Collective Leadership Institute

The Collective Leadership Institute is inspired by our radical hope to strengthen the leadership of formerly incarcerated and directly impacted women, and expand their capacity to contribute to the women’s justice movement to end mass incarceration.

The Women Transcending Collective Leadership Institute (CLI) offers leadership development that includes: capacity building, legislative and advocacy tools, community organizing, and communication skills. We also include workshops on the history of different women’s movement, healing practices, and Participatory Action Research throughout the year.

One year commitment includes:

  • 3 four-day, in-person learning sessions (Thursday evening through Sunday noon – dates TBD)
  • Two Beyond the Bars Conferences
  • Two webinars

The learning sessions and Beyond the Bars Conferences will take place in New York City.  The CLI is open to people from across the country.  All travel to New York City is paid for.

Check back for the next application cycle.

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Meet Our Collective Leadership Institute 2022-2023 Cohort

Brittany Bethea was born in Durham, North Carolina after being formerly incarcerated and directly impacted by the incarceral system and surrounding herself around people that were determined to fight for justice for Black folks. She sought out to see what it was that she could do and step in and do something. She has been a part of many organizations ending money bail, helping directly impacted folks find employment and also housing and connecting them to many other resources. She looks forward to assisting the younger generation with mental health issues and ending generational curses.

Photo of Brittany Bethea

Chazidy Bowman is the Founder and Executive Director of Opportunities People's Justice Leaders. An organization geared toward assuring those incarcerated. Receive fair humane treatment and that their civil rights are not violated. They offer families resources to aid them in their advocacy efforts for their loved ones during their incarceration. The organization was established in March of 2020 through the global pandemic. Where they received a lot of credibility and notoriety. For aggressive campaigns toward Covid-19, lack of healthcare, and the abuse of those in American prisons. Chazidy is a member of the 2021 Just Leadership USA Cohort and JLUSA advisory Committee. She also holds the title of Prison Committee Chairman for the Cincinnati NAACP chapter. She serves on the Hamilton County Public Defender Advisory Committee. Steering Committee member for Community for Sheriff Accountability. She also a member of the 2022 Women Transcending Collective Leadership Institute. She has also been newly elected as the Hamilton County Democratic Party Executive Committee member. She serves on the Smart Justice Advisory Board with ACLU of Ohio. She is the proud recipient of the 2020 recipient of the “Faith Leader of The Year” award from Faith and Public life. Her biggest organizational accomplishment in 2022 was winning as successful campaign. To have body careers place on all correctional officers in Ohio’s Prisons. She is the proud wife of Rufus Bowman who is currently incarcerated. As well as the mother of 4 beautiful children. Through her incarceration experience. Chazidy and Rufus have collaborated and created two peer led programs for men and women incarcerated and previously incarcerated. Our Men’s program is called Stay Focused Movement. Our women's program is Titled P.O.W Protect Our Women. They are 12 month mentorship programs. To help those incarcerated and returning home to stay focused on their goals to be successful

Photo of Chazidy Bowman

Jay Rene is a documentarian, and has to date completed two documentaries called 12. These documentaries expose the corruptions of the police, government officials, and other government entities, including prisons from state to state. She hopes to go to every state in America and expose the injustices and corruptions across the country. She is an independent journalist for the people, of the people. She does video, audio and written journalism and has written for State Vs Us Magazine, the SF Bayview National Black Newspaper and The Humanist Freedoms Canada

 

She is the founder of Prison Riot Radio, a journalistic service and advocate platform where the efforts, lives, achievements, wrongful convictions, over sentencing, etc… of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated individuals can be heard. She provides the Incarcerated with the ability to talk about their cases, the facilities, their treatment, as well as help them to promote their crafts and abilities, skills and organizations. She also assists them in creating ebooks, books, podcasts, musical pieces and content. She reaches out to family, lawyers, other advocates, activists and organizations on the behalf of Incarcerated individuals from coast to coast. To date, all have been free of charge.

 

She has created a platform for the loved ones of those incarcerated to be able to talk about their experiences and have brought families together that were having similar circumstances which assists in creating support systems. She has begun to reach her efforts out of the US and into Canada by joining with female Canadian Journalists and Prison Advocates.

