RJI is an active community of restorative practitioners, advocates and supporters, organized by our intrepid director and board.
Photo by David Lindner
Mika Dashman – Founding Director
Mika Dashman is an attorney and restorative justice practitioner. She is also a New York State-certified mediator and has mediated criminal court cases and facilitated community conferences through the New York Peace Institute. Mika facilitates peacemaking/community-building circles for organizations, student and professional groups. She was awarded the David Lerman Memorial Fund Fellowship in Restorative Justice by the Project for Integrating Law, Spirituality and Politics in both 2015 and 2017. She is also a contributor to the 2021 anthology, Listening to the Movement: Essays on New Growth and New Challenges in Restorative Justice.
Prior to beginning her work in alternative dispute resolution, Mika spent more than six years providing direct legal services to indigent individuals at several New York City non-profits, including Housing Works, Inc., where she also worked on all aspects of the agency’s civil rights impact docket.
Mika is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law and Sarah Lawrence College.
Photo by Pato Hebert
Anooj Bhandari – Senior Coordinator of Training and Youth Programming
Anooj Bhandari is a Community Organizer with passions for the relationship between community education and harm reduction practice, and exploring alternatives to, diversions from, and the elimination of, the carceral state. His work focuses on building microcosms that imagine and explore the possibility of liberation within the interpersonal, through facilitations and community experiences. Recent campaign work includes the fight to end the School-to-Prison-Pipeline and the implementation of Restorative Justice in communities, most recently having worked as the Restorative Justice Coordinator with Make the Road NY.
Anooj is an Artist, specifically a creative storyteller, experimental theater maker, performer, and installation creator, who believes deeply in art as a process to ask quiet questions publicly. He is an ensemble member of the New York Neo-Futurists, where he writes, performs, and directs in their weekly show, The Infinite Wrench. He also collaborates with Fresh Lime Soda Productions, a contemporary South-Asian theater ensemble, and is a writer and performer with Agile Rascal, a bicycle touring theater troupe. He is an alumnus of EmergeNYC, the Hemispheric Institute’s Fellowship for Emerging Political Performance Artists. Past residencies have included the Lighthouse Residency at the BEAM Center, The Dancing with Peace Residency at How to Build Up, Inc. where he also served as the Residency Coordinator, and The Bandung Residency with the Asian American Arts Alliance and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Arts. Anooj is a 2023 MacDowell Fellowship recipient in the Theater Arts.
Izzy Vieira – Development Coordinator
Izzy Vieira believes in the collective power of community and aims to bring individuals together to work towards a society rooted in compassion. She is an organizer, writer, and learner, and is passionate about how we use language and build relationships to advance the mission of individuals and organizations. Izzy has worked with various community groups, organizing people directly impacted by the criminal justice system and homelessness to advocate for harm reduction and an end to mass incarceration. Her undergraduate thesis, “Compassion, Care, and Consistency: A Person-Centered Approach to Combat Subway Homelessness in New York City”, explored policy alternatives to end the policing of poverty.
Izzy holds an MPA in Policy Analysis from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a BA in Public Policy from NYU.
Veronica Agard – Communications Associate
Veronica Agard is a writer, community educator, and connector at the intersections of Black identity, wellness, representation, and culture. She curated the Who Heals the Healer series and the conference of the same name and facilitates the Ancestors in Training educational project. With bylines at Redefining Our Womanhood, Black Girl Magik, Life as Ceremony, and Black and Well, Veronica uses storytelling and imagination to amplify the voices of those who walk with her.
Through archival research at the Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamerica (CIRMA), she completed her undergraduate thesis on the complex histories of sexual assault and violence against women in post-conflict Guatemala. In 2014, she graduated from CUNY City College of New York with a BA in international studies and history and continued her work as a co-founder of Sister Circle Collective, a role she was active in for five years.
Veronica is invested in cultures of healing and is honored to be in service to RJI’s work.
Photo by Peter Dressel
Sabrina Hayeem-Ladani – Institutional Giving Consultant
Sabrina Hayeem-Ladani believes that meaningful human connection based in truth-telling, delight, and creativity is the key to bringing individuals, groups, and organizations into alignment so that they can fulfill their highest purpose. She brings 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector, working currently as an institutional giving consultant to organizations working on the front lines of justice issues, as well as in the arts. Sabrina is a strong partner to her clients in stewarding thoughtful revenue strategies, while holding mission, goals, and relationships as central to her work. Born and raised in New York City, she is a published poet and multi-disciplinary artist, and has performed her work across the globe. She studied theater at Marymount Manhattan College, and resides in Brooklyn.
