Who's Who

Meggan Gomez, Executive Director

Meggan Gomez is a theater-maker, facilitator, and activist who has worked at the intersection of arts and social justice for over 15 years. Before beginning her role as the Executive Director at TONYC, she was the Theater Conservatory Director at Working Classroom in Albuquerque, NM. Originally from Pennsylvania, Meggan studied acting in the BFA program at Montclair State University before moving to New York City to create her own work at theaters like Theatre for the New City and Abrons Arts Center. Affiliations include Cornerstone Theater Company, The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, and TEDxABQ. Meggan is also a champion for the steering committee of the Latinx Theater Commons.

Sulu LeoNimm, Joker and Program Director

Sulu LeoNimm has worked with TONYC since 2011 as a Joker, facilitating Forum Theatre Troupes at the Ali Forney Center, Hetrick-Martin Institute, the Staten Island Youth Justice Center, and CASES Queens Justice Corps. As Program Director, they support the planning for TONYC's Forum Theatre Troupes, the organization's workshops, and the joker team's training in & investigation of Theatre of the Oppressed. Sulu has been a Brooklyn-based theater artist and physical theater performer since 2003, enthralled with making ensemble-devised work. They are co-founder of Pack of Others, have performed with the South Wing, in the premiere of Mac Wellman's 3 2's and Afar, and worked with ensembles including Blessed Unrest, East Third Ensemble, Aeolian Theater, Denver's LIDA Project and with Seattle's Nebunele Theatre. Photo credit: Will O'Hare

Holly Sansom, Operations Director

Holly Sansom is a theatre artist and administrator. Her previous experience includes General Manager and Ensemble member of Honest Accomplice Theatre, a company creating devised work by women and trans people; Production Supervisor of the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Epic Theatre Ensemble. She is thrilled to continue her work in supporting and creating communities to fight intersectional oppression through theatre. She holds a BFA in Acting from Long Island University Post.

 

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Philip Santos Schaffer, Development Manager

Philip Santos Schaffer is a theatre creator, producer, and administrator. Philip has produced, associate produced, and assistant produced Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser’s Jack & The Beanstalk, the Between the Seas festival, the Living Theatre’s Burning the Living tour, and numerous shows with his own company, WalkUpArts. Philip has worked in development for small arts education and arts access organizations across New York City. Philip has a BFA in Directing from Hofstra University and an MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University. www.philipsantosschaffer.com / www.walkuparts.com  

Liz Morgan, Joker & Community Resources Coordinator

Liz is best known for her poem "Why I was Late Today and Will Probably Always be Late as a Black Woman" featured in The Huffington Post. She holds both a B.A. and M.F.A. from Brown University where she was a graduate teaching fellow in the Theatre Arts department as well as the recipient of the Davis Wickham Prize for Excellence in Playwriting. She has studied theatre and dance abroad as well at the London Dramatic Academy and the Yeredon Center for Malian Arts where she facilitated The Communal Bowl Conference on malnutrition and the arts. Liz recently joined the Planned Parenthood Activist Council. She has been a joker with TONYC since 2015, and has worked as a teaching artist with Opening Act, The Other Side and People's Theatre Project. lizmorganonline.com

 

Omari Soulfinger, Joker & Troupe Coordinator

Omari Soulfinger is a performing artist dedicated to creative advocacy.  Since 2001, Omari has worked with in underserved communities in various capacities, (classroom teacher, coach, education equity organizer, social worker, and community school program director). Adjacent to his community work, Omari has performed stand up comedy, improv, storytelling, puppetry, musical, forum and street theater, mime, clowning, and burlesque.  Omari has been selected as After-School Alliance National After-School Ambassador (2014) Major League Soccer’s Community MVP in (2015), a featured Lumen Festival Artist (2016), Resident Artist at On Air Fest (2019). omarisoulfinger.com

Katie Diamond, Communications Director

Katie Diamond is an illustrator, media maker, and tattoo artist. She strongly believes that art and design can elevate any message, and tries her hardest to use her artistic powers for good. Her work has been featured in books, plays, comics, multi-media projects, and more. She's been learning the NYC terrain since 2012. katiediamond.com Photo credit: Ann Marie Amick

