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 and performer. He works across different mediums of performance, with an intimate love for poetics, movement, and physical theater. He is an ensemble member of the New York Neo-Futurists, where he writes, performs, and directs in their weekly show, The Infinite Wrench, and can be found making art all across the city and world.
He holds a Masters Degree in Arts Politics from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and Bachelors Degree in Public Policy from The Ohio State University, with an emphasis on Educational Policy and Leadership.
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.
Indrani Balaratnam is an attorney and mitigation specialist who represents individuals facing capital punishment. She is currently working at the ACLU of North Carolina and ACLU Capital Punishment Project and the Military Commissions at Guantanamo Bay. She received an LLB and LLM at the University of Warwick and is pending admission to the New York State Bar.
Through her work against the death penalty, Indrani has worked in the criminal legal system and has witnessed the injustice and lack of dignity for all parties involved in the courts. She has seen how the punitive system of criminal courts further oppress marginalized communities, and they are not designed to bring justice or closure to those involved. As a mitigation specialist, Indrani writes her clients’ life stories – stories that are often entangled with various encounters of punitive systems in schools, courts, social services and beyond. Restorative justice could have been the fork that turned their lives down a different path at every instance. Indrani approaches her work through a holistic lens and she is committed to restorative justice practices.
Njoli Brown is a teacher, public speaker, artist and activist. He has worked designing youth development programs both internationally and domestically for over 20 years and worked passionately at the intersection of Restorative Justice, youth advocacy and community development. Njoli is a teacher of pedagogy and facilitator of programs. His work centers families and under-represented communities and has focused predominately on projects within the US, SE Asia, the Middle East and southern Africa. He is a currently a contractor for Biwa | Emergent Equity, writing lab instructor for Uptown Stories, a curriculum developer for The Leadership Program, and consults with NYC Community Schools on the restorative transformation of school culture.
As a freelance writer, Njoli integrates his dedication to healing practices into the generation of works pointedly introspective and connectively extrospective. His passion for martial arts, backpacking and travel are integral to his world view and to the grounding of his work. Njoli received his Master’s in Education from Antioch University New England.
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.
John Ducksworth was born in Harlem, USA attending the New York City Public school system. He has acquired an Associate Degree from Dutchess Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from State University of New York, a Master’s Degree in Professional Studies from New York Theological Seminary with a concentration in counseling and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a concentration in management and organization.
John is an licensed trainer in Restorative Justice Principles and Practices from International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP), as well as trained at MAAT Training Institute for Restorative Justice, Washington, DC, Community Justice of Youth Institute, Chicago, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and the US Department of Justice National Institute of Corrections, Longmont, Colorado. He has provided leadership to Court based programs, Community Corrections, probation and juvenile justice agencies, private corrections corporations and social services agencies in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
Rhonda Greene is originally from Austin, Texas, where her parents eventually settled after immigrating to the U.S. from Liberia. She attended Vassar College and received a BA in English literature, and after college, Rhonda moved to Paris, France, where she lived and worked for twelve years. She initially taught English as a second language and then worked in marketing and promotions for Sony Music France.
Rhonda subsequently held account manager positions at Style and Les Salamanders, boutique advertising agencies in Paris, and later at Uniworld Group in New York City. She currently lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and serves on the board of the Brooklyn Historical Society.
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.