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The Next Generation Fellowship (NGF) is a leadership development and policy advocacy training for formerly incarcerated or justice-involved individuals from across California. Our program supports emerging leaders in 1) advancing racial justice and cultural healing, and 2) influencing state and local government through policy advocacy. The fellowship focuses on the movement to end mass incarceration with an emphasis on promoting healthy, safe communities.

This year, CJCJ and MILPA-East Salinas 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.

We invite you to learn more about this year’s Next Generation Fellows, listed below.

Airam Coronado

Monterey CountyMILPA 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.

Arturo Velaz” Muñoz

Santa Clara CountyYouth 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.

Borey Peejay” Ai 

Alameda CountyAsian 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

Claudia Jasmine Gonzalez

Merced CountyRoot & 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. 

Gilbert Anthony Murillo

Santa Barbara CountyUnderground 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. 

Jamie Wilson

San Diego CountyPillars 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.

Jasmin Aleman

Sacramento CountySol 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.

Jordanna Wong-Omshehe

Riverside CountyStarting 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.

Josue Pineda

Orange CountyResilience 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.”

Marina Perez

Los Angeles CountyMeztli 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. 

Mary Carmen Ruiz De La O

Alameda CountyEast 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.

Melvin Redd” MartineZ

Riverside CountyUnderground 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.

Nancy Juarez

Yolo CountyUC 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 hxstorically 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.

Find out more about CJCJ and MILPA’s Next Generation Fellowship »