Kathleen Pequeño – Board Co-Chair
Kathleen is a social justice communications specialist who focuses her work on narrative strategy and the effective use of data for decision-making. Kathleen sent her first media release in 1988 as part of the buildup to the first National Coming Out Day. Since then, she has taken a broad intersectional approach to communications for justice. She has volunteered, worked and consulted with well over a hundred organizations over the last few decades on issues including racial and economic justice, queer liberation, ending the over-reliance on incarceration to solve our problems and building a community of economic justice for farmworkers.
Kathleen has used a transformative justice approach to reclaim her own life and heart after the murder of her brother in 1985. Kathleen is currently the communications director at North Star Fund, New York’s community foundation that focuses on funding equity, peace and justice in New York City and the Hudson Valley.
Terrence Winston – Board Co-Chair
Terrence Winston is an Entrepreneurial Activist, Youth Development Specialist, Community Advocate and Restorative Circle Keeper. He is the founder and lead consultant of Paradigm Time LLC; a grassroots group committed to transforming organizations in the public and private sectors using a restorative framework. In addition to serving as the Co-Board Chair of RJI he serves as the coordinator for the Coalition for Community Schools Excellence, an advocacy and accountability group comprised of 60 nonprofit organizations supporting the NYC Community Schools Initiative in 245 schools serving over 108,000 students across the five boroughs.
Terrence is a Certified Restorative Justice Practitioner and trained Peer Mediator who for the past 10 years has worked with NYC public schools, nonprofit organizations, city agencies, homeless shelters and school suspension sites.
Photo by Mika Dashman
Jill Sternberg – Board Treasurer
Jill Sternberg is a restorative justice coordinator in a New York City high school. She comes to restorative justice with a deep commitment to ending racism, a major cause of the violence permeating US society and culture. Previous to focusing on justice in education, Jill spent ten years living in and working in solidarity with the people of Timor-Leste in their struggle for justice and accountability for Gross Violations of Human Rights and Crimes Against Humanity Indonesia committed during their 24 year occupation of the country. Jill has been working on peace and justice issues for more 35 years, focused on nonviolent conflict transformation.
She has supported nonviolent movements in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with an emphasis on nonviolent intervention in conflict situations, from a power analysis perspective and a focus on women’s empowerment. Her aim is to empower people to develop concrete positive ways to address the causes of violence and war, and to support local actors working for peace and justice.
Photo by Mika Dashman
Ziedah Diata is a veteran Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for the New York State Department of State, where she presides over hearings for the over 30 professions and occupations regulated by the Department. Ziedah is also a former regional representative to two New York governors, serving as a liaison to elected officials and community leaders. She also previously served as policy analyst to the Democratic leader of the New York State Senate.
As an ALJ, Ziedah has worked to minimize the collateral consequences of convictions and barriers to reentry through the expansion of the Department’s access to justice initiatives. She coordinated pro bono representation for an ex-offender population that was largely unrepresented prior to her appointment, led an effort to support pro se litigants by making hearing preparation information available on the Department’s web site, and initiated the Department’s collaboration with the New York University Offender Re-Entry Clinic.
Ziedah received a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Janos Marton is the National Director of Dream Corps JUSTICE, a national criminal justice reform organization. A born and raised New Yorker, Janos is a civil rights lawyer and criminal justice advocate who has fought to end mass incarceration in New York and across the country. Janos ran the #CLOSErikers campaign for JustLeadershipUSA before moving over to the ACLU, where he coordinated state legislative campaigns. As a candidate for Manhattan DA, Janos advanced a bold decarceration agenda that became the gold standard in the race. Janos is committed to the growth restorative justice practices and excited to join RJI’s board.
Leslie Morioka is an attorney with almost 30 years of experience in litigation, transactional and regulatory matters for various entities worldwide at a global law firm. She built a substantial pro bono practice, with individuals and organizations as clients, to address issues of human and civil rights, and social, economic, and environmental justice and has resolved disputes using mediation and arbitration. She has both local and state government and non-profit experience and is currently a part-time hearing officer for the City of New York, while continuing to assist with pro bono clients and to be involved with activities relating to sustainability and ocean conservation as well as a program targeting at-risk youth in Brooklyn.
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i, Leslie enjoys building collaborations, mentoring others, and reaching innovative solutions while reaching back to integrate indigenous values and principles. Leslie has an MPA/JD from Pace University and a BA in Biology from Barnard College of Columbia University.
Lucille Rivin retired from The Leadership Program in spring 2020 as Senior Director of Curriculum and Resource Development, having started there over 20 years ago as a teaching artist using theater-based activities to engage youth and support their social-emotional development. Through her evolving role at Leadership Lucille oversaw the development of a nationally recognized violence prevention/conflict resolution program and the company’s Restorative Justice training and coaching for school-based coordinators and staff, among other programs.
An experienced circle keeper and a lifelong social justice advocate and activist, Lucille is committed to nurturing the expansion of equitable Restorative Practices in schools and communities. Her articles on Restorative Justice practices in the USA have been published by Padova University Press and in the European Forum on Restorative Justice newsletter.