John LeoNimm, Joker

John LeoNimm is a Founding Member Joker of TONYC. He has studied Theatre of the Oppressed with Falconworks and in Guatemala with Stephane Gue. He is also a hospital Clown with Healthy Humor, Inc's Red Nose Docs and has toured with Clowns Without Borders to Mexico & Guatemala. Mr. LeoNimm also teaches and creates subversive physical comedy: tinyDANGEROUSfun! variety show & co-created the award winning Handshake Uppercut. He is a graduate from the Dell 'Arte School of Physical Theatre. Awards: Gold Medal, NY Clown Olympics; Best Comedy & Best Physical Theatre, SF Fringe Fest; Encore Award, Boulder Fringe Fest; "Must See," Chicago Fringe Fest; Individual Artist Project Award; Rasmussen Foundation. Photo credit: Will O'Hare. johnleo.net 

 

Gariyana Williams, Joker

Gariyana started working with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC as an Actor with the Crown Heights YO S.O.S. Troupe in October of 2016. Since then, she's gone from Actor to Joker-in-Training, and has been working with TONYC's Housing Works troupe, and her original troupe at YO S.O.S.

Max Freedman, Joker

Max Freedman has been a Joker with TONYC since 2012. Troupes include Housing Works (Some Things $ Can't Buy, Apartment Complex), Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (Guilty by Association), Harlem Justice Corps (Statistic), LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (Gender Sacred), Majora Carter Group (Memories of the Future), and Concrete Justice (The Housing Circus, The Daily Lives of Street Vendors). Max is a Senior Educator at the New-York Historical Society, where he created a new outreach program using theater to teach American history. He is one of the producers of Unsettled, a new podcast about Israel-Palestine and the Jewish diaspora, and working on a limited podcast series about Central Brooklyn public schools for Brooklyn Deep. He recently joined Pratt Institute as adjunct faculty in Art and Design Education. B.A. in Theatre, Northwestern University. M.S. in Design and Urban Ecologies, Parsons School of Design.

Nivia Marrero Rolón, Joker

Nivia Marrero Rolón was born and raised in Jayuya Puerto Rico. She holds a BA in Theatre Education from the University of Puerto Rico and an MA in Applied Theatre from The School of Professional Studies in New York City. She works as an Early Childhood and Elementary Spanish and theater teacher. Nivia has also worked with the Latino youth of New York exploring themes of cultural identity through theatre.

Maaji Nishizaka, Joker

Maajidah Nishizaka is a natural born activist, poet, and creator from the Bronx who has worked with TONYC for several years as an actor, and has performed and published an original book of poems with the organization's flagship troupe, Concrete Justice. A love for screen, photography, music and theatre, Maajidah enjoys working with Windows of Hip Hop and was recently in an independent film called Rocona Park. This past Mother's Day for the first time in her life, Maajidah was the Executive Director of the play “The Cart” which she co-starred in alongside members of the Concrete Justice Troupe members Bill Lee and Marcus Moore at the Wow Cafe. The show was dedicated to Anthony Horton, a beautiful member of TONYC who lived in the subway and was killed in a fire.

 

Letitia Bouie, Joker

Letitia started acting with the Concrete Justice Troupe in May 2013. Her first play was “The Housing Circus” and the character she took on was the Lion Tamer, a character who personified her real life experiences. She worked hard by attending TONYC workshops and events that geared her towards becoming an activist/actress while learning more about people who have experienced homelessness. In November 2017, she took on the role of Joker/Facilitator, joined the P.B.NYC Budget Committee, and became one of TONYC’s Arts & Homeless / Housing & Equity Justice Delegates.

