordinating committee member of Right to the City New York and serves on the NYS Civic Engagement Table and Right to the City National’s Civic Engagement Work Group where she is responsible for co-developing a theory of organizing low income voters of color. Valery is also a co-founder of the Black and Brown Alliance, engaging over 30 national social justice, community based and faith based organizations to develop best practices and a national racial justice platform. Valery double-majored in Psychology and Africana, Puerto Rican & Latin Studies at Hunter College, is a life-long Brooklyn resident and a child of Haitian and Dominican immigrants. She dedicates her work to building a just society in honor of FUREE members, her family and especially her 16-year old son and a 5-year old daughter.
Lucas Shapiro comes to FUREE after years of working as an organizer for a housing justice/community empowerment non-profit rooted in Hell's Kitchen. As a Senior Organizer at FUREE, he works with members to fight for living wage jobs, affordable housing, access to healthy food, and a seat at the table in shaping local development. After earning a degree in 'Studies in Social Change' from Ithaca College, Lucas moved to NYC to become the National Organizer for a progressive youth and student organization. With 15 years of activist and professional organizing experience, Lucas is dedicated to multi-issue movement-building and strengthening member-driven organizations. He serves on the board of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice and has a keen interest in political strategy, public policy, and popular education. He lives in a cooperative house located in Fort Greene just blocks from FUREE's office and enjoys reading articles, watching film, playing games, going on bike adventures and visiting friends and family in Spain.