The Team

Meet Our Team


Kate Alexander

Kate Alexander

Director of Policy and Outreach

Kate Alexander is a peace advocate and researcher with 12 years experience in community organizing. Her previous work experience includes community organizing with Planned Parenthood in Arizona, war crimes research and assistance in a genocide trial in Bosnia, community peace-building work in Northern Uganda, and writing reports for United Nations bodies on women’s rights violations in Syria and Iraq. She is committed to the leadership of diverse, historically marginalized voices in peace advocacy and processes globally, to reshape their own communities post-conflict and challenge inequitable power structures that are the root causes of conflict. She is a frequent public speaker on women’s leadership for peace globally, nuclear abolition, U.S. defense spending and U.S. military strategy.

She is a graduate of Brandeis University with a degree in International and Global Studies and a minor in Legal Studies, and was the 2012 recipient of the David A. Alexander award for Social Consciousness and Activism at Brandeis University. She is also the 2017 recipient of the Genesee Valley Peacemaker award, awarded by Genessee Valley Citizens for Peace. Kate is currently pursuing her MPA with a focus in Humanitarian Policy and Gender and Public Policy at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

Aziz Dehkan

Aziz Dehkan

Development Manager

Born and raised in New York City, Aziz Dehkan earned a degree in Biological Sciences from Rutgers University, built a passive-solar house, and started one of the first organic farms in New Jersey. Aziz has worked for many social and environmental organizations including the Humane Society of the United States; the NYC Coalition for the Homeless; STRIVE, which promotes effective workforce development opportunities; The Fortune Society, empowering the formerly incarcerated through services and advocacy; and Mother Jones. Currently Aziz is the Executive Director of the New York City Community Garden Coalition; also consulting for Solitary Watch, which exposes solitary confinement abuses in prisons; United 4 Iran, a human rights organization; and Peace Action Network. He recently helped organize the Food and Farm Justice hub of the People’s Climate Movement rally in Washington DC.

A dyed-in-the-wool pacifist, Aziz loves and teaches boxing, fully recognizing the irony of this choice. An enthusiastic cook, he loves American roots music, the Grateful Dead, theater, the Yankees, dreams of a free Iran and is grateful for the ocean’s positive ions.

Emily Rubino

Emily Rubino

Grassroots Campaigns Coordinator

Emily Rubino is dedicated to intersectional activism that recognizes the connections between domestic social justice struggles and international human rights struggles. Her background in advocacy and activism includes acting as a Social Justice Leader through Fordham’s Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice and traveling to Nepal, Jordan, and Chile through IHP’s Human Rights program to stand with communities of indigenous, refugee, and Palestinian peoples in their human rights struggles. She has been involved with Peace Action New York state in various capacities for the past year, and looks forward to continuing to advocate for a less oppressive world order. She is a recent Fordham graduate with a BA in International Humanitarian Affairs and Sociology.

Emilie Clark

Emilie Clark


Emilie – known as Em here at Peace Action – is a current graduate student at Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work. She brings to Peace Action administrative experience from her days as Executive Assistant with the non-profit theatre and social justice organization, Girl Be Heard. Em has spent much of her working life advocating alongside youth both as a former Senior Trainer with Global Kids and a leader of international study abroad programs through The Experiment in International Living. In these roles, Em was always known as the system’s person, helping new and existing programs build replicable and reliable structures. It is this attention to detail and organization that she brings to Peace Action New York state.

Peace Action New York State

Executive Committee

Jim Anderson has been a long time civil rights and peace activist throughout the state of New York pushing for an end to US militarism. During Jim Anderson’s leadership Peace Action New York State has seen its potential harnessed and oversaw various directional changes and expansion of programs such as youth outreach.

Jim Anderson


Bio to be Added

Elaine Klein


Margaret Melkonian is the Executive Director and a founding member of the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives while also serving as coordinator of the Peace Fellows Program at Hofstra University. Ms. Melkonian is the Vice President of the Hague Appeal for Peace. In 2007 she was the recipient of the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Peace Award from Morehouse College. Ms. Melkonian studied fine arts at Hunter College and is a graduate of Hofstra University. She lives in Uniondale with her husband Martin, who teaches economics at Hofstra University.

Margaret Melkonian

Downstate Co-chair

Biography to be Added Shortly

Michelle DeOcampo

Upstate Co-chair

Jim joins us from Broome County Peace Action where he served as President and has continually devoted his time and effort on building dialogue around peace. Jim has focused on multiple areas of the peace movement, most recently including the use of drones in warfare.

Jim Clune

Executive Committee Member, At Large

Biography to be Added Shortly Sophie Gamer

Executive Committee Member, At Large

Biography to be Added Shortly

Alie Iwanenko

Executive Committee Member, At Large

Eileen is former chair of Peace Action of Staten Island and currently serves on their board.

Eileen Bardel

Executive Committee Member, At Large

Ghanim Khalil is on the board of Peace Action of Staten Island.  He is also a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and a founder of iCivica.