 

Photo of J. Rene Davis

Tiffani Dean is a performer/poet/playwright, mixed media and doll artist and teaching artist. Her

theater work has been seen at The Think Create Inspire Theatre Festival, The Cool Stories Theater Festival, The Bridge PHL Theater Festival, The Philadelphia Art Sanctuary Celebration

of Black Art, the SheNYC Summer Theatre Festival and the SheLa Summer Theater Festival. Artistically her mixed media and dolls art has been in several art galleries and featured at many

art festivals across the country for the pat 23 years. She is the CEO of La Diva Dolls, LLC, Co-founder and COO of The Collective Mic Productions, and has been a Philadelphia Art Sanctuary

Teaching Artist Fellow.

 

Photo of Tiffani Dean

Page Dukes is a core organizer with liberatory memory and writing projects Mourning Our Losses and Georgia Freedom Letters, and Communications Associate at the Southern Center for Human Rights, where she raises awareness about the effects of incarceration and the need for agency and accuracy in conversations about prisons and people. She's honored to serve as a 2022 Represent Justice Ambassador, and as a board member at Motherhood Beyond Bars, which supports families separated by incarceration, and Georgia Coalition for Higher Ed in Prison, which advocates for equitable access to education. She dreams of new backdrops for our collective imagination, ones where no one is locked out of sight and out of mind.

Photo of Page Dukes

Sheena Dume` has overcome many hardships throughout her life.Despite her oppressions,Ms.Dume` choose to utilize her life experiences as a

message to motivate others to overcome their adversities. She considers herself a survivor and not a victim of her past circumstances. Through it all

she has managed to obtain a A.S. in Business  Management as well as a Paralegal degree in Legal

Studies. Ms.Dume` has also rendered her services and expertise with non-profit organizations in betterment of the community. She's a goal driven

oriented advocate whose sole purpose in life is to share her story to empower, heal and educate all women with relatable experiences.

 

Photos of Sheena Dume

Shameeka France is the Community Outreach Specialist for the Women's Prison Association. She assists individuals within the five boroughs that currently suffer from Substance Use. She educates and distributes Naloxone (Narcan) a safe medication that can save someone’s life by reversing the effects of an opioid overdose. Ms. France also provides fentanyl testing strips and provides preventative linkage and information for care in prep for HIV testing. She is well versed in her community and well respected in the field of Human Services. She is also a current student in Columbia Law School participating in the Theater of Change: Reimagining Justice through Abolition social change work, the arts provide a vital space to imagine alternative solutions to our broken systems and promote those alternate futures as achievable realities. In this course, Ms. France has developed her individual and collective ability to blend artistry, law, policy, and community engagement to produce pieces of impactful artivism in policy spaces where change can happen.

Photo of Shameeka France

Charlotte Garnes launched ReNForce, a nonprofit organization that compliments the labor force by administering tailored training and coaching to businesses and organizations looking to employ justice-involved individuals within their workforce. Charlotte also manages and operates Innovative Staffing Solutions, whose responsibility is to staff and employ the underutilized workforce of justice-involved individuals. She organized the Dignity LeadHERship Alliance (DLA) collective of directly impacted women who successfully experienced informing policy through lived expertise that advocates for marginalized women internationally. Advocate, mentor, social change agent, and educator, Charlotte’s most recent endeavor is establishing and presenting her customized trainings and workshops focused on workforce development and successful re-integration for those formerly incarcerated or justice-involved. She desires to assist individuals returning home from incarceration with more professional and wholesome opportunities to obtain employment, housing, and goals for self-sufficiency. Through her vision, Charlotte intends to use her focus and passion to shift the community’s perception associated with mass incarceration. Through her personal experience, she works to change the stigma and prejudices surrounding formerly incarcerated or the directly impacted.   

 

Charlotte Garnes volunteers with various organizations, from United Way to From Prison to Ph.D. She is a 2020 Leading with Conviction Cohort Graduate of JustLeadership USA. She mentors young women across the globe who are advocates for criminal justice and social and healthcare change. Charlotte currently sits on the RestoreHER US America and Formerly Incarcerated Union of Rhode

Island. She received her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Georgia Southern University in

Statesboro, GA, and her Master of Arts in Counseling from Webster University in Columbia, SC. And in her

spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, writing, and motivating others to be their best selves!

