2013 Southern Harm Reduction and Drug Policy Conference


Dates and Times:Registration starts at 8am on Thursday 12/12/2013 and the conference continues on from 9am to 6pm and on Friday 12/13/2013 the conference runs from 8am to 6pm.

Sign Up: http://tinyurl.com/SHRDP-2013

Cost: $60

Twitter Hashtag for Conference: #SHRDP2013

Theme/Focus:Working with the Red (Republican Allies, Blood and Heart)

Conference Location:  HYATT REGENCY NEW ORLEANS,  601 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70113

*Conference Location in the Hotel: We are in "Empire B"

*Please note that the hotel is very big, please allow an extra 15 minutes to locate our conference room.

Special Hotel Rates: The hotel has reserved 30 rooms at a special rate for us.  If you would like to reserve one of these rooms, please go to https://resweb.passkey.com/go/southernharmreductionconf

Conference Evaluation and Certificates: Go to the following link  http://bit.ly/1f2nf2I


Robert Childs, 336-543-8050, robert.bb.childs@gmail.com

Deon Haywood, 504.931.7944, deon@wwav-no.org 

Location of the Housing Scholarship Hotel:  Everyone on housing scholarships will be staying at the conference hotel: HYATT REGENCY NEW ORLEANS,  601 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70113

*We will be covering housing for Wednesday and Thursday night ONLY for notified individuals.

*If you need verification of your housing scholarship please contact the following people:

Amanda Muller,  954-501-3924, alm08m@gmail.com

Laura Eshelman, 919-323-9123, eshelmanlaura@gmail.com


Event Socials:

Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Time: 6pm-10pm

Location: Circle Bar, 1032 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

Note: The Circle Bar is a 12min walk or a 5min taxi cab from the conference hotel.  Look for people in harm reduction T-Shirts and make sure to wear your one!


Date: Thursday, December 12, 2013

Time: 7pm-10pm

Location: Cafe Istanbul, 2372 St. Claude, New Orleans

Cost: $10, but everyone on conference scholarships can get in at reduced rates if cost is a burden.

Note: Cafe Istanbul is a 40 min stroll, 25 min bus ride, or 10 min taxi ride.


Executives and Program Director Special Session:

Join us Thursday December 12 from 12:45 - 2:30pm for a very important panel and roundtable discussion on the future of funding harm reduction and drug policy reform.  Nonprofits across the country are experiencing financial difficulties, subject to increased scrutiny due to the federal ban on syringe exchange funding, and tightening HIV prevention funding.  A panel of funders and harm reduction/drug policy leadership from the south will discuss the current threats harm reduction and drug policy funding, creative solutions and new opportunities offered by health reform for raising the money that supports our critical work.  Bring your own concerns, ideas and successes for a real discussion on how we can build the future of harm reduction. 

Please RSVP to Cyndee Clay if you would like to attend:


Space is limited to 30 slots for this event and lunch will be provided.


Pre-Conference: There will be a pre-conference hosted by the National Harm Reduction Coalition on harm reduction outreach skills.  The pre-conference will take place on December 11, 2013 at the conference hotel starting at 10am.  If you would like to attend send a email to Katie Burk at: burk@harmreduction.org


Event Contacts:

Robert Childs, 336-543-8050, robert.bb.childs@gmail.com

Deon Haywood, 504.931.7944, deon@wwav-no.org


Registration/Housing Scholarship Contacts:

Amanda Muller,  954-501-3924, alm08m@gmail.com

Laura Eshelman, 919-323-9123, eshelmanlaura@gmail.com


AGENDA Thursday, December 12, 9am-6pm


-Drug Use in the South and the US

-Stigma Stigma Stigma

-Race, Harm Reduction and Drug Policy

-The Blueprint: Successful Harm Reduction and Drug Policy Reform Efforts in the South

-Harm Reduction Basics

-Sex Worker Policy South of the Mason Dixon Line

-Overdose Prevention Innovation: Lessons From North Carolina

-Local Spotlight: Criminal Justice Reform in NOLA

-Looking Forward in the South, A Community Conversation: Ethan Nadelmann, Rev. Edwin Sanders and Deon Haywood


AGENDA Friday, December 13, 8am-6pm

-SEPs: Research and Federal Funding Needs

-Hepatitis in the American South

-Safe Injection 2.0: Pills and Hormones

-Harm Reduction/Drug Policy Action at City Hall

-Southern Marijuana Policy Reform Update

-How Do I Become Mona Bennett (SEP Superstar)?

-Sentencing Reform From the Left and Right

-Republicans, Law Enforcement and Independents Discuss Harm Reduction and Drug Policy Refrom

-Engaging Generation Y in Harm Reduction and Drug Policy Reform

-Reviving Our Spirit


Conference Format:

This is a family style conference, meaning we want everyone to build community, friendships and bonds.  We encourage you to meet new people and attend our socials.  We will have a lot of speakers speaking at the event and we encourage everyone to ask them questions at the panels, during the socials and at the breaks.  This year, due to evaluation feedback from last year, we will not have concurrent sessions, but instead have everyone together throughout the entire event. 


Special Guests:

-Deon Haywood, Women With A Vision, (LA)

-Former Republican Rep. and Veteran Glen Bradley, 49th District of North Carolina (NC)

-Mark Levin, Esq., Texas Public Policy Foundation (TX)

-Captain Leilani Attilio, MPH, RN, NC Harm Reduction Coalition (NC)

-Det. Gary Martin, Ed.D, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (FL)

-Megan McLemore,  J.D., L.L.M, Human Rights Watch (NY)

-Detective Sergeant Ronald Martin, NC Harm Reduction Coalition (NC)

-Cyndee Clay, HIPS (DC)

-Pastor Kenny Glasgow, TOPS (AL)

-Ethan Nadelmann, JD, PhD., Drug Policy Alliance (NY)

-Robert Childs, MPH, North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NC)

-Pastor James Sizemore, Catalyst Community Church (NC)

-Nsombi Lambright, MPPA, One Voice (MS)

-Gregory Newburn, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FL)

-Active Users/Sex Workers from the South and the Northern Territories (North of the Sweet Tea Line)

-All your favorite Southern Harm Reduction and Drug Policy Leaders!


Primary Sponsors

North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NC)

Women With A Vision (LA)

MAC AIDS Fund (National)

Drug Policy Alliance (National)

Open Society (International)



Students for Sensible Drug Policy (National)

The Ordinary People Society (AL)

Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition (GA)

Lowland Harm Reduction (SC)

Olive Vine Ministries (NC)

Orleans Public Defenders (LA)

The Prodigal Child Project (AL)

Catalyst Community Church (NC)

Streetwork (TN)

BreakOUT (LA)

Healthy Rhythm Consulting (TX)

Georgia Overdose Prevention Workgroup (GA)

Trans(forming) (GA)




2013 SHRDP Conference Speaker & Facilitator BIOs

Aleq Boyle

  • Email: aleqboyle@seaboq.com
  • City/State: Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Agency/Title: Seaboq Affiliates,Principal
  • BIO: Aleq Boyle hails from the deep south, a Georgia Native, & Son of the American Revolution, and US Navy Veteran. He is based in Chattanooga, TN. Public policy issues he has addressed span nearly 30 years of professional
    work, philanthropy & service in causes and concerns that relate to how government policy impacts people and more so, as individuals.  Recognized as a social entrepreneur and policy advocate, his issues are always on the side of individual freedoms & educating others on how to impact governance at local, state and national levels.  Having worked professionally on legislative issues & political elections, as well as in U.S. Presidential & Congressional Campaigns. He speaks on issues & policy by invitation professionally & as a philanthropist when schedules permit. He has ran for public office, narrowly loosing a State Senate bid by less than 200 votes and fights for causes related to Humanitarianism Re-leaf like DO NO HARM, Environmental/Sustainability Concerns & National Privacy Rights Issues (The 4th Amendment & others). Educated in the Midwest, his early professional career was in the Financial Industry with Chicago Based Dean Witter Financial. He enjoys blue-water Sailing, & has served as guest anchor for Savannah, GA FOX Affiliate for the Annual MLK Parade & Fremont's Bicentennial Event, January 2013, Fremont is his favorite historic figure & the Nations First Emancipator and Abolitionist of the 1800's. Aleq has authored & published op-ed pieces in regional newspapers and is noted to "Dream the Impossible Dream."


Alexandra Lutnik

  • Email: alix.lutnick@gmail.com
  • City/State: San Francisco, California
  • Agency/Title: RTI, Research Director – San Francisco Urban Health Program
  • BIO: Alexandra Lutnick is a Kentucky expat who lives and works in San Francisco. Alix is a research director for the San Francisco–based Urban Health Program in RTI International’s Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Research Division. Her research interests include the sex industry, sex trafficking, substance use, and criminalization.


