National Leadership Summit 2018: Speakers

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2018 National Leadership Summit Speakers

Carla Ratenburg

Carla has been a Move to Amend advocate and activist in Northeast Ohio since the Citizens United decision in January 2010. Prior to becoming aware of the crushing influence of corporate power, she was a fair housing volunteer and then a single payer activist. Carla serves on the statewide Coordinating Committee of the Move to Amend Ohio Network and has assisted with ballot initiative campaigns for the 28th Amendment in Brecksville, Cleveland Heights, Cleveland, Shaker Heights and South Euclid, Ohio. She organizes the annual Democracy Day public hearing in Cleveland Heights each year.

 

Charlie Cooper

Charlie Cooper is President of Get Money Out - Maryland, an all-volunteer group in Maryland that has signed up 6,400 supporters in its campaign for a Democracy Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.

 

Daniel Lee

Daniel Lee has been a member of the Move to Amend Board of Directors since 2012. In 2011 he helped co-lead the camapaign that made Los Angeles the first large city in the US to call for an amendment to the constitution explicitly stating that corporations are not people and money is not free speech. In the intervening years he has worked on issues of social justice, environmental justice and public policy in the Los Angeles area. He currently srves as the project Manager for the James Lawson Institute and was recently elected as the first Black representative (and first renter) for the Culver City Council.

 

Eleanor Goldfield

Eleanor Goldfield is a creative activist, journalist and poet. She is the founder and host of the show, Act Out! which airs on Free Speech TV on Dish Network, DirecTV, ROKU, Amazon Fire and others. Her articles and her show cover people and topics which corporate media either censor or misrepresent. Her spoken word performances blend visual projections and politically charged poetry. Her latest book, Paradigm Lost blends radical verse with art from 15 dissident artists. She was also the co-founder and singer of Rooftop Revolutionaries, a political rock band born from the fight against capitalism and all the evils that stem from it. Besides speaking and performing, she assists in local action organizing and activist training. She is currently based in Washington, DC. artkillingapathy.com

 

Gabrielle Zwi

Gabrielle Zwi is the founder of DC Teens Action, a unifying force for social and civic action among students all over the DC-area. Gabrielle is a recent graduate of Walter Johnson High School, and her dream job is a singer-senator-songwriter.

 

George Friday

George Friday is one of the founding members of Move to Amend. George grew up in rural NC in the 60s and has been involved with social justice movements most of her life. George was fundraiser for SANE (then SANE/FREEZE, now National Peace Action) in the latter half of the 1980s and Development Director of the Piedmont Peace Project in North Carolina in the first half of the 1990s. She directed a National Office of Juvenile Justice project from 2000-2004. She began working as National Field Organizer for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation in 2008. Since 2017 George has been staff to NC Peace Action and United for Peace and Justice. 

 

Greg Coleridge

Greg Coleridge is Outreach Director of Move to Amend after previously working for more than three decades with the American Friends Service Committee where he helping coordinate, among other endeavors, MTA activities in Ohio. He’s the author of Citizens over Corporations, writer of the documentary CorpOrNation: The Story of Citizens and Corporations in Ohio and contributed several articles to the anthology Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy - A Book of History and Strategy. Greg is a Principal with the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) and previously served an elected term on the national governing board of Common Cause.

 


Iresha Goonesinghe

Dr Iresha Goonesinghe is a Medical Doctor in private practice in Southern California. She founded Compassionate Doctors and the non for profit AHH (A Helping Hand) Her main focus is on bringing people together by educating people on the reasons why people / communities stay divided.

 

Jasmine Gomez

Jasmine Gomez is a laywer, activist, and 2016-2018 Democracy Fellow for Free Speech for People. A graduate of Boston University Law School, Ms. Gomez has served on the Journal of Science and Technology Law and has written about potential state responses to corporate “Big Data” surveillance. She has held a number of leadership roles at the law school, including as Co-President of the Latin American Law Student Association, Vice President of the American Constitution Society, Co-Chair for the First-Year Advisory Program at BU, and Networking Chair for OutLaw. During her leadership positions, Jasmine helped create, facilitate, and host at least 30 events at the law school and around the city of Boston. She also received the Emerging Leader Award from the Black Law Students Association.

 

Jason Bayless

Jason Bayless is the U.S. Community Development Specialist with Pachamama Alliance. He 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. His focus with Pachamama Alliance 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.

 

Jessica Munger

Jessica Munger is Program Director for Move to Amend and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. Jessica creates and executes programs, supervises the intern team, and works in partnership with other organizations. Jessica is passionate about applying an intersectional feminist perspective to her work in the pro-democracy movement. 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).

 

John Fioretta

John Fioretta is from San Jose, CA and has been a MTA member since 2011. Now retired, he spent 22 of his 25 years practicing law as prosecutor, specializing in environmental offenses for more than eight years. He led the successful effort to obtain resolutions of support for MTA’s Amendment from the San Jose City Council and organized a local forum where five constitutional law experts discussed corporate constitutional rights. Currently he is a member of MTA’s Law and Research Committee. Not an expert regarding corporate constitutional rights, he’s trying to learn as he goes.

