2019 Summit Speakers
Jason Bayless is a diverse activist with a wide range of experience. Jason worked at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a number of positions including Senior Youth Outreach Specialist, Circus Monitor, and Senior Projects Specialist. He has traveled the country documenting and reporting animal abuse and neglect within the entertainment industry, including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and the NYC horse drawn carriage industry. Jason was on the Advisory Board of Food Empowerment Project, a vegan food justice organization. He currently is the President, Board of Directors with Center for Farmworker Families, non-profit organization dedicated to education, advocacy, and support for farmworker families. Jason is also on the National Board of Directors of Move to Amend, a coalition of organizations and individuals, who are working together to end corporate personhood and works to remove money as protected free speech under the First Amendment. He currently works with Pachamama Alliance, as the U.S. Community Development Specialist is to support volunteers and co-develop resources and trainings that strike at the root of systems and structures that keep us separated from each other and earth.
Keyan Bliss is Move to Amend's Grassroots Volunteer Coordinator. He currently serves on the Media & Communications, Grassroots Movement, and Political Organizing Committees. Inspired to join Move to Amend by his brother’s participation within the Occupy movement and student power movement, Keyan first joined Move to Amend in 2013 as an Intern. Since joining, he has served as executive producer of Move to Amend's online radio program Move to Amend Reports, served on Move to Amend's National Board of Directors before joining the full-time staff, and currently helps produce their monthly live-streaming program the Move to Amend Live Report. When he's not providing support for Move to Amend affiliate leaders, he is actively fighting for racial justice and equity alongside his local chapter of Black Lives Matter. Keyan is a graduate of Indiana University with a B.A. in political science. Keyan views the goal of ending corporate constitutional rights and money as protected speech to be a crucial first step towards lasting systemic change within US society. Once the “We the People” Amendment is adopted into the Constitution, he hopes to expand constitutional reform to include a new bill of rights to expand the protection of civil liberties to all human beings without distinction.
Sandy Bolzenius was one of the founding members of the Ohio Move to Amend Network, and continues on the Coordinating Committee. She has been a member of Move to Amend for over seven years, serving as affiliate coordinator for Move to Amend Central Ohio (Columbus). Sandy is a historian, focusing on human rights and government policies, especially as they relate to people’s movements. She is author of Glory in Their Spirit: How Four Black Women Took On the Army during World War II.
Nick Braña is the Founder and National Director at Movement for a People's Party, formerly Draft Bernie for a People's Party. He was the National Political Outreach Coordinator on Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign through the 2016 Democratic National Convention and went on to become a founding member of Our Revolution. He was previously the Deputy Director of Voter Protection on the Terry McAuliffe gubernatorial campaign in Virginia. He got his B.A. in sociology and environmental policy from the College of William & Mary.
Victoria Brennan is a California native and recent graduate of Chico State University, with a BA in Public Affairs Communication Studies. Accompanied by an AS degree in Business Administration and a pathway in sustainable development, her collegiate education was multifaceted and enriching to the study of our environmental and political climate. Victoria participates in her community as a co-leader of the Chico Citizens Climate Lobby, which works to collectively represent marginalized groups most affected by climate change toxicity by introducing and lobbying for a Carbon Fee & Dividend for polluters. She is also a floating Field Officer with the Audrey Denney for Congress 2020 campaign; who is an inspiring educator and Justice Democrat running in the majestic and progressive mountains of Northern California. Her aspirations for a career remain in the realm of political outreach, engagement, and revolution
Saleem Chapman joined Move to Amend in 2018 as the Legislative Coordinator. Recognized by the Environmental Leadership Program and Leadership Philadelphia, Saleem is an adept strategist known for his ability to navigate political landscapes and actively mobilizing both grassroots coalitions and policymakers. His overall upbeat demeanor coupled with talent and a drive to create real change has made Saleem a strong advocate for numerous social justice causes, ranging from environmental justice to equitable economic development. In 2014, Saleem held a leading role in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision to impose new regulations on petroleum refineries, an effort that significantly improved the conditions of many environmental justice communities across the country. He followed up on this accomplishment in 2016 by pushing the City of Philadelphia to adopt the nation's most expansive legislation targeted at mission-driven businesses. Inspired by these experiences, Saleem was drawn to the work of Move to Amend. He sees ending the excessive influence exercised by corporations in our democracy as crucial to ultimately delivering an equitable and just society.