Amanda Muller

  • Email: amanda@ssdp.org
  • City/State: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Agency/Title: Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Vice Chair – Board of Directors
  • BIO: Amanda got involved with SSDP in November of 2010, when she joined the Florida State University chapter as a college sophomore. She quickly became an active chapter leader, serving as Vice President of her chapter for two years and then remained an active officer. Amanda and the FSU chapter members were the impetus for ensuring the successful passing and promotion of FSU’s Medical Amnesty Policy in 2012. She was additionally involved in collaborating with SSDP chapters throughout the state to advocate for Florida’s 911 Good Samaritan Act, which went into effect October 1, 2012. She continued to work with the Florida chapters to contact elected officials regarding medical cannabis legislation, ballot initiatives and a bill that would create a syringe exchange pilot program in Miami-Dade County. After graduating from FSU in December 2012, Amanda began working for the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration, a government health care agency that operates the state’s Medicaid program. She served as a research associate and community outreach coordinator, increasing transparency efforts throughout the state and improving Floridians’ access to comprehensive health care services. Amanda now serves as Vice Chair on SSDP’s Board of Directors. She is also interning at 4Front Advisors, a marijuana-consulting firm based out of Phoenix, AZ, helping prospective dispensary owners develop complex applications and commit to best practices in the evolving medical cannabis industry.


Anthony Witherspoon

  • City/State: Mississippi
  • Agency/Title: Mississippi State Conference NAACP,  Chair - Criminal Justice Committee
  • BIO: Anthony Witherspoon serves as Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee for the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP.  He also serves as Board Chair for two Mississippi-based re-entry organizations, PEERS (Preventive Entry & Effective Re-entry Services) and SPEAR (Southeastern Prisoners' Education, Advocacy & Reform).  He was previously employed with the ACLU of Mississippi as Program Coordinator for the Drug Law Reform Project, and as the Criminal Justice Program Director for One Voice of Mississippi.  Anthony holds a B.S. in Business Administration and a Master's of Public Administration, both from Belhaven University. Witherspoon is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration at Grand Canyon University.  As a member of the formerly incarcerated community, Anthony made an unprecedented run for the office of Pike County Circuit Clerk, vowing to increase the number of registered voters among the formerly incarcerated community, and making pro se legal form templates and indigent fee waiver forms available on the county’s website to better assist those who can’t afford to hire an attorney.  He is the Owner and Director of Sankofa Pre-K Academy and Sankofa Leadership Academy. Anthony understands, firsthand, the challenges faced by those currently incarcerated, as well as those formerly incarcerated.


Ariana Katz

  • City/State: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: UNC Chapel Hill, Student
  • BIO: Ariana Katz is currently working toward a Master of Public Health degree at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Originally from Northern California, Ariana received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. Since college she has worked for various non-profits in direct service as well as administrative, development and fundraising. Prior to moving to North Carolina for graduate school Ariana worked as the Development and Office Manager for Shanti Project in San Francisco, CA, a non-profit providing health support services for people living with life-threatening illnesses such as HIV/AIDS and breast cancer. Ariana is a strong proponent of harm reduction practices and has worked with people with HIV/AIDS for over a decade. She is honored to be working on her master's project with the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition.


Arielle Schecter

  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: Trystereo / New Orleans Harm Reduction Network, Volunteer
  • BIO: Arielle Schecter is a 26-year-old involved with social work in New Orleans. She is a volunteer with Trystereo / New Orleans Harm Reduction Network, which distributes safer injection supplies, safer sex supplies, health information, clothing, and toiletries to drug-users, sex-workers, and individuals with unstable housing. Arielle has worked with youth and young mothers at a residential treatment center for substance abuse, and is currently employed as a vocational specialist for adults in a transitional housing program. She is a Louisiana state-certified HIV testing counselor. Arielle recently completed the 170-mile NOLA to Angola bicycle ride, which raises money for a free bus service to transport New Orleans residents to visit their incarcerated loved ones in Louisiana prisons.


Art Jackson

  • Email: artie_jackson@yahoo.com
  • City/State: Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: Southern Regional-Area Health Education Center, Retention Care Coordinator & Bridge Counselor
  • BIO: Art Jackson is a respected and innovative community educator of HIV Prevention and Care Services, here in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Born and raised in Orange, New Jersey, a 20-minute suburb of New York, Art graduated from Orange High School in 1983 and attended Penn State University for 3 years. Moving to Harlem, New York, Art has witnessed the evolution of HIV/AIDS from its inception to how we are currently living and dealing with this virus today. Since being diagnosed in January 1990, Art has tried to be an avid and dedicated fighter for those living with this disease. Art has always believed in standing up for ones right to not only live but to live proudly, productively and happily for who they are. Currently employed by Southern Regional-Area Health Education Center as a Retention Care Coordinator & Bridge Counselor, Art works to educate those infected and affected by this virus by finding effective, innovative ways to reach out to various communities living with this virus. Art also works with Community Health Interventions/Operation Sickle Cell as a Community Prevention Coordinator working to increase testing and referrals for those in the community whom may not be positive, to stay negative, those who test positive or for those who are positive but are not in health care. Art graduated in January of 2011 from the National African American MSM Leadership /My Brothers Keeper, HEALTH (Health Executive Approaches to Leadership and Training in HIV) Seminar Program. The Health Seminar is a year long program that enhanced knowledge, skills, and abilities for assuming a leadership/management position in the field of health with a particular focus on HIV for the next generation of African American leaders. Art is also Co-Chair of the Cumberland County HIV Task Force and an active Board member of the NC Statewide Community Planning Group. Art also has developed a one-day training called P.R.I.D.E. (Positive Reflections of Individuals Developing Excellence) that is intended for young men 12-18 to look at choices they make and how they can make more effective decisions for themselves by developing better coping skills. Art continues to search for innovative, positive and productive approaches to eliminating health disparities in minority communities and effectively fight HIV/AIDS.


Asha Bandele

  • Email: abandele@drugpolicy.org
  • City/State: Brooklyn, New York
  • Agency/Title: Drug Policy Alliance, Advocacy Grants Program Director
  • BIO: Asha Bandele joined DPA in April 2005, a few months after the historic implementation of the first reforms to New York’s draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws. She directs the Advocacy Grants program, an initiative that funds organizations dedicated to reforming drug policy through education and activism.  In this capacity, she works with and learns from an incredible array of drug policy reformers across the United States.  A former Columbia University Revson Fellow who earned her B.A. at The New School and her M.F.A. at Bennington College, Bandele has spent much of her career documenting issues of social concern through her work as journalist.  She has published a wide range of stories in outlets as diverse as The New York Times, Family Circle, Essence and Vibe, among others. Bandele is the author of four books including the award-winning memoir, The Prisoner’s Wife, and recently finished her fifth, another memoir about raising a child who has an incarcerated parent.


Calvin Johnson

  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: Metropolitan Human Service District, Executive Director
  • BIO: Judge Johnson received his undergraduate degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge in 1969.  He served four years in the United Stated Air Force receiving an honorable discharge in 1973.  Judge Johnson received his juris doctorate from Loyola Law School in 1978.  In 1981 he became a faculty member of the Loyola Law School and in 1985 he became a full professor of law at Loyola Law School.  He served as the Director of the Loyola Law Clinic Criminal Clinic and was responsible for teaching several courses including Professional Responsibility.  He became an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School in 1990 and still teaches a class every fall. Judge Johnson was elected to the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court in 1990.  He was the first African American elected to the Criminal District Court bench.  In 2004 Judge Johnson became the first African American Chief Judge of that court.  When Katrina struck he was the Chief Judge of the Court.  While at the Criminal District Court he served as a Drug Court Judge from 1995 until 2002.  In 2002 Judge Johnson established the first Mental Health Treatment Court in the State of Louisiana. Judge Johnson received the La. Supreme Court Justice Albert Tate Award for Judicial Excellence, the Louis A. Martinet Award for Judicial Excellence, the ACLU Ben Smith Award for Community Service and the Loyola Law School Alumni of the year award.  The Judge retired from the criminal court in January of 2008.  In March 2008 he was asked by the transformation team appointed by the Governor to serve as the interim director of the Metropolitan Human Service District.  Today he still serves as the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Human Service District.


Cyndee Clay

  • Email: cyndeeclay@hips.org
  • City/State: Washington, DC
  • Agency/Title: HIPS, Executive Director
  • BIO: Ms. Clay has over 20 years experience working in the fields of sex work, public health, human rights and harm reduction.  She has developed
    harm reduction based programs and provided technical assistance and training for medical and social service providers both in the U.S. and internationally on topics including HIV Prevention, LGBT Sensitivity, Sex Work and Harm Reduction. Ms. Clay served as foundation representative on the Ms. Foundation’s first collaborative for Healthy Girls/Healthy Women, and serves on Washington DC’s Community HIV Prevention Planning Group, and represents the District of Columbia on the national Urban Coalition of HIV/AIDS Prevention Services.