 

Photo of Sheena Dume

Robyn K Hasan started as a contractor in June 2020 with Women on the Rise and rose quickly in the organization by becoming the Executive Director in January 2022. Since coming home in 2020, after serving 10 years in prison, she has been fighting to reform the criminal legal system through the campaign of Closing the Atlanta City Detention Center, which has gained national attention. While inside she created a newsletter to help uplift women in her situation, since coming home she continued the newsletter through Women on the Rise and Reverse the Cycle of Incarceration.  She lives in Atlanta with her daughter, Nadya and 4-legged friend Nova.

Photo of Robyn K Hasan

Haydee Lee Scott is a Certified FDC Family Developer, Proud Afro-Latina Mother of three, Mental-Financial Wellness Coach and Founder of Women's Empowerment & Wellness Initiative, Love Thyself First. Haydee's core belief is that Wellness is a Human Right. 

 

Photo of Haydee Lee Scott

Marilyn Mateo was a High School English Teacher for 16 years teaching Speech & Debate, Literature, English Regents, Creative Writing, SAT, PSAT, MCAT, LSAT,

Grammar & Critical Reading/Writing. She is also the Producer of Latinx Affairs on WBAI’s On the Count, Inc. Radio 99.5 FM. As an alumnus of New York University

having majored in English & Philosophy, she is concluding her master’s degree in Liberal Studies. Impacted by the Criminal Legal System, Marilyn began working as

a Senior Re-Entry Specialist on Riker’s Island over 7 years ago after also witnessing the school-to-prison pipeline. She is currently a Coordinator for the NYC Criminal Justice Agency nurturing her experiences. Her goals are to conclude her Ph.D. in

Urban Education and publish her work.

 

Photo of Marilyn Mateo

Tashoy Miller is a driven & motivated advocate fighting for women impacted by mass incarceration. While she’s just beginning her career in advocacy she’s no stranger to upper level management positions, spearheading initiatives , project management & client relations. Her background has consistently been characterized by her steadfast dedication to enhancing organizational performance and achieving company objectives. Her passion for social justice reform and community engagement has helped her to make an impact across various communities. Her advocacy work began after she gained lived experience & realized how unjust the criminal justice system really is. With her proven ability to leverage communication, presentation, and leadership talents to make significant contributions, Tashoy intends to grow in this field while being a voice for incarcerated women. Tashoy is passionate about advocating for women and Black communities throughout her career and will continue to do so on her path to fight for justice.

 

Photo of Tashoy Miller

Gale Muhammad, Founder & President of Women Who Never Give Up, Inc., is known nationally as a tireless and passionate activist for criminal justice, and prison reform. Gale Muhammad is a veteran social justice warrior on the national stage. Gale’s organization WWNG Up, Inc., fights for the rights of the incarcerated and their families who face injustice within the criminal justice system. WWNG Up, Inc., fights for prison reform, advocating on behalf of the families of those incarcerated who face an array of difficult issues that disrupt their lives and create challenging barriers to success and independence.

Photo of Gale Muhammad

Vichelle Sanders is a Chicago native that currently resides in Renton Washington.  She is a field coordinator and Art healing specialist with Sacred Community Connections (S.C.C).  SCC serves communities in King County which includes Seattle residents. We are committed to serving the underprivileged and providing a voice for the voiceless.

Photo of Vichelle Sanders

Tanya Smith’s strength is from a long line of Strong Brown Women who've contended with systemic racism in some form or fashion. They’ve molded her to be the fierce mother of three beautiful daughters in whom she feels are her greatest accomplishments. She has been chosen to be a grandmother of three beautiful granddaughters. She is a daughter/Sister/Auntie/lifelong Student/ Unconventional  Social Worker/ Minister and now Abolitionist. She served in the community of Human Services as a Mental Health/Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence and Child Welfare provider for over 18 yrs. in the City of Waterbury CT and most recently in The Bronx New York. Her responsibilities and territory have been enlarged as the paradigm in my calling is now strengthening women and girls incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and those enormously impacted. She is now an abolitionist fighting for women to be made whole and seen as individuals, not our mistakes.

