Connecting communities, fostering effective storytelling, and leveraging lived expertise for bold change.

Take a look at past years of the Next Generation Fellowship to learn about our alumni and their stories.

We've Come Pretty Far Since We Started

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Fellows Attended the Program
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Connections Among Fellows
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Years of NGF
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Hours of Programming

NGF Brings Together

Alumni from
Communities
Across California

    • Alameda
    • Butte
    • Fresno 
    • Los Angeles 
    • Merced 
    • Monterey
    • Orange
    • Placer
    • Riverside
    • San Mateo
    • Santa Clara
    • Sonoma
    • San Francisco
    • Santa Barbara 
    • San Bernardino
    • Santa Cruz
    • San Diego
    • Sacramento
    • Stanislaus
    • Ventura
    • Yolo

Alumni By Year

Yearly Overview

2017

CJCJ and MILPA bring together emerging leaders for the first Next Generation Fellowship! The 2017 fellows take part in cultural practices and expand their knowledge of public policy with mock legislative visits.

2018 - 2019

NGF expands our programming! We host three 2-day sessions in Sacramento, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles Fifteen system-impacted fellows connect, learn, and reach new heights.

2020

The NGF team was proud to bring together thirteen justice reform leaders for the 2019-2020 fellowship. We facilitated three 2-day sessions in Los Angeles, Oakland, and - in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic - a virtual platform.

2021

During a year of unprecedented challenges, we welcomed fifteen NGF fellows to come together virtually over three 2-day sessions! NGF offered a supportive space for participants to connect and grow.

Connecting communities, fostering effective storytelling, and leveraging lived expertise for
bold change

Take a look at past years of the Next Generation Fellowship to learn about our alumni and their stories.

We've Come
Pretty Far Since
We Started

0 +
Fellows Attended the Program
0 +
Connections Among Fellows
0
Years of NGF
0 +
Hours of Programming

Alumni from
Communities
Across California

    • Alameda
    • Butte
    • Fresno 
    • Los Angeles 
    • Merced 
    • Monterey
    • Orange
    • Placer
    • Riverside
    • San Mateo
    • Santa Clara
    • Sonoma
    • San Francisco
    • Santa Barbara 
    • San Bernardino
    • Santa Cruz
    • San Diego
    • Sacramento
    • Stanislaus
    • Ventura
    • Yolo

Alumni By Year

Yearly Overview

2017

CJCJ and MILPA bring together emerging leaders for the first Next Generation Fellowship! The 2017 fellows take part in cultural practices and expand their knowledge of public policy with mock legislative visits.

2018 - 2019

NGF expands our programming! We host three 2-day sessions in Sacramento, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles Fifteen system-impacted fellows connect, learn, and reach new heights.

2020

CJCJ and MILPA Collective were proud to bring together thirteen justice reform leaders for the 2019-2020 fellowship. We facilitated three 2-day sessions in Los Angeles, Oakland, and - in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic - a virtual platform.

2021

During a year of unprecedented challenges, we welcomed fifteen NGF fellows to come together virtually over three 2-day sessions! NGF offered a supportive space for participants to connect and grow.

Marina Perez

Los Angeles County | Meztli Projects

Marina Perez is an interdisciplinary artist, scholar, and grassroots community organizer. She works on unceded Tongva lands building collective cultural arts programming for Black, brown, and Indigenous youth. Marina has experience working as a teaching artist in juvenile halls, re-entry spaces, continuation schools, and community centers. She is a graduate student of the American Indian Studies program at UCLA focusing on Indigenous anti-carceral feminism, youth liberation and digital storytelling. As an NGF fellow, Marina is grateful to build community with other formerly incarcerated and system-impacted folks leading the way towards a decolonial and liberated future.

Melvin "Red" Ramirez

Riverside County | Underground Scholars Initiative – UC Riverside

As an Underground Scholar, writer, and community leader, Redd works to bring a truthful description to the formerly incarcerated experience. He looks to help formerly incarcerated people like himself by illuminating and humanizing individual stories, as well as tapping into the need for community solidarity against the prison industrial complex. Redd wanted to connect within the movement and support his community on a broader scale through his expanded understanding of cultural healing and policy advocacy.

Jordanna Wong-Omshehe

Riverside County | Starting Over Inc.

Jordanna is a public policy advocate, abolitionist, writer, researcher, and creative. She is originally from the state of Georgia and currently the Public Policy Fellow for Starting Over, Inc. This community organization in Riverside, CA practices holistic reentry and advocacy led by impacted people. At Starting Over Inc., Jordanna advocates for state and local policy changes that foster family reunification and the expansion of in-person visitation. In addition, Jordanna is an organizer with the Riverside chapter of the nationwide grassroots movement All of Us or None (AOUON). She came to NGF with the purpose of gaining guidance from leaders in the movement and the tools necessary to further break down barriers to equity in the community.

