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.
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 – Network Coordinator
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.
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.
Juliet Herndon – Board Secretary
Juliet has been a social justice advocate her whole life. She currently works for NJ Transit as the Director of Title VI and Environmental Justice compliance in the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity Programs. In this role, she directs agency-wide compliance pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order on Environmental Justice. She has both volunteered and worked for organizations that focus on criminal justice reform, workforce development programming, educational equity, affordable housing, services for individuals with disabilities and compliance and policy. Juliet has a MA in Rehabilitation Counseling from George Washington University and a BA in biology and biological psychology from the College of the Holy Cross.
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.
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.
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.