Robert Reyes Villagómez is a housing justice organizer. In 2018, they graduated from New York University with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Anthropology. They went on to organize an environmental and health justice campaign in Uniontown, Alabama. Robert conducted a participatory toxicology study and held classes on the arts and civic engagement at Robert C. Hatch Highschool in Uniontown, Alabama. During this campaign, they found their place in the racial justice movement in the U.S. thanks to their mentor, Esther Calhoun.
Robert then worked as a tenant organizer in the Bronx, New York, and saw first-hand the intersection between housing and health in a low-income, multi-racial community. Mold, infestation, and lack of services plagued the hundreds of families they worked with. Together, families organized to pressure their landlords and regulatory agencies to win improvements in their living conditions.
In 2020, Robert moved back home to Los Angeles, where they have organized mutual aid programs, assisted and created tenant associations in respond to unfolding health and housing crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the statewide organizer with the Resident’s United Network (RUN), Robert work to develop RUN’s organizing capacity to build resident power and organize effective campaigns to end the housing crisis. Robert’s goal is to connect local and regional tenant organizing into a powerful statewide movement that pushes elected officials both in the capital, and back home to create material change. In every situation, they work across race and class to form communities of care that challenge power and demand accountability.