Mark Charles is a dynamic and thought-provoking public speaker, writer, and consultant. The son of an American woman (of Dutch heritage) and a Navajo man, he speaks with insight into the complexities of American history regarding race, culture, and faith in order to help forge a path of healing and conciliation for the nation. Mark serves as the Washington DC correspondent and regular columnist for Native News Online and is the author of the popular "Reflections from the Hogan". Mark is a founding partner of a national conference for Native students called “Would Jesus Eat Frybread?” Mark’s forthcoming book entitled “Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery” is published by InterVarsity Press and will be available in 2019. Mark is active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram under the username: wirelesshogan.
Greg Coleridge is Outreach Director of Move to Amend. He previously worked for more than three decades with the American Friends Service Committee in Ohio where he educated, advocated and organized on a range of justice, peace, environmental and democracy issues -- including helping coordinate Move to Amend activities in the Buckeye state. He is the author of Citizens over Corporations: A Brief History of Democracy in Ohio and Challenges to Freedom in the Future (2003), writer of the documentary CorpOrNation: The Story of Citizens and Corporations in Ohio (2003), and contributed several articles to the anthology Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy - A Book of History and Strategy (2001). He currently maintains and distributes via email a weekly REAL Democracy History Calendar and Monetary History Calendar. Greg is a Principal with the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) and Advisor to the American Monetary Institute (AMI). He previously served an elected term on the national governing board of Common Cause.
Katharine Dodge is an artist and life-long environmental activist/environmental educato. She is active in local National Audubon chapter for over 45 years, founder of local peace & justice group which morphed into a Move to Amend affiliate, founding member & chair of non-profit “SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education & Development Support) of Northeast Pa.” Mother of two sons. Raise most of our own food on an old farm in Northeast PA.
Jennifer Flynn Walker
Jennifer directs Center for Popular Democracy's Mobilization and Advocacy program, working closely with the Fightback and Field Initiatives Programs. Jennifer is responsible for federal healthcare, tax policy and advocacy. At the same time she is developing new ways to mobilize our affiliates in federal campaigns, while experimenting with innovative methods for building new and broader constituencies who can join our campaigns, including building CPD's Opioid Network. Jennifer joins CPD after serving for 10 years as a co-founder and Executive Director of CPD affiliate, VOCAL-NY. She was the director of Health GAP, a global AIDS advocacy organization, expanding the organization to 3 countries on 2 continents. Jennifer was the first US based and focused human rights activist selected for Columbia University's Human Rights Advocates Training Fellowship, a recipient of the Union Square Award, Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Award and New York City Council Hero Award and received a NYC Council proclamation in 2016 for her leadership on LGBT issues. She was named one of the most promising AIDS activists in 2001 by Poz Magazine and most was highlighted as one of the leading 25 LGBT AIDS Activists in 25 years by HIV Plus Magazine in 2009.
George grew up in rural North Carolina in the 1960s. She holds degrees in political science, economics, and African American studies from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where she graduated in 1982. George works with grassroots community and national organizations providing leadership development and skills training ranging from strategic planning and organizing to fundraising, marketing, and community building. Her work particularly focuses on communication, oppression, change, and the role of privilege in transforming power dynamics, fostering broad, deep economic and social justice change. She has also served as National Field Organizer for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and worked with the Independent Progressive Politics Network.
Barbara Gerten is energized for this work through her role as ayeeyo, bebe and gramma. The journey to this time in her life was launched from a ranch in north central Montana that included eight years of education in a one room country school. As an older adult with children she earned a BS in accounting from the University of MN and became a CPA. Though this has served her well her heart work was with justice and peace organizations that included Neighbors, Inc, South St Paul Restorative Justice Council, Partnership for Education of Children in Afghanistan, US Peace Memorial Foundation, Citizens for Global Solutions, Minnesota Peace Team, Isuroon and Friends for a NonViolent World. Late in 2011 she learned about Move to Amend and the obstacle to a world that valued people over the ever expanding self-serving power of wealthy people and corporations. Since then her energy has been focused on the Saint Paul Area Move to Amend affiliate and the development of the MN State Network and other affiliates in Minnesota.
Mary Sue Gmeiner
Mary Sue Gmeiner is the coordinator of Greater Dayton Move to Amend, a local affiliate of the national Move to Amend coalition, and is on the Ohio Move to Amend Coordinating Committee. Mary Sue has been active in peace, social justice and environmental issues for many years. She is also an active member of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)
Millicent (Milly) Harmon served as an intern and an affiliate organizer with Mendocino County Move to Amend before joining the national team as Student Outreach Coordinator. She currently serves as the Outreach Coordinator. Milly grew up in rural Arizona, where she began engaging in anti-bias education in high school. A heightened awareness of the ever-prevalent prejudices and inequalities surrounding issues such as race, sex, religion, nationality, and wealth, propelled her into activism. After moving to Northern California, she joined the Occupy movement and got involved in local environmental justice issues. Most recently she worked to pass Measure S, a community Rights initiative to ban fracking in Mendocino County. Milly joined Move to Amend because she believes corporate personhood to be a major factor behind the social political and environmental injustices she works to overcome.
