Executive Producer and Co-Director of Documentary
Sarah Shourd is an award-winning playwright, trauma-informed investigative journalist, author, and former Stanford John S. Knight Fellow based in Oakland, CA. She is also co-founder of The End of Isolation Tour and author of The BOX. For over a decade, since being held as a political hostage by the Iranian government, her work has focused on exposing the impact of mass incarceration and using storytelling to promote healing centered around formerly-incarcerated people.
For more info see sarahshourd.com
Bobby Field is an experienced director, actor, writer, producer, musician and film editor— he has spent his adult life pursuing the many vocations he loves.
His interest payed off and he soon took the plunge into filmmaking—writing, producing, and starring in his first feature film; the award winning comedy, Guy In Row Five.
Bobby is currently in development (as a creator, writer, and director) with multiple TV series: Snake River, The Skin Detective & She Took Justice.
Rob is a Bay Area and Toronto-based scholar-activist, educator, and organizer working at the intersections of environmental, economic, and racial justice.
As an interdisciplinary social scientist trained in anthropological and historical methodologies, as well as sociological theory and African diaspora studies, Rob aims to bring the best practices of academic research into the service of marginalized communities, social movements, and the radical arts.
Emile De Weaver is a Black community organizer, literary writer, and journalist who co-founded prisonrenaissance.org while serving a 67 years to life sentence in prison. He participated in the passage of Senate Bills 260, 261, and Proposition 57. His personal essays have been published in Rumpus and Seventh Wave, and his op-eds have been published in the Mercury News and San Francisco Chronicle. His sentence was commuted by Gov. Jerry Brown in December 2017 for his community service, his productivity, and his story of transformation.
St. Louis, MO
Inez Bordeaux joined ArchCity Defenders in July of 2019 as the Manager of Community Collaborations. She believes in ACD’s holistic legal advocacy work and over the last 10 years, ACD’s efforts have inspired her to do more. Inez was first was introduced to ACD in 2013, when she was a going through a challenging time and was targeted by the racist criminal legal system. Her background is in healthcare, and she worked as an LPN for 14 years. In 2018, she volunteered as an Organizer for the Close the Workhouse campaign. In her current role, Inez works with partner organizations, advocacy groups, organizers, and activist to build relationships that allow ACD to reach common goals of community well being. Fun fact: I’m kinda obsessed with the Zombie Apocalypse. I’m absolutely prepared and know exactly what to do if it happens. I’m a nurse and the nurse never dies in zombie movies, so stick with me!
Disability Rights NC
Craig Waleed,Dr. Craig Waleed, EdD, works with Disability Rights North Carolina. He is the Project Manager for Unlock the Box (UTB), End SolitaryNC Campaign Against Solitary Confinement. In addition, he is an educator, counselor, certified Restorative Practices group facilitator, author, and motivational speaker, dedicated to disrupting the community-to-prison pipeline. Dr. Waleed’s career has also included a post-doctoral fellowship at UNC-Chapel Hill in the School of Social Medicine, employment as a substance abuse counselor, Associate Director of a reentry initiative, and as an adjunct instructor at The College at Brockport State University of New York (SUNY) and Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY., and eight years as an incarcerated person in New York State’s prison system. In 2018 Dr. Waleed earned a doctorate in Executive Leadership. In addition, he is the author of three books, Prison to Promise: A Chronicle of Healing and Transformation (August 2020), Waleedism: A Book of Poetry Prose & Proverbs (October 2021), and The Journey Beyond: Post-Incarceration Success (March 2022).
Ship and Anchor
Devin D. Smith, founder and CEO of Ship and Anchor LLC, is a business consultant and strategist passionate about inclusion and working with other entrepreneurs and leaders to bring innovative ideas to life. Committed to employing his gifts and experiences to serve and build capacity in others, Devin has spent his career helping organizations align programs and operations with strategic goals. The breadth of Devin’s experience spans a variety of sectors – political, academia, government, small diverse business, and multinational corporations.
Devin began his career in academia, which remains a chief passion. However, after a twist of fate landed him in prison, Smith found himself unearthing latent gifts in business and entrepreneurship. Upon returning from prison and completing his degree from North Carolina State University, Devin migrated to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a business development consultant.