Daniel Raymond

  • Email: raymond@harmreduction.org
  • City/State: New York, New York
  • Agency/Title: Harm Reduction Coalition, Policy Director
  • BIO: Daniel Raymond is the Policy Director for the Harm Reduction Coalition, a national training, capacity-building and advocacy organization focused at the intersection of substance use and public health. His work focuses on advancing policies and programs to address critical issues in the health of substance users, including hepatitis C, HIV, addiction treatment, and overdose. In this capacity, he provides analysis, policy insight, and technical assistance on the design and implementation of public health strategies to prevent harms associated with substance use. He collaborates with a broad network of community-based organizations (particularly syringe access programs), researchers, health departments, federal officials, national advocacy groups, and other stakeholders to achieve these goals. Daniel Raymond also serves as the Chair of the steering committee for the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, and actively participates in numerous other coalitions, including the Injection Drug Users Health Alliance in New York City. He serves on the Policy Advisory Board of the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research and as the Consumer Representative to the FDA Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee. He is a frequent presenter at national conferences on a range of topics including hepatitis C prevention, syringe access, and drug user health.


Danita Muse

  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: Women With A Vision,
  • BIO: Danita M. Muse, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Addiction Counselor, Board Clinical Diplomat, and Masters in Public Health; is one of the founding members of Women With A Vision, Inc. Danita is a harm reductionist. She believes in providing the community with all of the information they need to make an informed decision about their health choices. Women With A Vision, Inc. has a history of advocating for communities that don’t have a loud voice. Danita has a history of providing condom distribution, syringe exchange, health promotion on reproductive health, focus groups on reproductive health, breast and cervical cancer, and HIV testing. Danita has a history of traditional substance abuse treatment program for over 25 years.


Darrin Harris

  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: Freedom Fellowship Ministries United Church of Christ, Founder
  • BIO: Pastor Darrin L. Harris is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and has studied at Wayland Baptist Theological Seminary, Hawaiian Pacific University, Valencia College and Full Sail University.  In 2006 Pastor Darrin founded Freedom Fellowship Ministries United Church of Christ.  The mission of the ministry has been one of social justice, which intentionally reaches beyond the margins of society to touch the lives of the homeless, those who abuse substances, those challenged with mental illness, commercial sex workers, domestic violence victims and those living with HIV/AIDS.  After a life-changing visit to Africa, Pastor Darrin in 2007 began the Ekhaya Youth Project, a nonprofit that serves and supports youth and their families.  Since its inception, Ekhaya Youth Project has been awarded server grants to support its mission.  In 2010 Ekhaya Youth Project was awarded a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to implement an antiviolence/mentoring initiative for at-risk youth in the Greater New Orleans community.  In 2011 Ekhaya Youth Project was awarded a grant from HUD to implement a pilot program targeting unsheltered transition-aged youth.  In 2013 Ekhaya Youth Project became the country’s first statewide family support organization through a partnership with the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership.  As the statewide family support organization, Ekhaya Youth Project has been able to provide both mental health and substance abuse support services to over 1200 youth and families throughout the state of Louisiana.  


Daryl Atkinson

  • Email: DarylAtkinson@southerncoalition.org
  • City/State: Durham, North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: Southern Justice Coalition, Staff Attorney
  • BIO: Daryl Atkinson is a staff attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) focusing on criminal justice reform issues. Daryl received a B.A. in Political Science from Benedict College, Columbia, SC and a J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law, Minneapolis, MN. Prior to coming to SCSJ, Daryl was a staff attorney at the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services where he co-managed the Collateral Consequence Assessment Tool (C-CAT). C-CAT is an online searchable database that allows the user to identify the civil disabilities triggered by North Carolina arrests, indictments, and convictions. In 1996, Daryl pled guilty to a non-violent drug crime and served 40 months in prison. He considers himself a casualty of America’s ill-conceived and immoral “War on Drugs”. Since his release from prison in 2000, he has become a champion for formerly incarcerated people and criminal justice reform. He is a founding member of the North Carolina Second Chance Alliance, a burgeoning statewide coalition of advocacy organizations, service providers, faith-based organizations and community leaders that have come together to achieve the safe and successful reintegration of adults and juveniles returning home from incarceration. Moreover, Daryl served on a subcommittee of Governor Beverly Perdue’s Task Force to Stop Repeat Offenders. Most notably, Daryl and the Durham Second Chance Alliance led the first successful Ban the Box campaign in North Carolina, which resulted in the City of Durham adopting an administrative policy that removed the question about criminal convictions from the city employment application.


Deon Haywood

  • Email: goddesswithin68@yahoo.com
  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: Women With A Vision, Executive Director
  • BIO: Deon Haywood is a longtime activist in the city of New Orleans with a history of organizing low-income women of color around reproductive health, social justice and women’s rights issues. Deon has served as a board member of the Women’s Health and Justice Initiative Clinic, and represented WWAV, Inc. as a member of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Advocacy Project (SRHAP). As an expert in outreach and community organizing Deon provides consultation to nonprofits around the US. Currently, she is spearheading WWAV’s advocacy project, NO Justice, a campaign to address the criminalization of sex workers, largely poor women of color with substance abuse issues, and the excessive and inequitable punitive consequences of conviction under Louisiana’s Solicitation Crime Against Nature laws. Recently, she delivered a keynote address at Desiree Alliance’s Conference, “Working Sex: Power, Practice and Politics,” held July 25 – July 30, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV. She has also been elected to the board of the Louisiana AIDS Advocacy Network.


Derek Hodel

  • Email: hodel.derek@gmail.com
  • City/State:
  • Agency/Title: Consultant
  • BIO: Derek Hodel is a longtime social justice activist and nonprofit executive. For the past 25 years, he has held a variety of senior positions at HIV and drug policy advocacy organizations in New York and Washington, D.C., and has had a consulting practice serving foundation, government, and nonprofit clients. He recently concluded an assignment as Interim Executive Director for the Canadian Treatment Action Council. In 2011, Hodel moved to Toronto, Ontario, where he served as Chief Operating Officer at the Ontario HIV Treatment Network, a collaborative network of researchers, health service providers, policy makers, and people with HIV, and as Interim Executive Director for the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, a global “network of networks” comprised of people living with HIV in nine regions in the global South. Immediately prior to coming to Canada, Hodel served for five years as Deputy Executive Director for the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading U.S. organization advocating for alternatives to the failed war on drugs based on science, compassion, health and human rights. Previously, he was Director of Public Policy at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Treatment and Research Director at AIDS Action Council, and Executive Director at People With AIDS Health Group. As a consultant, Hodel provides policy research, analysis, and development; writing and editing; strategic planning and facilitation; and organizational development advice with an emphasis on HIV, drug policy and other global health issues. Representative clients include amfAR (the Foundation for AIDS Research), the Ford Foundation, Funders concerned about AIDS, the Levi Strauss Foundation, the M•A•C AIDS Fund, the New York Academy of Medicine, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the NYS AIDS Institute, Open Society Foundations, Physicians for Human Rights, Trust for America’s Health, and the US National Institutes of Health.


Derwin Wilright, Jr.

  • Email: derwin@youthbreakout.org
  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: BreakOUT!, Youth Organizer
  • BIO: Derwin is a BreakOUT! member and on staff as a Youth Organizer since January 2013. He has also worked as a Southern Regional Planning Group Member and Student Coordinator with Amnesty International, graduated from the Brown Boi Project’s 2012 Leadership Cohort, and has been active in multiple other social justice organizations. He most recently worked at the Bucket Brigade, an environmental justice organization that supports the creation of sustainable neighborhoods free from industrial pollution. Derwin initially joined BreakOUT! thanks to a partnership with Job1.


Desiree Evans

  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: Women With A Vision, Policy & Communications Director
  • BIO: A South Louisiana native, Desiree works as the Policy and Communications Director at Women With a Vision in New Orleans. She has fifteen years experience as a social justice activist, researcher, and journalist. In recent years, Desiree has worked as a research associate at the Durham, North Carolina-based Institute for Southern Studies where she wrote and reported on policy issues in the U.S. South, and she has worked at the Washington, D.C.-based TransAfrica Forum, where she was a lead researcher producing policy reports on economic and political issues concerning Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. As a journalist she has covered issues of race, poverty, and economic justice for such publications as Alternet, The Chicago Reporter, In These Times, The Indianapolis Star, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, and others. She has a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University and a M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University. 


Drew Stromberg

  • Email: drew@ssdp.org
  • City/State: Washington, DC
  • Agency/Title: Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Outreach Director
  • BIO: Drew Stromberg is an Outreach Director for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). He oversees roughly half of SSDP's student chapters; tracking, advising, and developing them into effective leaders and policy reformers. Drew got involved in drug policy reform in 2009 when he founded the SSDP chapter at West Virginia University. Drew presided over the WVU chapter from 2009 to 2011 and interned at the national office in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2010. In 2012, Drew helped coordinate and oversee nationwide phonebanking and on-the-ground student-oriented GOTV efforts for the Amendment 64 campaign in Colorado.