Jameka Hodnett is U.S. National Field Manager at 350.org. She is an avid social, racial and climate justice organizer from Southwest Roanoke, VA. Jameka grew up surrounded by the beautiful Appalachian mountains juxtaposed to a small rural industrial city. Jameka got her start organizing in 2010 garnering student support for federal climate legislation. From 2011-2013 she organized students in DC around multiple issue campaigns spanning from reproductive health and rights to climate justice. By 2014 Jameka moved on to run a successful grassroots campaign to retire a coal-fired power plant. From 2015-2016 Jameka worked on organizing communities around the Clean Power Plan, COP 21 conference, Peoples Climate Movement and much more. From 2016 onward she has been a “just transition” proponent in many forms. A fierce advocate for racial and social justice, Jameka fights for equity throughout every facet of her work. Jameka considers herself a social movement strategist. She sees the bustling social justice movements around her as one. She believes that all social issues are interconnected and in order to really create a just world for us all, we must merge movements. Jameka received a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in Global Environmental Policy and a minor in Women's Studies from Trinity University. Currently, she is pursuing a J.D. at the University of the District of Columbia - David A. Clarke School of Law.
Allison is just starting her career as an environmental attorney and volunteers her time as an organizer with the Sunrise Movement. She has been a part of Sunrise since October 2018.
Doug Hughes is a retired mailman and pilot infamous for landing a one-man gyrocopter on the West Lawn of the US Capitol Building in 2015. The message against corruption was contained in 535 letters – one for every member of Congress, He went to prison for his civil disobedience but the message got out nationally. In 2020 Doug will be flying across the country landing in every state capital in a gyrocopter on a barnstorming tour to spread awareness about money in politics and the need for an amendment.
Tara Ingram joined Move to Amend’s National Board in October 2017, has served on the Grassroots Movement Committee since 2013, and is a member of the Sacramento affiliate. Tara was born and raised in Northern California. She is a psychotherapist; working people of all ages and is passionate about meeting each individual where they are and helping them find relief from their suffering. Her education was grounded in a cross-discipline curriculum which included sociology, political liberation theory, and earth-based indigenous healing models.
Katherine Isaac is the Executive Director of the Debs-Jones-Douglass Institute where she advocates for Medicare for All. Previously, she coordinated the Campaign for Postal Banking and A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service at the American Postal Workers Union. Her labor movement work also includes the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union and its effort to create a Labor Party. She currently serves as Treasurer of the International Labor Rights Forum. Isaac is the author of Civics for Democracy: A Journey for Teachers and Students / Melinda St. Louis is the Director of Public Citizen’s Medicare for All Campaign. For the past 20 years, St. Louis has led multiple campaigns that challenge corporate power and promote economic justice and human rights, most recently fighting Big Pharma greed in global trade agreements. She is now thrilled to focus her energy on building a movement to finally deliver guaranteed health care for everyone in the United States. She received her master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal represents Washington’s 7th District, which encompasses most of Seattle and surrounding areas including Shoreline, Vashon Island, Lake Forest Park, Edmonds and parts of Burien and Normandy Park. Her focus is on ensuring income equality; access to education, from early learning to higher education, including debt-free college; expanding Social Security and Medicare; protecting our environment for our next generation; and ensuring immigrant, civil and human rights for all. The first Indian-American woman in the House of Representatives, Jayapal has spent the last twenty years working internationally and domestically as a leading national advocate for women’s, immigrant, civil, and human rights. She came to the United States by herself at the age of 16 to attend college at Georgetown University and later received her MBA from Northwestern University. She has worked in a number of industries in both the public and private sector. She serves as lead co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. In February 2019 she re-introduced the We the People Amendment/HJR 48.