 


Jonathan Allen

Jonathan L. Allen, originally from Texas, is an entrepreneur and advocate for racial justice and equity. Jonathan has previously worked at the United States Congress, serving as a legislative policy intern for Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-IL). He also was the research assistant to the Honorable Geraldine S. Hines of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. His areas of study include political and liberation theologies, which inspired his master’s thesis: The Political Spiritualities of Young Activists of Faith in Post-Civil Rights America and Post-Apartheid South Africa. During college, Jonathan advised the offices of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health on initiatives to establish 100% Tobacco-Free policies on college campuses across the nation. He has held countless leadership positions including Student Body President of Grambling State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Marketing. Jonathan holds a Master of Theological Studies from Southern Methodist University | Perkins School of Theology. He is currently a third-year student at Boston University School of Law and a fellow at Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice. Jonathan and his partner, Derrick Young Jr., are founders of The Leadership Brainery (a pipeline leadership development and capacity building incubator for diverse student leaders aspiring to join and/or contribute to the legal profession/community).

 

Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap

Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap is National Director of Move to Amend. She is one of MTA's founders and has been working against corporate constitutional rights for 17 years. She has also served as an elected official, a campaign manager, and on numerous boards and national activist committees.

 

Keyan Bliss

Keyan Bliss is Grassroots Volunteer Coordinator for Move to Amend. He previously served on MTA's Board of Directors and considers the We The People Amendment to be a critical first step towards serious systemic change across the spectrum. He is also involved in racial justice issues and volunteers with the Movement for Black Lives. 

 

Mark Charles

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 national healing and conciliation. Mark serves as the Washington DC correspondent and regular columnist for Native News Online and is the author of the popular blog "Reflections from the Hogan." Mark is a founding partner of a national conference for Native students called “Would Jesus Eat Frybread?” Mark is active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram under the username: wirelesshogan.

 

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).

 

Michael Greenman

Since 2000 he has focused on efforts to eliminate Corporate Personhood. As a Unitarian Universalist, he led a team during the denomination’s annual gathering in 2013 that obtained their approval to encourage congregations all around the country to focus on supporting the passage of the MTA amendment. He is a leader of the “MTA Interfaith Caucus”. He is the Moderator of the Social Justice Committee of the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio which is bringing together 9 member faiths to support justice projects in greater Columbus. Michael Greenman retired in 2011 as the Executive Director of the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council.

 

Mila Veersteg

Mila Versteeg earned her B.A. in public administration and first law degree from Tilburg University in the Netherlands in 2006. She earned her LL.M. from Harvard Law School in 2007 and a D.Phil. in socio-legal studies in 2011 from the University of Oxford, where she was a Gregory Kulkes Scholar at Balliol College and recipient of an Arts and the Humanities Research Council Award.

 

Pramila Jayapal

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal represents Washington’s 7th District, which encompasses most of Seattle and surrounding areas. Elected in 2014 as 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. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, and in the wake of discrimination and civil liberties abuses against Muslims, Arabs and South Asians, Jayapal founded the nonprofit Hate Free Zone (now OneAmerica) where she served as Executive Director for 11 years, growing the organization to be the largest immigrant advocacy organization in Washington state and one of the largest in the country.

 

Richard Harisay

Richard Harisay is a Yeoman Organic Farmer and the retired Owner and CEO of Benefit Designs, Inc., a third party administrator for self-funded employee benefit plans. After moving to Oregon, Richard became active in public service by applying for and receiving a position as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) which he held for 13 years. Joining the Democratic Party in 2006, he naturally gravitated to the issue of Health Care; and soon discovered that lack of progress to Medicare for all was due to corporate money in Congress. Taking Thom Hartmann's advice I became an advocate for the 28th Amendment, helped found Marion-Polk Move to Amend in 2010, and here I am.

 

Saleem Chapman

Saleem Chapman is the Legislative Coordinator for Move to Amend. Saleem has been recognized as 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.

 

Shelly Williams

Shelly Williams is the Administrative Coordinator for Move to Amend, serving on multiple committees and coordinating the Movement Education Program for affiliates. She earned her Bachelors in Social Work from Indiana University, and has practiced in the areas of permanent supportive housing as well as case management for pregnant and parenting teens. She also volunteers for the local chapters of Democratic Socialists of America and SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice), working on critical issues like rent control and police accountability.

 

Tara Ingram

Tara Ingram joined Move to Amend’s National Board in October 2017 and has served on the Grassroots Movement Committee since 2013. Previously, she was a member of the Sacramento affiliate. Tara was born and raised in Northern California and currently lives in a rural town in the Sierra Nevada foothills. She currently works as a psychotherapist and her education was grounded in a cross-discipline curriculum which included psychology, sociology, political liberation theory, and earth-based indigenous healing models.

 

Thom Hartmann

Thom Hartmann is an author and progressive national and internationally syndicated talk-show host whose shows are available in over a half-billion homes worldwide. He's the New York Times bestselling, 4-times Project Censored Award winning author of 24 books in print in 17 languages on five continents, including Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights. His radio show The Thom Hartmann Program is syndicated on for-profit radio stations nationwide by Westwood One, on non-profit and community stations nationwide by Pacifica, across the entire North American continent on SiriusXM Satellite radio (The Progress, Channel 127), on cable systems nationwide by Cable Radio Network (CRN), on its own YouTube channel, via Livestream on its own Livestream channel, via subscription podcasts, worldwide through the US Armed Forces Network, and through the Thom Hartmann App in the App Store. The radio show is also simulcast as TV in realtime into nearly 40 million US and Canadian homes by the Free Speech TV Network on Dish NetworkDirectTV, and cable TV systems nationwide. Tune in live daily from noon-3 PM ET to the Thom’s radio  and TV programs at http://www.thomhartmann.com/.