Coming from a place where Black men wouldn't live past the age 33 or ended up in this revenue generated prison system and young mothers left to being a pain filled single mothers. Not understanding the dangers in this disparity regarding the Copper Color Americans in my community, mistakes were repeated. This affected her as she became a single mother with preexisting trauma raising children. For years, the trauma was unaddressed as she struggled to see how to support the needs of my children. This would contribute to my involvement in unfortunate choices which lead to my incarceration and leaving my children vulnerable and alone. Her experience with trauma has blindsided many of my past choices. However, she tapped into and fine-tuned her ability to fuel self-determination and resilience in overcoming my many oppositions. With all her flaws, she continued to push towards achieving any goals she set out to accomplish while encouraging others to do the same.

 

Photo of Tanya Smith

Tabatha Trammell is a formerly incarcerated criminal justice reform advocate and nonprofit founder of Woman With a Plan, a Georgia organization that empowers other women who are directly impacted by the Georgia criminal legal system with mentorship, grocery assistance, clothing for interviews and recovery mentorship. She is the mother of 5, two of which were minors in her care at the time of her incarceration, who had to go into the foster care system. Tabatha experienced great challenges to regaining custody of her children once released, including obstacles placed in her way by the criminal legal and foster care system to make her goals unattainable but because Tabatha is indeed “a woman with a plan”, she advocated on her own behalf and eventually regained custody of her children, freeing them from the system. She dedicates a large portion of her advocacy to helping other mothers overcome the same challenges that she experienced with regaining custody post incarceration.

 

Photo of Tabatha Trammell

Sharon Turner is a grassroot activist and community organizer and social entrepreneur living in Atlanta Georgia fighting for equity, freedom and justice on behalf of

marginalized populations on a local and national level. Her lifelong pursuit of learning through personal and educational experiences has developed herself

into the leader she is today. She has received several accolades of accomplishments, however some of the most meaningful are the women led fellowships cohorts with Women Organizing for Justice and Opportunity

(WOJO), Ladies Of Hope Ministries (LOHM) DOULA Initiative, and now Women Transcending and the Collective Leadership Institute.

 

Photo of Sharon Turner

Waleisah Wilson is a dedicated criminal justice reform activist who staunchly supports efforts that address issues that impact the most marginalized communities and has been most vocal on issues related to eliminating the unjust barriers to successful reentry, voting, entrepreneurship and economic prosperity for individuals with felony convictions, ending slavery in Georgia, solitary confinement, mass incarceration, the death penalty, justice equity for disabled, mentally ill and LGBTQIA+ individuals, reentry challenges for individuals and families impacted by sex offender registries and the faith community’s critical role in supporting reentry. 

 

She is the founder of NewLife Second Chance Outreach, Inc., a Georgia nonprofit that exclusively serves individuals impacted by a criminal conviction, a 2017 JustleadershipUSA’s “Leading with Conviction” Fellow, a 2019 Southerners on New Ground’s the Lorde’s Werq Leadership Fellow, a 2020 Soros Justice Fellow and is currently a 2022 Represent Justice Ambassador and is the owner of Phoenix Recruiting & Employment Services, LLC. and Beautiful Pride, an ecommerce apparel store that allows its customers to support grassroots social and criminal justice causes and organizations through its collection purchases. 

 

Waleisah resides in Atlanta, is a member of America's freedom church, the historical Ebenezer Baptist Church where the Rev. Dr. and Senator Raphael Warnock presides and works at the Southern Center for Human Rights where she leads the reentry division as its Client Services Advocate

 

Photo of Waleisah Wilson

Meet Our Collective Leadership Institute 2021-2022 Cohort

Location: Seattle, Washington

Executive Director of Sacred Community Connections

"I was brought to this work through a program to write trans women who were incarcerated. I had several pen pals all trans folks who wrote about the lack of understanding around the nuances of subcultures inside the jail system. Those letters changed my life. Now my org SCC helps to make sure trans folks have access to safe housing upon release as well as case management."

Learn more about Ahkia

Location: Ashland, Oregon

Founder of The Freedom Exchange

"Incarceration should not disqualify anyone from the opportunity to do better and be better in life. There's always more to the story so I encourage people to get curious and explore someone's experience because compassion and connection will often be the result."

