Meet the Team

Manuel Villanueva

Regional Director

Manuel is the Regional Director at the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles. He leads comprehensive organizing campaigns to help workers win respect and dignity at their restaurants, including training and education for worker leaders, media work in English and Spanish, direct actions, and legal strategy. 

He has community organizing experience as a peer educator for LGBTQ Organizations, developing leaders in the Latino LGBTQ community in Long Beach, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles, and as a member organizer for ROC-LA prior to joining the staff team. He also has over 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry. 

Jessie Harmon


For twelve years Jessie worked in the service industry between their native Atlanta and Los Angeles as a professional bartender who after enduring the dichotomy between the good and unfortunate sides of restaurant culture, they became a worker about actions and solutions in order to build a new, constructive way forward for service industry professionals.

Jessie has a strong passion for teaching and working with people after years behind the bar and began teaching at the CHOW Bar Academy as well as political coffee breaks and leadership development to bring workers together through positive, forward thinking. Their experience within the industry pushed anger into action to fight for better working wages, dignity, education and quality of life for all working class people.

Outside of organizing work, Jessie positively enjoys live music, tacos, Parks & Rec, shaken daiquiris, Joshua Tree, meeting new people, traveling, social justice, comedy shows and spending time with their dog Kevin.

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