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Who We Are

Eddie Ellis, President and Founder
Dr. Divine Pryor, Executive Director
Kyung-Ji Kate Rhee, Juvenile Justice Director
Chino Hardin, Field Trainer/Organizer
Alex Davis, Youth Intern/Trainee; ARCHES Alumnus
Zahyr Lauren, Legal/Policy Intern
Sharon Washington, Public Health Policy Consultant
Orisanmi Burton, Research Consultant
Cory Greene, Community Relations/Training Manager 
Donald Garner, Faith & Justice Manager
Terrance Wiley, Research Advisor

*See below for full biographies

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Eddie Ellis, President and Founder

Eddie Ellis, President & Founder

Eddie Ellis, President & Founder

Edwin (Eddie) Ellis is the founder and president of the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, an independent research, training and advocacy Human Justice think tank, formerly at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York, founded and developed by academic professionals with prior experience within the criminal punishment system. It is the first of its kind in the country.

For the past 10 years, under his leadership, the Center has developed several innovative projects, including: Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives (IJJRA), NuLeadership Training Institute, Public Health Policy Project, NuUrban Marshall Plan, Full Employment Opportunities Campaign, Criminal Justice Practitioner Training Program, and Project ReNu.

In the 1990’s he served on the Drug Policy Task Force of the New York County Trial Lawyers Association, and the National Criminal Justice Commission, Washington, D.C., where he helped author, “The Real War on Crime.”

He is the host and executive producer of “On the Count: The Prison and Criminal Justice Report,” a weekly public affairs program broadcast over Radio Station WBAI (99.5 FM) in New York City.

Mr. Ellis has lectured extensively and visited prisons in the United States, England, Scotland, Belgium, the Caribbean and South Africa. In 2006, he served on New York Governor–elect Eliot Spitzer’s Transition Team. He was a consultant on justice policy issues for the Domestic Policy Advisor to President George W. Bush, as well as with the Vera Institute of Justice, Council of State Governments, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, New York State Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Legislative Caucus and the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute Criminal Justice Initiative.

He has authored research and public policy briefing papers for corrections, parole and probation officials and legislators in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Washington DC.

Mr. Ellis, a former Black Panther Party leader, served 25 years (1969-1994) in prison based on COINTELPRO targeting for a crime he did not commit. In prison, however, he acquired a Masters Degree, summa cum laude, from New York Theological Seminary; a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, magna cum laude, from Marist College; an Associate’s Degree in Para Legal Studies from Sullivan County Community College; and an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from the State University of New York (SUNY).

Dr. Divine Pryor, Executive Director

Dr. Divine Pryor, Executive Director

Dr. Divine Pryor serves as the Executive Director of the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, an independent research, training and advocacy Human Justice think tank, formerly at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York, founded and developed by academic professionals with prior experience within the criminal punishment system. It is the first of its kind in the country.

Dr. Pryor is a social scientist with extensive knowledge and expertise in the criminal justice, health and social service fields, having spent over half his career administering HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, substance abuse and other social service non-profits. He has traveled extensively providing counsel and technical assistance on criminal justice issues to judges, prosecutors, correctional staff and other system stakeholders for the purpose of influencing policy decisions. In addition, he has developed trainings and workshops for professionals that address issues such as anti-gang initiatives, poverty, literacy, unemployment, housing and healthcare.

He is a highly sought after technical assistance provider who continues to work with various non-profit and governmental agencies to build infrastructure, program capacity and innovative solutions.

In 2001, Dr. Pryor was appointed by the Council of State Governors to the National Re-entry Policy Council where he and over 100 national experts produced the most voluminous work in re-entry in the nation. Dr. Pryor has also served on the advisory board of the DC Pre-Trial Services Agency, NYC Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Re-entry program of the Kings County Prosecutor office.