Learn more about Allison

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Organizer with VOTE

"Being apart of this cohort means that I have now joined forces with women across the world who has the same passion, and their will to fight is EPIC. I wanted to join to enhance my leadership skills and get groomed for the many battles up ahead."

Learn more about Ivy

Location: Tacoma, WA

Co-director of New Connections

"I wish people knew how unnecessary, unsafe, traumatic and damaging incarceration is/can be for women. Punishment that never truly ends is not the best solution our society can come up with in order to stop someone from the destruction they may be doing, or accused of doing, to themselves, their families and their communities."

Learn more about Jessica

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Founder and Executive Director of All Things Art, Inc.

"My work is a labor of love for our youth. They are our future leaders."

Learn more about Latanya

Location: Huntington, NY

New Hour for Women and Children

"I am a beautiful woman who made some mistakes in my life, but you will never know who I am if you don't time to find out. Give people a chance, give what you would want to receive."

Learn more about Pamela

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Founder of RestoreHER

"I served a 78 month federal sentence while pregnant, and was shackled which caused me to fall and miscarriage. I was then placed in solitary confinement. This experience motivated me to become the Founder of RestoreHER US"

Learn more about Pamela

Location: Portsmouth, VA

CEO of ECE Firm, LLC

"After losing my mom to her addiction less than 24 hours of her release from federal prison, I vow to help restore mother daughter relationships that are broken and help mothers who are incarcerated heal/recognize the tie in their childhood traumas and their incarceration and supply them resources to help aid their choices."

Learn more about Quniana 

Location: Winter Haven, Florida

National Organizer with Fight to End incarceration of Women and Girls

"Because we as Women and Girls don't belong in prison, we can't heal in prison. We belong with our children, families and communities."

Learn more about Sharon

Location: Bridgeport, CT

Executive Director of Women's Community Justice Association (WCJA)

"We are not our worst moments."

Learn more about Sharon

Location: Cincinnati, OH

Coach, Facilitator, Consultant with New Direction Coaching & Consulting, LLC

"Women hold an important role in their families as well as their communities. It is important to listen to the voices of the women impacted as well as their families. They should be in a place of leadership and providing guidance in moving things forward."

Learn more about Zaria

Meet Our Collective Leadership Institute Cohort 2020-2021

Director of Advocacy for the Northwest Community Bail Fund 

"I joined CLI because I wanted to connect with other women who have shared similar experiences as mine, learn how to effectively heal myself and my community from the generational trauma caused by the criminal punishment system, and dismantle it."

Learn more about Chanel

Social Justice Organizer

"I'll retire doing the work of liberation and freeing black and brown people."

Learn more about Robin

Co-founder, Reaching and Educating for Community Hope (RECH) Foundation

"Women incarcerated/formerly incarcerated women are no different than any other woman...We have the same emotions and feelings, family issues like other families. We deserve respect and treatment as other women"

Learn more about Pauline

Doctoral Student 

"What I've valued most about CLI is having had the opportunity to meet so many amazing women doing such important criminal justice reform work."

Learn more about Olivia here

Community Advocate and Reentry Coordinator

"As a woman and mother with similar experiences of lost children in the system, dealing with homelessness and substance use disorder, I understand firsthand the need to bring those experiences to the forefront and to the tables of government officials in order to enact policy change and support."

Learn more about Russelle here

Communication and Community Engagement Coordinator, Alliance for Higher Education in Prison 

"I wanted to join CLI because let's face it, there is very little to help for formerly incarcerated people who are seeking leadership positions, even less specifically for women by women. Programs like this run by directly impacted leaders in the higher ed in prison community are a necessity to elevate members of our community."

Learn more about Lauren here

Director of Policy, Advocacy and Outreach for Prison Cells to PhD

"I am committed to the concept that those closest to the problem are also those that are closest to the solution - yet we are routinely denied a seat at the table - much less provided with the opportunity to direct the work and shape the narrative that is truly reflective of our experiences and that is authentically driven by us.  Laws and policies are directed at us - not with us. I am committed to working to create and support models that elevate our voices and that creates new narratives."

Learn more about Kimberly here