Gilbert Anthony Murillo

Santa Barbara County | Underground Scholars Initiative – UC Santa Barbara

Gilbert is from Norwalk, CA, where violence from police and harsh punishment of impoverished community members is all too common. As a documented gang member who was racially framed and wrongfully convicted, Gilbert seeks to promote social justice against oppressive policies. He collaborated with other California advocates to ensure the passage of Senate Bill 1391 (2018), which focused on limiting adult prosecution of youth to those 16 or older. As a Mcnair Scholar, Gilbert utilizes his reach to challenge academia and governmental institutions to do better for communities impacted by incarceration. Gilbert joined NGF to further his leadership abilities, learn new skills, and develop his character to build a collective force for social justice.

Airam Coronado

Monterey County | MILPA Collective

Growing up in East Salinas, Airam faced many injustices at a very early age. She entered both the juvenile justice system and the foster care system during this time. Airam is a community leader who brings her lived experience into her work within these systems. She focuses on ending mass incarceration, dismantling the school to prison pipeline, and building community people power. Airam is currently the Program Leadership Assistant at MILPA Collective. She eagerly joined NGF to gain knowledge and tools that she can bring back to her community.

Nancy Juarez

Yolo County | UC Davis

Nancy Juarez is a daughter, a sister, and a friend to one too many loved ones taken by the system. She is part of this movement because no one deserves to feel the pain of harsh and inhumane separation. She hopes to unveil the cloud of racialization and inequity that hovers our “justice” system. Nancy is focused on providing an equal platform to historically marginalized identities by unveiling the inequitable pretrial system that favors those with wealth and social capital. She fights for a world that moves with compassion rather than punitive and violent “solutions.” Through the Next Generation Fellowship and the remarkable guidance of her cohort, she has gained the tools necessary to fight for transparency and healing through restorative justice for everyone regardless of class, gender, or race.

Josue Pineda

Orange County | Resilience OC

There are many things that Josue has been labeled over the years: a thug, a criminal, a lost cause, inmate #2985864, and now the title of being formerly incarcerated. However, like many before him, Josue is a Resilient Warrior. He came into the movement mainly seeking redemption, but now leads by example. He currently works as a youth organizer to support any marginalized youth who has fallen into the trap that was set for those in his community. Josue hopes that, by educating youth on the knowledge of self and systems, he can ignite the fire that was ignited in him by mentors. Josue explains, “We will continue the fight for justice that many before us fought until we collectively win. That is why I am here, that is why I joined NGF, and that is what I will continue to do as part of my community.”

Mary Carmen Ruiz De La O

Alameda County | East Bay Community Law Center

Mary Ruiz De La O is a graduate of Mills College where she received her bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies and Political, Legal, and Economic Analysis. Her family’s migration story has impacted her interest in the social, economic, and political empowerment of marginalized communities. Mary currently works as a program coordinator for the Education, Defense, and Justice for Youth division at the East Bay Community Law Center. She will start law school in Fall of 2020 and hopes to entrench herself in life-long public interest work that focuses on legal/policy solutions that advocate for abolition, racial justice, and liberation.

Jamie Wilson

San Diego County | Pillars of the Community

Jamie Wilson is a San Diego native, an active community member, a mother, a researcher, an Organizer at Pillars of the Community, a volunteer with San Diego’s Participatory Defense group, a member of International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) and TRUST San Diego. Jamie spends the majority of her time dedicated to bringing attention to the the discrimination of documented gang members by law enforcement, society, and the criminal justice system. She continues to work toward an end to gang documentation, gang injunctions, and gang enhancements.

Arturo "Velaz" Muñoz

Santa Clara County | Youth Alliance / CSU Monterey Bay

Arturo “Velaz” Muñoz is an aspiring poet, activist, and public speaker. Just like a candle, Velaz works to bring light and warmth into the world through community organizing, presenting at events and universities throughout the region, and with his podcast, Varrio Voices. As a Next Generation Fellow, Velaz has learned how to use his passions and talents to further create systematic changes.

Claudia Jasmine Gonzalez

Merced County | Root & Rebound

Claudia is an organizer and advocate in California’s Central Valley. As the Policy Advocate and Economic Security Coach at Root and Rebound, she supports and empowers formerly incarcerated women during reentry. In this role, she collaborates with partners to champion local and statewide policies beneficial to formerly incarcerated people. In particular, Claudia helps secure economic opportunities for system-impacted women. She leads justice reform work, creates opportunities for other formerly incarcerated women, and helps illuminate the pathway for those just beginning their healing and transformation process. As a formerly incarcerated womxn herself, Claudia is thrilled to be an NGF Fellow because it is important to her professional and personal development.

