Local Leaders

ACORN is owned by its members

ACORN Leaders. They direct and guide a group by being out in front. But equally important is creating space for new leaders to emerge! Shared leadership is functional leadership. While good leaders may be totally committed to building rank-and-file participation and ownership, their primary role is to help the group grow, resolve conflict,  lead by example  and achieve its goals.  ACORN wins campaigns by having power which means having as many members and leaders as possible! 


ACORN Organizers. Support members to take the lead, continuously locating new blood to invigorate and democratize the organization.


A Leader can be an Organizer, but an Organizer cannot be a Leader


Power to the People. ACORN is governed by a national board of its members. The national board is made up of two member elected representatives from each province that has at least three chapters. Each chapter needs to have 10 full dues-paying members to elect a local board.

Get to know some of the leaders of local ACORN chapters. 

Ottawa - Gatineau ACORN

Marie Lourdes Garnier
Chair of the South Ottawa Chapter 

Marie is a strong, francophone ACORN leader from Haiti. She has been a fierce campaigner for child care issues. She has passionately led many of ACORN’s campaigns since 2012, on issues such as minimum wage increases and community benefits agreements.




Last Mazambani 
Co-Chair of the South Ottawa ACORN Chapter
Having joined ACORN in January 2020 after an organizer knocked on his apartment door in Herongate, Last is our newest elected leader on the rise! Last quickly took on leadership roles by chairing local meetings, making presentations to other groups and speaking with the press in the fight to win a NO Displacement Community Benefits Agreement in his neighbourhood!

Ginelise Edouard
Chair of the Ottawa West Nepean Chapter 

Ginelise has been an Ottawa ACORN member for over a decade. A mother of 11 children, Ginelise has made fighting for her Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhood a priority. She has also organized on other ACORN campaigns, including raising the rates for social assistance recipients.



Norma-Jean Quibell 
Co-Chair of the Ottawa West Nepean ACORN Chapter
Norma-Jean joined ACORN in early 2018 after attending the launch of our municipal elections platform - the Agenda for Change. Over the past couple years Norma-Jean has quickly become one of our most active members pushing for justice on issues like the digital divide, low social assistance and MORE! Norma-Jean is currently studying law at Algonquin College. 

Blaine Cameron
Chair of the Central Ottawa Chapter

Blaine joined ACORN after an organizer knocked on his door in 2012. Living in a substandard housing unit in Vanier, he’s become a leader on the frontlines for landlord licensing and other citywide to national campaigns - from affordable housing to internet for all!




Geri Stevens 
Co-Chair of the Central Ottawa Chapter 
Ottawa ACORN is lucky to have Geri as she moved from Toronto to the nation’s capital after having been the long time Co-Chair of Toronto ACORN’s East York chapter. In Toronto she led the fight for landlord licensing and in Ottawa has been a passionate advocate on transit, social assistance and tenants’ rights!
Bader Abu Zahra
Chair of Ottawa-Vanier ACORN Chapter 
Bader is Palestinian and a retired engineer. He immigrated to Canada in the early 70s and since then has been involved in community struggles for social justice. After being encouraged by his daughter to join ACORN, Bader has become a committed member on several campaigns. These include affordable and livable housing, fair banking and he was an essential part of the push for a mobile COVID19 testing site in the east end of Ottawa.
Meagan Wiper
Co-Chair of Ottawa-Vanier ACORN Chapter 
Meagan Wiper joined ACORN after being frustrated with her landlord who neglected repairs and his tenants. Meagan quickly became an active member in the fight for healthy homes and has helped grow the organization in many ways - from doing data entry at the office, petitioning, phone outreach to other members to doing media interviews and co-facilitating meetings, Meagan has done it all!




Marcia Powell

Chair of Cooksville ACORN 


Marcia was elected Chair of Cooksville ACORN in 2017. Since then, Marcia has pushed the City of Mississauga to enact a low-income bus pass and start a pilot program for proactive inspections of apartment buildings.









Toronto ACORN


Alejandra Ruiz Vargas

Chair of the East York Chapter - National Leadership Representative


Alejandra is a housing worker originally from Colombia who has been involved with ACORN since 2015. She has led meetings and actions on issues such as. childcare, remittances, and employment insurance reform but her passion and advocacy on affordable housing, tenant rights and state of good repair issues is her passion. 