In 2009, Dr. Pryor was appointed by the Majority Leader of the New York State Senate to co-chair the New York State Anti-Gang Violence Reduction Commission. In addition, Dr. Pryor is an active member of a number of local, regional & national legislative, social and political advocacy groups whose focus is to achieve de-carceration through community development.

Kyung-Ji Kate Rhee, Juvenile Justice Director

Kyung-Ji Kate Rhee, Juvenile Justice Director

Kyung-Ji Kate Rhee serves as the juvenile justice director of the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, an independent research, training and advocacy Human Justice think tank, formerly at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York, founded and developed by academic professionals with prior experience within the criminal punishment system. It is the first of its kind in the country.

Ms. Rhee oversees the Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform & Alternatives (IJJRA), the Center’s youth justice division. Under her leadership, IJJRA (formerly known as Prison Moratorium Project) has led three major winning campaigns on city, state and national levels with nationally recognized youth leadership training initiatives that develop juvenile justice advocacy leaders from a base of formerly incarcerated and gang-involved youth. IJJRA’s community/youth education and advocacy projects are staffed by policy innovators, human rights activists and members of street nations, who are among the leading experts in juvenile justice policy and advocacy, street gang intervention, at-risk youth education and violence prevention strategies.

Ms. Rhee is nationally recognized for her expertise in juvenile justice advocacy, policy development and dynamic youth development and organizing training. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Division of Youth and Family Justice (DYFJ), the Disproportionate Minority Contact Subcommittee of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, and the Steering Committee of the New York City Task Force on Racial Disparity in the Juvenile Justice System. She has been featured in a range of publications and magazines, including the Utne Reader (Top 30 Visionaries under 30), the Village Voice, The Source, (Top 10 Artists, Albums, & Political Players of the Year!), The KoreAm Magazine, the Gotham Gazette, the New York Sun and the Brooklyn Free Press among others.

Ms. Rhee received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago, focusing on ethics and feminist philosophy.

Chino Hardin, Field Trainer/Organizer

Chino and Chino Jr.

Chino Hardin (with Chino Hardin Jr.), Field Trainer/Organizer

Chino Hardin is the project coordinator for the ARCHES mentoring program and also serves as a field trainer/organizer with the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, an independent research, training and advocacy Human Justice think tank, formerly at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York, founded and developed by academic professionals with prior experience within the criminal punishment system. It is the first of its kind in the country.

Chino was born and raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn and has worked in the field of youth leadership development and gang prevention/intervention for ten years. He is committed to developing and elevating leadership and civic engagement with youth and communities hardest hit by crime, violence and incarceration. Chino’s expertise stems from on-the-ground apprenticeship with seasoned youth development trainers and practitioners from across the country as well as from his own personal experience in street nation building and within the juvenile/criminal justice system. Thanks to timely, unrelenting and innovative encouragement from a series of intervention and leadership programs, Chino was able to channel the life experiences towards realizing his own potential as a leader in uplifting and transforming the lives of at-risk, gang-affiliated and formerly incarcerated youth.

Over the last ten years, Chino’s charismatic style and studied pedagogical integration have won him recognition in the field of youth leadership development training, specifically applied to youth who have been labeled “dangerous”, “gang-involved” and “hopeless.” He has appeared in numerous renowned publications and media outlets, such as the Village Voice, City Limits, The Ave Magazine, BET, and the Caribbean Life. Chino’s journey is a truly inspiring one, serving as an apt reference point for youth aspiring to turn their life around, and build power for justice, health and evolution of humanity, towards building a future beyond prisons for all children.

Alex Davis, Youth Intern and Trainee; and ARCHES alumnus

Alex Davis, Intern/Trainee

Alex Davis, Intern/Trainee

Alex is a graduate of ARCHES mentorship program and is currently a youth intern and trainee at the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, an independent research, training and advocacy Human Justice think tank, formerly at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York, founded and developed by academic professionals with prior experience within the criminal punishment system. It is the first of its kind in the country.