Eliza Wheeler

  • City/State: Oakland, California
  • Agency/Title: Harm Reduction Coalition, DOPE Project Manager
  • BIO: Eliza Wheeler oversees the project’s efforts to prevent overdose deaths in the San Francisco/Bay Area. Prior to joining Harm Reduction Coalition, Eliza ran the Cambridge Needle Exchange for eight years and helped develop the overdose prevention program in Massachusetts. Working to prevent overdose deaths remains her main passion to this day. As a direct service provider and program manager, she received several awards for her work in Massachusetts, including the Exemplary Leader in Prevention Award from the Cambridge Prevention Coalition in 2007, the Open Door Award from Mt. Auburn Hospital in 2007, the New England Prevention Alliance (NEPA) Activist of the Year Award in 2003 and the Outreach Educator of the Year Award, MA Department of Public Health/Boston Public Health Commission in 2002. Ms. Wheeler has two Masters degrees from Suffolk University in Crime and Justice Studies with a concentration on drug policy and Public Administration. Academically, she has focused on examining how drug policy, the criminal justice system and public health intersect and on ways to improve the effectiveness of non-profit organizations in the community.


Ernest Johnson

City/State: New Orleans, LA  

Agency:  Families & Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children

Ernest Johnson is a native of New Orleans. He works as an organizer/advocate at Families & Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children, a non-profit organization that demands a better life for families and youth that have been impacted by the juvenile justice and public education system. Mr. Johnson serves as co-chair of the Orleans Parish Juvenile Detention Alternatives Advisory Committee. He also serves on the Marguerite Casey Family Advisory Committee, and he is a member of Each One Save One, Justice 4 Families, and a Campaign for Youth Justice.


Ethan Nadelmann

  • Email: enadelmann@drugpolicy.org
  • City/State: New York, New York
  • Agency/Title: Drug Policy Alliance, Executive Director
  • BIO: Described by Rolling Stone as "the point man" for drug policy reform efforts, Ethan Nadelmann is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform both in the United States and abroad. Ethan Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. Nadelmann received his B.A., J.D., and Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard as well as a Masters' degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and taught at Princeton University for seven years. He has authored two books – Cops Across Borders and (with Peter Andreas) Policing The Globe – and his writings have appeared in most major media outlets in the U.S. as well as top academic journals (e.g., ScienceInternational Organization), policy journals (Foreign AffairsForeign PolicyWashington Quarterly,Public Interest) and political publications from the right (National Review) to the left (The Nation).  He is interviewed frequently by media, including The Colbert Report,The O’Reilly FactorReal Time with Bill Maher, and news programs on all the major U.S. networks as well as dozens of networks elsewhere. Nadelmann and his colleagues have played pivotal roles in most of the major drug policy reform ballot initiative campaigns in the United States on issues ranging from medical marijuana and marijuana legalization to prison reform, drug treatment and reform of asset forfeiture laws. They also have reformed state and federal laws involving drug sentencing, access to sterile syringes to reduce HIV/AIDS, access to drug treatment, prevention of overdose fatalities, and all aspects of marijuana policy.  Nadelmann also plays a key role as drug policy advisor to George Soros and other prominent philanthropists as well as elected officials ranging from mayors, governors and state and federal legislators in the U.S. to presidents and cabinet ministers outside the U.S. 


Gary Martin

  • City/State: Palm Beach, Florida
  • Agency/Title: Florida Sheriffs Association, Detective
  • BIO: During the past 19 years, Detective Gary Martin served as a homicide investigator in the Violent Crimes Division of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. In that capacity, Detective Martin investigates all manner of death. Since 2006, Detective Martin envisioned, designed, implemented and now
    manages the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Overdose Suppression Project. This innovative and comprehensive venture includes components dedicated to overdose research, public awareness and targeted law enforcement. In addition, Dr. Martin serves as the Dean of Students at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. In that position, he oversees mental health
    treatment, substance abuse prevention, threat assessment, and health care services for 2500 university students. Dr. Martin also serves as Vice President of the Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education Task Force (N.O.P.E.). Dr. Martin holds a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology and is a Florida licensed and nationally certified, Psychotherapist. He has designed and instructed university level courses on Personality Theory, Interpersonal Communications, Peer leadership, Current Perspectives in Substance Abuse, and Introduction to Psychology. He has designed and instructed professional seminars on Investigating Overdose Death and Understanding the Suicidal Mind.


Gerald Scott

  • City/State: Asheville, North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: Asheville Recovery Group, Executive Director
  • BIO: Gerald D. Scott was born 1963 Italian to the classic large connected family in Miami FL. Gerald left school at age 12 to experience the South Beach development of 70’s. Gerald learned how to make a fast living young. The 80’s saw him incarcerated in the infamous Dade County Stockade facing 50 years. By God’s grace he landed in a Therapeutic Community. Living there for 16 months he found a new way. Gerald has started 5 small businesses, selling 1 and losing 4. He has launched tech startups, worked in big telecoms, sold real estate, been an emergency medical tech, and even washed a few dishes. Although he has acquired many college credit hours during his life, he holds no formal degree. He is married 14 years to his beloved wife Lydia. Gerald and Lydia co-founded Asheville Recovery Group (ARG). Open in 2009, ARG is a forward thinking agency. ARG is a scaled Therapeutic Community providing sober living with a harm reduction philosophy. As the current executive director Gerald wears many hats. Unlike other sober living programs, ARG welcomes clients on Medication Assisted Treatments (MMT). Gerald often says “let’s help folks stop hurting and then we can start them healing”.


Glen Bradley

  • City/State: Youngsville,North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: North Carolina Legislature, Former Republican Representative  
  • BIO: Representative Glenn Bradley, (Youngsville, NC) served as a Republican Representative in the NC Legislature, representing Franklin, Halifax and Nash Counties. He served our country as a Marine for four years.


Greg Newburn

  • Email: gnewburn@famm.org
  • City/State: Gainesville, Florida
  • Agency/Title: Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Florida Project Director
  • BIO: Greg Newburn is a graduate of the University of Florida and the University of Florida Levin College of Law. He has been FAMM’s Florida Project Director since October 2010. Prior to joining FAMM, Greg worked at the Cato Institute, and taught high school economics and government. He lives in Gainesville, Florida.


Hadiyah Charles 

  • Email: hcharles@harmreduction.org
  • City/State:
  • Agency/Title: Harm Reduction Coalition, Hepatitis C Advocacy Manager
  • BIO: For 12 years, Hadiyah Charles worked as an advocate and grassroots women’s health HIV activist working closely and extensively on policy and advocacy issues for women living with HIV/AIDS, their families, and communities. Hadiyah spearheaded a number of important initiatives, including intensive advocacy and media trainings, community outreach and educational workshops for people infected and or affected by HIV/AIDS.  At AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Hadiyah helped to create, coordinate and organize the revival of a defunct hepatitis C statewide coalition; with the specific goals of: enhancing viral hepatitis advocacy efforts on the state and national level, strengthening direct services for people living with hepatitis and increasing viral hepatitis awareness across Massachusetts.  Most recently, Hadiyah played a lead role in the development and passage of the first in the nation New York State historic hepatitis C screening legislation. Hadiyah has a Master of Arts in Women’s Health from Suffolk University and has recently been recognized as a Champion of Change as part of President Obama’s Winning the Future Initiative. This past July, Ms. Charles was also recognized by the CDC’s Viral Hepatitis Action Coalition as a Hepatitis Champion.


James Sizemore

  • Email: james@catalystcommunity.cc
  • City/State: Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: Catalyst Community Church & Catalyst Community Development Corporation, Senior Pastor and Executive Director
  • BIO: James is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Catalyst Community Church, a mission of faith-based movements that seek to embody Christ’s ministry of social justice as we work with, live among, and love our society’s “untouchables”. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Catalyst Community Development Center which houses a number of dedicated faith-based social service non-profits including SEA-EX (the Southeastern Needle Exchange). For the past 8 years, James has been actively involved in street-based outreach efforts in the Cumberland County, NC area which takes HIV Testing, Harm Reduction w/ Naloxone Education, Needle Exchange, and basic health care to sex workers, the homeless, and drug addicts.  In the past 8 years, Catalyst and the CCDC have grown into a vibrant faith community that truly reflects the Kingdom of God. Prior to planting Catalyst, James spent six years delivering humanitarian aide to 23 different second and third-world countries. James is a graduate of the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and attended seminary at the Duke University Divinity School. He is also a certified Critical Care Paramedic (CCEMTP).


