2017 Summit Presenters
Vicky Basra Vicky manages the development and implementation of the Policy Center’s model programs and community organizing. She assists with the development and support of new and innovative programs and community engagement. She brings with her more than 18 years’ experience working with girls and young women impacted by trauma. Vicky helped to develop and implement a violence against women prevention program at Vanderbilt University. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, a degree in Social Work from Ryerson Polytechnic University, and her master’s degree from the University of Tennessee.
Tessa Duvall Tessa Duvall joined The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville as the education, children and families reporter in December 2014, focusing on the issues that affect children living in Northeast Florida, including juvenile justice and mental health. As a John Jay College fellow in 2016, Tessa began reporting extensively on juvenile life without parole and the years-long resentencing efforts underway. As a National Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center for Health Journalism, she will tackle her most ambitious piece of journalism yet: Why do juveniles in Jacksonville commit homicide at such a high rate? The Florida Press Club awarded her first place in education reporting in 2016, and in 2017 the Sunshine State Awards named Tessa as the top crime and courts reporter in the state for her coverage of juvenile justice and human trafficking. The Jacksonville-based Atlantic Institute also recently selected her as its 2017 Diversity in Media award recipient for her body of work. Her TEDxJacksonville talk can be viewed at bit.ly/TEDx_TessaDuvall.Tessa graduated with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and sociology from Western Kentucky University.
Rebecca Epstein is the Executive Director of the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality. She has over 20 years’ experience in litigation and policy development, and she has maintained a special focus on race and sex discrimination and the policies and practices that support marginalized girls. Rebecca is the lead author of Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girlhood (forthcoming); Gender and Trauma: Somatic Interventions for Girls in the Juvenile Justice System and Implications for Policy and Practice (2017); and Blueprint: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Sex Trafficking of Girls (2013), as well as co-author of The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story (2015). Her work has been published across the country, and she has appeared as an expert speaker at national, state, and local briefings and conferences on issues affecting marginalized girls.
Rebecca currently serves as the Associate Director of the National Girls Initiative, a program run by the US DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs, and she is a member of the Steering Committee of the Girls @ the Margin National Alliance, as well as a member of the Advisory Board of The Art of Yoga Project. Over the years, Rebecca has been proud to partner with the White House and the US Departments of Justice and Education under the Obama Administration; national non-profit organizations; direct service organizations; and academic institutions on research and policy development projects relating to issues affecting low-income girls and girls of color.
Thalia González Professor Thalia González teaches and writes in the fields of restorative justice, juvenile justice, civil rights, education, human rights, law and society, and public interest practice. She is a nationally recognized expert in the field of school-based restorative justice and her work on disproportionality, the school-to-prison pipeline, and restorative practices has been utilized by school districts, county safety councils, community-based organizations, academic institutions, think tanks, and bar associations. Building on her applied research, Professor González published Reorienting Restorative Justice (2015) in which she argued that the ontology of restorative justice should to be viewed to include a liberatory moment of politicization focused on promoting equality and human relationality. Her article, Restorative Justice From the Margins to the Center, traces the emergence of school-based restorative justice and its subsequent cascade and institutionalization as a new school discipline norm.
Within the larger field of public interest law and social justice, her work reflects two trajectories: individual case studies of collaborative models of problem-solving between lawyers and communities seeking to achieve systemic change, and scholarship contextualizing and expanding the contemplative law movement. She has developed a community workshop series to engage questions of in an unjust world, what is the relationship between individual transformation and collective liberation? The workshops focus on community-building and critical reflection about how lawyers can work in solidarity with individuals and communities most often marginalized and excluded from spaces of power and privilege. Her articles, Root to Rise and A Quiet Revolution more deeply explore mindful social justice lawyering and argue a need to decenter the identity of “mindfulness” from the individual, and to expand it into the collective domain.
Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams, MA-TLA, runs Narratives for Change, a business using storytelling to cultivate and preserve women’s personal and leadership narratives. She writes women’s personal and business histories, leads creative writing workshops, and uses a narrative-storytelling approach to develop leaders. As a former C-Suite executive in financial services, a retail executive, and a successful entrepreneur of several businesses, Yvette thrives when leading customer-focused and creative work cultures. While at CoreStates Financial Corp (Wells Fargo), she led the outsourcing of her business group as a joint venture consulting firm between her and the bank, creating Prime Directive Consulting Group. She acquired 100% of the shares in 1998. Her work and accomplishments are notable and recognized in a Harvard Business case study as a best practice in 2001.
