Staff

STAFF

MAGGIE CAWLEY
Strategic Communications Manager

Maggie grew up in Central Vermont, attended college in rural Ohio, and spent several years living in Medellín, Colombia before returning to her home state in 2016 to complete a Master’s in Sustainable Development. She later moved to Central Massachusetts, where she worked as an advocate for food justice, canvassed for progressive candidates, and participated in state and community efforts related to workers’ rights, climate policy, and racial justice. Her background also includes online journalism focused on organized crime, government corruption, and related human rights issues in Latin America. You can reach her at maggie@radvt.org

DAN FINGAS
VT Movement Politics Director

Dan Fingas joined RAD after spending the past 5 years as the Organizing Director for the Long Island Progressive Coalition, a regional community organization committed to fighting for social, racial, and economic justice.  Dan started his career organizing in Michigan. There he worked as a political and internal organizer for the Michigan Laborers District Council, as the Hospital Organizing Coordinator for SEIU Healthcare Michigan, as a Community Organizer for Michigan Organizing Project, and in several political organizing roles, including as a Campaign Manager for State Senate. Dan is a 2004 graduate of Albion College and has been married to wife Mo Lynch since 2015. You can reach Dan at dan@radvt.org

MARIO FRATICELLI
Digital Communications Manager

Mario gained experience with digital campaigning as the Lead Content Strategist for Tom Steyer’s presidential run, after which he served as Assistant Digital Director for the Climate Power 2020 advocacy efforts. Prior to 2020, he served as Director of Content for ESPN Deportes Digital for over ten years. He holds a B.A. in Communications from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón (USC). Mario has a love for volleyball: he played during his time at university in both Puerto Rico and California, as well as with Puerto Rico’s Volleyball National Team. Mario is from Puerto Rico and has two kids with his wife Sheila, who are now grown and doing their own work in digital strategy and environmental justice advocacy. You can reach him at 

ANA MEJIA
VT Organizing Director

Ana has over a decade of grassroots organizing experience and is a firm believer in collective liberation. Her roots trace back to California where she was raised by her parents, who fled their home country of El Salvador after the U.S. backed military coup d’état that ignited the Salvadoran Civil War. Ana’s upbringing and experience advocating for immigrant rights and education justice as a high school student in East Los Angeles fueled her passion for grassroots organizing. She was introduced to RAD’s work as a member of the Renews BIPOC council, where she enjoyed connecting with individuals as passionate as her on environmental and social justice issues. Ana supports and oversees RAD’s organizing activities in the unceded Abenaki territory known as Vermont. She can be reached at ana@radvt.org.

Kiah Morris

KIAH MORRIS
Executive Director

Originally from Chicago, Kiah Morris lives in Bennington, Vermont on the southwestern end of the Green Mountain State where she served in the general assembly as a State Representative from 2014-2016 and 2016-2018. She is the first African-American and person of color elected from Bennington County and the second African-American woman to be elected to the legislature in Vermont history. In that capacity, she served on the House Judiciary Committee and Vermont Judicial Nominating Board and was co-chair of the tri-partisan Legislative Women’s Caucus. Her groundbreaking legislative accomplishments include passage and advocacy of low to no-cost contraception for all; removal of statutes of limitations for sexual assault; fair and impartial policing standards; creation of a multisector panel to address racial disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems in Vermont. She helmed the historic establishment of board and cabinet-level, director position to address systemic racism in state government; the establishment of the most comprehensive ethnic and social equity in schools bill in the nation and medical monitoring for victims of corporate pollution. Her story of success and struggle have been covered in over four dozen media outlets including CNN, The Huffington Post, New York Times, Washington Post, The Hill, Essence Magazine, Canadian Broadcasting Company, PBS, BBC Radio and Vice Media.

She is an award-winning, in-demand trainer, speaker and presenter. She provides consultative services, workshops and presentations on issues of diversity, equity and leadership for organizations across the globe. As co-owner of the TESA Collective cooperative, she manages marketing, communications, and strategic partnerships. She most recently served as the Director of the Vermont Coalition on Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools. She sits on the Board of United Children’s Services, is a Sisters on the Planet Ambassador for Oxfam America and is on the advisory councils for Emerge Vermont and Black Lives Matter Vermont.

Kiah also holds an accomplished artistic career as an actress of stage, film and television, spoken word performance, as a singer, dancer and arts manager. As an arts advocate with a passion for community-based art, she has produced numerous special events, concerts and art exhibits during her career. Her work focuses on amplification of voices of the oppressed, issues of human rights and social justice. She is also the author of a recently published book of poetry Life Lessons and Lyrical Translations of My Soul. Her email is kiah@radvt.org.

JODI NEWELL
Overdose Crisis Organizer (Bistate)

Jodi is an activist, an Overdose Crisis Organizer, a homeless advocate, and most importantly a mom. She lives in Keene with her two amazing boys, Corado and Benny, and her sweet dog child, Buddy.

Jodi comes to her position at Rights & Democracy as a long-time volunteer on the Healthcare Justice and Overdose Crisis leadership teams. She has an intense passion for Substance Use Disorder advocacy, due to the personal experience of losing her partner and father of her children to heroin overdose in 2008. It was going through this battle with Kory that showed her how our current punitive approach often fails to produce the stated result, pitting community members against each other, robbing struggling individuals of their freedom and dignity, and perpetuating a false narrative of personal morality.