However, in recent years Devin has begun incorporating his creative and artistic nature into his work. As a participant in the spring 2020 class of Mayor Muriel Bowser Present 202Creates Residency Program, he launched the Letters from America’s 3rd World podcast; subsequently he released his documentary short, by the same name, through the Justice Arts Coalition’s JUSTstories program. Devin also serves on the board for Ally Theatre Company, which produces theater designed to engage audiences through acknowledging and confronting systemic oppression in America.
Solitary No More VA/Torture Free MD
Natasha White, Interfaith Human Rights Coalition, Director of Human Engagement, Maryland and Virginia Coalition on Solitary Confinement, is a formerly incarcerated survivor of solitary confinement. After serving fifteen years in the New York Prison System, Natasha dived right into the Close Rikers Movement as a campaign leader. Over the course of the next four years, Natasha participated in numerous fights for decarceration including bail reform, fair and timely parole, and the Less is More Campaign. During the height of the pandemic, Natasha became a community organizer for the HALT SOLITARY campaign making history in NY state with a win in March of 2021. After advocating in NY for four years, Natasha decided to relocate to Virginia in hopes of creating a better life for herself. As a Virginia resident for only thirty days, Natasha became the Coordinator for the Virginia Coalition on Solitary Confinement with the goal of using her skills to bring change to the Commonwealth. Natasha has fought fearlessly alongside Coalition members since June of 2021. Natasha has thrown herself on the front lines of the Coalition’s Solitary No More VA campaign and has toured Virginia to meet with legislators and community members in their own districts to raise awareness of the effects of long-term confinement and isolation. Natasha has also presented at numerous universities across Virginia, educating about this topic, in addition to connecting with directly impacted families. This has resulted in the expansion of the Coalition by bringing in students and directly impacted individuals. In 2022, Natasha received the Citizen of the Year Award from the National Association of Social Workers, became a board member at OAR, and was appointed the Virginia Director of Community Engagement at Interfaith Action for Human Rights.
Abolitionist Law Center
John Thompson Jr., is a social advocate, political organizer, and community organizer with the Abolitionist Law Center. He works and advocates to eliminate Death By Incarceration, End Solitary Confinement, and the release of Geriatric/elderly prisoners. He is the founder and Executive Director of New Hope Community Services. A grassroots community organization, advocating for both social and political issues. He is also the co-founder of Urban Inspiration, a community organization that provides resources and mentoring to children and young adults. He has organized political campaigns for candidates in both the state and national elections. John spent over 37 years in prison, after being convicted at the age of 17, and sentenced to Death By Incarceration. He has a degree in paralegal studies and worked as a jailhouse lawyer for over 20 years, held in solitary confinement for 15 years while incarcerated in state prisons. He currently sits on the Data & Safety Monitoring Board of the National Institute of Health/National Institute on aging, Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks, and a host of other Boards. He currently resides in Philadelphia Pennsylvania with his wife and young daughter.
Re-entry Coaching Academy
Anthony Boyd is a native Detroiter. Following High School, Anthony then went on to serve in the United States Air Force where he was honorably discharged. Anthony has had first hand experience with the criminal justice system and is deeply passionate about improving the way inmates are treated while they are incarcerated. He has a special interest in creating preventive measures for young black males and seeing changes that make a difference. Anthony is currently involved with several groups aimed at addressing mass incarceration: ReCA (Re-entry Coaching Academy) with The U. S Attorney General Western District of Pennsylvania: Project PEACE (Universal Empowerment Center for Women, Children and Families Inc.); Washington Parks Academy Boys Mentoring; Prosper Us Recovery Park (Entrepreneurial Training for Returning Citizens). Anthony has worked with HOPE (Help Other People Evolve) as a Life Coach and Mentor. He has served as President for the National Lifers of America Chapter 125 (Sponsored by the Chance for Life Organization). During this time, he served as an advocate for restorative justice, team leader and mediation coach. He firmly believes that he has a responsibility and vested interest in the health and safety of our communities. As the Just Cities Lab Project Manager for The Detroit Justice Center he brings a real-life perspective as it relates to re-entry, criminal justice, restorative justice and second chances.
