BEYOND BARS: Featured Stories

Participant Bios

Click on each photo to learn more!

  • Featuring: Chesa Boudin

    • Chesa Boudin is the founding executive director of the Criminal Law & Justice Center at the University of California, Berkeley school of law. Boudin served as San Francisco’s elected district attorney from 2020 until his recall in 2022. During that time, Boudin implemented bold reforms to ensure that the criminal legal system delivered safety and justice for all San Franciscans. His achievements include a significant expansion of the office’s victim services’ division; eliminating prosecutors’ use of money bail;...

  • Featuring: Kathy Boudin

    • Kathy Boudin, a remarkable activist and educator, was a former member of the Weather Underground, a radical leftist organization advocating anti-war efforts and social change during the 1960s and 1970s. She served 22 years in prison for her role in the 1981 Brinks Robbery and was released on parole in 2003. While incarcerated, she created the AIDS Counseling and Education Program (ACE), and she was the first woman in New York history to earn a masters while in...

  • Featuring: David Gilbert

    • David Gilbert became an activist during the Civil Rights Movement in 1960, and later organized against the War in Vietnam.  These activities began a lifetime of commitment to those struggling against domination, exploitation and abuse.   The most exciting and hopeful event of his life was when his son Chesa was born, on August 21, 1980. In 1981, working in solidarity with a unit of the Black Liberation Army, David and others were captured after an effort...

  • Featuring: Bernardine Dohrn

    • Bernardine Dohrn, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Founder and Director of the Children and Family Justice Center (retired) at Northwestern University School of Law, earned a BS and a J.D. from the University of Chicago. She taught criminal and juvenile justice, women and the law, and human rights at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, Leiden University (the Netherlands) and Colby College. Bernardine was a leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement and a life-long comrade/participant in the Black Freedom Movement. She was...

  • Featuring: Bill Ayers

    • Bill Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College, Columbia University. Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. 

      His articles have appeared in many journals including the Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record, Rethinking...

  • Featuring: Zayd Ayers Dohrn

    • Zayd Ayers Dohrn is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter, and the creator of the narrative podcast Mother Country Radicals, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival where it won the award for “Best Audio Storytelling.” Zayd’s plays have premiered off-Broadway, across the country, and internationally and are published by Concord and Dramatists Play Service. Other honors include a Gold Medal from the New York Festival Radio Awards, the Horton Foote New American Play Prize,...

  • Kaylah Williams MayStory Spotlight: Campaign Manager

    • Kaylah Williams May moved to San Francisco in 2015 as a flight attendant for a major airline. She started her political career volunteering for the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign and local labor unions like Unite HERE. She worked on many local campaigns before before becoming the campaign manager to Chesa Boudin’s 2019 campaign. After the election, she returned to aviation and worked for the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) for during their campaign to unionize Delta Airlines. Kaylah...

  • Róisín Isner Story Spotlight: Campaign Finance Director

    • Róisín Isner (she/her) is a born-and-raised San Franciscan and political organizer. After graduating high school, she survived a serious violent crime that resulted in the amputation of her index finger and required three years of regular surgeries and occupational therapy. This experience inspired her enduring passion for restorative justice and broad criminal justice reform. During this time she also became involved in voter registration and education, and community organizing efforts to protect local independent businesses. After studying Evolutionary Biology at...

  • Kelsey Russom Story Spotlight: Campaign Communications Manager

    • Kelsey Russom is a Policy Associate with the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution. Prior to joining the IIP, Kelsey served as the Confidential Executive Assistant for District Attorney Chesa Boudin at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, and supported the work of the communications and policy teams. She has a background in progressive organizing and has worked to elect district attorneys committed to criminal justice reform and police accountability. Kelsey graduated with honors from San Francisco...

  • Vanessa Pimintel Story Spotlight: Campaign Field Coordinator

    • Vanessa Pimintel has a unique and powerful story that has shaped their journey as a first-generation, bilingual, queer San Francisco resident from Bayview. "At the age of 14, my parents immigrated from Mexico, and I became the bridge between their world and the outside one. I took on the responsibility of translating important documents, advocating for my family's needs, and guiding my younger brother through the complexities of the education system. These experiences opened my eyes to the...

