2014 Awards Ceremony
Keynote Speaker: Jeremy Travis,
President of John J. College of Criminal Justice
William Eric Waters Bridge Builder Award
Ronald F. Day is the Director of Workforce Development at the Osborne Association, where he works diligently to help formerly incarcerated people secure employment and have long-term stability. He has a wealth of knowledge about the criminal justice system, and is familiar with the litany of issues that people face in prison and as they transition back into society. He is passionate about reentry, reducing recidivism, and seeing people that have been in conflict with the law lead productive lives. Ronald has a Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College (CUNY). He is a criminal justice doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center / John Jay College of Criminal Justice and an Adjunct Instructor at John Jay.
Citizens Social Action Award
Victoria Roberts was raised in the Freeport/Roosevelt area on Long Island. She is a graduate of the Roosevelt Jr. Senior. High School, Class of 1983. Victoria attended SUNY College at Old Westbury where she received a Bachelors degree in Sociology with a minor in Social Work. Victoria received her Master’s in Social Work along with her Certified Substance Abuse Counselor Credentials (CASAC) at Adelphi University. Victoria has served as a mentor to elementary school children through a project with the Leadership Training Institute as well as a mentor and advocate on behalf of the students of the Paxen group by assisting members in securing their Certificate of Release from Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct.
Vivian Denise Nixon Award for Leadership in Education
Walter Fortson is a recent graduate of the University of Cambridge, receiving his Master of Philosophy in Criminology. Currently, Fortson works with both the Petey Greene Program as the Regional Field Manager for New Jersey and NJ-STEP as an Academic Counselor at Mountain View Youth Correctional Facility. Walter has worked with the NJ Scholarship for Transformative Education in Prisons where he brought college level, credit bearing courses to NJ prisons and developed a mentorship program between people on parole and people currently serving time. From 2010-2013, Walter worked with the Mountain view Project to tutor formerly incarcerated students and he led both formerly incarcerated and traditional students in efforts to raise awareness of the consequences of mass Walter works tirelessly to ensure academic achievement in prison classrooms and post-release facilities. Walter is recruiting hundreds of students to provide tutoring and working to grow the number of participating university partners and correctional facilities around issues of education for the formerly incarcerated. Mr. Fortson has overcome tremendous odds to achieve educational success. His educational distinctions include: Truman Scholar, 2012; SAS Honors Program, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Scholarship; LSAMP Research Grant; Brooklyn Nets Foundation Scholarship; Exercise Science Honors Program; Rutgers Winter and Summer Sessions Scholarships; Providential Bank Foundation EOF Scholarship; and the Edward Greenfield Scholarship. His educational research includes his dissertation on The Politics of Stop and Frisk in New York City and a quantitative analysis that explored the effectiveness of alternatives to incarceration for people with parole revocations in Maryland.
Glenn E. Martin Advocacy Award
Five Mualimm-ak has worked on police accountability and community organizing with a number of renown organizations. He is an organizer with the Campaign to End the New Jim Crow. Mr. Mualimm-ak is a core member of the New York campaign for Alternatives for Isolated confinement. He is the founder of the Incarcerated Nation Campaign. Mr. Mualimm-ak efforts have brought the narratives of those previously incarcerated to the frontline and garnished media attention. The leadership role Mr. Mualimm-ak plays within the organizations he is active in has changed the dialogue about solitary confinement, brutality, and neglect of people in New York county and State penal institutions. He has a unique gift in his ability to share his personal story and weave in statistics and analysis about the context of solitary confinement across our state and mass incarceration across our country. His presentations have inspired people to join the struggle against torture in jails and prisons. He has also given the many who continue to experience solitary confinement hope and a connection to the advocacy community.
Citizens’ Social Action Award for Grassroots Activism
James Peterson is the Associate Executive Director at Man Up! Inc., a Multi-service culturally based grassroots organization that was founded by and led by people of color. During his time at Man Up! Inc. Mr. Peterson rose through the ranks from volunteering to working as a program facilitator and mentor to at – risk youth. He was eventually promoted to Program Director where he oversaw several programs, but mainly focused his work with formerly incarcerated peoples. During the last four years, while working with ManUp!, Inc. Mr. Peterson years has held a programmatic position as District Manager of the Cure Violence model that oversees four sites throughout Brooklyn as well as a Hospital Response initiative based in Kings County Hospital. . Cure Violence, a critically acclaimed national and international model that looks at gun violence as a disease and uses a specific group of people from a specific target area trained to Interrupt gun violence while changing the behavior of the participant who might engage in this violence. Through his intervention Mr. Peterson has been personally responsible for mediating a significant number of conflicts that may have resulted in the death or incarceration of persons engaged in gun violence. Often working a 60-hour work week, Mr. Peterson still finds time to hold a volunteer position as a Chairman of Youth Services of Community Board 5, in which he helped to create new and exciting workshops for youth in East New York. Mr. Peterson also is a member of HIP HOP SUV Stand Up and Vote), a civic, political, social action group that has managed campaigns for a number elected officials and judges, registered people to vote and organized rallies and arches that bring attention to issues related to violence including Less Bullets More Books and Bury Da Beef, well know for walking through the streets carrying empty coffins to signify the senseless killings that plague our neighborhoods.
