Dr. Vincenzo A. Sainato, Board Chair, is a forensic criminologist who spent the first half of his career developing internet technologies and designing websites for Fortune 500s. During 9-11 he worked for a firm in the WTC and returned to school after that to further his education. He holds graduate degrees in both economic development (Fordham) and criminal justice (John Jay College of Criminal Justice). In 2005, Dr. Sainato began teaching in an urban associates degree program, and in 2009 successfully defended his dissertation on civil rights and police surveillance through technology. He was appointed Director of the Masters Program in Criminal Justice Administration at Loyola University in New Orleans in 2009, and at night he attended the police academy. Upon graduation, he worked by day as a college professor and by night as a sheriff’s deputy. For the last two years Dr. Sainato has focused his research on the victimization by robbery of Latin migrants in post-Katrina New Orleans and other policing and social justice matters such as bail and pre-trial sentencing. He is currently working on completing field interviews for a book, Justice in the Eye of the Storm, which takes a critical look at post Katrina New Orleans in the context of communities and the police. It’s a narrative-driven critical analysis of the police and their operations immediately after Katrina and the years since the storm. Since December of 2013 Dr. Sainato has been the chair of the Criminal Justice program at City University of Seattle, a non-profit open-access university in Seattle, Washington.
Carol F. Burton, L.M.S.W., BS and M.S.W., Board Vice Chair, Co-Chair and Coordinator of Alameda County’s Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership, advisor for NRCCFI at Rutgers University at Camden and CEO and Principal Consultant for Jeweld Legacy Group. In 2013 Burton received The White House Champion of Change Award for her outstanding work on behalf of Children of Incarcerated Parents. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chaim Dunbar, Board Treasurer, is a poet, speaker, actor and artistic activist. A product of The Juilliard School, Chaim is passionate about liberating men’s hearts, particularly in urban communities. He is founder of WeBeONE and Co-founder Dunbar Brand Inc., two media companies dedicated to creating socially responsible, life affirming and entertaining content. Chaim the creator and former host of The People Speak, a conscious open mic event for poets and storytellers at Agape International; he is director of Dirty Me Divine, a one-woman show that empowers women to heal their shame and live their truth; he is the writer and star of a short form poetry film, Where Are the Men, produced by RARE Media. His company, Dunbar Brand, Inc. along with Elevate Films and RARE Media are developing a documentary film, ColorOfLove, a collection of stories celebrating multiculturalism and the diversity of love.
Heidi Tuffias, Board Secretary, is a family lawyer and mediator whose practice focuses on dispute resolution. Ms. Tuffias graduated from the University of California Davis with a Bachelor’s Degree in contemporary history and received her law degree from the University of Southern California Law Center; there she received the National Association of Women Lawyers’ Outstanding Woman Law Student Award. While still in practice, Ms. Tuffias is also pursuing a Master’s degree in psychology at Antioch University in Los Angeles. She has long been an advocate for the rights of the incarcerated. Through the 1990s, Ms. Tuffias served on and was chair of the Women Lawyers Association Jail Project. She was a mentor with the Los Angeles Barristers Juvenile Justice program, working with juveniles incarcerated at the Dorothy Kirby Center. Ms. Tuffias has served on the Board of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists and, in addition to being on the board of POPS the Club, is a member of the Family Law Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law.
Dennis Danziger, Co-Founder, has taught English and Sports Literature in the Los Angeles Unified School District for over twenty years. In collaboration with his wife, Amy Friedman and PEN USA’s Pen in the Classroom program, he has shepherded hundreds of students to publish their first essay in the PEN USA Anthologies. Since 2013, he has served as instigator, prompter, and editor of the POPS the Club anthologies and other student writing and as sponsor of the inaugural POPS Club at Venice High. Mr. Danziger’s essays have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. He is a novelist and playwright who currently works closely with Hollywood’s Stephanie Feury Theater.
