In our 25th year, meet 25 changemakers—the connectors, thinkers, and doers—who are transforming justice together.
Your dedication and support allow our changemakers to transform the justice system. That makes you a changemaker, too! Lawyers, social workers, community organizers, educators, advocates, researchers—these changemakers, with their diverse backgrounds, knowledge, and experience, play a crucial role in the work we do every day at the Center for Court Innovation. Their stories are different, but each of our 25 changemakers are leaving a unique mark in the world, motivated by a desire to change the status quo.
Together, we work towards an anti-racist, equitable, and fair justice system as we build community-created, community-led initiatives that put people first. We emphasize restorative healing and holistic services over punishment. We have long served as a bridge between government and communities, helping channel resources and strengthen partnerships to get things done. Our people are connectors, thinkers, and doers.
Throughout our year-long Changemakers in Action series, you will meet the individuals who are transforming justice together. Follow along here and on social media with the hashtag #transformingjustice.
Meet Saadiq Newton-Boyd
Community Affairs Manager, Brooklyn Justice Initiatives
When he was young, Saadiq had dreams of becoming Batman, but as he grew into a man he realized that isn't the kind of justice that communities actually need. Instead, he became a connector between communities and the resources and solutions they identify are needed. Saadiq knows it's important to dig deeper than what is on the surface because when "we really listen to the community and recenter them, then we’re turning to them as the experts they are. When we don’t involve the community, the work is not as impactful as it can be, and we’re not reaching our full potential.” Read more about Saadiq's journey from Batman to Changemaker at the link below.Meet Saadiq
Meet Anna Pomper
Senior Program Associate, Operations Department
Anna Pomper knows from experience that having persistence can yield surprising results. Through her years running diversion programming, she believes that we can work towards healing through people-centered justice: how we treat each other and how we address harm when it’s caused. "Being consistent and clear in your messaging, precise with your reasoning, and leveraging relationships sometimes means you can win important victories you might have thought would be difficult or impossible." You can read more about Anna's victories and our early diversion programming below.Meet Anna
Meet Kiran Malpe
Clinical Director, Strong Starts Court Initiative
Kiran Malpe works with children from birth to age three who are involved in child protection proceedings in Family Court as part of our Strong Starts Court Initiative. She wants to see the whole person and have "a more holistic view of families." Her ability to look at things through a different lens sets her leadership apart for the Strong Starts coordinators who work with the judges, attorneys, and court staff to identify which programs, treatment, or resources will best benefit each individual family. You can learn more about Kiran and the Strong Starts Court Initiative below.Meet Kiran
Meet Orleny Rojas
Director, Criminal Court Operations
Orleny Rojas has been bringing people and resources together for her entire 12+ years at the Center for Court Innovation, but her passion for broad change and her ability to see the bigger picture began much earlier. In her current role as director of Criminal Court Operations, Orleny's objective is to find appropriate interventions that address the real needs of carceral-involved community members and "not keep them cycling through the system." Through her years of professional experience, she has become convinced that “the future is community-based" and that the individual work of each person does matter because you never know "how big the ripple effects of that can be." You can learn more about Orleny and the ripple effects of our Criminal Court Operations team at the link below.Meet Orleny
Meet Nida Abbasi
Associate Director, Gender and Family Justice
Nida Abassi works with communities to transform gender and family justice. "You want your community to provide the education, support, and resources necessary to keep its members safe." Meeting courts and communities where they are at, Nida and her team help them respond creatively, holistically, and effectively to gender-based violence. "What we do is offer support. We can come to communities, talk to people, offer a new perspective, propose ideas, and help them deliver." Learn more about Nida and how the Gender and Family Justice team works to create safety and accountability alongside community.Meet Nida
Meet Andree Tenemas-Chavez
Citywide Program Manager, Parent Support Program
Andree Tenemas-Chavez helps non-custodial parents address challenges paying child support, but her work uplifts whole families. “By helping the non-custodial parent, we’re helping children and families, we’re helping kids reach their full potential. We’ve learned that once the barriers are removed, parents tend to reach out to the other parent to establish a connection with their children." Andree is the citywide program manager for the Parent Support Program, which she helped launch when she joined our organization in December 2010.Meet Andree
Meet Kellsie Sayers
Director of Restorative Practices
“This job has really shown me our deep ability as human beings to be connected to one another.” Kellsie Sayers is the director of restorative practices where she oversees the design and implementation of restorative justice programming. Kellsie joined the Center for Court Innovation four years ago to lead the restorative justice in schools project, a four-year pilot looking at the impact of restorative practices on school culture. “The foundation of restorative justice is really community building.” Learn how Kellsie uses restorative practices to build stronger, healthier relationships and communities.
Meet Jennelle Ramdeen
Program Associate of the Youth Justice Board
Jennelle Ramdeen is a social justice educator, youth worker, and activist. They have been at the Center for Court Innovation since 2018 and currently serve as program associate of the Youth Justice Board. Jennelle facilitates programming to teach youth “how to think critically, make connections, [and] have the tools to analyze and be responsible researchers."
Read more about Jennelle.
Meet Hailey Nolasco
Director of Community-Based Violence Prevention
"Community has the answers to the issues. Whatever is going on, the person who lives on the block knows how to fix it.” Hailey Nolasco is the director of Community-Based Violence Prevention at the Center and leads the RISE (Reimagining Intimacy through Social Engagement) Project, which addresses the intersection between gun violence and intimate partner violence. She says her work at the Center allows her to be creative in the ways she addresses public safety and works with community.
Read more about Hailey and her work.
Meet Chidinma Ume
Deputy Director of Policy
Chidinma Ume is a connector of both people and resources as she consults with communities nationally to implement justice reforms. Based in our West Coast office, Chidinma serves as deputy director of policy, a role that allows her to provide jurisdictions advice, support, and training in the areas of jail reduction, criminal justice debt reform, and to work with government and community leaders on evidence-informed practices. Hear from Chidinma how she approaches the work of transforming justice in an effort to co-create a fairer, more human-centered system for all.
Meet the Rev. Kevin Jones
“It’s all about loving people,” says the Rev. Kevin Jones, Save Our Streets Brooklyn’s faith-based organizer. “I don’t believe in pastoring in four walls. I believe in pastoring in community.” The Rev. Jones (or “Rev,” as friends and colleagues call him) is the only faith-based organizer among all of New York City’s 26 anti-violence Crisis Management System sites, which deploy violence interrupters with first-hand knowledge of street and gang life to mediate conflicts before they escalate.