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Announcing the 2018 Rockwood Leaders Fellows

By December 11, 2018 December 13th, 2018 No Comments

Rockwood is proud to announce the 2018 cohort of the Rockwood Leaders Fellowship!

The purpose of this fellowship is to provide leadership development opportunities to formerly incarcerated, emerging leaders. The intention is to transform the stigma of incarceration while upholding the dignity and humanity of all people, regardless of relationship to the criminal justice system.

Please join us in congratulating the 2018 fellows:


Clarence Ford | Policy Research Associate, The Burns Institute

Clarence focuses on recent developments in research and legislation, and analyzes data to understand the impact that different judicial decision-making points have on people of color. Clarence brings lived experience to his work in the criminal justice reform movement. He’s a double UC Berkeley alumnus, recently receiving his master’s in public policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy. Clarence also helped to produce a short documentary that highlights the inspiring journeys of four individuals (including himself) from being incarcerated to being admitted to UC Berkeley. He voluntarily visits correctional facilities and universities to showcase the film to promote dialogue around higher education and dismantling social stigmas of formerly incarcerated persons.

Eric Henderson | Policy Associate, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Eric is the policy associate at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights based in Oakland, CA. In this role, he works on various local and state policies to end mass incarceration and redirect resources to programs that increase housing, healthcare, education, and jobs. Eric is an appointed member of the San Francisco Sentencing Commission and serves as an advocate for current and formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. Prior to joining the Ella Baker Center, Eric worked at UCLA’s Graduate Division – Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Admissions, and as a researcher at UCLA working on interdisciplinary research in the departments of public health, psychology, and communication studies.

Claudia Gonzalez | Community Organizer & Program Coordinator, Youth Leadership Institute

Claudia Jasmine is an activist, organizer, and educator in California’s Central Valley. She grew up in the Bay Area, but has made Merced her home for the past several years. A graduate of Merced College, she went on to study at UC Berkeley, where she was a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar. Since returning to the Valley in 2014, her work has focused on building youth power and tackling systems of mass incarceration. Raised with strong social justice and political foundations, Gonzalez has been involved in many movements, most notably the formerly incarcerated people movement, and now holds the distinction of being a Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow. Through her Soros Justice Advocacy fellowship, Gonzalez launched the first wrap-around reentry program for formerly incarcerated womyn and girls in the Central Valley, Formerly Incarcerated Xingonas (FIX). Additionally, she works with Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) and leads the Girls and Womyn of Color (GWoC) program. Dedicated to social justice, Claudia hopes to continue movement building, healing, and organizing in the Central Valley.

Lily Gonzalez | Co-Founder, Revolutionary Scholars

Lily is a 2018 Newman Civic Fellow, a 2017 Just Leadership USA fellow, graduate student, mother, and founding blogger for La Comadre. She is a native Angeleno, born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. After finishing an 18-month program at Homeboy Industries, Lily obtained her undergraduate degree, making her the first “Homegirl” to earn a bachelor’s degree and start a master’s program. She is the co-founder of Revolutionary Scholars at California State University Northridge, an on-campus organization in support of students impacted by incarceration. In her free time, Lily is a mom working to raise a teenage daughter (16) and son (5).

Noe Gudino | Policy Fellow, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children

Noe is from Richmond, CA and is a transfer student at Cal State University East Bay. He was recently placed on CSUEB’s Honors List for his academic efforts. Noe also participates in Level 5, a campus organization servicing formerly incarcerated students. Noe is a community advocate with local organizations such as Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE Action), the Safe Return Project, and All of Us or None for major campaigns such as Ban the Box and Bail Reform. Noe recently completed at fellowship with Staying Power as a part of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley.

Louis Gutierrez | Community Liaison and Program Assistant, MILPA

Louis was born in Salinas, California. His mother is Margaret, and he was raised by his step-father Jesus. His mother had her tubes tied, but by some miracle, she still conceived and brought into this world a healthy boy. He is the youngest, with three older brothers and one older sister. He is the father of a 6-year-old daughter Sienna and a brand new baby boy, Louis Robert Gutierrez. He is engaged to his fiancé Selena, who is a nurse at a local Hospital. They enjoy camping, the lake, and taking trips away from home. Every day is a blessing and he loves being a father and experiencing each new day with his family.

