MMP exists to build a media, education and organizing infrastructure that will cohere and amplify the growing movement to end poverty. We use media to organize poor and working people to tell our stories to each other and the world, disrupting the stereotypes and structures that keep our communities divided.
Staff and Leadership Bios
Amber Marie Felton - Parent Organizer
Amber Marie is a proud Philly native (Germantown!) and alumnae of the Philadelphia School District. In 2006, while attending the High School for Creative & Performing Arts, Amber Marie became a member of the Philadelphia Student Union and was first introduced to the importance of marginalized voices in social justice work. Amber Marie went on to attend Oberlin College and majored in Sociology with concentrations in both Africana and Urban Studies. The student organizing Amber Marie took part in (during both secondary and higher education) in the fight for education as a human right affirmed for Amber Marie that those most directly impacted must take the lead in the movement. This is what excited Amber Marie most about this project and working with the Media Mobilizing Project, who strongly believe that Movements begin with the telling of untold stories.
Amy Miller - Development Director
Amy Miller has over 20 years of years of grantwriting and nonprofit financial management experience. She first got involved with MMP as a board member and began as MMP’s part-time development director in the spring of 2015. A million years ago in the early 90s, Amy organized students, welfare recipients, homeless folks and supporters with Empty the Shelters and the Kensington Welfare Rights Union working to build a social movement to end poverty. She grew up in a trailer in upstate New York, has a BA in International Development from American University, an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goddard College, and makes a fantastic margarita and a killer plate of nachos.
Bryan Mercer – Executive Director
Helyx Chase - Tech Manager and Production Assistant
Helyx Chase Scearce Horwitz volunteered for MMP for the first time in 2010 and joined staff in 2014. In addition to being an independant video artist Helyx is the Philadelphia Coordinator for the Transgender Oral History Project and a youth video educator at Scribe Video Center. Helyx is passionate about storytelling as a means to draw connections. Their video art is built by about and for televisions and computers. Helyx holds a B.A. from Hampshire College where they studied Video, Activism and Youth Development.
Milena Velis – Media Production Director
Milena trains and supports MMP movement media makers, and coordinates the production of MMP news reports, documentary projects, and other media telling the untold stories of everyday people building a movement for our human rights. Milena has worked as a local news reporter for Al Día, a Philadelphia-based Spanish-language weekly newspaper. She has also worked with the Prometheus Radio Project to build community radio stations around the US. Milena has also taught multimedia journalism at Temple University and worked as a Spanish-English interpreter in courtroom, community, and healthcare settings. Originally from Chile, Milena calls Philadelphia home. Milena holds a B.A. in History from Swarthmore College.
Rebekah Phillips – Field Director
Rebekah began working with Media Mobilizing Project as a volunteer video-maker in 2008. She spent the next four years as MMP's Video Program Coordinator, leading media trainings, organizing teams of volunteers, and producing collaborative video projects with community and labor groups. She took on the role of Co-Executive Director from 2013-2015, to support the growth and development of MMP’s media, education and organizing programming. During that time she also produced the series, Revival From the Roots: Tour of Philly’s Neighborhood Schools, and was part of the team that created the story-collecting project, Voices From Our Public Schools. She is inspired by the students, parents and teachers who are leading the fight for quality public schools in Philly and Pennsylvania and believes that strong community public schools, rooted in neighborhoods, are crucial for advancing a more equitable and just society for all. As the new Field Director, Rebekah is thrilled to focus on growing MMP’s school and community programs.
Sean Brown - N.J. Media Organizer
Sean Matthew Brown is the son of a public school teacher and Camden, NJ native. He lived in Camden until he was 8 and moved back when he was 20 to serve the city. He grew up in the Baptist church and served as a youth leader. He graduated from Pennsauken High School in 2000. Sean served in AmeriCorps VISTA in Camden (2005-2006) and New Orleans (2007). In Camden, he worked at CamConnect doing community outreach, sharing the data and reports with community organizations and the residents of the city. After his AmericCorps 2005-2006 term, he worked at Camden Community Connections, where he was responsible for database management, training students in the after school program, and assisting with intake and training for the STRIVE program. Sean has served on the CamConnect board of trustees since 2006, rising to be its chair. In 2007, Sean worked in New Orleans with different organizations, helping with the recovery.
T.C. Owens - N.J. Media Organizer
A native from Venezuela where she earned a degree in Linguistics and Modern Languages, Zoraida migrated to USA with her family in the early 80s. Her first job in the states was at a factory where she experienced firsthand all the difficulties due to language barriers and racial discrimination. Since then Zoraida has dedicated her free time to help fellow immigrants to fill out legal forms, translate letters, go with them to immigration appointments and guide them through the process. For many years Zoraida has been working supporting nonprofit organizations on their work for human rights and social justice in the Philadelphia area in different administrative roles as well as interpreting, translating, writing, editing, designing and maintaining websites. She volunteered for MMP before becoming Office Manager and currently she volunteers with the Fight for Driver’s Licenses for both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Zoraida is the proud mother of three very talented and smart kids.
Board of Directors
Allison Erdneka Budschalow
Amendu has served as a member of MMP's Executive Committee and MMP’s Labor Committee, a site organizer for the MMP and Logan CDC Carlton Simmons Technology Keyspot Computer Center, and the coordinator of MMP's Labor Justice Radio. A hip-hop artist, stand-up comic, lifetime resident of Philadelphia, fighter for the rights of all people, father and grandfather, Amendu is also an SEIU 32BJ member and shop steward representing maintenance workers.
Mica RootMica is an MMP co-founder and former Education/Executive Director. Over the past eight years, including four as a staff person, she has played lead roles in developing MMP's network(s), community-building strategies and organizational infrastructure. Currently working on a number of writing and community-wellness projects (of which one of the most fun is this), Mica is a firm believer that every day should involve both dancing and delicious food. Prior to MMP, Mica worked as a travel guidebook writer and editor and in the national administration of the American Friends Service Committee's immigrant rights initiative, Project Voice. She grew up in New York City, received a BA in English from Harvard University, and has lived in Philadelphia since 2002.
Shivaani Selvaraj - Board Secretary
Shivaani is an MMP co-founder and consults with Penn State University faculty on innovative uses of technology. For nearly two decades, she has been using storytelling and media production as a vehicle to connect and cohere communities struggling for what they need and to surface some of the most pressing issues we face. In the past she has curated performances and screenings by people of color artists, produced multi-media projects, documented human rights violations in the United States, and organized individuals and organizations to engage in a battle of images to end poverty. Shivaani continues to deepen her understanding of media, technology, and social change as a doctoral student in Adult Education. She brings fun, flair, and laughter to her collaborative work.
Todd is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University, an MMP co-founder and former chair of the Executive Committee, and a father to Sebastian and Woody the Dog. Trained as a socio-cultural anthropologist, Todd studies the convergence of new media, globalization and social movements and is currently finishing a manuscript entitled Cyber Left: Indymedia and the Making of 21st Century Struggle. Prior to his post at Rutgers and his work with MMP, Todd helped found a graduate employee union campaign at the University of Pennsylvania, and prior to that lived in sub-Saharan Africa for three years.