Jen Earls

  • City/State: North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, Law Enforcement Safety Advocate
  • BIO: Jen "Crash" Earls works part-time as one of NCHRC’s Law Enforcement Safety Advocates. She is a former Chicago Police officer who recently graduated with a BSN from Duke University. She also holds a BA in Communications from the University of Notre Dame. While serving the City of Chicago, Officer Earls worked on the Gang Team, as a Field Training Officer, on the Targeted Response Unit bicycle patrol and many other roles. Even though she held many positions, she truly loved patrol and interacting with citizens of all stripes and backgrounds. An interest in medicine and health guided Officer Earls' decision to leave the department and pursue a nursing degree. Her passion is harm reduction and officer safety and believes that everyone deserves to work in safe conditions. She is dedicated to educating law enforcement officer's about the dangers of needles and the infectious diseases that officer's working the streets might contract. She currently resides in Durham and will soon be an Emergency Room nurse.


Jennifer H. Kirshner, MSPH, CHES

  • City/State: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Agency/Title: Baltimore Student Harm Reduction Coalition, Executive Director
  • BIO: Jennifer co-founded Baltimore Student Harm Reduction Coalition (BSHRC) in January 2011 while a public health graduate student, and became the organization’s first paid staff person in Summer 2012.  BSHRC primarily mobilizes the diverse student population in greater Baltimore for harm reduction-related education, advocacy, and service.  Professionally, Jen's focus areas include overdose prevention and response, comprehensive sex and sexuality education, intimate partner violence, and health literacy.  She also enjoys planning events, attempting to complete word puzzles, and goofing around with small children. A Certified Health Education Specialist, Jen received her master’s degree in Health Education and Health Communication from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and holds an A.B. in Psychology from Vassar College.


Jill Harris

  • City/State: New York, New York
  • Agency/Title: Drug Policy Alliance, Strategic Initiatives Managing Director
  • BIO: Jill Harris is managing director of strategic initiatives, based in New York. In that capacity she leads the movement building team to promote drug policy reform around the country in collaboration with national and state-based allies. Before joining DPA, Harris worked as a political campaign manager and was the early vote director for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign in Ohio. She also spent 13 years as a public defender with the Legal Aid Society in New York City, including two years as the attorney in charge of the Manhattan Criminal Defense Division, the country's largest public defender office. At the height of the AIDS crisis, she defended a group of ACT UP activists charged with a crime for distributing clean needles to drug users. All the activists were acquitted based on a defense of necessity. Harris is originally from Eugene, Oregon, and is a graduate of Harvard University and the New York University School of Law.

Jon Zibbell

  • Email: jzibbell@cdc.gov
  • City/State: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Agency/Title: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Scientist – Prevention Branch of the Division of Viral Hepatitis
  • BIO: Jon E. Zibbell, Ph.D. is a health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Prevention Branch of the Division of Viral Hepatitis where he conducts research on hepatitis C virus and injection drug use. Dr. Zibbell is a medical anthropologist with over 15 years of field research specializing in the culture, behavior and social organization of persons who inject drugs (PWID), with a particular focus on the intersections between illicit drug use, law enforcement and public health. In addition to research, Dr. Zibbell has served as a consultant for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health where he conducted rapid field assessments and advised on issues pertaining to injection-related disease prevention and the development and evaluation of syringe exchange programs. He has also worked with addicted persons in abstinence-based venues as varied as detoxification programs, therapeutic communities, and halfway houses, as well serving as chair and lead researcher for a drug user-run, syringe distribution program in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dr. Zibbell’s work has appeared in both academic and professional journals and he contributes regularly to independent media on issues that concern the health and civil rights of people who use drugs.


Katie Burk

  • Email: burk@harmreduction.org  
  • City/State: Oakland, California
  • Agency/Title: Harm Reduction Coalition, Syringe Access Service Community Mobilization Manager
  • BIO: Katie Burk works for the Harm Reduction Coalition and is based in Oakland, California. In her position at HRC she provides technical assistance and support to communities working to establish and/or expand syringe access services. Her commitment to promoting the health and well-being of drug users, homeless and incarcerated individuals, and people living with HIV has spanned direct service in San Francisco HIV prevention and care organizations, execution of a needs assessment survey on release planning practices for diabetic inmates in the King County jail, and as a Program Manager for the Seattle & King County’s Department of Public Health as a part of its Health Care for the Homeless Team. She received her Master’s in Public Health at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health.


Katie M. Schwartzmann

City/State: New Orleans, LA

Bio: Katie M. Schwartzmann  served as Managing Director of the Louisiana office of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) from May 2011 to November 2013. She supervised a staff of six attorneys, four investigators and others focused on education reform, immigrant justice and prison reform.
She was the SPLC’s lead attorney on the case of Jones v. Gusman, which seeks to end the inhuman conditions suffered by prisoners at the Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) in New Orleans. She was instrumental in negotiating a settlement of that lawsuit and an agreement by Orleans Parish Sheriff Martin N. Gusman to institute changes to ensure prisoner safety and adequate staffing the OPP. In November 2013, the lead litigation responsibility in Jones v. Gusman was moved to the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, and Schwartzmann continues to represent more than 2,000 prisoners during the implementation phase of the consent decree.
From August 2005 to May 2011, Schwartzmann was the Legal Director for the ACLU of Louisiana. She served as counsel on every ACLU of Louisiana case, including constitutional questions of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, discrimination, due process, unlawful search and seizure, police misconduct and cruel and unusual prison conditions. She began her legal career in 2003 as an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.  Schwartzmann is a graduate of Tulane Law School in New Orleans where she graduated cum laude, received the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in International Human Rights and was President of the Public Interest Law Foundation. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.


Kelli Dorsey

  • Email: prikmd@gmail.com
  • State: Maryland
  • Agency/Title: INCITE!,
  • BIO: Kelli Dorsey is a harm reductionist, strategist and organizer from Maryland who works on issues related to violence against women and
    transpeople of color. She provides support to communities across the U.S. who are facing harmful legislation or are looking for transformative solutions related to criminalization, the sex trade, state and interpersonal violence.


Kenneth Glasgow

  • Email: topssociety@yahoo.com
  • City/State: Alabama
  • Agency/Title: The Ordinary People Society (TOPS), Founder/President
  • BIO: Pastor Kenneth Glasgow is the Founder/President of the Ordinary People Society.  His direction of TOPS provides rehabilitation to repeat offenders while creating a program that targets the youth before they reach the Criminal Justice System. In addition, Pastor Glasgow has gained the support of the National Leader/Organizations along with the Alabama Department of Corrections by allowing him to administer TOPS programs in Alabama prisons and jails. He is the Convener/Co-Convener of the National Criminal Justice Coalition, and Co-chairman of Formerly Incarcerated and convicted people movement, State Partner for the New Bottom Line Campaign with DPA, Chaplin for the Second Congressional District, and Vice Chairman of Houston County A.D.C. He is instrumental in registering over 40,000 ex-felons to vote in the state of Alabama. He the first and only one to win a lawsuit where convicted felons keep their voting rights whether incarcerated or not. He has received numerous awards such as: Man of the Year, The Fighter of the Flame Award, and The Lyndon B. Johnson Political Freedom Award.  Meanwhile, he has fed over 210,000 people in the past eleven years with Momma Tina’s Mission House. Pastor Glasgow has remained committed to saving souls and ensuring that redemption is in the lives of those who served their debts to society.


Laura Pegram

  • Email: laurapegram@gmail.com
  • City/State: Denver, Colorado
  • Agency/Title: Drug Policy Alliance, Policy Associate
  • BIO: Laura currently is a policy associate with the Drug Policy Alliance in Colorado. Within this role she promotes community harm reduction initiatives, policy alternatives to incarceration for drug offenses, and marijuana reform and education efforts locally. Prior to joining DPA, she served as the Harm Reduction Coordinator for Women with a Vision, Inc., a New Orleans-based social and reproductive justice nonprofit, since December of 2011 and as an MSW/MPH intern since 2010.  This experience included providing harm reduction services, legal and policy research, and community/legislative advocacy concerning Louisiana’s, antiquated and discriminatory, Crime Against Nature statute.  She holds a Masters of Social Work and a Masters of Public Health from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and originates from Southern Missouri.


Leilani Attilio

  • Email: leilani.attilio@gmail.com
  • City/State: Aberdeen, North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, Harm Reduction Medical and Advocacy Coordinator
  • BIO: Leilani Attilio, MPH, BSN, RN is the Harm Reduction Medical and Advocacy Coordinator for NCHRC. She served as an Army Nurse Corp Officer for five years and completed two deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as a critical care nurse. After fulfilling her Army obligation, Ms. Attilio worked in a number of civilian health care settings including a critical care, pediatric home care and long term health facilities before transitioning into public health nursing. She recently completed a Masters of Public Health with a focus in Hispanic and border health at the University of Texas at El Paso. She came to NCHRC as an intern and then became an employee educating drug rehabilitation and methadone clients on drug overdose prevention and advocating for the comprehensive overdose bill, “911 Good Samaritan/Access to Naloxone” bill, at the NC legislature, which passed overwhelmingly earlier this year. 


