Justice At Work Staff
Executive Director Thomas Smith graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 2008 and is a member of the Massachusetts and Federal bars. From 2008-2010, as part of a Skadden Fellowship project, he supported Boston-area immigrant worker centers as an attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services‘ Employment Unit and was given the Health Tech/Legal Champion of the Year award by MassCOSH. At the start of 2011, he launched Justice At Work. In 2014, the Brazilian Worker Center honored him with the 20th Anniversary Celebration Community Hero Award, and in 2017 he was named an “Up & Coming Lawyer” by MA Lawyers Weekly. Tom is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese thanks to extensive work and travel in Latin America and to his work with migrant communities in the United States. He has a background in teaching and coaching.
Legal Program Coordinator José A. Palma brings a decade of success fighting for social, economic justice and immigrants’ rights to Justice at Work. José was born in Usulután, El Salvador. He came to the United States in 1998 and has lived in Lynn, MA since 2002. José earned his Associate of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies at North Shore Community College in 2011, which included an internship at Greater Boston Legal Services. Before joining Justice at Work, José was the Political and Organizing Director for Neighbor-2-Neighbor, where he led efforts to combine issue organizing with electoral work. Jose has also worked with Centro Presente and the Student Immigrant Movement and has been part of the effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform across the country
Development and Communications Director Katelyn Parady came to Justice At Work in 2017 with a background in grassroots capacity building. A native of Southwest Wyoming, she is an occupational health and safety activist who co-chairs MassCOSH”s Health Tech advisory committee and serves on the editorial board of New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy. Prior to Justice At Work, Katelyn managed communications and operations for Toxics Action Center, where she helped lead a labor-environment coalition organizing to reduce Boston’s waste incineration and win better conditions for the city’s recycling workers. She previously lived and worked in Phoenix, Arizona.
Paralegal Seichelle Vermelho is a Brazilian labor lawyer, who joined Justice At Work in September 2016 as a paralegal. In Brazil she worked for two years at Ubirajara Douglas Vianna Advogados Associados, where she represented low-wage workers, leading cases on overtime, discrimination, and sexual harassment. Seichelle holds an LL.M. from Boston College Law School (Humans Rights Law), and an LL.B. from the Universidade Castelo Branco of Espirito Santo, Brazil. She is bi-lingual in English and Portuguese.
Justice At Work Board of Directors
Ingrid Nava is Associate General Counsel for Service Employers International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ, and is a member of the bars of Massachusetts and New York and the Federal District Courts of Massachusetts, Southern District of New York and Eastern District of New York as well as the 1st and 2nd Circuit. Ingrid was named an “Up and Coming Lawyer” for 2011 by MA Lawyers Weekly. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Northeastern University School of Law, where she developed and has taught “Lawyering with Spanish-Speaking Clients” as an adjunct professor. Prior to her current position she was an employment lawyer with Greater Boston Legal Services, where she worked on legislative policy initiatives and engaged in direct client representation primarily with unemployment, wage and hour, and FMLA matters. Prior to law school, she was an organizer for SEIU International Union and various Locals.
Omar Angel is an independent consultant. Most recently, he was the Policy Advocacy Manager of the Global Workers Justice Alliance, based in New York City and serving Mexico and Central America. He has held several leadership positions with various worker centers and community based organizations in the United States. A Mexican-trained attorney, Omar studied at the University of Veracruz in Mexico and the University of Deusto in Spain. He was an intern with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the U.N. in Geneva and was the Human Rights Program Director for the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Isthmus’ Northern Zone in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Rachel Rosenbloom is a professor of immigration law and policy at Northeastern University School of Law. Rachel was a fellow at the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College, where she was the supervising attorney for the Center’s Post-Deportation Human Rights Project. She has been widely quoted in the media on the wrongful detention and deportation of US citizens and permanent residents, and testified on this subject at a 2008 congressional hearing before the House Subcommittee on Immigration. Her legal career includes practicing union-side labor law at the Boston firm Segal Roitman LLP. From 2002 to 2004, she served as a law clerk to the Hon. Morris E. Lasker in United States District Court.
Board Treasurer, Melissa Gonzalez is an independent consultant to nonprofits and foundations. Her professional experience includes program design and evaluation, strategy consulting, and research and teaching as an academic economist. She has worked as a Director at Revjen, which partners with philanthropic foundations to help nonprofits achieve economic sustainability, and prior to that co-ran Cove Strategy, a strategy consulting firm to social sector organizations. Both as an Assistant Professor at UMass Amherst, and a graduate student at UC Berkeley, Melissa worked on the design and evaluation of social programs, including a poverty reduction program and a children’s health intervention. Originally from Costa Rica, Melissa has also lived and worked in the U.S. and Tanzania. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, with her husband and three children.
Elvis Mendez is the lead organizer for the National Guestworker Alliance in New England. He was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in Framingham, Massachusetts. Elvis has worked as an organizer with the Warehouse Workers for Justice campaign in Chicago and as the Coordinator of the Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative, a coalition of community based worker centers in New England. He has a bachelor’s degree in Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is completing his Masters of Science in Labor Industrial Relations.