Angel de Mey, grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of an incarcerated parent. At eighteen she headed out to Los Angeles to attend the American College of Applied Arts. As the cost of education became a financial burden she joined the United States Army where she served six years as a Civil Affairs Specialist. She returned to college at Santa Monica College where she majored in Dance and went on to continue her studies at UCLA. For the last 25 years Angel has worked as a Personal Trainer and raising her family. She is currently President of the Parents’ Association at Shattuck St. Mary’s and loves volunteering at POPS, working with the kids in the classroom and at special events.
Anastasia Stanecki, Activist and essayist, Anastasia works in the entertainment producer. She grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and in smalltown Georgia, graduating with a degree in journalism from Oakland University. Anastasia was the first guest speaker at one of the earliest Pops the club meetings–and it was there, she says, that she found her Soul Purpose.
Rodney Williams is an entrepreneur and writer. For the past eleven years he has been owner, innkeeper and chef for a 26-room lodging brand with two locations. Prior to his entrepreneurial career, Mr. Williams had a successful fifteen-year corporate career in the healthcare financing/actuarial field, working with the largest health insurer in the country and a respected employee benefits consulting firm. His most recent, forthcoming memoir details his brush with the criminal justice system and his search for identity and justice. As an avid genealogist, Mr. Williams believes the exploration of family history fosters self-confidence, groundedness, and a strong sense of self. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics/Economics from Emory University and culinary training at the Los Angeles Culinary Institute.
Farrah Washington has a penchant for numbers but a heart for social work. She is an accountant by profession and social rights advocate by passion. Farrah graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and holds a Master’s Degree of Accountancy from Kaplan University. Farrah also is the creator of This I Share, a website and community dedicated to sharing positive content.
Lydia Flora Barlow has long balanced her professional life with community work in support of social justice. Her impassioned work related to mass incarceration includes serving as board chair of POPS, The Club Inc. She also founded Fabian’s Fund, which provides financial resources for higher education to those currently or recently incarcerated. After noting a chronic shortage of housing for recently released men and women, Lydia is also working to create livable transitional housing. Lydia’s passion for dismantling the structures underlying mass incarceration and restoring the lives of those impacted by it emanates from her experience in the Beloved Community with families of incarcerated men and women, and from personal experience: the incarceration and eventual suicide (while incarcerated) of a twenty-one year old, Fabian, who had been raised as her brother. In her professional career, Lydia was most recently a Senior Vice President at Symmetry Financial, a Bellevue, Washington-based financial services company. Lydia’s non-profit work expands outside issues related to the criminal justice system. She serves as trustee of the American Baptist Seminary of the West and as President and Board Chair of the Seattle Central College Foundation.
Rachel Davenport has over 30 years of experience in the securities/financial industry. She played a significant role in the creation of Iaccocca Capital Group, a boutique investment firm. Rachel was their Chief Compliance Officer, responsible for SEC compliance as well as corporate and investment bank administration. Rachel also has experience in small and large sized firms, having worked with Klein Investment Group, Bear Stearns and Gruntal & Co. Some of her responsibilities with these companies included recruitment and hiring of operations staff, administration policy, regulatory issues and human resources policy. She also has experience in securities trading. In the nonprofit world, Rachel was a Board member and Board Chair of New Directions, a residential rehabilitation organization that serves veterans. During her time there, New Directions built and opened the first permanent supported housing development for veterans in California. She was also a member of their strategic planning, nominating and finance committees. Rachel’s other nonprofit involvement includes serving as a past Board member, finance committee member and Chair of Airport Marina Counseling Services Inc. She currently is a volunteer at K9 Companions, an organization that matches shelter dogs and at risk youth for training and counseling.
Elsa Mendoza, Ed.D., Principal of Sonia Sotomayor School of History and Dramatic Arts. In 2013, Dr. Mendoza was principal of Venice High School and the first principal to accept and support a POPS Club on campus.
Dr. Raphael Bostic, Professor, Judith and John Bedrosian Chair in Governance and the Public Enterprise at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Dr. Bostic began teaching at USC in 2001 and served as a professor in the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development. During President Obama’s first administration, Dr. Bostic was a Senate-confirmed Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, focused on making informed decisions on HUD policies and programs as well as budget and legislative proposals. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University and his BA from Harvard University.