Each of us is a unique strand in the unique web of life
and here to make a contribution. - Deepak Chopra
Peninsula Voices for Change Board Members
Chief Executive Officer/ Founding Member: Cassie DeSena-Jacobs
Cassie has been involved with activism, social justice, and non-profit organizations for over 15 years. She identifies herself a life long progressive who advocates for women's rights, incarcerated youth, immigration reform, and affordable health care. Cassie holds masters degrees in social work and clinical psychology and is currently Chair of the Southeastern Alliance Human Rights Committee and a licensed therapist in private practice. Read an article by Cassie about the unstoppable force of women in Virginia politics from RVA magazine here and an article in discussing her thoughts on why Virginia should never abandon a woman's right to choose here.
Contact Cassie or follow her on twitter at @CassieDeSena.
Secretary: Emily Wilson
Growing up in Seaford, Emily attended local public schools before leaving the area for James Madison University in 2007 where she earned a Bachelors degree in Sociology and Religion. Emily began working with the disability community in 2012 and in 2016 completed a masters degree and professional certification requirements. Emily now provides in-home therapy to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. In December 2017 Emily and her husband are expecting their first child. Emily has limited experience with political activism, and this is her first time working with a non-profit in an official capacity. She is very proud of the work PVC has done thus far and is excited to be a part of continuing progressive efforts!
Communication Director: Nicole Smith
Nicole is a pre-kindergarten teacher in Williamsburg. She strongly believes in the power of early intervention for all children, particularly those with special needs. Nicole lives in Williamsburg with her husband, Geoff, and two children, Aaron and Cora.
Treasurer: Lauren Furey
Lauren is a lifelong museum professional with a long career in the non profit world. She has spent the majority of her adult life in Virginia and she and her wife, Tret Fure, have four children, two of which are transgendered. Lauren's activism began decades ago with Peninsula Voices for Healthcare; fighting for home birth rights and the legalization of midwifery in Virginia. While pregnant and with children in tow, she spent many days on the steps and chambers of the Capitol in Richmond. Her children have followed in her footsteps and have taken part in national and statewide demonstrations and marches. Lauren's concerns include women's rights, LGBTQ equality, and building a progressive Virginia.
Board Member: Mic Harris
Mic is a native of Tyler, Texas. He is the son of an educator and factory worker and one of five children. He joined the United States Navy in 2003 and has been living in Hampton Roads since 2004. In the Navy, he served with distinction as a nuclear operator on board the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was deployed and served during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a current employee at Newport News Shipbuilding, he works as an Engineering Technician and writes nuclear propulsion plant operational procedutes. Mic wants to represent those who do not have the resources to defend themselves, which has led him to feel strongly about education- beginning with Hampton Roads youth. Mic is the founder of Young Legislators Initiative (YLI), an independent non-party affiliated organization that focuses on ways in which children and youth can become engaged and educaed about local party politics. In June 2017 Mic was a democratic candidate in the primary for the VA House of Delegates 92nd district. While he did not secure the nomination, he believes that the experience of connecting with citizens from all backgrounds was invaluable. Mic continues to work hard within his community and his primary goal include community unity, positive progress, and education that is fair for all. He will continue this goal as he enters law school at the University of Richmond. Michael is also the proud father of an eight year old daughter and enjoys singing and song writing in his free time.
Board Member and PVC Historian: Susan Thames
Susan Thames is originally from North Carolina. She and her family moved to Virginia several years ago. She has a BA from Meredith College in Visual Arts and is enjoying her 24th year of teaching. She and her husband have always voted and followed current events, but she is new to political activism. She attended the Women's March and the March for Science in Washington, DC. She is passionate about protecting our younger generation by working for public education, safe environmental standards, women's rights, civil rights, gun safety, and access to affordable healthcare. Susan is determined to listen, learn, and act to make sure the future is bright for all.
Board Member: Shannon Perry
Shannon was born and raised in North Carolina. The daughter of a teacher and a reverend, she was raised by parents who would continually give back and support others. Shannon watched her mother, an elementary school teacher, continually emotionally and financially support her students for her entire childhood. Inspired by this Shannon chose to entire the human services field, obtaining a psychology bachelors degree with a biology minor. She went on to get a masters degree in human services with a specialization in social and community services. She is currently working on her second masters degree in social work. While in college Shannon was actively involved in the NAACP and her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., continuing the lessons her parents taught her regarding community and finding a voice for those that cannot speak. Shannon is currently a utilization Review Coordinator for an Acute Hospital for children in Newport News where she has been employed and advocating for children and teens for almost ten years. Shannon believes in advocating and giving those a voice who can't always speak for themselves. Shannon lives in Hampton Va.