Today, Yvette dives deeply into her craft as a poet and memoir writer, and as a scholar-practitioner in applied behavioral science. Her research and leadership coaching work is grounded in the interdisciplinary fields of women’s development, group process theory, diversity and inclusion, and narrative studies. She designed the Transformative Narratives™ method, an applied storytelling approach to leadership development. Yvette earned a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing at the University of Denver, an M.A. in Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, and a B.S. in Occupational Education & Workforce Training at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
C. Nicole Mason, PhD is the author of Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America (St. Martin’s Press). She is also the Executive Director of the Center for Research and Policy in the Public Interest at the New York Women’s Foundation. Prior to her position at CR2PI, Mason was the most recent Executive Director of the Women of Color Policy Network at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. There, she held the distinction of being one of the youngest scholar-practitioners to lead a major U.S. research center or think tank. She is also an Ascend Fellow at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC. She has written hundreds of articles on women, leadership development and economic security. Her writing and commentary have been featured in MSNBC, CNN, NBC, CBS, Real Clear Politics, the Nation, the Washington Post, Marie Claire Magazine, The New York Times, the Progressive, ESSENCE Magazine, the Root, the Grio, the Miami Herald, Democracy Now, and numerous NPR affiliates, among others. She also delivered at TEDTalk at TEDWomen 2016 on the courage to disrupt and the gift of being difficult.
Tayloe McDonaldTayloe represents and promotes the work of the Policy Center to stakeholders, the community and the media. Bringing 15 years’ experience in nonprofit management and business development to the Policy Center, she identifies and develops strategic collaborations that sustain and advance our mission. She graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
Kristin Murray is a native of Jacksonville, Florida and is the newest addition to the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center team. Kristin graduated from Florida A&M University with a BS in Journalism and a BA in African-American Studies. Kristin has worked as a teacher in an urban high-school where she witnessed first-hand the effects of trauma, poverty and cultural differences. She became a mental-health advocate when her best friend of 13 years was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and did not receive proper care.
Since that time Kristin has worked with young people to give them a voice in their treatment and in systems that impact them. She believes that using a child rights framework to address systems change is the best approach. She has made relationships with the international community around child rights and building child-friendly cities.
Kristin whole-heartedly believes Dr. Suess’ quote “A person’s a person no matter how small.”
Vanessa Patino Lydia, M.P.A. oversees all research initiatives and publications, makes recommendations for strategic direction of the Policy Center, and evaluates agency progress toward community and system level goals. Vanessa brings 15 years’ experience in juvenile justice with a focus on the impact of system policies and practices on girls’ trajectories. Previously, Vanessa managed national and statewide research projects as a senior researcher at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Vanessa has her master’s degree in Public Administration from Florida State University.
Lawanda Ravoira, D.P.A. serves as president and CEO and promotes the Policy Center’s mission of advancing the rights of girls and young women, especially those in the juvenile justice and child protection systems. She executes the strategic goals and objectives, leads the advocacy reform agenda and oversees the management of the day-to-day operations and ensures long term sustainability of the organization. She brings 25 years’ experience that includes providing direct services to marginalized youth in both residential and community based settings, leading reform initiatives, research, training, policy development, community organizing and advocacy. She holds a doctoral degree in Public Administration from Nova University, a master’s degree in Allied Health from the University of North Florida and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the College of Charleston.
Aishatu Yusuf Aishatu has worked with federal, state and local governments to conducted program development projects, social science research, evaluation and policy analysis to address issues that permeate the juvenile and criminal legal system. Throughout her career, she has focused on child safety, juvenile legal reform, criminal legal reform, child protection, and addressing education policies and practices that lead to disproportionate school discipline. With the belief that change must be envisioned through an intersectional lens that captures race, and gender identity Aishatu has worked on reducing the barriers for formally incarcerated women, evaluating the strengths and needs of girls in gangs, and is currently working on participatory research that addresses interrupting the school to confinement pathways for girls of color.