Rachel LaForest is the Executive Director of Right to the City, an organization that emerged in 2007 as a response to the consequences of gentrification. Right to the City has grown into a national alliance of economic, environmental and racial justice organizations in 11 states, dedicated to halting the displacement of low-income people, people of color, and other marginalized people from urban neighborhoods.
The organization’s current “Homes for All” campaign explores solutions to problems suffered by urban and suburban communities in the wake of the mortgage crisis. Prior to joining Right to the City in 2011, LaForest held leadership positions with progressive labor organizations, including Director of Organizing at the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100, the first Public Policy Director for Actors Equity, and Lead Organizer/Co-campaign Director at Jobs with Justice.
While with the TWU, LaForest played a prominent role during the New York City transit strike in 2005. She was a leader in the New York Unemployment Project campaign at Jobs with Justice, which resulted in a $2 per hour increase in the state minimum wage. Born into a family of activists, LaForest’s mother and maternal grandparents were union organizers and tenant activists in New York City. Her father, a Haitian immigrant, fought against the Haitian dictatorship.
In college, LaForest co-founded the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM), a student organization working to prevent the City University of New York from raising tuition to levels that would prevent low-income students from getting a college education.
LaForest is a graduate of Hunter College of The City University of New York, and lives in New York City.