Meet the “Staff”
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.
Sharice Taylor is the Board Chair for SMASH and an active resident of Liberty City. She is currently living in a building owned by slumlord Abraham Vaknin, and her powerful story is a constant reminder of why the work we do is so important. A proud mother of 11 children and grandmother to 14 more, Sharice is an institution in Liberty City and a source of inspiration to all of her neighbors.
Mary is the treasurer of the SMASH Board. She has an MSW and a history of active community involvement in Miami. She is also an active member of the International Association of Social Work with Groups (IASWG) and has been successful in developing financial support for SMASH’s efforts to create a Community Land Trust in Liberty City.
Porgie “Gigi” Town is the Secretary 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.
Adrian was born in New Orleans, LA in 1988 to a Nicaraguan mother and a Venezuelan father. His family moved to Miami, FL in 1989 and Miami has been his home ever since. After attending the University of Michigan, Adrian felt a strong call to serve his community as a priest in the Episcopal Church, but the spirit seemed to be moving in a different direction. He has worked on various political campaigns and for a variety of non-profits in many roles ranging from administrative to hands-on community organizing. As an organizer at the Miami Workers Center, he was introduced to the systemic challenges the people of Miami face in the vortex of the Affordable Housing Crisis. The severe level of slum, gentrification and poverty have all shocked his conscience in a life-altering way. He has committed himself to empowering his fellow Miamians through this struggle. He has found particular interest in the concept of Community Land Trusts, first introduced to him by Community Leader Trenise Bryant. He took the initiative and with a group of dedicated individuals that have been similarly touched by Miami’s housing issues and started the Smash the Slumlords campaign to bring criminal landlords to justice and write a future for Miami full of promise, innovation and equality.