Rootstrikers began in April 2011 as a project of Fix Congress First, an organization founded by Lawrence Lessig and Joe Trippi. We now exist as a grassroots project of Fund for the Republic. You can read more about our mission here.
In addition to our network of activists and volunteers, we are:
Lawrence Lessig | Founder
Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and founder [and fearless leader] of Rootstrikers. Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school's Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.
Lessig serves on the Board of Creative Commons, The American Academy, Berlin, AXA Research Fund, iCommons.org, and on the advisory board of the Sunlight Foundation. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association; and, has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation's Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award, and was named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries.
Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale.
Szelena Gray | Executive Director
Szelena first became involved in social movement-building while in college, where she led several campus-wide campaigns for gender equality and was appointed to the dean's council on the status of women. After a master's degree in gender, ethics, and politics from Harvard Divinity School, she joined the staff of a global research advocacy organization serving women in informal employment, and helped document over 500 membership-based organizations of informal workers around the world. Szelena came to Rootstrikers in 2011 while working with Lawrence Lessig at Harvard Law School, and as its director, she develops and executes its strategy for mobilizing an unprecedented new generation of activists taking a stand against the corrupting influence of money in politics.
Peter Kinnaird | Growth Hacker
Peter holds a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Georgia Tech. After graduating, he worked for a year in consulting before returning to Georgia Tech to conduct research in Human Computer Interaction about government transparency, culminating in his Masters thesis work, Connect 2 Congress. In addition to managing Rootstrikers' new digital initiatives, Peter is a Ph.D. student in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science in the Human Computer Interaction Institute, and co-editor in chief of ACM’s XRDS magazine with Inbal Talgam-Cohen of Stanford University. His Ph.D. research focuses on developing and empirically testing technology that enhances civic political efficacy.
Jay Costa | National Coordinator, Street Team
Jay serves as volunteer coordinator for Rootstrikers Street Team and has been the organizer for the local San Francisco Rootstrikers meetup group. He became obsessed with campaign finance reform after giving up on the hard problem of consciousness and realizing that everything else he cared about took for granted the presence of a functional representative government.
Outside of Rootstrikers, Jay is a member of the staff at MapLight, where he designs web products, such as Voter's Edge. He was appointed by the mayor of San Francisco to serve on the City's Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, which is responsible for ensuring that deliberations of City bodies are conducted before the people and that City operations are open to the people's review. Jay holds a degree in Biological Anthropology from Harvard College.
Blake Wright | National Coordinator, Campus Chapters
Blake is the volunteer coordinator for the campus chapter program of Rootstrikers. He is a senior seeking his undergraduate degree in Economics at Appalachian State University. In 2011, He began working in nonpartisan politics for the 501(c)4 organization Americans Elect after becoming disenchanted by party politics. Initially his involvement was on a small scale by starting up a club on his own campus. However, soon he was offered a position as Regional Campus Director followed shortly after by his final role as National Campus Director. During his time at Americans Elect, Blake managed 270 campuses nationwide.
Mia Tong | Intern
Mia is a third year undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley where she is currently pursuing a degree in Anthropology with a minor in Arabic. She is interested in a breadth of issues, but realized quickly that all of those issues are directly affected by the corrupting influence of money in politics. Therefore, she instead decided to double her efforts to help Rootstrikers with spreading that message by starting to volunteer with Rootstrikers in early 2013.