April 22, 2015

Our Board

 

Kazu Haga
Kingian Non-Violence Trainer Founder of East Point Peace Academy
Kazu Haga is a nonviolence trainer and founder of the East Point Peace Academy in Oakland, California. East Point Peace Academy is an organization working to create a peaceful society through Kingian Nonviolence. Kazu is a Level II Kingian Nonviolence trainer who moved to the United States as a child. At age 17, he embarked on a 1.5-year journey across the US and South Asia, studying nonviolence while living in temples with a Buddhist order committed to peace and justice. He has since been involved with many organizations and movements. Prior to joining PPWN, Kazu worked at the Peace Development Fund for over 10 years, where he left as Program Director. Through his work with PPWN, he conducts trainings in prisons and jails, high schools and colleges, with youth groups and activists around the country. His passion is creating peace through just means by working with youth and with communities that have been hard hit by violence. Kazu currently serves as a Board member for Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), PeaceWorkers and the OneLife Institute. He reflects “I believe that those working for peace need to have the same levels of commitment, training, strategy and discipline that the military invests into war. The military trains its leaders at WestPoint. EastPoint will serve as a counter to that.”
Dr. Angela Irvine
Senior Fellow at Impact Justice. Founder and Principal, Ceres Policy Research
Dr. Angela Irvine FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL, CERES POLICY RESEARCH Dr. Angela Irvine, in partnership with Dr. Danielle Soto and the Research and Action Center at Impact Justice recently released a report on trends in out-of-home placement in Alameda County, CA. The report, “Reducing Out-of-Home Placements in Alameda,” shows that: Alameda County Probation Department decreased the number of youth in out-of-home placement by 78 percent. This drop represents hundreds of youth: from 846 young people taken from their families in the period from 2010 to 2013 to 140 out-of-home placements in the period from 2014 to 2016. The department went against national trends by lowering the rates of Black and Latinx youth in out-of-home placements. From 2010 to 2013, 73 percent of youth in out-of-home placements were Black and 22 percent were Latinx. In 2014 to 2016, 59 percent of youth in out-of-home placement were Black and 17 percent were Latinx. “The Alameda County Probation Department is committed to improving outcomes for youth and provide them with the best opportunities for success,” said Wendy Still, Chief Probation Officer of Alameda County Probation Department. “The findings of this report show clear evidence of the priority our department has placed on reducing the overuse of out-of-home placement, and addressing racial and ethnic disparity. While the results of this report are very encouraging, we remain committed to increasing the success of at risk youth by providing them access to wraparound services, services from community-based partners, and the use of evidence based practices.” By continuing their efforts, Alameda County Probation could reduce the total number of out-of-home placements even more. They will hopefully also continue to reduce racial and ethnic disparities--particularly for Black youth.
Anne Butterfield Weills, Esq.
Civil Rights Attorney at Siegel and Yee
Anne Butterfield Weills has been a civil rights and equity activist since she was a teen. One of the first organizers of the women’s liberation movement in the SF Bay Area, Weills has worked as a union organizer for the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the International Garment Workers Union (IGWU). Weills also taught women’s studies at Antioch College’s San Francisco campus until she was fired for helping students organize their strike against excessive student fees and inadequate standards of instruction. Weills worked for Caterpillar Tractor in San Leandro from 1977 to 1982 as a machinist, was a union activist and an Executive Board member of the International Association of Machinists (IAM), Local 284. After Caterpillar closed its San Leandro plant, Weills went to law school and received her law degree from the Golden Gate University Law School in San Francisco in 1988. Since graduating, she has specialized in employment discrimination law, especially in academia, representing both faculty and students. She has represented many people fighting gender bias, intimidation and racial discrimination and harassment. In her current practice, Weills handles wrongful termination, civil rights and employment cases. Weills was a member of the American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) Legal Advocacy Fund’s (LAF) Advisory Committee for six years. (The Advisory Committee is responsible for reviewing applications nationally and recommends potential plaintiffs for LAF support.) Weills is married, has two sons and a grandson and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since she was five years old.
Cinthya Muñoz Ramos
Legislative Director, Causa Justo/Just Cause
Cinthya Muñoz Ramos organizes with working class communities of color to contest for power and win. She started organizing as a student in Sacramento leading efforts to fight the criminalization of young people of color. In 2006 Cinthya spearheaded efforts to organize student walkouts, community forums and marches that led and contributed to the immigrant rights strikes of May 1, 2006. From 2007 to 2015, Cinthya led the immigrant rights organizing work for Causa Justa :: Just Cause. During this period CJJC developed and successfully carried out campaigns to fight the entanglement of deportation programs with local police enforcement, pass policies to protect and advance the rights of immigrants and bring attention to the corporations who financially invest in and benefit from the incarceration and deportation of communities of color. Cinthya led CJJC's immigrant rights coalition work at the local, state and national level and was instrumental in the founding and coordinating of ACUDIR: Alameda County United In Defense of Immigrant Rights and SFIRDC: The San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee. Cinthya is an alumna of the Women’s Policy Institute and the School of Unity & Liberation (SOUL) Summer School for youth organizers. She is a recipient of the Fellowship for a New California and serves on the Board of Directors for CURYJ (Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice) and is a Planning Committee Member for Movement Generation. Cinthya is a member of the Bay Area Coordinating Committee of LeftRoots. Cinthya is a mama, birth worker and translator. She loves to spend time by the ocean and walk through the oak woodlands and redwood forests. She is currently working as the Legislative Director for Alameda County District 2.