Louise Vincent

  • City/State: Greensboro,North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: NC Syringe Access, Executive Director
  • BIO: Louise B. Vincent, M.P.H., has worked in the harm reduction and public health field for the last 7 years. She just completed her Master’s degree in community health education from UNC-G and is the Executive Director of NC Syringe Access, an organization dedicated to reducing harms associated with
    substance use, sex work, and other high-risk behaviors. Though syringe exchange is illegal in NC she has been running an underground syringe exchange since 2009. Louise is a member of the Urban Survivors Union and proud drug user.


Maggie McNeil

  • Email: maggiemcneill@earthlink.net
  • City/State: Resides in the US South
  • Agency/Title: Independent
  • BIO: Maggie McNeill received her MLIS from LSU in 1993, but due to economic necessity started working as a stripper in 1997, just before her 31st birthday. Two years later she moved on to escorting, and soon started her own agency. She retired from sex work in 2006, but after a few years began to dabble in activism online, finally beginning her blog The Honest Courtesan in July of 2010.  Her primary goal as an activist lies in reaching out to the general public in order to demystify sex work, to debunk the mythology promulgated by those who persecute sex workers, to demonstrate that sex work is not intrinsically different from other kinds of service-oriented work and to show that sex workers as a group are not easily distinguishable from the general population.


Marc Levin

  • Email: mlevin@texaspolicy.com
  • City/State: Austin,Texas
  • Agency/Title: Right on Crime /Texas Public Policy Foundation, Director – Center for Effective Justice
  • BIO: Marc A. Levin, Esq., is the director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (www.texaspolicy.com) and a leader of its Right on Crime initiative (www.rightoncrime.com). Levin’s criminal justice work with the Foundation has been cited by leading policymakers as playing a key role in Texas adult and juvenile justice reforms that have saved $2 billion dollars in avoided incarceration costs and contributed to the state having its lowest crime rate since 1973. In the summer of 2010, he had the idea for the Right on Crime initiative, which was launched by the Texas Public Policy Foundation at the end of 2010 and has become the national clearinghouse for conservative criminal justice reforms, receiving coverage in outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, National Review, New York Times, Fox Business News, and The Washington Post. In 2013, Marc testified upon invitation before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing focusing on the problems with federal mandatory minimums. In 2007, he was honored in a resolution unanimously passed by the Texas House of Representatives that stated, “Mr. Levin’s intellect is unparalleled and his research is impeccable.” Levin served as a law clerk to Judge Will Garwood on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Staff Attorney at the Texas Supreme Court. 


Marjorie R. Esman

  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: ACLU, Executive Director
  • BIO: Marjorie R. Esman has been Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana since September 2007, after twenty years in the private practice of law. Her law practice focused on copyright and trademark issues, as well as First Amendment litigation concerning the freedom of speech and religion. She was a member of the ACLU of Louisiana board of directors from 1995 and the ACLU National Board from 1997, until she resigned both positions to become Executive Director. Since taking the helm of the ACLU, she has increased the full-time staff from four to seven, expanded its lobbying presence in Baton Rouge, and added part-time staff in Shreveport. In addition to her law degree (Tulane 1987), Esman holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Tulane University (1981) and has taught at Tulane, LSU, and the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette). She serves on the board of Parkway Partners, a New Orleans organization dedicated to restoring and preserving the green spaces in the City of New Orleans.


Mark Allen, MD

  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: Medical Director

Mary Levin

  • Email: levinb@gmail.com
  • City/State: Washington, DC
  • Agency/Title: amFAR, Consultant
  • BIO: Ms. Levin has been working in the fields of HIV disease and harm reduction for 26 years. This work has taken her to Brazil, Barbados, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Canada, Switzerland, Ukraine, South Africa, and India. Her focus has been on managing programs to meet the needs of vulnerable and marginalized communities (youth, injection drug users, sex workers, etc.) and the health care providers who serve them, as well as to recruit partners outside of the health sector (government, transport, the press, private sector) to address HIV. She works as an independent consultant (currently working with amfAR) and is an Associate Professor at Georgetown University. At the Georgetown University School of Medicine, Ms. Levin has taught on the following subjects: health policy, HIV diagnosis and testing, health communications and behavior modification, preschool health interventions, harm reduction, clinical problem-solving, community health, service learning, human sexuality, cultural competency, and a course on AIDS advocacy. She is faculty advisor to the Health Justice Track and GMAAN (Georgetown Medical AIDS Advocacy Network). She received her MPH in international public health policy from George Washington University and her BA in biology with an emphasis in molecular genetics from the University of California at Santa Cruz.


Megan McLemore

  • City/State: Ithaca, New York
  • Agency/Title: Human Rights Watch, Senior Researcher – Health and Human Rights Division
  • BIO: Megan McLemore is a senior researcher in the Health and Human Rights
    Division of Human Rights Watch, where her work focuses on access to HIV/AIDS and drug treatment, as well as healthcare in prisons and other detention settings in the United States. Megan is an attorney whose career has focused on US civil rights issues and international human rights with a focus on prisoners, women, and persons living with HIV/AIDS. Her experience includes monitoring prison conditions for the federal courts, litigating class actions to improve prison medical treatment, and coordinating legal rights workshops for women with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda. Megan has a law degree from New York University and a master’s in law, focusing on international human rights, from the University of Toronto.


Megan Ralston

  • Email: mralston@drugpolicy.org
  • City/State: Los Angeles, California
  • Agency/Title: Drug Policy Alliance, Harm Reduction Manager
  • BIO: Meghan Ralston is the harm reduction manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. Based in Los Angeles, Ralston’s work since joining DPA in 2006 has included implementing over-the-counter pharmacy syringe sales throughout Los Angeles County; organizing the first major US commemoration of International Overdose Awareness Day; and creating the first-ever Southern California Harm Reduction Summit. She has served as co-chair of both the Los Angeles Overdose Prevention Task Force and the Los Angeles Harm Reduction Collaborative. Prior to joining DPA, she created and ran Street Medicine, a Los Angeles volunteer-driven project to assemble and distribute first aid kits to homeless populations throughout the county. Ralston believes that all people deserve dignity, compassion and respect, whether they use drugs or not.


Michelle Crow Loreia  

  • Email: trystereo@riseup.net
  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: New Orleans Trystereo Syringe Distribution, Creator/Co-Organizer
  • BIO: Michelle Crow Loreia is a former New Orleans drug user dedicated to bicycling, drug user advocacy, printmaking, the study of holistic forms of healing and nursing. Her harm reduction background includes volunteering as a peer satellite for S.A.N.E. and later working as the Outreach Coordinator for Harm Reduction Services, in Sacramento, Ca., running their mobile syringe exchange program and mobile testing unit. She is a creator and co-organizer for New Orleans Trystereo Syringe Distribution, a collective that distributes thousands of sterile syringes, dozens of overdose prevention training's, crack kits, safer sex supplies, street outreach, referrals each month all by bicycle and dedicated volunteers! Crow dreams of driving a mobile health unit through the chaotic streets of New Orleans meeting people where they're at!


Milan Alexander

  • Email: milan@youthbreakout.org  
  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: BreakOUT!, Youth Organizer
  • BIO: Milan is a founding member of BreakOUT! and has been on staff as a Youth Organizer since January 2013. She has interviewed with PBS’s “In The Life” program, presented on LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care with the American Bar Association’s “Opening Doors” project, and met with the Department of Justice multiple times about community experiences inside Orleans Parish Prison and with the New Orleans Police Department.  Milan worked as a paid intern for BreakOUT! in 2011 and has been an integral part of BreakOUT!’s campaign development and base-building from its inception. Milan initially joined BreakOUT! thanks to a partnership with Job1, a workforce development program. She was most recently accepted into the Center for Third World Organizing’s Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program. 


Melinda Chateauvert

  • Email: dr.mindyc@gmail.com
  • City/State: Washington, DC or New Orleans, Louisiana?
  • Agency/Title:
  • BIO: Melinda Chateauvert is an activist and historian located in Washington, DC and New Orleans. Her book, Sex Workers Unite! A History of the Movement from Stonewall to Slutwalk, will be published by Beacon Press in January, 2014. She has taught courses on Community Organizing, the Modern Black Freedom Movement, Sex Work, and Gender & Sexuality in African American Families for over twenty years, and will be teaching at the New Orleans Free School this spring. She is a high school drop-out from Iowa who hitchhiked to San Francisco in 1976, back when folks still strolled Union Square, the Tenderloin, the Fillmore and Broadway. Years later, she earned a Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Pennsylvania, by way of women's studies degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and George Washington University.


Mona Bennett

  • Email: monabahrc@gmail.com
  • City/State: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Agency/Title: Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, Executive Director
  • BIO: Mona Bennett has no letters behind her name and she has over 19 years of harm reduction experience.  She is one of many, many co-founders of the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, Inc.  She specializes in harm reduction and health/wellness production, Shadetree Counseling, and other Shadetree Services.