Citizens Social Action Award
Tyrrell Muhammad was a founding member of The Caribbean African Unity Organization while incarcerated. Under his leadership he organization sought to empower men from the Caribbean diaspora through education and organizational skills. Mr. Muhammad used sports as a teaching tool to reach younger incarcerated men in order to impress upon them the value of education. Since his release from prison in 2005, Mr. Muhammad has been a mentor of young boys at Elementary Community School 21 in the Brooklyn Bed-Stuy area where he grew up. He has served as Chief Consultant for Force One International Security (2005 to 2010), where he was able to create employment for thousands of men and women from underserved communities in NYC. Presently, Mr. Muhammad has committed himself to assisting families in crime ridden areas that seek help from problematic behavior in which young people often engage. His drive and commitment to Social Entrepreneurship has helped to win several major security contracts, from movies sets (Brooklyn Finest) to commercial retail stores (Ikea). Today Mr. Muhammad works at the Correctional Association of New York. (CANY) At the CANY he works with the Prisoners Visiting Project department on a range of issues including Solitary Confinement, Mental Health and Education in prison. His task at the CANY also include data entry and data analysis. Mr Muhammad is committed to assisting formerly incarcerated men and women in their quest for gainful employment and in finding a purpose driven life! “It is a duty and honor to be of service in the world community.” Mr. Muhammad has Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University and Masters degree from New York Theological Seminary.
Imam Umar Abdul-Jalil Award for Spiritual Leadership
Craig Trotta was led to The Doe Fund in 1997 after “being sick and tired of being sick and tired” following numerous failed attempts to break free from cycles of incarceration and addiction. Upon completion of the program, which is designed to help individuals overcome barriers to employment and achieve independent lifestyles, Craig became a Doe Fund staff member. His personal and professional growth continued under the guidance of his colleagues and peers, and led to several promotions over the years. In his current capacity, Craig oversees The Doe Fund’s renowned Community Improvement Project—best known for its hundreds of “men in blue” who clean the streets of New York—as well as the operation’s supervisory staff, drivers, equipment, supplies, and fleet of vehicles. The program spans four boroughs and more than 150 miles of New York City streets daily. Prior to his current position, Craig was the Director of The Doe Fund’s Gates Avenue facility, where he oversaw both the residential and non-residential Ready, Willing & Able program, as well as an extensive support staff. The life Craig is living now couldn’t be more different than his existence before Ready, Willing & Able. He is a proud father to his son, Craig Jr., and a devoted husband to his wife, Rhonda. At The Doe Fund, Craig is a role model and spiritual leader to the hundreds of men who work under his guidance. He uses his own past experiences to make connections with others, and encourages individuals to—as he did—persevere in the pursuit of their goals.
Julio Medina Freedom Award
Christian Claudio, a former drug dealer who operated a major drug network in the NYC Metro area, founded the Almighty Latin King Nation on Rikers Island. During his incarceration in NYS prison, Mr. Claudio dedicated his time to reaching and educating peers. Upon his release, he committed himself to reaching and educating our youth. He went on to become an ordained minister and even a NYS certified Chaplain. He went on to become the executive director of L.A.C.A (Latin & African American Chaplain’s Assoc.). He then went on to become the C.E.O of the Long Island American Chaplain’s Association. He works with H.E.V.N. (Help End Violence Now) doing gang prevention and intervention. He has also worked with “Council for Unity” doing gang prevention and intervention. After years of committed dedication working with youth and gangs Chris was allowed and chosen to join the “New York Gang Investigators Association,” which is a law enforcement organization specializing in gangs. He is NYS certified New York Gang Specialist, and also founder of a not-for-profit organization, “Throggs Neck – La Famiglia,” which focuses on reaching troubled youth by engaging in anti-gang and anti-bullying intervention, prevention, and awareness presentations and workshops. His proudest accomplishment is his new job. Chris now works for New York City’s ACS (Administration for Children Services) as a Residential Advocate. His duties include overseeing all of NYC’s group homes and detention facilities for juveniles in New York City. He works to insure that the rights of youth are not violated while in the custody and care of ACS. He also oversees the agency’s gang problem among youth in the care of ACS. Chris is now attending college once again to obtain his B.A. degree in Criminal Justice and then hopes to pursue his master’s in Social Work. His long term goal is to one day be the deputy commissioner of juvenile justice for ACS.
Edwin (Eddie) Ellis Life Time Achievement Award
EUGENE WHITE (RAFIQ RASUL), Before his health problems greatly compromised his movement and capacity, Brother Rafiq, who has been out of prison several years, continued to serve as a spiritual advisor and leader to those whose lives he touched during his many years of incarceration. His selflessness, courage, and fearless enjoining of right and forbidding wrong no matter whom or what, have proven to be the true hallmarks of his character. His role in mentoring young men during his incarceration, who have gone on to become productive members of society upon release, as he has, has been legendary amongst those who have known or heard of him.