LaMont Jackson-Martin | Consultant, UCLA Justice Group

Upon Monty’s return to society, after his 96-month “federal vacation”, he immediately enrolled back into college. This was not his plan, but, once he acclimated to the “square life,” he saw that there was a lack of programs and support for other individuals that were returning to college after doing a prison term. And that was only if the individual was bold enough to self-identify as someone that had been incarcerated. Monty has become an advocate for returning citizens throughout the country. His niche is increasing the pathway from incarceration to higher education. He has used his own experiences as a nontraditional leader in the hopes that his experiences will encourage other returning citizens to realize their potential. Monty has demonstrated his leadership and dedication by his continued involvement in the criminal justice reform space, despite the continued manipulation of the returning citizen population.

Philip Melendez | Reentry Fellow, Insight Prison Project

Philip came home in September of 2017, and became Insight Prison Project’s restorative reentry fellow. He is passionate about ending mass incarceration and bringing equality to our society.


Ryan Rising | Secretary, Inspired Innovation

Ryan lives in San Diego and works to break the stigma of those who are formerly incarcerated. He attends San Diego City College and is a part of Underground Scholars, an organization that helps other formerly incarcerated individuals navigate through college. He believes that education saved his life and is a tool to reduce the recidivism rate. He is critical of what he characterized as minimal efforts on the part of the prison system to prepare inmates for a return to society.

Rayceana Rocha | Student Advocate, California State University Los Angeles-Project Rebound

Rayceana was released from federal prison in 2011 and found a new sense of self through higher education. She is an advocate for formerly incarcerated people through Project Rebound and is committed to creating equality after incarceration.


James Thompkins | Underground Scholars Initiative

James is a sophomore student at Bakersfield College, majoring in psychology. He is deeply passionate about breaking barriers to success for students returning from incarceration. James works with a focus on building community partnerships and developing strategies to create space for formerly incarcerated students on the Bakersfield College campus. James holds positions in several local and state organizations and utilizes those positions to push his work forward.

Deborah Turner | Case Manager, Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services, Inc & Solutions for Women

Deborah was born and raised in San Francisco. She is the youngest of six, and the mother of one. She has been working in the field of substance abuse since 2000. She did not begin working in the trenches until she retired as a journey-woman ironworker. She has been clean and sober for over 18 years now. She gave two numbers back to the prison system where she realized enough was enough. Deborah has been working with the homeless and incarcerated population assisting them with resources and support that will make a difference in the lifestyle they have been living. She is one of the co-founders of Solutions for Women, a nonprofit organization in San Francisco that supports formerly incarcerated women who suffer from mental health and substance-related difficulties. The passion she has for the services she engages in comes from knowing that she makes a difference in people’s lives when they continue to set goals and achieve them.

Alisea Wesley-Clark | Program Manager, Tenderloin Housing Clinic & Solutions for Women

Alisea has worked in the human services field for over 20 years and her knowledge of business and professionalism is supported by over 30 years of experience acquired from the corporate, federal government, and nonprofit industries. She received her bachelor’s in sociology from National University. Alisea’s motto is “If you believe then you can achieve.” She works as a volunteer in the community and is a mentor to several women. She also does service work for Cocaine Anonymous. In addition to being a member of the Professional Women’s Network, Alisea is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach and co-author of The Power of God, a Daily Devotional 2013.

Stewart Andrew Winn | Director, Project Rebound

Andrew Winn attended Sacramento City College, earning degrees in social science and 98sociology, graduating with highest honors. He then transferred to UCLA, majoring in sociology and minoring in African American studies, graduating cum laude in 2017. While at UCLA, he became president of graduate and family housing, co-founded UCLA’s chapter of Underground Scholars Initiative, became a leader of the Justice Work Group, and joined the policy team of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition. Currently active in policy reform, Andrew lives in Sacramento with his wife Kimberlee, and is the director of Project Rebound at Sacramento State.