Justice, Equity and Opportunity Initiative
Yaacov Delaney is a native Chicagan, works for the Justice, Equity & Opportunity Initiative of the Office of Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, 15+ years of efficient experience as Law Clerk/legal assistant. He is formerly incarcerated and trained as a circle-keeper in the restorative justice tradition.
Co-Founder of Texas After Violence, EIT Donor and Community Partner
Walter C. Long, an attorney practicing appellate law in Austin, Texas, founded the Texas After Violence Project in 2007 hoping it might help foster dialogue between Texans on all sides of the death penalty debate about the human needs revealed in the stories collected by the project, so that Texans might move beyond polarized discussions and seek together a less violent future. With strong interests in human rights and restorative justice, Walter has found that his most rewarding work as an attorney has been past years of litigation on the juvenile death penalty issue and more recent law/psychology public policy advocacy for recognition of the death penalty as a trauma-inducing system and a public health concern. In addition to continuing to conduct litigation, Walter completed a master’s degree in 2014 in counseling psychology. He also has degrees from the University of Texas at Austin in history, literature, and law, and an MA in religion from a Presbyterian seminary. He has published articles on ethics, psychology, religion, literature, refugee policy, and capital punishment.
Co-Founder Solitary Watch
Jean Casella is co-director of Solitary Watch, a web-based watchdog project that investigates and documents the use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails. Since its founding in 2009, Solitary Watch has increased public awareness and catalyzed change on a once-invisible domestic human rights issue. Earlier in her career, Casella managed several mission-driven book and magazine publishers. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, Mother Jones, The Guardian, and many other outlets, and she is co-editor of three anthologies, including Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement. For her reporting on prisons, she has received a Soros Justice Media Fellowship and an Alicia Patterson Fellowship.
Founder, Pulitzer Center
Jon Sawyer is executive director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit organization that funds independent reporting with the intent of raising the standard of media coverage of global affairs. He has reported from more than 80 countries.
Jon was selected three years in a row for the National Press Club’s award for best foreign reporting. His work has been honored by the Overseas Press Club, the Inter-American Press Association and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
He received a B.A. degree from Yale University, majoring in English literature and history, and has held fellowships at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy, the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Columbia University School of Journalism. He and his wife, Kem Knapp Sawyer, live in Washington, DC.
Strategic Director of Development, Pulitzer Center
Nathalie joined the Pulitzer Center in 2006, shortly after its founding, and served as the associate director and then managing director.
Before joining the Center, Nathalie worked nationally and internationally on documentaries, educational, political and commercial productions as a producer, director, and editor. She also worked as a consultant for the Executive Office of the Secretary General at the United Nations, and as a project manager and media specialist for the University of Pennsylvania’s Literacy Research Center.
Nathalie holds a Master’s degree from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University, where she concentrated in International Security Policy with a regional concentration in the Middle East.
Nathalie has run dozens of workshops on multi-media production for journalists, and made presentations at universities, high schools, and conferences on war and representation, the role of media in conflict, global reporting at a crossroads, and the intersection of new and traditional news media.
National Director, Unlock the Box
Jessica Sandoval, National Director of the Unlock the Box Campaign to End Solitary Confinement, has 25 years experience reforming the youth and adult justice systems. Mrs. Sandoval uses her organizing and advocacy expertise to develop and administer strategies and tools to support state campaigns aligned with the mission of the “stop solitary” movement.
Founder/Executive Producer, The Oz Effect
A two-time Emmy award winner, Jane has produced over 200 hours of network and cable television and traveled through six continents and thirty countries in search of incredible stories that have transformative impact. Jane passionately develops programs the are focused on social justice, trauma recovery, and the neuroarts.
In 2018, shortly after one of the most infamous mass school shootings in history, Jane worked with students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida to develop an arts-based recovery program that has been studied by the University of Miami and featured on NPR. Jane’s personal mission is to spread awareness of how evidence-based arts interventions heal and save lives. Her mantra is “involve stakeholders always, early and often!” A fearless storyteller, Jane survived a lion’s bite in Thailand and learned the hard way that what’s more terrifying than a tiger’s roar is the silence that follows.
Jihan McDonald is a facilitator, spiritual director, and writer from the Chochenyo land colonized as Oakland, CA. Their mission is planting seeds of peace through empowering people and organizations to create value-driven cultural solutions rooted in diversity, equity, inclusion and healing.