Our Board — Always striving, Always growing
Nkosi Anderson is currently a PhD student in Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, NY. He has been committed to youth education and human relations work for close to 20 years. Nkosi is excited about bringing this passion and experience to his efforts with The Roots Project, Inc. He has worked in public education, government, academia and with nonprofit, community, and religious organizations. Nkosi holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in African-American Studies, both from Columbia University. He also received his MDiv from Union Theological Seminary, NY. Nkosi remains active in a number of movements for social justice.
Maria Irene Lopez-Nuñez
Maria Lopez-Nunez’s first and enduring love is devouring books page by page. She particularly enjoys setting yearly book-reading goals, which she works feverishly to surpass. Maria feels most alive when she is able to allow her love for reading and Critical Race Theory to influence her work in social justice. She believes firmly that to understand and dismantle oppression one must work not only at an interpersonal and individual level, but also at an institutional and systemic level. She has had the opportunity to work with youth, parents, and educators on building awareness on issues of identity and diversity since high school and looks forward to growing in this work for years to come.
One of the most memorable lessons Henaz learned as a kid was don't touch the plants after sundown, they need sleep, too! This lesson stuck with her: all living beings are interconnected and worthy of respect. This value guided her to pursue social justice and healing arts—yoga, acupuncture, and social justice are the lenses that frame her view of the world. She graduated from Barnard with a degree in Political Science and Human Rights, and then pursued a graduate degree in Acupuncture from the Eastern School of Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine. She is a trained yoga instructor from the Yoga Institute in Mumbai, India and the Starseed Yoga in Montclair, NJ. For the last 15 years, Henaz has been working with youth on issues of identity and social justice.
An experienced facilitator and trainer, Henaz is the Director of Diversity at Kent Place School, an all girls PK-12 independent school. She firmly believes that our liberation is intertwined and that our healing is at our fingertips and in our inhalations and exhalations. That coupled with nonviolent movement for social change is the key to our peace and sense of freedom.
Nicole Mulligan has had a passion for social justice issues since high school. A long time youth camp counselor, she has worked for years to design and implement social justice curricula for student delegates in New Jersey. Nicole strives every day to create inclusive spaces in her first grade classroom in Newark, New Jersey, where she has been a full-time teacher for the past five years. Nicole knows firsthand that an enormous amount of work remains to be done within herself, her family, and her community regarding issues of identity and inclusion. She is ecstatic to be a part of ROOTS and can’t wait to get started!
Since she was a young kid, Chancy knew she wanted to be involved in education. Her passion to work with people with disabilities led her to pursue a master’s degree in Intellectual Disabilities and Autism. Chancy learned the importance of tailoring one’s education to meet their specific needs and providing truly accessible curricular material. She realized that “special education” should not, in fact, be “special” at all. Students of all different abilities and identities should have the opportunity to learn in a classroom that speaks to them and their needs. This unique lens on education alongside her 13-year journey in social justice programming with youth, brought Chancy to where she is now—a 1st grade teacher striving to create inclusive and equitable spaces for her students in which their identities and experiences are affirmed.
Michele is honored to be one of the founding board members of The ROOTS Project, Inc. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies. After graduation, she worked in the non-profit sector doing development and program coordination work. She has also worked as an independent consultant designing and facilitating workshops on different topics such as conflict resolution, mediation, race, and gender, to name a few. It was at this point that she realized she has a strong interest in social work and she went back to school for her Master’s Degree in Social Work at Columbia University with a concentration in program development and evaluation. She's worked with many different populations in a variety of ways, including volunteering for a government-run daycare in Florence, Italy. Her passion, however, is developing sound social justice programming for youth and those whose lives intersect with theirs. She looks forward to doing this with ROOTS!
Orsolina Cetta has been an ally for social justice since her teenage years with experience in curriculum writing, large and small group facilitation, and in collaborating with others to use education and discussions as vehicles in igniting social change. Orsolina truly believes that by learning about others and herself helps her to make inclusive communities in New Jersey. She earned her PhD in education, using a program evaluation of a social justice program as her dissertation study. Orsolina hopes you will consider joining us in our work!