Daniel Lee has been a member of the Move to Amend National Leadership Team since March of 2012. An active member of Occupy Los Angeles and InterOccupy Daniel has participated in Occupy encampments across the country as well as done community organizing locally in Los Angeles.He has also served locally on the Culver City Martin Luther King jr. Celebration Committee for the last 3 years and has been a volunteer with El Rincon Elementary, also in Culver City, for the last 7 years. Daniel is a veteran of the United States Air Force and Air National Guard, a former student at the University of Southern California, and California State University Los Angeles, and MSW graduate from UCLA. He was elected to the Culver City Council in 2018 works as Project Manager for the James Lawson Institute, a recently formed nonprofit named after legendary civil rights activist and scholar Reverend James Lawson.
James McGee serves on the National Steering Committee of Labor Committee for Single Payer. I have spent my career in and around collectively bargained benefit plans, primarily health care plans and primarily Taft-Hartley plans and jointly trusteed public-sector plans.I started as a union Trustee of my local union’s health & welfare and pension plans (UA local 520). Before I came to the DC area, I worked for a state agency in PA, the PA Health Care Cost Containment Council. In DC I worked for Segal Consulting, the major consulting firm in the Taft-Hartley and collectively bargained benefits market. For the past 15 years I have worked for the Transit Employees' Health & Welfare Fund as its Executive Director. The Fund provides the health care benefits for the active and retired members of ATU Local 689 employed by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). It’s in that role that I have become acutely aware of the deficiencies of our current health care system. The Fund offers generous provisions to cover those on extended leave yet I regularly encounter members, lacking a regular paycheck, who must choose between paying rent and paying health care premiums. It is upside down logic that makes work a requirement for Health care. Health, and consequently healthcare, is a requirement for work. Consequently, I began to take an active role in organizations advocating for reform, especially a single payer solution. I am on the Steering Committee of the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, the Montgomery County Chapter of Health Care NOW, and on the Board of Directors of UHCAN (Universal Health Care Action Network). I was part of UHCAN’s initiative to re-organize a national network of faith groups organizing around health care. The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) has made single payer a national legislative priority and they have incorporated training on single payer health care into most of their national leadership training courses. I have done most of those training sessions beginning in late 2018. I also play a small role in Maryland’s groundbreaking hospital global budgeting initiative as a member of its Payment Models Work Group. In 2014, The Washington Post dubbed the project the most innovative approach to health care reform next to Vermont. As a benefits professional, I also have spoken at professional conferences and published in Benefits Magazine, published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.
Jessica Munger has worked with Move to Amend since 2014. She is responsible for a variety of programs and organizational partnerships, and supervises the national internship program. She sits on the Outreach and Engagement, Political Organizing, and Grassroots Movement Committees, and chairs the and Arts and Culture and Educators caucuses. Jessica first came to the Democracy Movement through her work in LGBTQ+ activism and organizing. She is impassioned by the work of building a strong and empowered Democracy Movement rooted in gender justice and dismantling white supremacy. Jessica studied at Humboldt State University in Northern California with a major in political science with an emphasis in globalization and spent a semester at Christ College in Bangalore, India. Her undergraduate research focused on women in the Indian democratic system, and LGBTQ+ voters. She served as the Western Region Policy Coordinator for the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network and was the Assistant Director of a non-profit ballroom dance studio before coming to Move to Amend. She is a proud member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and an organizer with the Campaign to Abolish Statutes of Limitations for sexual assault (CASOL).
Alfonso is a first-generation Mexican-American college graduate from the University of Texas Rio Grande Vally that lives in Brownsville, Texas where he volunteers with ACLU of Texas, leads a Citizens Climate Lobby Chapter, and is involved with the Country Democratic Party. Alfonso joined Move to Amend in January 2018 and is eager to see the passage of Amendment 28 and the end of corporate personhood rights, as this will level the fight on most progressive fronts.
Alik Schier is a Community Organizer and Representative of DC Teens Action. He is active with Vote16DC, the Young Womens Project. He has been working to secure voting rights for 16 year olds since early 2018, canvassing neighborhoods, holding weekly meetings and testifying to government committees. His activism is motivated by his frustration with elected officials, especially in the wake of March for Our Lives.
Bill Shiebler is the Deputy Director of the Human Rights and Community Relations at the American Federation of Teachers. He has over a decade of experience in coalition building, union organizing, community engagement, public affairs and campaign management. He has helped numerous organizations develop strategy and build capacity to win victories that improve the lives of working people. Bill helps coordinate AFT’s community engagement initiative to strengthen the relationships with grassroots community partners. With a focus on racial, economic and education justice he successfully built community-labor partnerships that mobilized union members and communities to win campaigns. Previously, Bill was the Program Director at The Workers Lab, an innovation lab that supports organizing efforts and enterprises that build scalable and sustainable power for working people in the 21st century economy. He manages various programs which provide resources for partners to experiment, validate ideas, and scale models that meet the needs of workers now and in the future. He also worked at 1199 Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers East where he led numerous hospital, nursing and home care worker organizing campaigns in the private sector. Prior to joining the labor movement, Bill was the National Field Director for the United States Student Association where he trained college students across the country and directed the organization’s national issue and electoral campaigns. In his spare time, he is an adjunct trainer with Wellstone Action which trains progressive leaders to win electoral, political and community organizing campaigns.