Donna Borden at an ACORN eventDonna Borden

Co-Chair of the East York Chapter


Donna works in healthcare and has been involved with ACORN ever since she began fighting back against predatory lenders like CitiFinancial in 2014. Donna is a fair banking warrior, having led many actions against payday and installment lenders. She has also delivered deputations to different levels of government about the different ways the bank system excludes low and moderate income people.




Marva BurnettMarva Burnett

Chair of the Scarborough Chapter - National Board Representative, President, ACORN International President.

Marva is the Chair of Scarborough ACORN and the National President of ACORN Canada. Marva is a child care worker, and a mother. She has been passionate leader  with ACORN since it first started organizing in Scarborough in 2005 and has led countless campaigns over the years.






Kemba Robinson

Chair of the York West Chapter


Kemba Robinson lives in the Jane Finch neighbourhood and has been a leader in her chapter since an organizer knocked on her door. Kemba believes that landlords and politicians do not do enough for tenants, and that Toronto needs real affordable housing with proper maintenance. These beliefs have motivated Kemba’s work and drives her to continue to organize with her neighbours.




Bob Murphy sitting with an ACORN member at  an information tableBob Murphy

Chair of the Weston Chapter


Bob has been the chair of Weston ACORN since 2019, and you’ll often see him at actions across the city as well as down at city hall meeting councillors or making deputations about the need for REAL affordable housing. Bob is an ODSP recipient and always makes sure to view and speak about ACORN’s campaigns through that lens.





Marcia Stone speaking into a microphoneMarcia Stone

Co-Chair of the Weston Chapter


Marcia joined ACORN in 2019 and has quickly become an active leader in her community and chapter. She believes that your postal code should not determine the quality of your housing and that’s why she continues to fight for healthy homes for all and on other important housing campaigns led by ACORN.






Peter D’Gama

Chair of the Etobicoke Chapter


Peter chairs the Etobicoke chapter of ACORN. He has knocked on countless doors in buildings, helping his neighbours fight back against greedy and negligent landlords. His advocacy has centred on the People Over Profit Campaign.






Ria Rinne

Co-Chair of the Etobicoke Chapter


Ria originally joined ACORN Ottawa, but after moving to Toronto she became a member of the Etobicoke chapter. Ria brings years of experience leading meetings and actions in her community. She has been an active voice in the media and has been an invaluable leader helping to organize effective local campaigns.




Hamilton ACORN

Mike Wood

Chair of the Downtown Chapter


Mike is a fierce champion of housing rights in Hamilton. Joining ACORN in 2017, he helped organize the revival of ACORN in Hamilton, and has been leading the fight for local legislation to protect Hamilton tenants from substandard housing and the practice of renovictions.




Terry Williton 

Secretary of the Downtown Chapter

Terry became an ACORN member in 2018. Inspired by his experience advocating for low income families with local Hamilton community groups, Terry has been a strong voice advocating to raise social assistance rates and justice for tenants. 





Keith Alarie 

Downtown Co - Chair

Keith is a founding member of Hamilton’s downtown chapter. He became involved with ACORN in 2017 and has been an active voice in the Hamilton media calling for more affordable housing and increased local legislation to protect tenants from poor housing conditions.



Chantel Potter 

Chair East Hamilton


Chantel was roused to become an ACORN member in 2018. Inspired by an ACORN civics workshop in downtown Hamilton, she is committed to fighting for the issues ACORN champions and bringing action for justice in her community. Chantel is currently studying to become a paralegal at Mohawk College. 





Raven Bridges
East Hamilton Co-Chair

Raven attended an ODSP rally in 2018, and was motivated to become an ACORN member shortly after. Raven can often be found behind a megaphone, moving and coordinating direct actions. Raven is passionate about fighting for low income tenants in Hamilton’s east end.




Veronica Gonzalez
Mountain Hamilton Co-Chair

Veronica  joined ACORN in 2019 after experiencing health and safety issues in her own apartment and wanting to see improvements in her housing complex on the Mountain. Since getting involved with ACORN, Veronica has fought for tenant justice in her community and at City Hall.




Marnie Schurter
Mountain Hamilton Co-Chair 

Marnie joined ACORN during the founding organizing drive of the Mountain Chapter in 2018. Marnie recently retired as a Library Clerk with Hamilton Public Library. She is passionate about building a strong community for tenants living on Hamilton’s Mountain.  




