Board of Directors

Diana Carvajal is an assistant professor of Family Medicine whose main interest lies in women’s reproductive health with a focus on health outcome disparities among women of color.  Her clinical practice strives to provide and teach equitable reproductive health.  Her research is directed toward understanding how to help women make the most beneficial health choices in a manner that achieves reproductive autonomy.

Rob Helfenbein is Associate Dean and Interim Chair of the Teacher Education Department in the School of Education at Loyola University Maryland. He earned his B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a M.A. in Social Science Education from Appalachian State University. As Associate Professor of Curriculum Studies at Indiana University, he served in several leadership roles, including Director, in the Center for Urban and Multicultural Education (CUME), a collaborative, community-based research center.  Dr. Helfenbein has published and edited numerous research articles and book chapters about contemporary education analysis in urban contexts in journals and co-edited the books Unsettling Beliefs: Teaching Theory to Teachers (2008) and Ethics and International Curriculum Work: The Challenges of Culture and Context (2012). He has been active in organizing around issues of school equity, systemic racism in schools, school privatization, education reform, and addressing the school-to-prison pipeline.  As a member of the education working group of the Indianapolis NAACP, Rob worked with a community-based coalition to draft legislation revising the disciplinary code for schools to address racial disproportionality.  Other areas of interest include fair housing policy in Baltimore, projects related to youth voice, and systemic racism on local college campuses.

Kevin James is a community organizer, political hip-hop artist, former BCPSS high school history teacher, and volunteer paramedic who has been active in various movements over the years; death penalty abolition, youth jobs, school funding, labor, anti-war, immigrant rights, Palestine solidarity, housing justice, and Black Lives Matter.

Barbara Larcom earned her B.A. and M.S.W. from Ohio State University, followed by a Ph.D. in sociology from Johns Hopkins University. While at Johns Hopkins, she conducted research on worker autonomy. This was followed by study of ethno-violence at school and work, as Senior Research Associate in the National Institute against Prejudice and Violence.

She has also served in various capacities in nonprofit administration, always connected to her passion for peace and justice: Client Education Manager and Social Planner at Franklin County (Ohio) Welfare Department; Executive Director of Columbia Day Care Program (Bloomsburg, Pa.); Executive Director of Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Maryland; Associate Regional Director and Interim Regional Director of American Friends Service Committee (Baltimore, Md.); and grassroots coordinator for Nicaragua Network and for Casa Baltimore/Limay, a sister-city project linked to Nicaragua.

She served for nearly 10 years as a board member of Alliance for Global Justice; and she currently serves as board president of Nicaraguan Cultural Alliance, which promotes appreciation of Nicaraguan culture in the US and helps Nicaraguan artists maintain a living wage for their work. She is the RAF board secretary. She joined the board because she believes that the type of funding RAF offers is crucial to grassroots activism.

Mike McGuire is a carpenter and organizer with a background in labor, Latin America, alter-globalization, direct action, and creative protest. He’s been involved with RAF in many capacities since the mid 1990’s.

Kostis Papadantonakis grew up in Athens in the Nineteen Forties and Fifties, years of Axis occupation and anti-fascist resistance, civil war, and subsequent police-state repression. His parents took active part in these struggles, and experienced political imprisonment and persecution. After completing his secondary education there, he came to the U.S. on a Fulbright scholarship and studied at Princeton (B.A., public and international affairs) and Cornell (Ph.D., economics), where he became involved in the anti-racist and anti-war movements. With the 1967 military coup and subsequent years of U.S.-sponsored dictatorship in Greece, his plans to return there were scuttled and he moved to Canada, where was active in the Greek anti-fascist movement and solidarity struggles with the francophone people of Québec. Back in the U.S., he eventually settled in Baltimore as a faculty member at CCBC-Essex, where he taught economics, history, politics, and women’s studies for over thirty years. After retiring from there, he taught part-time at UMBC until very recently. In all these years, he continued his involvement in the movements against wars and social injustice as a radical teacher and occasional scholar, publishing essays on economic dependence, national liberation struggles, and globalization.

Kostis is a founding member of Research Associates Foundation and a committed believer in the need for radical social change. He is the father of one (and grandfather of two) and keeps house with his wife who is also retired, after decades of teaching mathematics at CCBC-Essex.

LaKeyma Pennyamon

Fred Pincus is a retired sociologist who has written three books and dozens of articles about racial inequality, affirmative action, diversity, community colleges and educational policy. He is Co-President of the Baltimore Jewish Cultural Chavurah, a secular Jewish community, and is also collecting Baltimore-oriented political protest posters. “I am excited about being on the RAF Board to help younger activists continue the work of past progressive movements.”

Lester Spence