Katy Rubin, Founder

Katy Rubin is a joker, director, actor and circus artist. She has facilitated and directed Forum and Legislative Theater workshops and performances in partnership with various communities including homeless adults and youth; LGBT homeless teens; people living with HIV/AIDS; recent immigrants; and court-involved youth and adults. Katy trained with Augusto Boal at the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed—Rio de Janeiro, and later with Jana Sanskriti in India, Mind the Gap in Yorkshire and Cardboard Citizens in London. She has trained facilitators in Nicaragua, the Netherlands, Norway and New Orleans as well as NYC. She holds a BFA in Acting from the Boston University School of Theater. Photo credit: Will O'Hare

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Brandon Holmes, Board Chair

Brandon J. Holmes is the New York City Campaign Coordinator at JLUSA. He oversees city-based advocacy campaigns, engaging the organization’s members, fostering partner relationships, and developing long term advocacy strategies. Previously, Brandon served as an organizer for the New York Civil Liberties and as the civil rights organizer for VOCAL-NY. Brandon is committed to amplifying the voices of directly impacted communities through unconventional forms of political and social advocacy. His grassroots campaigning experience includes organizing returning citizens and criminal justice-involved youth. Brandon has also been a part of the training team for People’s Action, a national organization made up of 600 organizers and over 1 million members from 29 states. He comes to this work with a deep family history of incarceration and substance use. Brandon fights for family reunification and to provide opportunities for every child who has been harmed by the criminal justice system.

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Patrick Kowalczyk, Board Member

Patrick Kowalczyk is the founder and president of PKPR, a boutique public relations firm representing organizations working to disrupt business as usual and create positive social change. Clients include The Knight Foundation, The Mozilla Foundation, Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, Echoing Green, The Dayton Literary Peace Prize, ESI Design, ArtBuilt, and the Economic Hardship Reporting ProjectPatrick began his career working in politics, including serving as press secretary for U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), the first woman elected to Congress who had once received public assistance. He graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Media. Patrick has been on the board of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC since 2015. He previously served as a board member of Live Out Loud, an organization for LGBTQ youth, from 2005 - 2014.

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John Bae, Board Member

John Bae is the Criminal Justice Program Director for Public Welfare Foundation. Previously, he served as an advisor for the Art for Justice Fund, a five-year grantmaking initiative to end mass incarceration launched by Agnes Gund and implemented by the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Prior to joining the Art for Justice Fund, John was with the Vera Institute of Justice, where he was part of the team that launched Vera’s national public housing project and led technical assistance for several Second Chance Pell sites. Before Vera, John was with the College Initiative, where he led a team to provide resources and supports for justice-involved college students. John is a native New Yorker, and is currently residing in Washington, DC.

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Margery Greenberg, Board Member

Margery Greenberg has been a practicing attorney since February, 1984, having obtained her J.D. degree from Hofstra University School of Law in May, 1983. She has specialized in family and matrimonial law throughout her professional career. Ms. Greenberg is formerly the co-chair of the Matrimonial and Family Law Committee of the New York Women’s Bar Association and currently a member of the Inter-disciplinary Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. She is also the 2009 recipient of the inMotion (now Her Justice) Mentor of the Year Award for her pro bono work with mentoring volunteers who represent victims of domestic violence. Ms. Greenberg is on the faculty of The New York College of Matrimonial Trial Attorneys and is a certified mediator.

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Sharon Polli, Board Member

Sharon Polli has a successful 15-year track record of supporting community-based arts and culture organizations. Currently, Sharon is Executive Vice President at BRIC, Brooklyn’s leading presenter of free cultural programming.

During her tenure with BRIC, Sharon first worked with the Board and staff to get the organization into a state of readiness for the opening of BRIC House, a state-of-the-art arts and media center in the Brooklyn Cultural District. Today, Sharon is charged with developing long-term strategies to ensure BRIC can continue to make cultural programming accessible and provide substantial support to artists.

Sharon also served as Deputy Executive Director of Groundswell, New York City’s leading community public art organization, where she oversaw day-to-day operations to ensure the meaningful engagement of 800 youth and 65 community-based partners in the creation of 60 public artworks annually.

Sharon is an alumni of Coro Leadership NY and a graduate of Carleton College. She is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC.