Co-founder, Executive Director and National Campaign Director
Ben Ptashnik directs national campaign efforts for NEDC. He is a two-term Vermont State Senator and 45-year activist and organizer working in the anti-war, civil rights, environmental, sustainable development, and organic food and cooperatives movements. He is an expert in coalition and movement development and on legislative campaigns, referendums, and initiatives. He is a co-founder of the Justice Action Mobilization Network, and has been instrumental in spearheading the solar energy industry in Mexico.
Co-founder and Communications Director
Victoria Collier directs communications for the NEDC. She is the author of the 2012 Harper’s Magazine cover story “How to Rig an Election” which helped to catalyze NEDC organizing efforts. Collier organized the Representative Democracy branch of the 2013 National Democracy Convention, and in 2014 was instrumental in launching the Justice Action Mobilization Network working at the intersect of Climate, Social and Democracy Justice. She has been a public speaker at the Institute for Policy Studies, the Left Forum, and as a guest on radio shows nationwide including ABC, Pacifica, and NPR. She writes on democracy and social justice for Truthout.org.
Justin Talbot-Zorn is a legislative outreach coordinator for the NEDC. Justin has served as Legislative Director to three Members of Congress, and was Legislative Director to Congressman John Conyers of Michigan as founder of a nonprofit serving refugees, and as an op-ed contributor to publications including The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, and CNN.com. A former Fulbright Scholar and current Truman National Security Fellow, Justin is co-founder of an award-winning university scholarship program for Sudanese refugees. He has served as an op-ed writing trainer and a mindfulness meditation teacher in the US House of Representatives. Justin earned graduate degrees in public policy and international relations from Oxford University and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Phil Coticelli is a media coordinator for the NEDC, and an expert in using strategic communications. He worked with the non-profit Global Health Advocates in Switzerland on grassroots advocacy campaigns that successfully compelled the governments of Malawi and South Africa to remove import taxes on insecticide-treated mosquito nets, transforming the global fight against malaria. He helped Africa Fighting Malaria in Washington, D.C., to design and conduct field research into antimalarial drug quality in Uganda and Tanzania. His research was published in PLoS Medicine, a peer-reviewed online journal, and his organizational advocacy papers for have been used throughout the years as required curriculum reading in the Development Studies department at the London School of Economics, where he completed his Master’s degree.
Barbara Arnwine is a coordinator of the National Election Defense and Voter Access Project. She is Executive Director of the newly formed Transformative Justice Coalition. For 26 years she was Executive Director of the Lawyer’s Committee For Civil Rights Under the Law. Arnwine is one of the nation’s leading anti-voter suppression activists, and is often featured on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, radio and print media. She has one of the most extensive anti-voter suppression networks in the country.
Dr. Reverend Rodney Sadler
Rev. Sadler is a member of the NEDC Board of Directors. He is a key Civil Rights activist in North Carolina and Washington DC, who has been working with the White House on a Truth and Reconciliation civil rights project, he is also a key organizer with the NAACP Moral Mondays fusion Movement, and Vice Chair of the Justice Action Mobilization Network (JAMN).
Joel Silberman is media consultant for the NEDC. Joel has media trained U.S. Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen, as well as local and state elected officials. He has worked with the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus. Joel’s organizational clients have included many of the nation’s leading NGO’s including: Progressive Congress, People For The American Way, New Leaders Conference, Women Donors Network, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, National Women’s Law Center, National Nurses United, The Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, to name but a few. Joel’s media client’s include: CNN’s Van Jones, Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, and The Nation’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel. He is the media trainer for the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University.