Born and raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Alex is an aspiring activist who has experienced firsthand the struggles and impact of the drug war in his community, the foster care system and the criminal justice system.

Alex has persevered through life’s challenges with the help of loving people in his life and his own life’s philosophies and principles such as not giving up on yourself or others; being conscious and reflective of one’s actions; and giving 110% effort to whatever you do.

Alex is an avid lover and writer of music and a confident cook, thanks to the premier training provided by his grandmother who was a chef for the French Embassy. Alex is a graduate of the Institute for Collaborative Education and is laying the foundation for pursuing college education.

Zahyr Lauren, Legal/Policy Intern

Zahyr Lauren, Legal Intern

Zahyr Lauren, Legal Intern

Zahyr Koro-Ranae Lauren is a legal/policy intern with Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, an independent research, training and advocacy Human Justice think tank, formerly at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York, founded and developed by academic professionals with prior experience within the criminal punishment system. It is the first of its kind in the country.

Zahyr is a native Californian currently living between Brooklyn, NY and Boston, MA, planting roots in the former.  Z is currently a third year law student at Northeastern University School of Law, graduating in May 2014.

Z is a former Human Rights and Capital Murder Investigator with the Southern Center for Human Rights who has worked in prisons and jails in Georgia and Alabama.

Z is also a former Legal Intern for The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco, Levy Vinnick Burrell Hyams LLP in Oakland, California, and the Urban Justice Center in Manhattan, New York.

Z is dedicated to leveraging stories of black and brown communities targeted under predatory laws who are deported, and systematically disappeared within, with the goal of building community power fueled by parallel and intersectional struggle.

Sharon Washington, Public Health Policy Consultant

Sharon Washington, Public Health Policy Consultant

Sharon Washington, Public Health Policy Consultant

Sharon Washington currently serves as a public health policy consultant with the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, an independent research, training and advocacy Human Justice think tank, formerly at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York, founded and developed by academic professionals with prior experience within the criminal punishment system. It is the first of its kind in the country.

Sharon Washington, MPH is renowned for engaging diverse audiences on the complex intersections of race, sexuality, social justice and health disparities. She has been an educator in the field of public health for six years in New York City. She received her MPH from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health where she presented her thesis, which focused on African-centered holistic healing for African American women survivors of childhood sexual abuse. There, she also created The Critical Race Discourse Think Tank, a highly successful student‐led course to address the intersection of race, racism, white supremacy and public health.

Sharon served as the Community Education Specialist for Project ACHIEVE and the NYC HIV Vaccine Trial Unit for three years, where she engaged community groups, agencies, and faith-based intuitions in all five boroughs.

Sharon is currently a guest lecturer and speaker at the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she is integrating conversations of race and diversity into the existing medical curriculum. She also teaches public health courses at Hostos Community College and is the Executive Director of The FLY Academy, a comprehensive, culturally relevant college preparation program for underrepresented students in New York City. Sharon is currently enrolled in the Health Education doctoral program at Teachers College.

Orisanmi Burton, Research Consultant

Orisanmi Burton, Research Consultant

Orisanmi Burton, Research Consultant

Orisanmi Burton currently serves as a research consultant with the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, an independent research, training and advocacy Human Justice think tank, formerly at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York, founded and developed by academic professionals with prior experience within the criminal punishment system. It is the first of its kind in the country.

Orisanmi is a doctoral student in Social Anthropology at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

His research interests include prisons & prison reform, race, and community-based organizations.

As a trained research librarian he brings to the discipline a commitment to presenting and preserving narratives of perseverance and resistance.

Cory Greene, Community Relations/Training Manager

Cory Greene, Community Relations Manager

Cory Greene, Community Relations/Training Manager

Cory Greene is Community Relations/Training Manager with the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, an independent research, training and advocacy Human Justice think tank, formerly at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York, founded and developed by academic professionals with prior experience within the criminal punishment system. It is the first of its kind in the country.

