Staff

Ben Felker-Quinn – Philly SUN Media Organizer

Ben started volunteering with MMP’s Voices From Our Public Schools in the summer of 2015. Ben grew up in a cement town in the Lehigh Valley and got his own education in regional public schools. Afterward, he studied literature and Russian culture at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and in Russia. Ben believes that sharing our stories with each other should bring us to read the world more critically. He has worked with the oral history archive at the Civic Media Center in Florida, and he has actively participated in solidarity movements with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and anti-prison organizations in Philadelphia. In the spring of 2016, he was a part of MMP’s Media Fellows Program and helped to produce this video calling for community control in Philadelphia public schools. Recently, a book containing his translations of Russian poets in the Leningrad Siege was published. He is currently enrolled in an education program at Goddard College.

 

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Bryan Mercer – Executive Director

Bryan, a long-time staff member of Media Mobilizing Project, has served as Executive Director since 2013. He has led a number of major programs areas, including a collaboration with nearly two-dozen partner organizations to create Keyspots, a city-wide digital literacy program to broaden internet access. Bryan is committed to using strategic media and communications to strengthen and connect communities organizing for their human rights, and he frequently leads trainings and workshops to share practices for media in organizing. Bryan also works on state and national media policy advocacy, and serves as a board member of the Center for Media Justice, which is committed to a ground-up approach to securing media rights and access.  Bryan received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in Anthropology and Comparative Ethnic Studies.

 

 

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Di Luong – Research and Policy Organizer

As a Technology Fellow at MMP, Di is researching the impact of risk assessment tools on the U.S. criminal justice system. She has experience as a strategist for political campaigns, nongovernmental organizations, and Federal and City Governments. She studied, worked, and volunteered in five continents, gaining political and cultural experiences in Germany, Ghana, Thailand, and China. She has presented at Making All Voices Count Global Innovation Competition and Digital Civic Participation Summit.

 

483564_10150685985044413_920965889_nHannah 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 children Sara Bela Sassaman Marcus and Abigail Rose Sassaman Marcus, and the partner of brilliant community programmer Josh Marcus.

 


img_1858Helyx Chase Scearce Horwitz – Tech Manager

Helyx Chase Scearce Horwitz volunteered for MMP for the first time in 2010 and joined staff in 2014. Helyx is a independent video artist and activist who is passionate about storytelling as a means to draw connections.  Their video art is built by, about, and for televisions and computers. They are the former Philadelphia Coordinator of the Transgender Oral History Project. Helyx holds a B.A. from Hampshire College where they studied Video, Activism and Youth Development.

 

milenaMilena 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.

 

amberPep Marie – PhillySUN Program Coordinator

Pep 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, Pep Marie became a member of the Philadelphia Student Union and was first introduced to the importance of marginalized voices in social justice work. Pep Marie went on to attend Oberlin College and majored in Sociology with concentrations in both Africana and Urban Studies. The student organizing Pep Marie took part in (during both secondary and higher education) in the fight for education as a human right affirmed for Pep Marie that those most directly impacted must take the lead in the movement. This commitment to building leaders in and around our schools to lead the work is what excites Pep Marie most about this project and working with the Media Mobilizing Project.

tcT.C. Owens – Production and Partnerships Coordinator

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.

 

Zakia Royster-Morris – Philly SUN School Organizer

Zakia Royster-Morris is an ambitious wife and mother of two beautiful girls. Born and raised in Philadelphia and a product of the Philadelphia School District, Zakia knows the ins and outs of Philly’s education system.  Zakia has always displayed a natural talent for public speaking and demanding justice for those whom have been overlooked. Back in 2008, during her 10th grade Spanish class, Zakia found her calling to fight for equality in education and became a member of the Philadelphia Student Union. During her time in PSU, Zakia learned that social justice is a universal fight. That every struggle of the oppressed is connected, that each connection starts with educating the people. After high school, Zakia went on to study at a local HBCU, Cheyney University, where she majored in Political Science. Now, years later with a family of her own, Zakia still finds time to continue to demand a critical and social change in Philadelphia. Sticking to her love for education and grassroots movement, Zakia now primarily works with the organization PhillySUN as a School Organizer.

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 Movement of Immigrant Leaders in PA (MILPA), fighting against anti immigrant bills, and Multifaith Action for Social Justice in South Jersey, organizing advocates for immigrant justice to pass ordinances and resolutions to protect undocumented communities in both states. Zoraida is the proud mother of three very talented and smart kids.