Who We Are
Kevin Ring became president of FAMM in January 2017, succeeding founder Julie Stewart. Ring previously served as the group’s vice president and director of strategic initiatives.
Ring has testified before Congress and state legislatures across the country regarding sentencing and prison reform. He has been profiled in various national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, National Journal, and The Hill newspaper. He has appeared as a justice reform expert on FOX News, CBS News, MSNBC, Headline News, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, and many other television and radio outlets. He has spoken at major conferences and events, including TribFest, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Conference, Conservative Political Action Conference, and the Variety/Rolling Stone Criminal Justice Summit. His writings have been published in numerous outlets, including USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Hill, and Washington Examiner.
Rabiah Alicia Burks serves as the Vice President of Communications for FAMM where she oversees all aspects of communications, marketing, media relations, social media and video production services for the organization. Rabiah is a media relations, communications and marketing strategist who has dedicated her career to educating the public about criminal justice reform issues through traditional and non-traditional methods. Rabiah regularly pitches and secures major media placements by developing and maintaining solid relationships with press.
Prior to joining FAMM, Rabiah served as the Senior Public Relations Specialist for the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section where she managed membership, marketing, and communications for over 15,000 members which include prosecutors and defense attorneys, academics, law enforcement representatives, judges, and students. She also managed and facilitated news coverage for the Section’s events, policy priorities and initiatives.
Rabiah is also a member of the National Press Club, National Association of Black Journalists, and the Washington Association of Black Journalists. She holds bachelor’s degrees in history and African American studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.
As VP of Policy, Gill coordinates FAMM’s state reform campaigns and works with policymakers, the media, and the public to promote sentences that protect public safety and that are humane, individualized, and fit both the crime and the offender. She has appeared as an expert on mandatory minimum sentences, sentencing law, and executive clemency on American, British, Canadian, and German radio and television shows and has a background in criminal prosecution. Read More >
Mary Price is General Counsel of FAMM. She directs the FAMM Litigation Project and advocates for reform of federal sentencing and corrections law and policy before Congress, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Department of Justice. Read More >
Roxana is FAMM’s Vice President of Family Engagement and Mobilization. Prior to joining FAMM in 2007, she worked as the Director of Operations at the Susan B. Anthony Recovery Center, a nonprofit organization providing treatment and transitional housing to women recovering from substance abuse. Before that, she was Chief Financial Officer at the Justice Project and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.
Emily Bloomenthal is Director of Research at FAMM. She most recently served as a Senior Research and Policy Associate at Fair and Just Prosecution, where she supported a network of reform-oriented elected prosecutors committed to promoting fairness, equity, compassion, and fiscal responsibility. She previously advocated for youth justice reform in Massachusetts at Citizens for Juvenile Justice, represented parents and children in child welfare cases as an attorney in the Children and Family Law Division of the Massachusetts state public defender agency, worked on impact litigation to advance educational equity while at the Education Law Center in Newark, New Jersey, and managed research studies focused on engaging students’ support networks through the Harvard Kennedy School’s Student Social Support R&D Lab. She graduated cum laude from Williams College and New York University School of Law. She is also a volunteer at the South Street Youth Center in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, and has performed with several dance companies in the Boston area.
As Director of Federal Legislative Affairs, Josh manages FAMM’s federal legislative campaign and works closely with members of Congress and their staff to promote criminal justice policies that are fair, individualized, and humane. Josh graduated from Georgetown University Law Center and holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland. Prior to joining FAMM, Josh worked with parole board members and advocates to reform state parole policies for people who received lengthy sentences as children. He also represented clients in DC Superior Court and before the US Parole Commission as part of Georgetown’s Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic.
Maria Goellner (“gell-ner”) is a public interest attorney and fierce advocate for equal justice. As FAMM’s Pennsylvania State Policy Director, she works with families, policymakers, the media, and the public to run reform initiatives in her home state.
Maria has protected the rights and dignity of thousands of families over the last decade. She came to FAMM from the Federal Defender’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, where she was the sole attorney for the Erie Division. She also served as a trial lawyer on Florida’s Gulf Coast and clerked with the Legal Aid Society in Queens. Maria sat on the Third Circuit Lawyers Advisory Committee, and the Board of the Erie County Bar Association, where she co-founded the Diversity and Inclusion Section. She organizes with and supports participatory defense and bail fund hubs, and was recognized by the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for exceptional advocacy and commitment to education and equal justice.
