Board of Directors
Zeltzyn Sanchez Gomez
Perla Zuniga Arellano has lived in Port Chester since she migrated from Mexico at the age of 3 with her family. She graduated Port Chester High School in 2013 and then attended Westchester Community College where she majored in Criminal Justice Law-Police. With a lot of effort, dedication and two scholarships she was able to graduate with Business Honors and as a member of the Alpha Beta Gamma society, in May, 2018.
“I love the work I do with the Alliance in helping my community all I can. I got accepted to John Jay College of Criminal Justice which is a dream come true! I plan to keep studying to be able to educate myself and gain more experience that will benefit my community and me even more!” — Perla Zuniga
Joan Grangenois-Thomas is a 30-year resident of Port Chester, otherwise known as a ‘newbie’ to the community! She owns a successful boutique public relations firm that specializes in working with nonprofit and social enterprise organizations. Joan has a long history working with a variety of causes and organizations, including Port Chester Cares (as founding co-chair), the Rye, Rye Brook & Port Chester League of Women Voters (board member), Port Chester/Rye NAACP (past president), Edison School PTA (a long time ago), as well as various Port Chester School Board Parents Committees. She and her husband, David, have two children who graduated from Port Chester schools. Joan is also a graduate of Leadership Westchester, a program of Volunteer-New York!
“The Alliance is unique in Port Chester. There has never been a group that works to empower all those who have been marginalized, individuals, business owners, young people, everyone. It is a huge challenge but it is also a huge opportunity and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
— Joan Grangenois-Thomas
Tom Kissner, President
Tom Kissner brings a life-long passion for social justice to the Alliance. In the 1960’s, he traveled to Nigeria as an exchange student. In ’65 & ’66 he was a volunteer teacher at Rust College, one of the country’s HBCUs, in Holly Springs, Mississippi. In the summer of ’66, Tom joined the James Meredith March, along with the Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders of that turbulent time. Tom joined VISTA, the domestic Peace Corps, and taught Black History with the A.A. E. program of Rev. Leon Sullivan’s O.I.C. in Philadelphia. Currently, Tom sits on the board of directors for Human Development Services of Westchester; Rye, Rye Brook & Port Chester League of Women Voters and the Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence. He is currently the president of the Port Chester/Rye Branch of the NAACP.
“I have always believed in the importance of individual participation in civic affairs. I see it as a citizen’s duty to get involved by voting, speaking out at meetings, and volunteering to join various local organizations which have impact upon the ongoing life around us, and upon government at the municipal, state, and national levels.” — Tom Kissner
Chrin Calabrese brings 25 years as an advocate for social and economic justice to the Alliance. Through his work with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), he has lead and organised campaigns that have improved the lives of working people. Currently he holds the title of Business Agent with CWA 1103. Chris is also on the Executive Board of Don Bosco Workers, Inc., where he helped organize an innovative anti-wage theft campaign called “No Pay, No Way.” Chris is a believer in strategic direct action mobilizing as a means for meaningful change.
Phyllis Maguire is a life-long Port Chester resident, whose parents and grandparents grew up in the village. She raised her own children here. Phyllis became involved with the Alliance a few years ago when the Alliance was advocating to save affordable apartments at the staff housing building for the former United Hospital. Phyllis brings her experience as a housing Counselor with Human Development Services of Westchester’s Neighborhood Preservation Company, a local housing counseling agency, where she sees firsthand the needs of the community with regard to a variety of housing issues.
Phyllis’ favorite quote is, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” — Mahatma Ghandi.
Zeltzyn Sanchez Gomez
Zeltzyn Sanchez Gomez was the Community Organizer for Sustainable Port Chester Alliance from late 2016 until July of 2018. In that time, she was integral to helping the organization grow in size and influence. Zel sits on the Census Complete Count Committee and the City Status Committee for the Village of Port Chester. She is a Youth Coordinator with Wespac, which gives her the flexibility to build her organizing and advocacy chops such as helping to organize the next Westchester Social Justice Forum. A 20 year-old DACA-mented recipient, Zel represents the future of our village. She hopes to start her college career soon.
“I was brought up knowing I had to be involved in my community, I think the Alliance has a lot of potential to be the glue this Village needs. What other group or organization is actively encouraging all kinds of residents to work together and fight for the future of Port Chester?” — Zeltzyn Sanchez Gomez