Michael Kozuch – Lead Organizer and Board President
Michael Kozuch (He/Him) is committed to lifting up the voices of young people and faith communities. As a public high school teacher for the last 22 years and a person of faith, he understands how important it is to listen to young people, nature and the facts. Mr. Kozuch has been a community activist, educator and organizer for educational equity, social justice and sustainability for 30 years. He started his work in LGBT civil rights and has grown into seeing the interconnectedness among all social justice issues.
He is a graduate of Northeastern University, BS ’93 and Harvard University, M. Ed. ’98 and has worked for the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Massachusetts Teachers Association and developed the Global Communities Program at Newton South High School which focuses on global sustainability issues. Much of the program is drawn from Michael’s experience working as a research participant with Harvard’s Project Zero, where he collaborated with other teachers and researchers to develop models for interdisciplinary instruction. In addition, he was the director of the Teaching American History Program and the Newton-Beijing Jingshan Exchange Program. He has been a guest lecture at Boston College, Primary Source, the International Baccalaureate Asia Pacific Conference, Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom and the Future of Learning Institute. Michael is a world traveler, participating in a four-month exchange in Beijing, China, as well as shorter programs in South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Morocco, Ecuador, Iceland and the Czech Republic.
Mina Willet – Clerk of the Board
A Boston native, Mina joins the Earth Day Boston team as the Clerk of the Board. Mina graduated from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, with a Bachelor of Commerce focusing on Human Resources and Organizational Behavior. After moving back to Boston from Vancouver, where she was able to travel and see the increasing impact of climate change on the environment around her, Mina is eager to join the Earth Day 2020 Team. She joins with energy for creating space for communities to come together for conversation and action. Mina works in Learning & Development and brings a passion for people and organizing.
Reverend Vernon K. Walker – Board of Directors
Rev. Vernon K. Walker is originally born and raised in Philadelphia, the west side. Rev. Walker attended Penn State University for college where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Organizational Leadership and a minor in Psychology in 2012. During his time in college, Rev. Walker was also elected to become the President of the Abington Christian Fellowship at Penn State Abington’s campus, which is the campus Christian Organization.
After graduating from Penn State University, Rev. Walker attended Boston University’s School of Theology and earned a master’s degree in Theological Studies (M.T.S) in 2016. During this time, Rev. Walker also crossed registered to take courses at Harvard University’ Divinity School on non-profit leadership. Rev. Walker also took classes at the School of Social Work at Boston University that focused on social justice and macro social work practice.
Currently Rev. Walker is the program manager over the Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW), which is a program under the Better Future Project Organization in Cambridge, MA. The CREW program helps communities become climate resilience by building social resilience.
Throughout his time in Boston, Rev. Walker has appeared in several different newspapers such as the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Bay State Banner, Commonwealth Magazine, and other newspapers for his work related to social justice. Rev. Walker has also made TV appearances on Fox 25, New England Cable News, Boston Neighborhood Network, CBS Boston, and NBC 10 Boston.
Fay Khudairi – Board Member
Fay Khudairi is a Registered Nurse working and living in Boston, MA dedicated to service and the preservation of life. She received her BSN at UMass Amherst where she was first exposed to environment justice. An active volunteer at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, she started the center’s green team which works to integrate Islamic principles in stewardship with practical sustainable practices within the community such as through minimizing waste, improving recycling and composting efforts and co-leading the center’s garden club. She is pursuing a master’s degree in both nursing and public health which she hopes will further drive her passion for improving the health of people and the planet. She is looking forward to serving as part of the board with Earth Day 2020 Boston and joining the efforts of so many resilient and compassionate individuals who understand that we must come together to improve the quality of life for all living beings.
Rebecca Riccio – Board Member
Rebecca Riccio is a single mom, social change educator, and a political activists who has been engaged with progressive issues since middle school. Over the course of her career, Rebecca has managed international development projects around the world, established her own nonprofit consulting practice, and founded the Social Impact Lab at Northeastern University, where she teaches young people to be ethical and effective complex problem solvers. Rebecca fiercely believes in mobilizing people to use the tools of democracy to build a more just and equitable society, which she does as a mentor to the youth climate activists and political organizer.
Alejandra Dilan – Social Media Co-Chair
Growing up in Puerto Rico, mountains reflected a variety of green colors over the river water behind my home. My feet dangled from the hammock as I saw the green colors change into brown due to pesticides. The pesticides were meant to kill grass to reduce the amount of times the town had to cut the grass monthly. The list of contaminated beaches increased every year, and the fear of a catastrophe to happen followed. September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria, a category five hurricane, devastated my island. Millions of Puerto Ricans, faced homelessness, life without lights or energy. They waited hours for groceries and a quarter tank of gasoline. I was one of the millions of Puerto Ricans who lost their homes and moved to the United States of America for a new beginning. In the middle of Junior year, I found myself at Newton South High School. NSHS provided me with amazing teachers that cared about me as a student and encouraged me to use my voice for a bigger cause. Earth Day 2020 Boston is the perfect way to give the voiceless a stage. Simmons University, Nursing, 2023
Catherine Goulemas – Social Media Co-Chair
I grew up in York, Maine where you are surrounded by beaches, the ocean has always been a big part of my life. My favorite activity as a kid was waiting for low tide to come so I could go onto the rocks and look for tide pools. I would look for crabs, snails, starfish, and sea urchins. As years passed, I started to find less sea glass and started to find more plastic bottles. I saw first hand how pollution was affecting the ocean’s ecosystem. Being part of a movement such as Earth Day Boston 2020 allows me to work for a cleaner earth. Being a part of the movement gave me the opportunity to meet people who felt like fighting for a cleaner Earth is not just a job but a responsibility. Simmons University, Business major 2023.
Chloe Frantzis – Campus Organizer
Chloe is a Sophomore at Wellesley College. She says, “through a Sustainability class I took at my high school, Newton South, I was inspired to continue to study the subject in college. Although I never took an environmental science classes, I soon realized almost all political science courses included climate change as an integral component to any discussion and lesson today. Learning about climate change in the confines of a classroom didn’t quite feel like enough though because I was not outside engaging with members of my community. So soon I was looking for new ways I could share my voice and create change that would last. Today, not only am I dedicated member of Sunrise Boston, but I am also honored to be a Campus Organizer for Earth Day 2020!”
Ethan Koss-Smith – Arts and Culture Chair
West-Coast born, East-coast raised, Ethan Koss-Smith is a 21 year old composer, performer, and environmental activist who studies Music, Environmental Studies, and Public Action at Bennington College, where he works as the campus’s Sustainability Coordinator. This winter Ethan researched the effects of noise pollution from hydraulic fracturing in Western Pennsylvania on human health in affected communities. He works closely with the non-profit Beyond Plastics and was the lead organizer for the September 20th, 2019 “Climate Strike Bennington,” Vermont. Ethan is an aspiring writer and wildlife conservationist. Find out more by visiting ethankosssmith.com
Peter Walsh – Organizer (He/Him) is a 23 year old actor and environmental activist from Newton Massachusetts. In both Boston & New York City, Peter is apart of the Sunrise Movement, an army of young people fighting to stop climate change and make millions of green new jobs in the process. He is thrilled for Earth Day Boston 2020, and cannot wait to show our governments that the people united will never be defeated.
We welcome any individual regardless of race, color, religious creed, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran or active military status, marital status, national origin/ethnicity, citizenship or alienage to participate in our volunteer organization. If you are interested in formally joining our effort, please be in touch.