Rev. E. West McNeill, Executive Director
Tel: (518) 217-5644
West (they/them) is the Executive Director of Labor-Religion Coalition and a tri-chair of the New York State Poor People's Campaign. They are ordained in the United Church of Christ and have over a decade of experience organizing with community, faith, and labor organizations. They are a graduate of the Union Leadership Institute of the NYS AFL-CIO and Cornell and hold an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where they were a Fellow with the Kairos Center for Rights, Religions and Social Justice. Prior to joining LRC, West served as a parish minister in Tacoma, WA. They have a B.A. in journalism from Ithaca College.
Rev. Joe Paparone, Lead Organizer
Tel: (518) 212-7697
Joe Paparone is a life-long New Yorker, growing up in the Mid-Hudson Valley, near New Paltz. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the College of Saint Rose in 2004 and a Master of Arts in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2012. He is a licensed minister of the Mennonite Church USA. Joe has organized for immigrant rights and prisoner justice with Capital Region groups such as New Sanctuary for Immigrants, ICE-Free Capital District, and Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration.
Joe lives in Albany with his wife Lesley and their dogs, Artax and Nym. He plays tenor and baritone saxophone in two local bands: Kimono Dragons and Victory Soul Orchestra. In his free time he enjoys exploring the Adirondacks via foot, bike or canoe.
Joe Celestin, Digital Communications Organizer
Joe is currently a second-year Master of Social Work Candidate at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, with a focus on Community Organizing and Social Policy. Before beginning his MSW, Joe worked at the Immigrant Defense Project, advocating for the rights of immigrants caught at the intersection of the racist immigration and criminal-legal systems; at IDP, Joe held roles in Development and Digital Strategy, and has honed many skills in community organizing, campaign strategy, and policy analysis over the course of his career.
Most recently, Joe has held graduate-level internships at Common Justice, working on their Fair Access to Victim Compensation Campaign, and Brooklyn Defender Services, as a part of their Policy, Advocacy, and Reform Team. The criminalization of people and communities of color has been a throughline in Joe's work, which he hopes to continue in a policy-oriented role after the completion of his degree.
Jess Roman, Intern
Jess Roman joins the Labor-Religion Coalition as a Social Work Intern this spring. Jess was born and raised in New York; she's originally from Queens, but currently lives in Saratoga Springs as she completes her BSW at Skidmore College. At Skidmore, Jess is both a tutor and a peer health educator. In addition to her work on campus, Jess has also previously worked on policy proposals for the YWCA of the Greater Capital Region in Troy.