Brennan's commitment is global collaboration for a sustainable future. Externally, he pursues this vision at the local & national levels through his organizational leadership consulting and service on non-profit Boards. Favorite success: when he got asked to be the first straight President of one of the oldest LGBT Choirs in the US. Internally, he works on his own biases, cynicism, and anger using a series of daily leadership practices. Favorite success: being a better dad.
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap is National Director of Move to Amend, President of the Board of Directors of Democracy Unlimited, and a Local Democracy Fellow for the Liberty Tree Foundation. She has served as a member of the national Leadership Team of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s campaign to Challenge Corporate Power, Assert the People’s Rights and the STORY (Strategy Training and Organizing Resources for Youth) Board of the Center for Story-Based Strategy and as a Principal with Program on Corporations Law and Democracy. In November 2004 Kaitlin was elected to serve on the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Board. She was the youngest member to serve in this position, as well as the the first woman to take this office. She was re-elected in 2008 and 2012 and served as Board President from 2012-2014.
Jennifer Squires is a recent graduate of George Mason University with a B.A. in communications. As a student activist, she was lead organizer for the largest leftist event ever held on-campus which featured Andrew Kliman, Richard D. Wolff, and Boots Riley. Besides her favorite beagle, Nugget, she loves writing and advocating for a better world. With prior experience interning at a nonprofit and environmental book publisher in the communications and publicity departments, she would like to eventually pursue a career in either political advocacy or working in the publicity department of a progressive or radical press (think Haymarket or PM), which would give her the opportunity to give a platform for those whose stories are necessary to enact change. As of now, she is very excited to intern with Move to Amend and all of the experience working for a crucial grassroots movement will bring.
Khaliya Suaray is from Clinton, Maryland and is a student at the University Of Maryland Baltimore County studying Global Studies and Political Science. She first became aware of how much power corporations hold within our political system when conducting research for a class assignment which revealed how lobbyist employed by big corporations aid in the creation of certain legislation. As time went by, she became more exposed to the different ways corporate personhood affected her life and everyone around her and realized that she had to do something more than just study and being in the background and let these corporations essentially run America.
Melinda St. Louis
Melinda St. Louis is the Director of Public Citizen’s Medicare for All Campaign. For the past 20 years, St. Louis has led multiple campaigns that challenge corporate power and promote economic justice and human rights, most recently fighting Big Pharma greed in global trade agreements. She is now thrilled to focus her energy on building a movement to finally deliver guaranteed health care for everyone in the United States. She received her master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.
Geoffry White is the editor of "Campus, Inc: Corporate Power in the Ivory Tower," (2000) which includes chapters by Ben Manski, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, Michael Parenti, Eve Ensler and many more. He has received awards at the local, state and national level for his political work in Bosnia, Africa, and NY post-911. Geoffry was Professor of Psychology at California State University, Fullerton from 1975-85 and has held adjunct positions at UCLA and UC Irvine Medical Center.
Shelly Williams has been the Administrative Coordinator for Move to Amend since April of 2015, and works out of the national office in Sacramento, CA. She spent her early adulthood years in the service industry, bartending, waiting tables and working customer service, before deciding at age 29 to seek a degree in social work. She graduated top of her class from Indiana University School of Social Work at 34, worked as a case manager for pregnant and parenting teens during her sophomore and junior year, and worked a paid senior year practicum with an organization that helped create permanant supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness. Her working class background, time spent in university and in the nonprofit industrial complex, helped her see that we are all fighting for the same small pile of scraps - and our work as helpers is too often akin to put bandaids on cancer. This, of course, depressed her very much - existential crisis style. Then she saw an ad for this position, in the Middle-of-Nowhere CA, to help this movement against corporate rule and money in politics, striking the root of what stands between us and everything we care about - environmental, social, racial, gender and economic justice. So she waddled in with her big pregnant belly, and the rest is history. Shelly is known as "Mama" to a rad toddler, and two sweet cats.
Merchant Marine Captain and Engineer, commercial fishing, research, and shipping industry, 1987-2008. Journalist, freelance, 2002-2008