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

Bryan Mercer is a Philadelphia native who began volunteering with Media Mobilizing Project after returning home from college. Bryan is now Executive Director of MMP, using strategic media and communications to strengthen and connect communities organizing for their human rights. Bryan also works on state and national media policy advocacy with the Media Action Grassroots Network to create a ground-up approach to securing media rights and access.  Bryan received his bachelors degree from Columbia University in Anthropology and Comparative Ethnic Studies.

Hannah Sassaman – Policy Director
Hannah is a nationally recognized organizer for media justice.  Hannah came to MMP as a volunteer, working on grassroots fundraising, and now serves as the Policy Director of the organization.  As the Campaign Director at the Prometheus Radio Project, Hannah helped lead the grassroots organizing and legislative strategy that resulted in the passage of the Local Community Radio Act - a bill that opened up the FM dial to thousands more community radio stations nationwide.  Hannah leads the CAP Comcast campaign - focused on holding Comcast accountable to poor and working people in Philadelphia and beyond. Hannah is a member of the Board of Directors of Allied Media Projects and at Fight for the Future; she is a trustee at the Valentine Foundation, the mom of incredible preschooler Sara Bela Sassaman Marcus, and the partner of brilliant community programmer Josh Marcus.

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.   

Luis Gauthier - Accountant
Luis was born and raised in Philadelphia and graduated cum laude from Temple University with a BBA in Accounting.  MMP's Accountant, Luis also works as Director of Finance and Operations for Philadelphia Student Union and is currently sitting for the CPA exams.  He has held positions with several non-profit organizations in his community and worked for City of Philadelphia as an accountant and revenue auditor.  Luis is the father of two little boys growing up in a society where more MMPs are needed, and is committed to making this society a better, more just and more equal place for all.  

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.

Young Urban Leaders was founded while Sean was an undergraduate student at Rutgers University. As its volunteer director, the organization supports leadership development for young adults. He received his BA is Urban Studies in 2010 and Master's degree in Public Policy with a concentration on Community Development at Rutgers University in 2015. While in school, Sean has been to South Africa to do community service and The Netherlands, including Amsterdam where he studied housing policy.
The youngest ever to be appointed, Sean served on the Camden school board 2010-2013. He served as the chairman of the policy committee. Most importantly, he is the father of two young boys. One day, he hopes to release his urban folk album.

T.C. Owens - N.J. Media Organizer

T.C. Owens is a folklorist and videographer. Since 2008, he has worked collaboratively to document, preserve and present the vital community traditions of working communities. While at the Philadelphia Folklore Project, he worked on Eatala: A Life in Klezmer, about klezmer drummer Elaine Hoffman Watts. He holds an MA in Folklore from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. His master’s thesis documents cultural impacts and collective responses of resistance to the natural gas industry in Northeast Pennsylvania. As a media organizer with the Media Mobilizing Project, he recently co-produced Building a Sandcastle: A Broken Promise to Atlantic City, a short documentary that tells the stories of the casino workers who remain after the wave of casino closures and layoffs in 2014.
Zoraida Ossa - Office Manager

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

A mama of color in constant pursuit of a just world that thrives of, by, and for the whole community, Allison is constantly looking for ways that organizers, activists, and change agents--especially those from low-income and communities of color--can make it on the long road to justice. One aspect that she currently focuses on is how grassroots fundraising supports radical organizing and base building, and she brings theory into practice as a member of MMP's Grassroots Fundraising Committee. She is rooted in Philly with her partner, two babes and a dog.

Amendu Evans

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.


Audra Traynham
Audra is an SEIU 32BJ union member, leader and organizer; a mother and grandmother; and a long-time member of MMP.  Audra has been a member of the Labor Committee and a co-host on MMPTV. She was also Site Organizer for MMP and the SEIU Healthcare PA Keyspot Computer Center.
Fred Pinguel
Now the Coordinator of the Cross City Campaign for School Reform, Fred was a Philadelphia Student Union (PSU) member in high school, working to secure adequate funding and avoid privatization in Philadelphia public schools. Through this work he came to believe in the collective power of youth and after graduating from college joined PSU as an organizer to put his energy and skills toward the improvement of Philadelphia. Fred was a member of the MMP Leadership Council in 2010 and 2011 and has consulted on, designed and led a wide range of curricula, studies and workshops with MMP as well as with many other organizations locally and around the country.
Jamila Medley
Jamila is a Brooklyn, NY native who for nearly 20 years has been dedicated to work focused on program development and project management in nonprofit organizations.  Since 2012, she has expanded her network by working in Philadelphia's vibrant co-op community building and introducing new systems and processes for strategic business planning, developing pathways to more democratic workplaces, and helping to build cross-sector alliances. Jamila is wrapping up a graduate program in organizational dynamics and serves on the board of the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance.  She's also a mom of two and lives with her husband and toddler in the Wynnfield neighborhood of West Philly.
Regina Austin
Regina is the William A. Schnader Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Penn Program on Documentaries and the Law. In addition to courses on basic accident law and intentional torts as a response to cultural conflict, she teaches Law and Documentary Media and a seminar on visual legal advocacy that involves her students in the production of short videos about social justice issues like deed fraud, expanding recreational spaces for city kids, and the impact of urban casinos on African-American problem gambling.  Professor Austin’s research primarily deals with economic discrimination, minority legal feminism, and law-genre nonfiction films.  She is a graduate of the University of Rochester and University of Pennsylvania Law School (cum laude, Order of the Coif) and serves on the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations and the board of Scribe Video Center. 

Mica Root

Mica 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 Wolfson - Board President

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.

Willie Colon - Board Treasurer
Willie is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the Philadelphia suburbs, and a former Site Organizer for MMP and Casa Monarca's Keyspot Computer Center. In addition to his experience working for a variety of newspapers, trade publications, and nonprofits, Willie has a background in community organizing that he gained from many years of work with the Community Leadership Institute (CLI) in North Philadelphia. During his years as president of the board at CLI, he worked with residents to successfully challenge the City of Philadelphia’s abuse of eminent domain laws. His favorite quote comes from author and activist Arundhati Roy: “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” 

Koby Murphy

Sam Reed

Chris Willis