Meet the Team
It took a village! The ABNY Census team worked tirelessly together to support the vision of the ABNY Census 2020 for a Better New York Organizing and Action Committee and were committed to ensuring that each and every New Yorker got counted!
Melva M. Miller
Chief Executive Officer
Melva M. Miller, the Association for a Better New York’s first Chief Executive Officer, works with the Board of Directors to ensure the overall success of the organization through economic development, long-term planning, stakeholder engagement, strategic partnerships, and the expansion and evolution of ABNY’s membership. Prior to this role, Ms. Miller led the organization’s Census initiative for an accurate count of New York where she supported and supplemented the 2020 Census efforts by the U.S. Census Bureau, State and City of New York, and in coordination with community-based organizations in an effort to help New York City and State achieve the most accurate Census count possible.
Ms. Miller has also served as the Deputy Borough President of Queens, working with the Borough Presidents on moving Queens forward. Ms. Miller’s achievements include the creation of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan, a $153 million stakeholder-driven strategy to increase quality employment, economic diversity and financial security in downtown Jamaica. She was also the lead organizer of the Western Queens Tech Strategic Plan, an initiative that produced a five-year, $300,000 planning initiative that produced a blueprint for equitable growth of the Long Island City and Astoria tech ecosystem. Ms. Miller has held several senior economic development roles throughout her career, including Director of Economic Development for the Borough of Queens and Executive Director for the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District. She serves on the Boards of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Habitat for Humanity New York City, and the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.
Ms. Miller holds a Bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work, and recently received a second Master’s Degree in Philosophy from The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Social Welfare program at CUNY’s Graduate Center.
Director of Communications
With 14 years of communications experience at the intersection of business, policy, and contemporary culture, Ayofemi Kirby is committed to delivering effective communications strategies that build communities and that moves people and to take action. She has managed digital and corporate communications in the financial sector, developed award-winning programs that empowered Millennials across the country to be leaders in their communities and more active in our democracy, and led caucus and coalition communications on Capitol Hill.
Ms. Kirby has also shaped and shifted public conversations and sentiment about policy, high-profile entertainment, and cultural initiatives, and has led teams who have worked on major public projects such as Kehinde Wiley’s “Rumors of War” unveiling in Times Square and at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and with clients such as The Africa Center, Japan Society, Sony Pictures, and the NYC Office of the Mayor’s Young Men’s Initiative.
Ms. Kirby graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with her BA in Journalism and Mass Communications, completed her certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University, and earned her MA in Public Communication from American University. She is currently enrolled in Harvard Extension School’s MA in Museum Studies program where she is focusing on the intersection of culture, commerce, and social change.
Aliya Bhatia served as ABNY’s Census Manager and came to this work as a policy professional at the intersection of immigrants’ rights and technology. Prior to joining ABNY, Ms. Bhatia conducted research on urban economic development, immigrants’ rights and sanctuary policy, and technology policy with organizations including New York Immigration Coalition, The Brookings Institution, Silicon Harlem, Civic Hall, and more. Ms. Bhatia has written and served as a spokesperson for the Census with words in Documented, India Abroad, CNBC, and Columbia Public Policy Review. Ms. Bhatia has also published work with Digital Justice Lab, CityLimits, TechCrunch, and more.
Ms. Bhatia has a Master’s degree in urban policy and technology from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @AliyaBhatia.
Census Placement Student from Hunter College
Kristan Roehrs holds a BA in English, an MS in Non-Profit Management, and an MSW from CUNY Silberman School of Social Work. Previously Ms. Roehrs served as a community organizer at The Radical Age Movement, an organization committed to confronting ageism with older adults. Ms. Roehrs moved to NYC from Pennsylvania in 2013 to be the Administration and Finance Manager at Landmark Worldwide, a personal and professional growth, training, and development organization. Most recently, Ms. Roehrs served as the CUNY Silberman School of Social Work Student Fellow on the ABNY Census 2020 team. Her accountabilities included being the ABNY Complete Count Committee liaison throughout NYC, organizing the business community around the Census effort, and facilitating logistics for all ABNY Census partner events. Currently, Ms. Roehrs leads virtual Guided Autobiography writing classes to older adults living in NYC.
Hunter College Care for the Future Fellow
Melina Chin was the Hunter College Care for the Future Fellow on the ABNY Census team. Ms. Chin was responsible for researching the impact of the Census for hard-to-count communities and for creating content for the ABNY Census newsletter, Twitter feed, and informative one-pagers for the ABNY website. Currently, she is a Junior in the Roosevelt Scholars Honors program and also serves as an Arts Ambassador at Hunter College. Ms. Chin is an Urban Studies major and plans to attend graduate school for urban planning. Previously, Ms. Chin worked for Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity (RISE), a nonprofit organization advocating for youth leadership in environmental and social justice through urban planning and community advocacy. She also worked as a Democracy coach for Generation Citizen, teaching New York high school students the importance of democratic and social justice engagement through political participation.