Jodi’s fundamental goal is to contribute to a shift in our collective perspective around Substance Use Disorder that will allow for a health-based approach, centering proven treatment options and expansion. You can reach her at jodi@radnh.org

ALISON NIHART
VT State Director

Alison joins the Rights & Democracy staff after 5 years as a member leader, board member, and member of the Vermont Leadership Committee. She spent the last 9 years working for the University of Vermont, most recently as Strategic Implementation Specialist for UVM Extension. She has worked on state legislative electoral campaigns and while at UVM was a leader in the staff union, UVM Staff United. She holds an M.S. in natural resources from the University of Vermont. You can reach her at alison@radvt.org

TOM PROCTOR
Statewide Campaigns Organizer: Housing Justice

Hailing from the damp shores of Manchester, England, Tom has lived in the Green Mountains for 5 years and been involved in local politics since the start. Cutting his teeth during the Bernie 2016 campaign, he’s organized for single-issue campaigns, canvassed for mayoral campaigns and most recently, was the Campaign Manager for the Zoraya Ward 1 Burlington City Council race. You may recognize him from hosting RAD-TV, live on Burlington’s Channel 17, or you may recognize him from standing on your doorstep extolling the virtues of progressive policy.  You can reach him at tomp@radvt.org

MIA SCHULTZ
Statewide Campaigns Organizer: Education Justice

Mia Schultz serves as the President of the Rutland-Area NAACP, which is one of the largest chapters in New England and services Rutland, Bennington and Addison counties in Vermont. Mia’s current political leadership also includes chairing the Town of Bennington’s Democratic Party. She is the first African American woman to hold office in the organization.

Mia’s commitment to equity and inclusion in Vermont, and her extensive work to promote the voices of people of color in Bennington, has led to numerous civic leadership appointments. During the winter of 2015, Mia Schultz moved from sunny California with her two young sons to the snowy town of Bennington, Vermont. Although politically active most of her life, it was her son’s English teacher’s tactless handling of the topic of slavery which caused Schultz to advocate for change in Bennington schools and begin working with Southern Vermont’s Supervisory Union’s Equity Literacy Team. She has also served on the Vermont Coalition Ethnic Studies and Social Equity Working Group where she advised the Vermont Board of Education on the adoption of statewide ethnic and social equity standards. Schultz also joined I Am Vermont, Too​ through The Root Social Justice Organization and co-coordinated “Visible in Vermont: Our Stories, Our Voices,” an exhibition of photographs​ at the Bennington Museum which explores the experiences of people of color in Vermont.

Mia’s extensive career has spanned the gamut; from arts curation and data management to website development and network building. Having spent part of her career as a financial analyst in the healthcare industry and after studying public relations and pre-law at Howard University and University of Arizona, Mia is dedicated to working toward equity and inclusion in Vermont.

Mia formerly served on the board of Rights & Democracy in Vermont. She is an educator, organizer, and problem solver and regularly advocates for people of color throughout Vermont. Mia lives with her family in Bennington, Vermont.

You can reach her at mia@radvt.org

ZOE SILVERMAN
Data and Technology Manager

Originally from Boston, Zoe came to Vermont for college, where she received a degree in Political Science with a minor in Computer Science from the University of Vermont. Zoe starting working for political campaigns, both local and statewide, before getting involved with RAD’s Data and Technology team. She is passionate about the intersection of data and progressive politics, and about working to dismantle the racism ingrained in the way data can be used and understood. In addition, Zoe works to encourage harm reduction practices and mutual aid in her community of Burlington, VT. You can reach her at zoe@radvt.org

FRONSY THURMAN
Director of Development and Communications

For over a decade, Fronsy designed and implemented climate education and advocacy programs for environmental nonprofits in New York City. During her time in New York, she was active in local politics and community organizing around local housing, immigration, and environmental justice issues. Fronsy received her Master’s in Sustainable Development from SIT Graduate Institute, where she focused on climate justice, labor issues, and policy advocacy. Since moving to Vermont, Fronsy has worked with racial justice organizing groups in Windham County. You can reach her at fronsy@radvt.org

KIRTHANA VALLESI
Director of Operations and Human Resources

Kirthana grew up in Italy, where she later lived and studied international politics. She holds a Master’s in International Development from the University of Brussels, Belgium, and a Master’s in Global Health and Infectious Disease from the University of Edinburgh. Before moving to the United States in 2017, she traveled extensively throughout Asia and Africa and worked with international non-profits in Haiti, Ecuador, and Tanzania. She currently lives in Burlington, VT, with her husband and her 2-year-old daughter. She is passionate about cooking and studying.  

SCOTT WEATHERS
Economic Justice Organizer

Scott is passionate about progressive policymaking. He has previously advocated for more sustainable food systems and investments in public health, both in state legislatures across the country and in Congress. Scott serves on the boards of Lamoille County Meals on Wheels, the Vermont Sierra Club, Morrisville Food Coop, and as the Chair of the Lamoille County Democratic Committee. He holds a master’s degree from Harvard University.

MICHAEL WEISS
Environmental Justice Organizer

Michael is a young organizer with a deep commitment to making systemic change. While studying Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University in the mountains of North Carolina, Michael helped create an environmental justice organization, where he worked for 3 years. Michael is also an advocate for cooperatives and the solidarity economy, working in agriculture and housing sectors to create an economy that benefits and is owned by workers and our communities. Michael sees all of his work as an effort to distribute power and build systems of radical democracy in all parts of our communities.