“We have to be able to make our own choices, and you don’t make a choice to be bombed,” said Michelle Cunha, Assistant Director of Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA).
This is the ideology that led Cunha, a longtime reproductive rights activist, to join the peace movement. Cunha first joined Peace Action in 2004, when she accompanied activists heading to Washington D.C. from New Hampshire to “turn their backs” on recently re-elected President George W. Bush.
This event launched Cunha’s peace career.
After graduating from Franklin Pierce University in 2006, Cunha continued volunteering and eventually became Bird Dog Coordinator for New Hampshire Peace Action in 2008. Cunha was responsible for tracking where presidential candidates would be campaigning in New Hampshire during the 2008 election. If the public could attend the venue, Cunha brought volunteers to attend the rally and to ask specific questions. First, they thanked the politician for coming, “Then we would slam them with the question,” said Cunha.
At one event located at a weapons manufacturer in Londonderry, Cunha was removed by security for handing out flyers. Never discouraged, Cunha proceeded to leave all 300 printouts on cars in the event parking lot. Meanwhile, two of her allies were inside, hammering the presidential candidate for restricting Cunha’s right to free speech. The ordeal made it to the press. “Mitt Romney had the worst day of his campaign because of me,” said Cunha proudly.
When she moved back to her hometown of Bedford, Massachusetts in 2014, Cunha joined MAPA. This year, we welcome her as Assistant Director of the organization – a newly created position. Cunha works closely with Executive Director Cole Harrison to make sure MAPA reaches their goals.
“I like to think of myself as Cole’s right-hand woman,” said Cunha, who added that she’s still settling into her role, but already knows this position is her favorite job of her entire working career.
“Most of the jobs that I’ve had in the past have been making other people rich,” said Cunha, who worked for a private ambulance company before joining the peace movement. “This job is about being a part of the solution, and not part of the problem. This is about being part of the greater good. This is about having my labor support people who are not in the same position that I am in, and that’s what’s really important to me.”
In her spare time, Cunha likes to brew homemade beer, cook, garden, knit, and do CrossFit. She thinks social media is great, and strongly believes (of course) that “Peace Action rocks the house!”