Maria graduated from Fordham University and New York Law School, where she was the President of Lawyers Without Borders and an editor of the Global Human Rights Bulletin. She holds a juris doctor and bachelor’s degrees in political science and international relations. She is a second-generation American and lives near the beach in Erie, Pennsylvania, with family.
Matthew Charles was sentenced to thirty-five years in 1996 for nonviolent drug offenses and is the first beneficiary of the First Step Act signed into law in 2018. Since then, Charles has been a Criminal Justice Reform Fellow for two years, speaking as an advocate for sentencing and prison reforms throughout the Nation. Charles has met with state legislators, governors, college students, and Congress about the need of basic and major judicial reforms, as well as the need to reduce mass incarceration in America. Charles also testified before the United States Senate calling for the end of warehousing people with unnecessary enhanced sentences.
Daniel Landsman is the Deputy Director of Policy, Strategic Initiatives. In this role, Daniel works with advocates and legislators to promote FAMM’s Second Chance Agenda and pass second look sentencing and compassionate release legislation. Daniel returns to FAMM, where he previously served as Director of Federal Legislative Affairs, following a year working on criminal justice reform in New York state with New Yorkers United for Justice. Daniel received his B.A. and M.P.P. from the George Washington University.
Office of the General Counsel
As Law Clerk, Hawah performs an array of tasks to assist the legal department, including research, recordkeeping, and outreach. She was FAMM’s fundraiser for four plus years before joining the Office of the General Counsel. Prior to her roles at FAMM, she worked in several nonprofits whose focus range from political organizing to providing direct services to vulnerable populations, including refugees, unhoused people, and survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. Hawah is an avid reader and writer, with poetry being her favorite form of expression. She has been published in Hycide, a magazine on art, subculture, and conflict, and is a notes editor on Georgetown University Law Center’s Journal of Modern Critical Race Perspectives (MCRP). Hawah is also a fellow under the University’s Public Interest Fellows Program.
Shanna Rifkin is an attorney with both litigation and public policy experience dedicated to reforming the criminal legal system, with a particular passion for sentencing law. As FAMM’s Deputy General Counsel, Shanna works alongside the General Counsel to advance the initiatives of the legal department – advocating for reform of federal sentencing and corrections law and policy before Congress, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Department of Justice.
Shanna came to FAMM from a position at Northwestern Law School’s Children and Family Justice Center, where she was fighting for clemency on behalf of incarcerated youth in Illinois. Prior to that role, Shanna was a litigation associate at a large international law firm known for its commitment to pro bono. In private practice, Shanna took on an array of pro bono criminal defense matters at both the trial court and appellate court, including successfully suppressing evidence that, if introduced against her client, would have led to the imposition of a mandatory minimum. Shanna’s love of sentencing law is in large thanks to her federal clerkships – first as a Law Clerk on the Western District of New York and then as a Law Clerk on the First Circuit Court of Appeals, where she was involved in nearly every aspect of federal criminal proceedings. She is a licensed attorney in New York and Illinois.
Shanna graduated magna cum laude from Duke University School of Law, where she was both a notes editor and published author on the Duke Law Review, a recipient of the Dean’s Award for excellence in Constitutional Law, and awarded with the Scribes Award for legal writing. She graduated cum laude from Brandeis University where she studied health care policy and gender studies. Shanna grew up in Buffalo, New York, and currently lives in Chicago with her husband and COVID dog, Lewis.
Communications and Media Relations
Sonora Bostian-Posner brings over a decade of experience in the nonprofit sector. She was a fact checker for the Humane Society of the United States for four years, and served as Communications and Research Manager for The Stafford Foundation. Prior to working with FAMM, she worked for over five years as Project Manager of Digital Communications with Bread for the World. She has also worked as a freelance digital consultant for various clients, including Bob Woodward. Sonora holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication – Media from N.C. State University; and a Master of Arts in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University. Her expertise is in email communication, website communication, social media, and blogging.
With work ranging from commercial to documentary to narrative, Travis’s focus has always been on the impact of storytelling through video. His award-winning work has taken him across the country and has involved everything from filming undercover in puppy mills to filming politicians in D.C. He strives to present ideas and stories through innovative and engaging content that can help improve people’s lives.
