Tomas Ramos is the founder and president of the Oyate
Group’s Bronx Rising Initiative, an organization dedicated to
providing and distributing critical resources across the
Bronx in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s
disproportionate impact on the borough. Driven by his belief
that residents of the community he loves deserve to not just
survive but to thrive, he is committed to finding sustainable
solutions to the challenges they face.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tomas temporarily suspended his campaign for New York’s 15th congressional district to support New York’s hardest-hit borough by launching the Bronx Rising Initiative. Beginning by raising funds to increase ICU bed capacity and provide PPE for local hospitals, he has since expanded his efforts to include fighting hunger, uplifting local youth, supporting small businesses and more. Tomas’s successful approach has been covered in numerous local, national and international news outlets including The New York Times.
Prior to founding BRI, Tomas began his community organizing career as the Program Director for Children's Arts and Science Workshops at the Bronx River Community Center, bringing with him a background in youth education and hospitality. While working in the community center, Tomas fought to secure funding for the first technology center in New York City public housing and secured numerous awards and grants for local community centers and families living in low-income housing.
He also worked to develop financial literacy, civic engagement, and college and job readiness programming for residents; planned and organized a conference to empower young men and boys of color, focusing on the negative impact of toxic masculinity; and was appointed to New York State’s My Brother’s Keeper planning committee, which resulted in the creation of a Young Men’s Initiative mentoring program at the Bronx River Community Center.
He has also worked with restorative justice agencies to facilitate a diversion program that enables low-level offenders to avoid the legal system and provides them with needed support, and he was a pioneer plaintiff of NYC’s Fair Chance Act, being one of the first individuals to sue a large corporation for discrimination.
A first-generation Dominican American, Tomas was born in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. In the late 1980s while his father was incarcerated, Tomas and his mother relocated to Pennsylvania due to the effects of the crack cocaine epidemic and the war on drugs on his neighborhood. Upon his father’s release, the family moved to the Dominican Republic, where his parents remain to this day. Tomas later returned to the United States with his siblings and went on to finish high school and graduate from Temple University, where his passion for progressive ideas and social justice deepened.