Jasmin Aleman

Sacramento County | Sol Collective

Jasmin is a Central Valley Purépecha Chicana from Modesto. She is a licensed California attorney, an organizer, and activist. She currently serves as the California Complete Count Specialist for California Indian Manpower Consortium, Inc., a native nonprofit that provides direct services to the American Indian community throughout California, Illinois, and parts of Iowa. 

She has served as an Executive Board Member of Sol Collective for over a decade. Sol’s focus is to promote social justice through art, culture and activism. Jasmin is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the NGF fellowship, as it has served to inspire the route she will take in her legal work. Her interest in the intersection between immigration and criminal law has become a desire to address the injustices that occur daily in both systems against youth.

Borey “Peejay” Ai

Alameda County | Asian Prisoner Support Committee

Borey “Peejay” Ai has worked with at-risk youth and incarcerated individuals at San Quentin as a Peer Counselor. In 2010 and 2011, he co-founded Kid C.A.T., R.O.O.T.S., and Criminal and Gang Members Anonymous programs, that provide life skills and support services for youth and the San Quentin community. He co-trained hundreds of facilitators in trauma therapy and criminal thinking reform. As a peacemaker and advocate for community health, Peejay serves as a group facilitator for both the Batterer Intervention and the Guiding Rage into Power programs. He currently provides peer support services to communities that are affected by the criminal justice system through his work as a Re-entry Navigator with the Asian Prisoner Support Committee. Peejay joined the Next Generation Fellowship because he values community members coming together to build collective power. He believes that together, change is possible and wants to make a difference in the lives of  individuals in all communities

Edgar Ibarra

Watsonville, CA | MILPA

Edgar strongly believes that reform needs to take place on every level of the justice system, including the hearts and minds of those who hold key positions of power within our government. He is currently a community college student dedicated to justice reform, and plans to transfer to a four-year university in the coming year. He is working towards gaining a deeper understanding of the legislative process as well as the ways in which research is conducted in order to end mass incarceration. While at the same time building relationships with like-minded people in order to achieve victories that will reform the justice system.

James Martinez

Davis, CA

James works towards reforming the justice system because he believes that it is perpetuating racial inequality and racial injustice in every sense of its existence. Throughout his life, James has witnessed many injustices and developed a deep desire to pursue justice on behalf of the disenfranchised. Now, he has taken it upon himself to be a part of the solution. He is currently working on pursuing higher education with the goal of obtaining a law degree. In the future, James would like to use his degree to bring change to a broken justice system.

Katrina Ruiz

Merced, CA | Youth Leadership Institute

Katrina’s drive to reform the justice system is fueled by recognition that it fails people of color and school-age youth. She recognizes that individuals who, despite their best efforts in challenging circumstances, must battle a number of challenges including discrimination and poverty during reentry.  In the future, she hopes to use her education, experiences, and knowledge from NGF to push for justice reform locally and nationally. Her long-term goal is to write and endorse legislation to ensure justice-involved people are not persecuted.

LaVell Baylor

Culver City, CA | Freedom 4 Youth

LaVell is a socially engaged artist, writer, activist, abolitionist and policy advocate. She advocates for justice reform fueled by her belief that none of us are free until we are all free from discrimination, mass incarceration, and disenfranchisement. In addition to NGF, LaVell is a 2018 UCLA Beyond the Bars Fellow and a member of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, InsideOut Writers, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, and CUT#50. She is currently the Deputy Director of Freedom 4 Youth where she works to partner UCSB students with youth in the juvenile justice system. LaVell’s passion for making the world a better place for children and humanity is the driving force for her hard work and plans to use justice reform to make her goals a reality in the future.

Tré Vasquez

Santa Rosa, CA | North Bay Organizing Project

Tré is a youth organizer who is dedicated to building power within young people of color around political issues including the school-to-prison pipeline, justice reform, and educational inequities. He has made it his life’s work to organize young people to build a better future for communities by empowering them to understand and influence policymaking. In the future, he hopes to pass the skills he has learned through NGF on to the youth he serves. In all that he does, Tré works to create a sense of community through healing practices.