Rebecca Guzzo-Hockridge
Mountain Hamilton Secretary / Treasurer 

Rebecca Guzzo-Hockridge joined ACORN during the COVID19 pandemic after reaching out with concerns about renoviction in Hamilton. Rebecca is passionate, caring, and willing to go above and beyond for the wellbeing of others. Having struggled with episodic homelessness, Rebecca is passionate about issues surrounding women’s homelessness and tenant displacement. She plans to use her skills and experience studying social work.




Noel Ouellette 

Chair New Westminster ACORN and National Board Representative


Noel joined ACORN in 2005 while pushing for community safety in New Westminster BC. Since then, Noel has been active on numerous ground breaking campaigns such as the New West Living Wage Campaign in 2010 and the End the Child Support Clawback campaign in 2015. Noel is currently the Chair of New West ACORN and a member of the ACORN Canada National Board. 




Melanie Campbell 

Co-Chair New Westminster ACORN


Melanie has been an active BC ACORN member for a decade. Her campaign work has focused on stopping predatory lending in British Columbia. She has also worked on disability rights and ending the digital divide campaigns. In addition to being Co-Chair, Melanie is also the former Chair of New Westminster ACORN  






Tabitha Naismith

Chair - Newton ACORN and National Board Representative


Tabitha Naismith has been very active with ACORN since she signed up in 2013, as a champion of anti-poverty issues and both disability rights. Thanks to her tireless advocacy, BC ACORN’s Disability Rights Group won their first major victory on their End the Child Support Clawback Campaign. Tabitha currently lives with her two. children in the community of Newton in Surrey, British Columbia.





Murray Martin 

Acting Chair of Burnaby ACORN


Murray has been involved with stopping Demovictions in Burnaby, since getting involved with BC ACORN in 2013. His ongoing efforts have resulted in the development of Burnaby’s Tenant Assistance Policy which included many of ACORN’s policy proposals. To this day this policy remains the gold standard for municipal tenant policy in Canada. 





Bryn Smith

Acting Chair of Guildford-Surrey ACORN


Bryn is a newly elected Acting Chair of Guildford-Surrey ACORN. Leading campaigns in Guildford-Surrey since 2019, Bryn has been actively participating in various events, including the ACORN’s recent COVID-19 Campaigns.







Tara Black

Chair of North Surrey ACORN


Tara has been an active BC ACORN member for almost four years. Her campaign work is focusing on the Housing crisis in Surrey, British Columbia. She has launched a new campaign, Stand Up for Housing Campaign.



Akram Fakhfakh

Co-Chair of North Surrey ACORN and National Board Representative


Having joined ACORN in June 2020, Akram is one of the newest elected leaders on the rise. He quickly took on leadership roles by chairing local meetings, leading the tenant union group in his building, participating in various group actions, launched a new campaign, Stand Up for Housing Campaign.














Montreal ACORN


Theodros Wolde

Chair of LaSalle ACORN


Unanimously elected chair of LaSalle in 2020, Theodros is a unifying and pragmatic leader. Married and the father of a child, he believes that it is possible to live in harmony, to fight and to obtain more just laws. As a volunteer, Theodros does not hesitate to give of his person, he led several campaigns of ACORN Quebec, including Internet for all, and healthy and affordable housing for all in Quebec, was an active member in the fight of ACORN against the infestation problems of the tenants of LaSalle.






Christian Kankenga

Secretary of LaSalle ACORN


Christian, a 28-year-old young man, working in the food industry, was a very early activist in student and citizen movements. As a member of ACORN, he fights for the city to provide more affordable and social housing. He is motivated to lift the voices of those who are not heard and to improve the living conditions of people in the community.

















Lina Deberge

Co-Chair of LaSalle ACORN


Co-chair of the LaSalle chapter, Lina, a mother with a big heart, finds time between her children and her secretarial studies to fight for others. Involved in the healthy and affordable housing campaign for all in Quebec, Lina quickly showed herself through her fighting skills. She believes in the power of coming together to solve the problems of our communities and is ready to hold up ACORN’s future campaigns.





Nova Scotia ACORN


Hannah Wood

Chair of the Halifax-Peninsula chapter


Originally hailing from New Brunswick, Hannah has been a fierce and effective disability advocate and is an urban chicken-keeping enthusiast. Hannah was elected chair of the Halifax-Peninsula Chapter in 2020 and is passionate about tenants rights and fair and affordable housing.