Nathaniel Faulk, Jr.

  • Email: nate@youthbreakout.org
  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: BreakOUT!, Healing Justice Coordinator / Youth Organizer
  • BIO: Nathaniel Faulk, Jr. is a BreakOUT! member who stepped into the position of Healing Justice Coordinator / Youth Organizer as a Louisiana Delta Service Corps Member in September 2013. Nate is a self-proclaimed lover of all positive energies, experiences, and people. Born in Lafayette, LA, Nate spent many of his years traveling alongside his family with the US Army through his father, Sargent First Class Nathaniel Faulk, Sr. Attending the University of New Orleans, he is pursuing an American History degree with a minor in Environmental Studies. Throughout his studies, he has used his minor to more detail study the way Presidential Administrative policy has affected people and their surrounding environments. With overall career aspirations of working with municipal government, he prides himself on his community involvement and setting precedents for leadership through social awareness. During his tenure at UNO, Nate has served as President for the Student Activities Council, Leadership Recognitions Chair for the University Leadership Cabinet, Conference Chair for the UNO Orientation Leaders, Public Relations Chair for the University Service Coalition, and Co-Captain of the UNO Hip Hop dance team. His hobbies include blogging, debating, dancing, reading historical fiction and non-fiction, and volunteering. Two quotes to describe himself include “Learn from every interaction,” and “Don't be afraid of your sexy,” the latter being a quote from Megastar Beyoncé in reference to embracing the essence of oneself. The main reason Nate wants to serve with BreakOUT! is to help strengthen a community he is very much a part of while building his community organizing skills.


Nora Fuller

  • Email: trystereo@riseup.net
  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: New OrleansTrystereo Syringe Distribution, Co-Organizer
  • BIO: Nora Maria is one of the co-organizers of New Orleans Trystereo Syringe
    Distribution. She volunteered at Harm Reduction Coalition-East Coast in
    2006, shortly after completing her BA in Biology/Public Health at Simon's
    Rock College of Bard. Nora loves living in New Orleans, reading books, and
    meeting other harm reduction enthusiasts.


Nsombi Lambright

  • Email: nlambright@uniteonevoice.org
  • City/State: Jackson, Mississippi
  • Agency/Title: One Voice, Director of Communications and Development
  • BIO: Nsombi Lambright is the Director of Communications and Development for One Voice, located in Jackson, MS.  One Voice is a community training and policy organization committed to raising the voices of the underserved in Mississippi.  Nsombi is the former Executive Director of the ACLU of MS.  Under her leadership, the ACLU advocated for drug law reform at the local and state level.  In 2011, the ACLU released a report called " The Numbers Game:  The Vicious Cycle of Incarceration in Mississippi".  This report highlighted the misuse of federal funds for drug enforcement work combined with broken justice system with over zealous prosecutors, over worked public defenders and tough on crime judges. Nsombi now leads a criminal justice reform project at One Voice to continue to advocate for a reduction in the state's drug convictions and more resources for treatment.


Norris Henderson

  • Email: norris@vote-nola.org
  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: Voice Of The Ex-Offender (VOTE), Executive Director
  • BIO: Norris Henderson, a former OSI Soros Justice Fellow, is Executive Director of VOTE. Norris has had tremendous success in his work impacting public policy and public discourse about police accountability, public defense for poor and indigent people, and reforming the notorious Orleans Parish Prison (OPP). As someone who was wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years, Norris shares first hand experience of racism and brutality of the criminal justice system with communities of color across the city. Self-taught in criminal law during his 27 years in prison as a paralegal, advocate and organizer. He is clear that only by working together can communities of color protect themselves from one of the most brutal criminal justice systems in the country and rebuild together a diverse New Orleans rich in culture and
    community. He has not only achieved significant wins in this area, but he has also built bridges with other communities of color, regularly speaking publicly in support of underprivileged communities in New Orleans and immigrant workers rights, and acting as a general liaison to other community organizations in the city. Since his release in 2003 Norris has applied his legal expertise and community organizing skills to a number of leadership positions, including Co-Director of Safe Streets/Strong Communities and Community Outreach Coordinator of the Louisiana Justice Coalition. Norris serves on a number of organizations’ Board of Directors including Innocence Project of New Orleans, Family & Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children and Junior Regional Services. He continues to provide valuable insight into the concerns, questions and needs of prisoners, the formerly incarcerated and their families. In 2004, Norris incorporated Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE), and is now directing VOTE full time.


Phil Hanson

  • City/State: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: UNC – Chapel Hill, Student
  • BIO: Phil is a second year dual masters degree student in Public Health and City and Regional Planning at UNC Chapel Hill. He is part of a Public Health Capstone team working with the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition on university drug policy issues and an evaluation of North Carolina's new harm reduction laws.


Ralph Hendrix

  • Email: Rhendrix@uab.edu
  • City/State: Alabama
  • Agency/Title: University of Alabama,
  • BIO: Ralph Hendrix began work in Criminal Justice programming (TASC) in 1977. He was a case manager for 9 years and was promoted to program coordinator, where his duties consisted of implementing Federal and State grant programs and follow up evaluations -- Drug Use Forecasting project (National Institute of Justice --1986); Office of Treatment Improvement -- SAMSA grant to provide treatment expansion for Birmingham, Alabama; 1992 - RAND evaluation of case management models for felony offenders; 1994 - Break -the Cycle grant - Office of National Drug Control Policy; 1996- Implemented two Drug Courts; 2003- Implemented 2 adult Mental Health Courts in Birmingham, Alabama. He currently serves as the Program Manager of Jefferson County Community Correction Program, providing services for approximately 1200 felony offenders, including re-entry, prison diversion, and alternative sentencing. He also serves on the subcommittee of the Alabama Sentencing Commission to determine sentencing standards for new presumptive sentencing guidelines established in the legislature in 2012.


Reverend Edwin Sanders

  • City/State: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Agency/Title: Metropolitan Interdenominational Church, Senior Servant / Founder
  • BIO: The Reverend Edwin C. Sanders, II, is the Senior Servant and Founder of the Metropolitan Interdenominational Church in Nashville, Tennessee. This congregation has attracted a broad cross-section of people with the mission of being “inclusive of all and alienating to none.” Metropolitan has outreach ministries in the areas of substance abuse, advocacy for children, sexual violence, and harm reduction, in addition to providing services to persons infected with, and affected by, HIV/AIDS through the First Response Center, which Rev. Sanders founded in 1922. Rev. Sanders holds life membership in the NAACP, and is a member of the Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship (former President). He is a member of the Alcohol and Drug Council of Middle Tennessee, and has served as a Commissioner for the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. He is past Chairperson of the Ryan White Community AIDS Partnership, and is still an active member of the consortium. He was appointed to the CDC Advisory Committee on HIV and STD Prevention during the Clinton Administration and served five years on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS during the Bush Administration. He also served as co-chair of the National Syphilis Elimination Work Group and is currently involved with the Obama Administration White House Office on AIDS Conferences in Geneva, Switzerland, Durban, South Africa and Toronto, Canada. Rev. Sanders serves on the Boards of Directors of the Black AIDS Institute, The AIDS Institute, The National Minority AIDS Council, The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and The Drug Policy Alliance. He is the National Coordinator for Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy, and a former member of the National Advisory Council on Sexual Health at the National Center for Primary Care. More of his current commitments include serving on the Advisory Committee of the Rural Center for HIV/STD Prevention, and as Chair of the HIV Vaccine Trails Network Legacy Project Advisory Group designed to increase the participation of African Americans and Latinos in HIV vaccine studies. In 2002, Rev. Sanders was a candidate for Governor of the state of Tennessee, finishing third out of a field of fourteen candidates.


Robert Childs

  • Email: robert.bb.childs@gmail.com
  • City/State: Asheville, North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, Executive Director
  • BIO: Robert Childs, MPH specializes in Red State HIV, hepatitis, overdose prevention and harm reduction services and advocacy. Robert was named one of five people who made a difference in HIV in the USA in 2011 by thebody.com and was recognized for running the best US Grassroots Campaign by the ADAP Advocacy Association in 2013.  Mr. Childs currently serves as North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition’s (NCHRC) Executive Director (2009-present) and previously was a Program Director for a harm reduction program in New York City called Positive Health Project (2006-2009). He has worked and is considered an expert in HIV & hepatitis, harm reduction and drug policy, drug user and sex worker health, syringe access, law enforcement and drug user interactions, sex worker health, and overdose prevention. He has also been invited to speak at the United Nations, the US Congress, the FDA, New York City Council and the North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Oregon State Legislatures. Robert Childs' proudest advocacy achievements are leading the campaigns that led to the passage of SB20, a Republican comprehensive overdose prevention bill and HB850, a Republican partial syringe decriminalization bill, as well as being on an advocacy team that prevented all the funding being cut for NC's three Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Centers. Robert is also one of the founders of the Southern Harm Reduction and Drug Policy Network.