Louis Gutierrez

Salinas, CA | MILPA

Louis is a father, mentor, and advocate for change. He believes that the old concept of locking people up and keeping them isolated in a cell with no outlets to improve themselves does not work. His lifetime goal is to see the justice system overhauled and improved. Currently, he works to inspire, educate, and ultimately give hope to others by sharing his personal story. In the future, Louis would like to share his story with policymakers, corrections leaders, community members, and advocates in the hopes of empowering change. He firmly believes that the future of true criminal justice reform rests in the hands of people who have experienced it firsthand.

Jenifer Leonesio

Sacramento, CA | Project Rebound

Jenifer, a recent graduate from Sacramento State University with a passion for criminal justice reform, sees education as the key to transforming her own life and the lives of others who have faced similar challenges. She believes that incarceration tears down the physical and mental well-being of people directly impacted and disrupts vital human connections within their families and communities. In addition, Jenifer believes the systemic racism that is built into the very core of the justice system needs to be confronted and dismantled. Jenifer is working on gaining an even deeper sense of others’ experiences in order to advocate for justice-involved people in a holistic and practical way.

Lucero Herrera

San Francisco, CA | Young Women’s Freedom Center

Lucero works to change the narratives of young women and girls who have been impacted by the justice through reform. Rather than having people speak on behalf of women and girls impacted by the system, she wants to help them share their own stories and unique voices as they are the experts on their own lives. She currently serves as a community leader in San Francisco’s Reentry Council. In addition, she is a research organizer at the Young Women’s Freedom Center and is working on a research project for women and young girls who have been impacted by foster care and the justice system. In the future, she plans to continue building strong voices to fight against our oppressive criminal justice system.

Cualnezca Tonantzin Miranda (Tona)

Sacramento, CA | Native Vote Project

Cualnezca (Tona) is an indigenous woman who comes from the Blackfoot, Yaqui, Chichimeca Mexica people, raised by the vibration of La Cultura Cura. She is committed to serving her community and creating a better system for future generations to come. She is determined to address the systems that have failed indigenous communities and those in need since the creation of them. Today, she continues the work that her elders within her community have started with a focus on dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. Tona works to form culturally-based pathways to postsecondary education and encourages youth and communities to be more vocal for policies that will directly affect them. In the future, she hopes to foster partnerships between her community and justice reform organizations to continue creating a bridge for the next generation of reformers.

Rena Alspaw

San Diego, CA | San Diego Mesa College

Rena is a hard-working SDSU student, majoring in Social Work, with a goal of specializing in “Community Corrections Case Management” (Criminal Justice). She has been a guest speaker at various events, with the objective of giving hope to individuals waiting for parole as well as those paroled after decades of incarceration. She has a deep understanding of the uphill battle that rehabilitation is and this inspired her to obtain her certification as a drug counselor and dedicate her career to the service field. In the future, as a social worker, Rena plans to support community members and create policy change through advocacy.

Juana Ochoa

Los Angeles, CA | Amity Foundation

Juana is passionate about the ways in which the physical environment has an impact on people’s health and well-being. She works to move communities toward adopting and developing sustainable urban agriculture and community gardens as a way to revitalize local neighborhoods. She supports community members returning home by providing platforms where they can develop critical consciousness and break away from personal and structurally oppressive cycles. In the future, she plans to bridge health, education, and employment by developing opportunities in the green sector for people in reentry.

Watani Stiner

Oakland, CA | Root & Rebound

Watani hopes to change the system through the art of storytelling with its power to challenge and shape the narrative. He partners with various organizations and schools to help young people understand their personal narrative and change it for the better. Watani’s own powerful experiences with activism and incarceration uniquely position him to support and understand the youth that he serves. In the future, he hopes to aid marginalized and criminalized youth in further understanding the complex issues that affect them by hosting healing spaces where they can begin to.

Terah Lawyer

Oakland, CA | Impact Justice

Terah believes our current justice system does not heal our communities but rather continues to monetize and dehumanize people, which creates a toxic experience on top of an unfortunate circumstance. She is a spokesperson for the Drop LWOP campaign where she advocates for prisoners and shares her personal testimony to influence policies. In the future, Terah hopes to own a business that will assist formerly incarcerated individuals with the startup of their own business. Her passion lies in encouraging others to reach their fullest potential and teaching them how to use the pitfalls of their past toward their future success.

Somdeng Danny Thongsy

Oakland, CA | Asian Prisoners Support Committee

Somdeng (Danny) is an active community member who is passionate for changing the harsh criminal justice system. In the past, he has participated in advocacy and criminal justice reform efforts with Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus as a fellow. Additionally, he has been actively involved in reentry work as a member of the Asian Prisoners Support Committee. In the future, Danny plans to continue to collaborate with partners who are doing similar work and continue to share his experience with others to raise awareness of issues that he and members of his community face.