Baz Dreisinger - NY
Dr. Dreisinger works at the intersection of race, crime, culture and justice. She earned her Ph.D. in English from Columbia University, specializing in American and African-American studies. At John Jay she is the Founding Academic Director of John Jay's Prison-to-College Pipeline program, which offers college courses and reentry planning to incarcerated men at Otisville Correctional Facility, and broadly works to increase access to higher education for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals. Dr. Dreisinger's book Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World (2016) was heralded by the New York Times, NPR and many more, and was named a notable book of 2016 by the Washington Post.
Khalil Cumberbatch - NY
Khalil A. Cumberbatch is a formerly incarcerated advocate for social justice movements within the NYC area. He has worked within the reentry community in NYC since 2010 when he was released after serving almost seven years in the NYS prison system. Since his release, Khalil has worked with various non-profits as a service provider, policy analytic, advisor, board member, collaborator, and consultant.
Kyseme Ali Ellington
The Duke of Chess, founder of Chess Tutors, a diverse, multi-talented cadre of dedicated tutors whom have introduced well over 100,000 children and―by extension―their parents to the game of life, chess.
Robert Egger - LA
Robert is the Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen, which recovers locally sourced, cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables to fuel a culinary arts job training program for men and women coming out of foster care and older men and women returning from incarceration.
Thomas F. Lennon - LA
Thomas F. Lennon has alternated between historical and contemporary subject matter. His work, broadcast on PBS and HBO, has been nominated three times for an Academy Award, winning once, and has received major television awards including two George Foster Peabody Awards, two national Emmys and two DuPont-Columbia Journalism awards. He co-directed the HBO film Unchained Memories, along with Ed Bell, based on readings from the WPA slave narratives. With filmmaker Ruby Yang, he mounted a vast multi-year AIDS prevention campaign seen over 900 million times on Chinese television. Together they made a trilogy of short documentary films about modern China, including The Blood of Yingzhou District, which won an Oscar in 2007, and The Warriors of Qiugang, nominated in 2011, which profiles an Anhui Province farmer's multi-year campaign to halt the poisoning of his village water by a nearby factory.
Jamal Wilkerson - NY
Jamal Wilkerson is the former youth counselor and director of athletic for the Dept. of Juvenile justice in Newark New Jersey. After working there for 3 1/2 years Jamal was asked to be a community liaison for City Councilman James Sanders. After a year of being there he went on the Join Southern Queens Parks Association (SQPA) where he was in charge of recruitment, media relations and marketing. After a few years there he went on to serve as community liaison and special assistant to former City Council member Leroy Comrie who is the current state senator of senate district 14.
Jamal is 1st African American to be Vice President of the Queens County Young Democrats. And is currently working as Assistant Project Manager for New York State Affordable Housing Corporation. Also, Mr. Wilkerson was born and raised in Southeast Queens and attended schools in the area. He was ranked # 1 in the country for the 600m run and went on after college to run professionally. Mr. Wilkerson believes in giving back to his community and its young people. Whether through his families’ non-profit organization Metro Eagles Sports Club where he is a coach or just volunteering to help clean up the neighborhood with other local organizations.
Gerard Roebuck is a native New Yorker born and raised in Harlem New York. He attended Catholic and NYC Public Schools. He integrated a lower Manhattan Catholic School as the first African American elementary school student to attend in 1963. He is a graduate of Bishop Dubois Catholic High School.
He attended the City College of New York where he received his B.A. and has a Master’s Degree in Information Science with a Law Specialty from Pratt Institute.
He attended Fordham Universities Principal’s Leadership Academy for post graduate studies.
Mr. Roebuck worked for the New York Public Library for 18 years in over 20 Branch Libraries starting as a Page advancing to a Supervising Branch Librarian at Harlem’s largest branch library.
Mr. Roebuck is also a renowned entrepreneur. Known as Jerry Productions in the 70's, he became one of New York City’s biggest Promoters. In the 80’s he managed several rap artists and along with former College classmate Russell Simmons was instrumental in the early stages of rap music development. In 1989 Mr. Roebuck founded Black Expo which was held annually at Jacob Javits Convention Center
and toured over 21 America Cities over 16 years becoming the largest event in the history of Black America.
Mr. Roebuck taught undergrad at the College of New Rochelle Rosa Parks
Campus. He worked in three New York City Public Schools retiring from the world famous Boys Choir of Harlem School in 2011. Upon his retirement the entire City Council of the City of New York presented him with a certificate for his 30+ years of educating and serving the children and the people of New York City.
Mark Cofield grew up in South Central Los Angeles. As a youth, he was introduced to a Los Angeles based street gang known as the Crips. This gang lifestyle led to him serving over 30 years of incarceration throughout his juvenile and adult life. While Cofield consistently upheld his innocence for the crime which sent him to prison, he’s clear that had he not engaged in street organizations, he would not have been charged and convicted of a crime. He is now a leader in the Fair Chance Project (FCP) organization.