  • Emani Davis Story Spotlight: Chesa’s Childhood Friend

    • Emani Davis is the founder of The Omowale Project, working to help her community imagine and secure liberation for themselves and the collective. She has extensive experience working with and learning from healing practitioners, particularly those from and Indigenous backgrounds, whose modalities include massage therapy, crystal work, reiki, acupressure, and Ayurvedic medicine. Emani has spent decades serving directly impacted people and ran sole proprietor businesses supporting BIPOC-led nonprofit organizations.

  • Dorsey Nunn Story Spotlight: Campaign Supporter

    • Dorsey Nunn has been a recognized leader in the movement to restore civil and human rights to current and formerly incarcerated people for nearly forty years. As executive director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and co-founder of All of Us or None, Dorsey Nunn has been a major catalyst for the success of the Ban the Box campaign, which has successfully removed conviction history from applications for public employment in more than 100 cities and eighteen states.

      He has...

  • Gloria Berry Story Spotlight: Campaign Supporter

    • Gloria Berry was born and raised in San Francisco, CA and is a Veteran with thirteen years of service, which included twelve years in technology and three years of use of force training. She also worked eight years at San Quentin where she promoted to a Sergeant. Gloria held several other jobs including Recruiter, Special Education Teacher aid, Census Bureau partnership with the Black Community, Group home caregiver, delivery driver and Single Room Occupancy desk clerk in the Tenderloin, San Francisco  neighborhood....

  • Bennett L. Leventhal, MD Story Spotlight: Chesa’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

    • Bennett L. Leventhal, MD, is the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Emeritus, at the University of Chicago and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Yonsei University in South Korea. He is a Distinguished Life Fellow of both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and an Honorary Member of the World Psychiatric Association. His honors and awards include the George Tarjan Award, Outstanding Mentor Award, and Catcher in the Rye Award form the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr....

  • Lorenzo Charles Story Spotlight: Chesa's Childhood Friend

    • Lorenzo Charles embarked on a tumultuous journey that saw him evolve from a young Guyanese immigrant growing up in Brooklyn's Crown Heights to a tenacious advocate for justice and reclamation. His early life intertwined with that of Chesa Boudin, as they shared a unique bond nurtured by their mothers' friendship at the Bedford Hills Correction Facility. The influence of Kathy Boudin resonated deeply within Lorenzo's life. Despite a wrongful conviction leading to his deportation in 2003, Lorenzo's exile ignited a...

  • Joseph Bell Jr. Story Spotlight: Resentencing Recipient

    • Joseph Bell Jr. is a Peer Support Specialist for the Felton Institute, providing coaching, behavioral interventions, substance dependency services, and education to justice system-involved individuals. He dedicates special time to his parents and plays a role of encouragement to others in his family. “It’s my hope that I am an inspiration for higher education and spiritual growth.” While incarcerated, he was a member of a group of both prisoners and officers focused on keeping young people out of prison. He also...

  • Ahmad Aboudallah Story Spotlight: Participant of Primary Caregiver Diversion Program

    • Ahmad Aboudallah is a devoted family man and a professional chef hailing from San Francisco. His profound love for his wife Jennifer, who courageously battles MS, and his cherished two-year-old daughter Juniper fuels his passion for life. With an unwavering commitment to the culinary arts, Ahmad showcases his creativity and skill in the kitchen, where his love for food takes center stage. Benefiting from a second chance granted through the diversion program, he found an alternative to incarceration, a reflection...

  • Joaquin Ciria Story Spotlight: Released from Life in Prison via the Innocence Commission  

    • Joaquin Ciria's life transformed on April 18, 2022, as the San Francisco Superior Court cleared him of a wrongful murder conviction after an unjust 32-year imprisonment. A loving husband and originally from Cuba, he moved to the US as a teenager. False accusations in 1990 led to his incarceration, but his persistent claims of innocence were championed by pro bono attorney Ellen Eggers and the Northern California Innocence Project. With support from District Attorney Chesa Boudin and the DA's Innocence...

  • Carizma Hughes Story Spotlight: Daughter of Incarcerated Parents

    • Carizma Hughes, hailing from San Francisco, has transformed personal adversity into a lifelong commitment to justice reform and education. Growing up with both biological and stepfathers incarcerated, she emerged as a compassionate advocate for children of incarcerated parents. With aspirations to become an elementary education teacher, Carizma not only aims to lead with care and empathy but also to challenge societal perceptions around justice. As a coordinator for Project WHAT!, she championed the cause, creating a supportive community for teens...