Music for Democracy is staffed by volunteers like you. Please join us.
Bear Kittay, Founder & President. New York native Bear Kittay is a visionary entrepreneur, musician and activist. Bear was recruited straight from Oberlin College to work with the President of Acupay, a leading financial services company. After spending a year learning the ins and outs of the business both on Wall Street and in London, Bear left Acupay to join Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Soon after, at the age of 22, Bear founded and led Music for Democracy through the 2008 presidential elections. Since the election, Bear has led green technology ventures in Mexico, India and Australia. He is especially focused on using technology to empower collaborations between progressive artists and campaigns in the wake of the recent Citizens' United Supreme Court ruling. Bear resides in Oakland, California.
Mitch Manzella, Founder & Executive Director. Mitch has spent the past five years organizing grassroots political action. He is an executive board member of NJ for Democracy, the NJ Coalition organization of Howard Dean's Democracy for America. In 2004, Mitch worked for US Congressman Frank Pallone, while also playing a major role organizing for Howard Dean, and John Kerry. In 2005, he was the campaign field director for Edison, NJ Mayor Jun Choi, who became New Jersey's first Korean American Mayor. In 2006, he was campaign manager for a Democratic Congressional candidate who received national attention on The Colbert Report's "Better Know a Challenger." Mitch has also personally registered more than 2000 voters at music concerts and festivals with HeadCount.
Aaron Agulnek, Policy Director. Aaron brings his commitment to social justice and experience in public policy to Music for Democracy's unique vision. Aaron's first foray into grassroots politics came during Deval Patrick's successful 2006 Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign. He also served as the general counsel for HeadCount, a non-partisan voter registration organization, prior to his current position in the Massachusetts State House. Agulnek was selected in 2007 by the Boston Bar Association as a fellow in its Public Interest Leadership Program, designed to develop the next generation of leaders in the legal profession. Aaron received his Bachelor of Science in marketing from the University of Maryland in 2000 and his JD from the Boston University School of Law in 2005. Aaron has been known to cite the works of John Rawls and John Stuart Mill in ordinary conversation, and can be seen playing his own interpretations of socially-conscious songs at open mic nights around Boston.
Chris Foster, Communications Director. Chris attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, where he graduated with a BA in Political Science and Spanish. Shortly after graduating in May 2007, he moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he taught English and helped start an after-school community center for underprivileged children in the neighborhood of La Boca. Chris's education and upbringing have harvested a passion for music and an interest in politics that makes MFD the perfect organization for him to follow his intuition and to make a difference. He currently resides in NYC.
Gabriel Aronson, Deputy Director. has worked for social and economic justice causes since 2001. His primary focus has been to educate individuals on issues that create equality for all people, encourage political activism, and demand responsible and logical policy from government. Gabriel first participated in combining music and politics in 2003, while a high school student in California; when a group of politically active students organized a pro-peace concert that brought a local politician and a reggae band together for music and public awareness. Since then, Gabriel has worked on several campaigns for progressive candidates and currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona where he continues his efforts to promote responsible government and create a sustainable future for generations to come. Contact Gabriel at Gabriel@MusicforDemocracy.org
Tony Amoyal, Chief Technology Officer. Tony Amoyal is a Software Developer at Total Music, an early stage company dedicated to streaming free music to the world. During the past five years, Tony has worked on various software projects ranging from website design to autonomous naval vessel control. His experience brings a broad perspective on technology to this organization. When the computers are shut off, Tony enjoys playing funk guitar and writing pop songs.
Steve Silberman, Editorial Consultant. Steve Silberman is a writer and editor for Wired magazine. His articles have appeared in many national publications including Time, the New Yorker, Dwell and GQ. He has also worked on a number of music projects, including co-producing the Grateful Dead's box set So Many Roads (1965-1995) and writing liner notes for various projects by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, the Jerry Garcia Band and other groups. Steve and his husband Keith live in San Francisco.
Bobby Genalo, Creative Director. Bobby graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a degree in Art. He has worked as an art director for several NY based design agencies and has enjoyed some time as a sound designer for Lego. He currently spends all his time with friends and family.
Daniel Savage, Director of Artist Relations. Daniel has a 20-year history of bridging the creative and commercial worlds, making deals and fostering relationships between them that furthered artists careers. He has held executive positions at other major music companies including Island (Elton John, U2), Lava/Atlantic (Matchbox 20, Sugar Ray, Jimmy Page/Robert Plant), Mercury and PolyGram Group Distribution.. His roots in music are as a trained musician, having studied at the Eastman School of Music and as a music journalist. He holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University Business School. Daniel's involvement in politics goes back to the 1980's working on a number of local and national campaigns while living in New York, including being on the New York Primary delegate slate for Gore '88. The Clinton '92 campaign was his first opportunity to enlist musicians for a political cause, producing the DNC Victory Party and putting together other special events throughout the Fall. He has also become involved in local politics in Los Angeles, belonging to a number of civic organizations as well as being elected to the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council.
Julia Walsh, Youth Outreach Director. Julia Walsh is a visionary activist engaged in social movements both locally and globally. Julia is the founder and director of Synthesis, a grassroots youth organization in the Hudson Valley that empowers students to become organizers for social change in their communities. She was an elected official on the Village Board of New Paltz, NY from '03-'07, and was instrumental in passing environmental legislation, as well as organizing New Paltz's high-profile, politically charged same-sex marriages in Feb.'04. Julia established the New Paltz Cultural Collective, an artist collective and fair trade cafe in downtown New Paltz. In 2004, she started and organized a series of socially conscious concert events in NYC called Party for Peace. She has served as the NGO Representative to the United Nations' for Peaceways-Young General Assembly, a children's rights organization, since January `03 â€“ '08. Julia has worked on numerous political and community campaigns. She has been invited to speak and lead workshops at various conferences and events. She has worked in local non-profit organizations with at-risk-youth in urban communities. Julia graduated SUNY New Paltz with her BA in Social Movements. Currently, she is writing her first book about her experiences as a young elected official as a way to inspire young people to run for public office.
Fred Gooltz, Strategy Consultant. Fred Gooltz has been an online political strategy consultant for five years. He is the Director of Strategy at Drupal politech firm Advomatic, LLC. Founded by Howard Dean alumni, Advomatic assists unions, progressive organizations and Democratic candidates ranging from city council to U.S. President. Fred runs the dojo of online strategy ninjas in Advomatic's strategic arm. Before joining Advomatic, Gooltz was a political operative in traditional disciplines: director of communications, GOTV director and volunteer coordinator. Five years ago he starting using online social networks to do volunteer recruitment and coordination for young voter organizations working on behalf of Kerry/Edwards. Subsequently with Advomatic, he's created innovative strategies for clients' electoral races, issue advocacy, social networking, new media, and fundraising campaigns.
Marc Epstein, Intern. Marc is a third year political science major at the University of Rochester. He has previously interned for the Journal News and Senator Charles Schumer and is an editor for his school newspaper. After becoming involved with Students for Barack Obama and campaigning for Obama in New Hampshire and New York, he began working with Music for Democracy. His passion for both music and advocacy directly contribute to his work in the organization, which includes both administrative and outreach projects.
MFD BlogMore >>
- June 30, 2010Aaron Agulnek
- June 10, 2010Aaron Agulnek
- June 6, 2010Mitch Manzella
- February 10, 2010Mitch Manzella
- June 4, 2009Mitch Manzella
- May 12, 2009Mitch Manzella
- April 1, 2009Mitch Manzella
- March 31, 2009Marissa Moss
- March 16, 2009Mitch Manzella
- December 5, 2008Aaron Agulnek