According to Cofield, “working with FCP has given me the opportunity to have a positive impact on a community that I once impacted in a negative way. My work is involved with changing the injustices of the so called Justice System. I lead a group called Life Changers, which is a peer mentoring group for formerly incarcerated men and women. Current recidivism studies show us that the first 48 hours to a week after a person is released from prison is absolutely critical to that person’s successful transition back into society. the Fair Chance Project Life Changers’ Program was developed by liberated lifers to fill that gap.
We train ourselves and others to be keenly sensitive to post- incarceration trauma, pre-recidivist signs, self-destructive triggers as well as anti-social symptomology which exhibits itself in the frustration festering inside the newly released person. We have completed4 successful sessions of Life Changers
One of the most important things I do is mentor youth to assist them in avoiding getting caught up in a destructive lifestyle that can easily result in incarceration or loss of life.
CJ - LA
CJ worked with 3 Artificial Intelligence based start-ups in Los Angeles, CA before venturing on this new journey at hybriData.us . Currently, he serves as a full stack data scientist and product lead building and deploying custom end to end AI, machine/ deep learning data products on the cloud leveraging big data and IIoT. He earned his bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and master's degree in Engineering from University of Southern California.
Yusef Wiley, legal name Andre’ Lovell Wiley was born in 1969 and raised in South Los Angeles, California, attended Centennial High School and Gardena High School for a short period. At the age of 13, Andre started gang bangin’ and was arrested and sentenced to life in prison in February 1991. During a time in solitary confinement Andre later converted to Islam, taking on the name "Yusef", and it was his spiritual faith that took him away from the destructive lifestyle of the gangs to a more purposeful way of life. Yusef has now been working for many years to end gang and youth violence through intervention and skills development programs. He is the creator and cofounder of the Timelist Group program which operates inside CDCR, Alameda County and Los Angeles. The Timelist program has helped many people turn away from detrimental lifestyles through a self-help rehabilitation curricula. Yusef has gained an AA degree in Small Business Management as well as a paralegal degree. Yusef is a proud father, Reentry Coach, Regional Director of Roots Community Health Center who resides with his wife and family in the Antelope Valley area.
Tiffany Johnson - LA
Tiffany first heard about A New Way of Life Reentry Project (ANWOL) on the grounds of Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), while serving a 15 to life sentence. After 10 years of incarceration, she contacted ANWOL to ask if a bed would be available if she became eligible for parole. Susan Burton wrote back, extending a bed in her home. Although there was a place in the community for Tiffany, it took an additional 6 years before she was released. True to her word, Ms. Burton had a bed available and on April 28, 2010, Tiffany walked through the doors of ANWOL to start her new life. It was a cultural shock being back in society, but through ANWOL’s guidance and connections, she went on to begin a career in electrical assembly and live on her own. In 2011, Tiffany was asked to become a board member of A New Way of Life. In December of 2013, she left her career in electrical assembly to join ANWOL’s staff as a full-time community organizer for All of Us or None-Southern California (AOUON-SC). As of January 1, 2015 she is now Associated Director at ANWOL.
Ingrid Archie - LA
Ingrid spent most of her young life revolving in and out of foster care, juvenile detention centers and later prison. As a single mother hoping to regain custody of her children, she entered A New Way of Life and embraced all resources offered. Now she has full custody of her children, works a full-time job and advocates for herself and other formerly incarcerated individuals.
Tiffony Jacobs - LA
Tiffony is an original Freedom Writer. She co-authored the #1 New York Times bestselling book The Freedom Writers Diary with 149 classmates, then graduated from Wilson High School in 1998, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, Long Beach in 2006. The book has since been turned into a movie featuring Hilary Swank, Freedom Writers (2007.) Tiffony works closely with the Freedom Writers Foundation as Program Coordinator. She trains educators to bring Erin Gruwell’s Freedom Writer methodology into their classrooms. Tiffony speaks to audiences about the resilience of humanity, the importance of financial literacy, an college planning.
Gina belafonte - NY
Native New Yorker, Gina Belafonte has spent her life in the arenas of entertainment and activism where her professional work thrives today. As the youngest child of Julie and Harry Belafonte, whose impact in these fields is among the most influential and progressive in the world, Gina’s passions come as no surprise. Gina lives in LA and New York, working with diverse artists, activists and organizations worldwide to promote cultural and civic engagement in the 21st century. An Actress, Director and Producer, Gina is now the Co-Director of Sankofa.org, a social justice organization founded by her father, that enlists the support of today's most celebrated artists and influential individuals in collaboration with grassroots partners to elevate the voices of the disenfranchised and promote peace, justice and equality.