Tripp brings nearly a decade of experience in communications and media relations to his work at FAMM. For the last five years, he worked at Columbia Association, coordinating publications and assisting with media relations, as well as volunteer work coordinating media relations for Baltimore Improv Group. Previously, he was a community reporter for a now-defunct newspaper, The Gazette, in Frederick, Maryland. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Two- time Emmy® Award winner, Alexis M. Mitchell is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a graduate of Bennett College for Women, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications with a Sequence of Broadcast Production & Broadcast Journalism.
Alexis is the Senior Social Media and Community Manager for FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums). Before transitioning to the digital world, she comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience of over 20 plus years. Alexis was a News Content Specialist for the WBTV News This Morning, WBTV News This Morning on Bounce TV, WBTV News at Noon, and lifestyle show “Morning Break” for 12 years. Her broadcasting journey led her to WTVI Charlotte (PBS affiliated) and radio stations: WPEG Power 98 (Charlotte, NC) and 97.1 WQMG (Greensboro, NC).
Alexis played a vital role in the images the WORLD would now remember for the “#StandwithBennett” Campaign. She created imagery for the campaign by adding motions and sound to pictures. Through hard work and persistence, for 60 straight days, Alexis and a core group of women worked together to assist the college is raising 9.5 million dollars to maintain their accreditation.
Alexis was awarded the “2013 Outstanding Young Alumni Award” from UNCF, Urban League of Central Carolinas “Young Professional Leadership” Award. In 2017, Alexis was awarded by the nationally syndicated radio show, Cafe Mocha Salute Her: “Media Innovator Award” for her groundbreaking career as a game-changer in the broadcast industry.
Alexis is a member of several professional associations; National Association of Black Journalists, Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Professional Women, Association of Woman in Communications, National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences -Nashville/Midsouth Emmy® Chapter, and Women in Film and Television – Atlanta.
Alexis is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Wynette Yao is gratified to join FAMM as Director of Video Production. Yao is an award-winning filmmaker who has produced, directed and written films on subjects as wide-ranging as Egypt, bees and bog mummies. She relishes image-making and storytelling that brings alive the human experience behind history, science, or modern life, and takes pride in conceiving and directing powerful or intriguing images. In 2012, Yao spent a year producing for the Discovery ID series “Prison Wives.” This experience was a revelation, and with her work at FAMM, she’s happy to return to helping to tell the stories of families impacted by incarceration in this country.
Sheryl Eastman joined FAMM as the Development Director in June 2021, bringing with her over ten years of experience in political fundraising within trade associations and corporations.
Prior to joining FAMM, Sheryl was Political Action Committee Manager at the National Apartment Association, a non-profit trade organization based out of Arlington, Virginia. Sheryl is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park, and lives with her spouse in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Family Engagement and Mobilization
Debi researches and writes FAMM’s Success Stories — stories of people who have been impacted by harsh sentencing laws and are now released, adjusting to life outside of prison. Debi has daily contact with prisoners and their families as she documents their stories. Before joining FAMM, Debi served 16 years in Federal Prison for her participation in a 1993 drug conspiracy. Since her release in 2010, she has been a vocal advocate for criminal justice reform.
Ann brings more than 25 years of communications experience to her work at FAMM. She focuses on how best to tell the stories of prisoners and their families impacted by harsh sentencing laws. Before she came to FAMM, Ann worked with other non-profits to reach “beyond the choir,” to engage with out-of-the-box messaging that conveys the heart of the matter and motivates people to take action. Ann has four published books to her credit, and has worked for numerous magazines, websites, and publishers.
MaríaEmilia Morazán is an experienced community organizer and communications professional living in Washington, D.C. and working as a Digital Engagement and Mobilization Manager with FAMM. She has over 4 years of experience organizing for racial justice with Showing Up For Racial Justice DC (SURJ DC). Prior to working at FAMM, MaríaEmilia was the Engagement and Sustainability Coordinator at Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC) where she coordinated outreach, communications, and development work for the organization. Her entry point into decarceration work came when she worked as a Victim Assistant Specialist at Victim Connect, a national hotline supporting victims of crime, connecting callers to resources, offering emotional support, and empowering victims to seek justice and healing by providing guidance and information. MaríaEmilia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies from Guilford College.