Ron Crowder

  • Email: rcrowder@street-works.org
  • City/State: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Agency/Title: Street Works, Executive Director
  • BIO: Ron Crowder is currently the Executive Director for Street Works. Mr. Crowder’s greatest contributions to the community have been his street outreach services. Since 1994, he has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS education and street outreach services. He has unselfishly loaned his expertise to agencies that uses street outreach in their services locally as well as nationally. Mr. Crowder has received numerous commendations, awards, and recognitions for his untiring efforts in HIV/AIDS prevention and education. His most recent was the nation’s most prestigious Community Health Leadership honor - The Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Program Award in June of 2005. He also serves as community Co-Chair of the Tennessee Community Planning Group, which is responsible, along with the Tennessee Department of Health, for writing the State’s HIV Prevention Plan. Mr. Crowder has a BBA in Accounting and is certified as an Addiction/AIDS Educator. He also received a certificate of HIV Prevention Leadership Achievement for successful completion of the CDC/ASPH HIV Prevention Institute. Mr. Crowder competed successfully against other HIV Prevention Program Manager across the nation and was accepted as a scholar in this one of a kind Institute funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH).


Ronald Martin

  • Email: rmartin711@nc.rr.com
  • City/State: Raleigh,North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, Law Enforcement Safety Coordinator
  • BIO: Ronald Martin works part-time as one of NCHRC’s Law Enforcement Safety Advocates. He is a former Detective Sergeant and is a dedicated, committed Law Enforcement Professional with over 20 years of experience in the New York City Police Department (NYPD). At the NYPD, he trained officers to a highly proficient level of community patrol, enforcement and public security. He supervised narcotics teams conducting street level buy and sell operations and warrant executions. Furthermore, he managed mid to high-level narcotic cases involving pen wires leading to extensive criminal prosecution. Ronald also consulted directly with the Chief of Police and the Mayor of New York City on issues of internal misconduct. He has also conducted and investigated various criminal offenses while working as a team member in conjunction with the Secret Service, DEA, ATF, and FBI. At NCHRC, he advocates for needlestick prevention measures for officers in North Carolina and for more dialogue between drug users, sex workers and law enforcement to create a safer communities.


Rosana Cruz

  • Email: rcruz@raceforward.org
  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: Race Forward, Leadership Action Network Director
  • BIO: For more than 20 years, Rosana has been on the front lines of racial justice and human rights efforts on the local and national scene.  Since 2007, she's held senior leadership positions in two of the most effective grassroots led organizations in New Orleans: Safe Streets/Strong Communities and Voice Of The Ex-offender (V.O.T.E.). After the levees burst in 2005, Rosana was the Field Coordinator at the National Immigration Law Center, helping to establish the New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice. Previous to her work against the criminalization of black and brown people in New Orleans, she directed the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of New Orleans and was the Southern Field Organizer for Amnesty International. Rosana serves on the Board of Directors of Women With A Vision and is a core member of the Women's Health and Justice Initiative. She holds an MA in Latin American Studies and a BA in Race and Gender. She has lived in New Orleans for over 16 years and is raising a brilliant kid.


Shana Griffin

  • City/State: New Orleans, LA
  • Agency/Title: Managing Advisor with the Gulf Coast Fund
  • BIO: Shana griffin is a mother, feminist, researcher, and social justice activist—who’s work explores critical issues at the intersection of race and gender-based violence; sexual health and reproductive autonomy; health disparities and access; gender and disaster vulnerabilities; law enforcement violence and criminalizing policies; prisons abolition and conditions of confinement; housing rights and affordability; climate justice and sustainable ecologies; welfare rights; just sustainabilities; and movement building philanthropy.  
    Shana current serves as a Managing Advisor with the Gulf Coast Fund.  She’s the co-founder and former Director (2007 – 2010) of the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic, which provided safe, affordable, and non-coercive sexual and reproductive health services, education, and advocacy to approximately 8,800 women throughout the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan area in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.   Shana is also the co-founder of the Women’s Health & Justice Initiative; and currently serves on the National Steering Committee of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association (CESA); as an Advisor of the Bridge the Gulf Project; and on the Board of Directors’ of Women With A Vision, Inc. and Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative—a neighborhood-based community land trust (which she is a co-founder).  Shana holds a Masters of Arts in Sociology from the University of New Orleans and two undergraduate degrees in Sociology and History respectfully.  Over the past 5 years, Shana’s activism and research has focused on challenging punitive social policies, practices, and behaviors that restrict, exploit, regulate, and criminalize the bodies and lives of low-income and working class women of color most vulnerable to the violence of poverty, polluting environments, reproductive legislation, and housing discrimination.

Sharon Ravert

  • City/State: Georgia
  • Agency/Title: Peachtree NORML, Executive Director
  • BIO: Sharon Ravert is the Executive Director of Peachtree NORML. She is also a wife, mother, caregiver, business owner and life long resident of Georgia.  Her eyes were opened when her family was traumatized by the “War on Drugs”, she uses her ears to listen to other victims and her mouth to tell there stories and educate others. She has been a guest on several radio programs, been interviewed by local and regional TV news affiliates, and spoken at various drug reform conferences on the issue of women and marijuana, southern strategies and harm reduction.  She produces a segment on 420radio.org highlighting the stories and work of other women in the fight to end marijuana prohibition.


Shilo Murphy

  • Email: udnep@yahoo.com
  • City/State: Seattle, Washington
  • Agency/Title: U-District Needle Exchange, Executive Director
  • BIO: Shilo Murphy is a former homeless person and long-time resident of Seattle's University District. He has worked at the University District Needle Exchange Program for the past 16 years and is a co-founder and Executive Director of PHRA. Shilo is also a co-founder and president of the Urban Survivors Union. Most importantly, he is a proud drug user.


Steve Daniels aka “Gator”

  • City/State: Winston Salem, North Carolina
  • Agency/Title: Twin City Harm Reduction Initiative, Executive Director
  • BIO: Steve is the Executive Director of Twin City Harm Reduction Initiative.

Valencia Robinson

  • City/State: Jackson, Mississippi
  • Agency/Title: Mississippi In Action, Executive Director
  • BIO: TBA

Wesley Ware

  • Email: wes@youthbreakout.org
  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: BreakOUT!, Founding Director
  • BIO: Wes is the Founding Director of BreakOUT! and a 2011 Soros U.S. Justice Fellowship recipient. He previously served as the LGBTQ Youth Project Director at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL) where he authored the report, Locked Up & Out: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in Louisiana’s juvenile justice system. Wes also serves on the Advisory Board for the Equity Project, a national initiative to bring fairness and equality to LGBTQ youth in juvenile delinquency courts. At JJPL, he coordinated the investigation for a class-action lawsuit on behalf of youth detained in New Orleans and monitored the conditions of three state-run youth prisons in Louisiana. His essay, “Rounding Up The Homosexuals: The Impact of Juvenile Court on Queer and Trans/Gender Non-conforming Youth” is published in the anthology, Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex. A native Southerner, Wes graduated with a degree in Gender Studies and African American Studies from Georgia State University and has organized across a span of social justice issues in Georgia, including organizing family members of incarcerated adults. His heart is in organizing around the intersections of race, class, and gender justice in the South.


Yolande Cadore

  • Email: ycadore@drugpolicy.org
  • City/State: New York, New York
  • Agency/Title: Drug Policy Alliance, Director of Strategic Partnerships
  • BIO: Yolande has spent the last ten years working with grassroots organizations in New York City. Early in her career, she worked with the Working Families Party as one of their Brooklyn canvassers and later with the nationally known grassroots organizing and advocacy group ACORN as an organizer. Subsequent to her time at ACORN, she spent four years as the Lead Organizer at New York State Tenants and Neighbors, a statewide housing organization. Recognizing the correlation between degraded environments, including poor quality housing and poor health, led Yolande to WE ACT for Environmental Justice where she was the Director of Community Organizing for six years. As Director, she developed the organization’s outreach and advocacy campaigns. Most recently, she has been the National Field Director at The Praxis Project. Yolande understands the idiosyncrasies of disenfranchised and marginalized communities and believes that the strategic alignment of individuals and organizations is an important catalyst to effecting long-term social change.


Zina Mitchell

  • Email: zina@wwav-no.org
  • City/State: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Agency/Title: Women With A Vision
  • BIO: Zina is a native of New Orleans, raised in Treme.  For twenty-seven years, Zina’s life was dominated by addiction and survival sex. Connecting with WWAV was a moment that changed her life. Now two-years clean, she is living proof of the work that WWAV does and an inspiration for all of our clients. Zina loves working for WWAV, because she can bring hope to women throughout the city and teach them how to fight for their rights.