Jack Bryson
Community Activist and Member of SEIU 1021
Jack Bryson was an unlikey community activist who became a spokesman in the national spotlight after December 31, 2008 when his two sons Jackie Jr. and Nigel were detained at the Fruitvale BART station platform and witnessed the murder of their longtime childhood friend, Oscar Grant by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle. Since that time Jack has been a passionate advocate, public speaker, and activist on police accountability, racial profiling, economic justice, non-violence, and social change. Jack has been a bridge to connect labor unions to social justice causes that impact working class families. He has also dedicated much of his time and energy to supporting families coping with trauma due to violence.
Francis Guzman, Esq.
Director, California Juvenile Justice Initiative
Francis (“Frankie”) V. Guzman is a Soros Justice Fellow at the National Center for Youth Law, Oakland, CA. He is working to reduce the practice of prosecuting and incarcerating children in California’s adult criminal justice system and advocating for alternative sentencing and local treatment for youth charged with serious offenses. Guzman was born in Ventura County and raised by his immigrant, single mother. As a teen, Guzman struggled with gangs, drugs and crime. When he was 15 years old, Guzman was arrested and tried for armed robbery and sentenced to 15 years in the California Youth Authority. After serving six years of his sentence, he was released on parole, enrolled in Oxnard College and later transferred to UC Berkeley, where he earned a BA in English. At UC Berkeley, Frankie coordinated work of dozens of interns and organized statewide outreach and informational recruitment visits for thousands of low-income high school and community college students. Guzman attended UCLA School of Law, enrolled in the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. There, he served as Co-President of La Raza Law Students Association and Pacific Regional Director of the National Latino Law Students Association. He has worked at the Prison Law Office, Public Counsel Law Center, National Center for Youth Law, and the Greenlining Institute. Guzman is the recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice. Guzman currently serves on the Board of Legal Services for Children in San Francisco, California.
Rosa Aqeel J.D.
Associate Director at Policylink
Rosa Aqeel is an Associate Director at PolicyLink, and works with the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. Prior to joining PolicyLink, Rosa worked for PICO California, a statewide faith-based community organizing network, where she shaped the legislative agenda as the Statewide Legislative Director for the preceding two years. Rosa is proud to have co-led a statewide campaign to get AB 953 signed into law last year, a bill that will collect information on racial profiling by law enforcement from across the state. She also walked 285 miles, from Sacramento to Bakersfield, in 2013, as part of the Campaign for Citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans. Rosa has also worked in the Labor Movement for nearly 10 years, and has organized workers in California, Oregon and Washington State. Even though Rosa has a J.D. from UC Davis School of Law, she knew early on that she had no desire to practice law, and so pursued a career in organizing. Her work with the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color is her passion, and is blessed and grateful to work with incredible community organizers from across the state that share a common vision to improve the life outcomes of Boys and Men of Color.
George Galvis
Executive Director of CURYJ
George Galvis, CURYJ Co-Founder and Executive Director, has for more than two decades promoted restorative justice and healing to address the violence plaguing Bay Area communities. Galvis draws upon his experience and indigenous roots to help young people, particularly those involved in the criminal justice system, become future community leaders. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Galvis moved frequently with his mother and sister to escape domestic violence. As a young man, Galvis felt racially targeted, and as a form of rebellion, he was drawn into street life and consequently was incarcerated at the age of 17 and charged with multiple felonies for his involvement in a drive-by shooting. These experiences led him to his commitment to elevate the voice and power of those impacted by violence and poverty. A tireless advocate for at-risk youth, prisoners and formerly imprisoned individuals with children, Galvis has been a leader in statewide advocacy to transform punitive school discipline and juvenile justice policies that disparately impact youth of color. He developed traditional rites of passage programs as healthy alternatives to gang violence using culturally and spiritually based approaches to supporting and strengthening individuals, families and communities. As a board member of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Galvis helped create All of Us or None, a grassroots movement of formerly incarcerated activists fighting for the rights of those formerly and currently incarcerated and their families. Fundamentally opposed to gang injunctions as both ineffective and destabilizing, Galvis was a leader of the Stop the Injunctions Coalition, which successfully prevented Oakland’s 2010 gang injunction from being fully implemented. Galvis has presented at a wide range of communities, schools, juvenile detention centers, prisons, universities, and conferences throughout the United States and abroad, including the United Nations. Galvis holds both a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies and a Master’s in City Planning from UC Berkeley where he was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) Fellow. He has been honored by the Bay Area News Group and Comcast as a “Hometown Hero” and is a 2013 recipient of the California Peace Prize from The California Wellness Foundation.