Ghanim Khalil

Executive Committee Member, At Large

Peace Action New York State Fund

Board of Directors

Since 2002, Peace Action has played a leading role in the volunteer life of Sally Jones.  When plans for invading Iraq were publicized in the spring of 2002, she was one of several Staten Islanders came together determined to form an anti-war group.  That initial introduction to Peace Action, became a commitment that still continues.  She has served as Secretary and Chair of Peace Action New York State, and, since 2011, as Chair of Peace Action Fund of New York State, and remains active on the board of her local chapter.  In addition to Sally’s work with Peace Action, she is active in her Staten Island community.  Over the last three decades, Sally has helped form a food coop, a film society, and been an active member of the local civic association, women’s coalition, and non-partisan and Democratic political clubs.  She also serves on the board of the Unitarian Church of Staten Island.  Professionally, she works as a business analyst.  She attended Bucknell University, the College of Staten Island, and received her M.A. in Comparative Literature from the CUNY Graduate Center.  She loves to swim and uses the bike share program to ride to work.  She is the proud mother and step-mother of 2 daughters and 2 sons and grandmother of six children.

Sally Jones


Carol has been working with Peace Action in New York since it was called SANE. Before it merged with Brooklyn For Peace, Carol chaired the Brooklyn Heights chapter of Peace Action. Later, she became more involved with the Metro Council of Peace Action, which then became part of Peace Action New York State. Carol is a proud grandmother and loves to work with kids. She is also active in the group Granny Peace Brigade. UPDATE: In June 2016, Carol passed away. She was a beloved matriarch in our community.

Carol Price Husten


Lauren Zink believes sharing is the ‘secret sauce’ of civilization. She is the Manager of the Advice Digital Network at Vice Media Inc, an international news and media organization. Prior to this, she has worked in film and other digital media realms. She is also an alum of OTZMA, a one-year long leadership and service fellowship in Israel. While there, she was honored by the Mayor of Ashkelon for the work she did in promoting the city’s various non-profit’s to communities in the United States and South Africa.

Lauren Zink


Stephen A. Harrison is a Bay Ridge-area attorney in private practice since 1986. In 2006, he ran for Congress from the 13th Congressional District against pro-war incumbent Vito Fossella, and  came closer to defeating him than any other rival since the Mr. Fossella was elected in 1997. He was Brooklyn Community Board 10’s chair from 2000-2003 and ran for City Council in a 2003 special election.

Stephen Harrison


Joanne Robinson Boettcher is a veteran community activists who has worked with the NAACP, the Black Womens’ Political Caucus, WESPAC Foundation, Peace Action and Westchester Black Democrats. She is the daughter of a politically active Yonkers family.  Her mother, May Morgan Robinson, was a leader in civil rights and in the Democratic Party in Westchester.  Her daughter, Joanne, and Joanne’s twin sister, Roberta Robinson Frazier, have carried on this tradition, continuing the fight in Yonkers for affordable housing and social justice.

Joanne Robinson

Executive Committee Member, At Large

Bob Siegel is an investment manager in private practice in New York City. He received his A.B. in International Relations from Brown and his M.B.A. from Harvard. Bob also serves on the Boards of Alliance for Global Justice, North American Congress on Latin America ( NACLA ), which publishes a widely respected journal on Latin America affairs.; Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting ( FAIR ), which, since its founding in 1986, has been the nation’s leading media watchdog group documenting and attempting to counter the right-wing bias and censorship of the U.S. mainstream media, and on the national Peace Educaton Fund.

Bob Siegel

Executive Committee Member, At Large

David Jones is a community activist and musician.  In Staten Island, he helped create the St. George Food Coop, served as President of the St. George Civic Association, and worked for the designation of the St. George Historic District by the NYC Landmarks Commission in order to save the neighborhood’s older homes.  During the secession debate in the 1990’s, David helped form Staten Islanders for a Unified New York and served on the Staten Island Democratic Association Executive Committee.  He helped organize the City Council campaigns of Debi Rose, helping elect the first African American from elected official on Staten Island.  From 2002 to 2007, he served as a vice-president in the Staten Island African-American Association, a non-partisan political organization whose mission is promoting grassroots involvement in politics.  In 2002, shocked by the threats of a U.S. invasion of Iraq, he helped organize Peace Action of Staten Island, and currently serves on its board and on the board of the Peace Action Fund of New York State.  He also serves on the board of African Refuge.

David Jones

Executive Committee Member, At Large

Ordained in 2011 as a Congregational minister, Julie Johnson Staples currently serves as Moderator of the New York-New Jersey Regional Association of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches. She is also a member of the NACCC national ambassador team, acting as a regional advisor to ministerial search committees and a resource representative for member churches in the NACCC.

Rev. Johnson Staples recently completed a Th.M. degree in Religion, Literature and Culture at Harvard University. Her research focused on inter-racial and multicultural liturgical experiences in American religious history. She also studied critical exploration in Teaching & Learning at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, applying the work of developmental psychologist Jean Piaget to the theory and practice of religious education.

Prior to ordained ministry, her professional career included work as a journalist in Washington and as an executive in finance on Wall Street. Before leaving to enter seminary, Rev. Johnson Staples was a Managing Director of Warburg Pincus, the global private equity firm based in New York. Earlier in her career, she was the Justice Department correspondent for ABC News and the Supreme Court correspondent for TIME Magazine. In addition to reporting on law and politics, she has twice worked as a White House correspondent, for The New York Times and for The Baltimore Sun.

Julie Johnson-Staples

Executive Committee Member, At Large