Heather Mytelka is the Director of Digital Engagement and Mobilization at FAMM, where she combines her passion for social justice with her expertise in digital to build effective programs that drive action and create change.
Heather is a seasoned digital strategist with a background in creating digital advocacy campaigns for nonprofits, labor unions, candidates, and various progressive causes. She was Program Manager at the Amazon Aid Foundation for several years, where she traveled from the remote jungles of Peru to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris as an advocate for tropical conservation. She also served as an associate producer and writer for the documentary River of Gold which outlines the consequences of the Amazon gold rush. Prior to joining FAMM, Heather worked at Revolution Messaging where she developed ads-driven, integrated mobile, calling and rapid response campaigns.
Heather first discovered her passion for digital while working with the Centre International d’Art et de Musique de Ouidah (CIAMO), an innovative nonprofit school, on the award-winning PSA music video “Kids Against Malaria.” She holds degrees in Art History and Medieval Studies from the University of Virginia.
Text ‘Hi Heather’ to 21333 to plug into action!
Once the typical suburban housewife, she found herself deeply involved in the criminal justice system when her brother, Mark Young, received a mandatory life sentence for his role in a marijuana conspiracy in 1991. She joined FAMM in 1992 and since then, she is often the first person prisoners and their families talk to at FAMM.
Board of Directors
Julie is founder and former president of FAMM, a position she held since starting the group in 1991. In 1990, Julie was public affairs director at the Cato Institute when she became aware of mandatory sentencing laws. Her decades of experience in sentencing reform has led her to become an expert in this field. She serves on the board of the Public Defender Services of Washington D.C., and was formerly a member of the DC Sentencing Advisory Commission, which develops sentencing guidelines for prisoners from the District of Columbia. Julie lives in Washington, D.C. (Independent) Read More >
Jason is the CEO of Lava Records. He has had an extensive career as a leader in the music business, including his roles as the president and CEO of Capitol Music Group, Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records and the founder of Lava Records. As a former drug addict who successfully transformed his lifestyle, Jason has since become a vocal activist for sentencing reform, especially among his many influential contacts in the music industry. Jason resides in the United States. (Independent)
Hopwood’s unusual legal journey began not at law school, but federal prison, where he learned to write briefs for other prisoners while serving a 12-year sentence for bank robberies. Two petitions for certiorari he prepared were later granted review by the U.S. Supreme Court, and he won cases for other prisoners in federal courts across the country. His scholarship on the courts and the criminal justice system has been published in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties, Fordham, and Washington law reviews, as well as the American Criminal Law Review. He is currently an associate professor of law at Georgetown. Shon lives in the United States.
Phil Harvey is president of the DKT Liberty Project, a nonprofit that focuses on civil liberties issues, especially those related to the war on drugs. The project provides legal assistance to victims whose property has been seized by police under ‘civil asset forfeiture’ laws, defends those who have been unjustly prosecuted for sex-related crimes, and supports free speech through amicus briefs and, most recently, the production of Can We Take a Joke?, a film that explores current restrictions on free speech on college campuses. Harvey is also chairman of DKT International, which provides contraceptives and safe abortion care in 19 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
In 1993, Brown was sentenced to life in prison for a nonviolent drug offense. He served 24½ years in federal prison before President Barack Obama commuted his sentence in 2015. Since leaving prison, Brown has become a well-known advocate for criminal justice reform. He had lunch with President Obama after receiving clemency in 2015 and participate in several panel discussions at the White House on how to reform federal sentencing laws, and has been profiled in major newspapers and media, including The Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, National Public Radio, and The Huffington Post.
Debi Ghate is The Philanthropy Roundtable’s vice president of strategy and innovation. She joined the team after several years at The Snider Foundation, where she served as senior director. Trained as a lawyer in Ontario, Canada, Ms. Ghate practiced in civil litigation before moving to California to join the Ayn Rand Institute. At the Institute, she oversaw the education and policy programs before serving on leadership teams at two Foundations, including the Charles Koch Foundation and the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship. She is very passionate about FAMM’s mission to improve America’s criminal justice system–ensuring public safety, personal responsibility, individual rights and justice are all served.