Meet the Board
Welcome to the bio page for our “staff”, we use quotation marks because all the individuals depicted here do all their work as volunteers and do not receive a salary. Here you can get to know the folks who run the day to day of Smash the Slumlords, we welcome you to check this page out and get to know the people who make everything possible.
Chair of the Board
Porgie “Gigi” Town is the Chair of the SMASH Board. Gigi is a resident of Liberty City, and former tenant of slumlord Abraham Vaknin’s buildings. She brings the power of her dramatic story to the operations of SMASH, making sure that we never forget how hard life can be for families that are forced to live in slum conditions. She is also an entrepreneur, and her candle-making business is set to light the way for a community in darkness.
Rosalie "Cookie" Whiley
Rosalie ‘Cookie’ Whiley is the Board Vice Chair. She was born and raised in Overtown, and attended Miami Springs High School. Community activism and cooking are her hobbies and passion.
Cookie has worked on projects consisting of issues ranging from: home vacancies, the Scott Carver campaign, the Transit Village campaign, and tenants’ rights issues. She embraces the Community Land Trust model, and has been actively organizing to implement it in her community for over 10 years. She has served on several Boards, and is the past chair of the Miami Worker Center.
Dwight Bullard is the Political Director for New Florida Majority. He served one term in the Florida State Senate, representing parts of South Florida from 2012 to 2016, and before that served two terms in the Florida House of Representatives, representing a district in southern Miami-Dade County from 2008 until his election to the Senate.
Bullard was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and moved to Florida in 1981; his father, Edward B. Bullard, served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008, and his mother Larcenia Bullard, served in the House from 1992 to 2000 and in the Florida State Senate from 2002 to 2012. He attended Florida A&M University, graduating with a degree in history education in 1999.
Aaron McKinney is a Miami native and the current Deputy Chief of Staff for Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, covering issues related to housing and social services, infrastructure and utilities, public health and safety, and transportation.
During his tenure with Commissioner Jordan, Aaron played an instrumental role in crafting the revised Miami-Dade County Workforce Housing Development Program–a program designed to spur the development of below market units for middle income residents–and several legislative initiatives to incentivize the construction of more affordable housing. Aaron 2017 alum of the University of Miami’s Community Scholars in Affordable Housing Program, studying best practices of community development and affordable housing alongside emerging local community leaders. Prior to his time with Commissioner Barbara Jordan, Aaron served as a legislative assistant and senior advisor to State Senator Dwight Bullard, covering North Miami-Dade, Collier County, and Hendry County; a program administrator in various community based organizations, including the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project; and field and outreach staff on multiple statewide political campaigns. Aaron is a proud graduate of Florida International University where he received his bachelors of arts in political science.
Allie Klionsky is the Board Secretary and works in the areas of education and learning differences/developmental disabilities. She has been involved with movements around labor rights and police brutality and is committed to working with others to overthrow systems that allow for environmental injustice and gentrification. She believes that affordable, sustainable, and quality housing is a human right.
Diana Marie Lee
Diana Marie Lee is an elder healing woman whose roots are African American and Cherokee Nation, from Tahlequah and Muskogee, Oklahoma. Diana has worked for over 26 years building the capacity of leaders and groups serving vulnerable communities including immigrants and refugees, youth, elders, labor activists, farmers, poor and low income, people with special health care needs and communities of color. A certified B Corp since 2012, Diana’s business Sweet Livity LLC delivers wellness and business coaching to support individuals and groups serving vulnerable communities to do their jobs to the fullest, with improved well-being, sustainability and results.
Lennox Griffith is a former Project Manager for the Miami-Dade Housing Authority (now Public Housing and Community Development) and has over 30 years of experience managing and supervising affordable housing developments that use county funds and assets. Lennox is thrilled to continue working on behalf of Miami’s low-income communities in retirement through his involvement with SMASH.
Lauren Fernandez is an experienced financial developer for several non-profits through her work with Grants, Ink. She comes from an organizing background, with organizations as diverse as Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship benefiting from her tremendous work. In addition to her role as a board member, Lauren volunteers a significant amount of her free time to SMASH as a consultant on prospective grants, fellowships and other awards.
Terrance Cash is a resident of Liberty City and former resident of Abraham Vaknin’s building at 1231 NW 61st St. Cash has been an active supporter and volunteer for many SMASH activties and events in Liberty CIty, and has a strong desire to see the neighborhood equitably developed through a Community Land Trust. A demolition specialist, Cash really enjoys being part of an organization named SMASH, even though its an organization more dedicated to creating, than smashing.
Trenise was raised in Liberty City, a community severely impacted by gentrification. She graduated from Miami Northwestern Senior high school and currently works at Sweetwater Elementary as a food service manager. Trenise is a long time member of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Nutrition Association, where she is past president.
Trenise is passionate about volunteering in the community where she grew up, especially for the Liberty Square public housing complex. Trenise strongly believes that housing is a human right and is fighting to make that right a reality. She is the pioneer of the Community Land Trust model as organizing tool for Miami-Dade, and SMASH credits much of the work that it has accomplished to her research and development.
Armando Carranza Ventura
Armando is an immigrant from Honduras and an accomplished entrepreneur, having established his own clothing store and an internationally recognized personal brand (@1ofDem). Since moving to Miami permanently in 2012, he has been an active resident of Fontainebleau, West Miami, South Beach and currently, Little Havana. He looks forward to creating a Community Land Trust that will serve the interests of black and brown residents across Miami-Dade County.
Mary is the current treasurer of the SMASH Board. Mary has been a community activist for over 40 years. A product of the black power & feminist movements, she is trained & educated in social worker & public health. Mary has organized in Indianapolis, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Boston area before moving to Miami.