Staff

STAFF

MAGGIE CAWLEY
Digital 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

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KJ DEYETT
Data & Technology Manager

KJ hails from New Hampshire and holds a B.A. in History from UNH. Prior to joining RAD, he worked in healthcare analytics and was a data engineer on the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign. KJ joined RAD to use the technology skills he learned in private industry in service of justice and equality. He can be reached at kj@radnh.org .

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KIAH MORRIS
Executive Director

Originally from Chicago, Kiah Morris currently lives in Vermont, 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. You can reach her at kiah@radvt.org.

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ALISON NIHART
Vermont 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

ANNIE SCHWARTZ
Strategic Communications Manager

Annie was born and raised in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She previously has worked in digital engagement as an ambassador for Syracuse University, from which she holds a B.F.A. She is a practicing artist whose work addresses issues of climate change and is passionate about engaging with her community and beyond around social issues. You can reach her at annie@radnh.org

ED TAYLOR
New Hampshire State Director

Ed is a South Florida native who has been in the Granite State for three years working to build people power in young and marginalized communities. Ed is fiercely passionate about empowering, educating, and mobilizing marginalized people to redesign the structures that were created to exclude them. Previously, he worked as Organizing Director with the ACLU of NH. Ed graduated from Florida A&M University, a Historically Black College & University, in 2018 with a Political Science and Economics degree. He can be reached at 

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FRONSY THURMAN
Director of Development

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

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KIRTHANA VALLESI
Director of Operations

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.  

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