Born and raised in Corona Queens, New York, Cory Greene is a scholar-activist with a passion for both theory and practice. His experiences as a youth growing up in urban America have contributed to his understanding of the systemic inequalities that exist in under-served communities. As a result, he has committed himself to a wide range of educational projects, advocacy and activism that seek to change existing conditions for youth of color.

Cory spent seven years in prison, from age 21-28. During that time he was part of a collective who shared and examined their collective experiences as youth in inner city communities in an effort to better understand those experiences and to develop a viable theory of social change based upon them. The work of the collective culminated in “How Our Lives Linked Altogether” (H.O.L.L.A!), a youth leadership and development program.

Upon released from prison, Cory enrolled in LaGuardia Community College to study American Sign Language and support the Deaf community. When he graduated from LaGuardia he transferred to New York University, where two years later he received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Applied Psychology Program. After completing his studies at NYU, Cory next enrolled in graduate school. Currently is a first year doctoral candidate in Critical Social Personality Psychology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Cory’s academic research, personal, and prison experiences intersect at the consequences of poverty, race and class disparities in the education and criminal punishment systems, born out of the implementation of uninformed public policy. His education, however, has not halted at the academic level but has also extended itself into the community.

He presently serves as the co-director of H.O.L.L.A!.  Additionally he has served as research associate on numerous participatory action research (PAR) projects with Michelle Fine at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), designed youth focused curricula, was an adjunct instructor at LaGuardia Community College, participated as an investigator on research studies at New York University, and taught a course for 8th graders on critical consciousness at the intersection of race and education in America.

To view a documentary on Cory, please go to http://vimeo.com/49038747.

Donald Garner, II, Faith & Justice Manager

Donald Garner, II

Donald Garner, II, Faith & Justice Manager

Donald C. Garner, II, is the Faith and Justice Manager with the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, an independent research, training and advocacy Human Justice think tank, formerly at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York, founded and developed by academic professionals with prior experience within the criminal punishment system. It is the first of its kind in the country.

Donald currently serves as a Teacher Recruitment Manager within the New York City Department of Education. In this capacity, he recruits traditionally certified candidates to teach in NYC public schools and assists principals to staff public schools in the South Bronx.

Additionally, he is a Doctoral Student & Adjunct Professor in Social Work at Fordham University, with research interests in understanding the role of faith communities in building supports for persons coming home from prison.

In the community, he is a mentor with the Children of Promise Program, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit for children of incarcerated parents and also holds board membership with the Pentorship Program; a national program whose mission is to provide entrepreneurial education to incarcerated individuals prior to release through mini-correspondence and business mentoring as well as junior board membership with the Eagle Academy of Young Men-NYC’s first public high school for Black and Latino males.

Donald is a member of Greater Allen Cathedral AME where Dr. Rev. Floyd Flake serves as the pastor and is active with the Young Adult Ministry and one of the founding members of the Criminal Justice ministry. Donald’s hobbies include writing, reading, public speaking, and singing.

Terrance Wiley, Research Advisor

Terrance Wiley serves as a research advisor for the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, an independent research, training and advocacy Human Justice think tank, formerly at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York, founded and developed by academic professionals with prior experience within the criminal punishment system. It is the first of its kind in the country.

Mr. Wiley is currently a visiting assistant professor of religion, ethics, and human rights at the Pacific School of Religion, in Berkeley, California.

Terrance Wiley earned his doctorate and master’s degree in religion (religious ethics) from Princeton University, JD from Georgetown University, and bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Southern Methodist University. Prior to joining Lehigh, Terrance served as an assistant professor of religion at Carleton College.

His research interests include religious ethics, social movements, law and religion, human rights, dispute resolution, criminal justice reform activism, and peace education. Terrance is currently completing a manuscript on religiously motivated anarchism, tentatively entitled, Angelic Troublemakers and the Modern State.