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.
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.
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.
John, as Communications Manager, works to raise greater awareness about sentencing and prison reform legislative and regulatory solutions at the state and federal levels. Media relations are at the heart of those efforts.
He has 20 years of experience in communications, mostly working for nonprofits, including the National Community Pharmacists Association and the Children’s Defense Fund. John previously worked in sports entertainment for NBA Entertainment and ABC Sports. John is a graduate of Occidental College.
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.
Dr. Shaneva D. McReynolds
Dr. Shaneva D. McReynolds (PhD) is the Vice President of Contracts Management for a Native Hawaiian-owned enterprise in the Department of Defense industry. She holds a doctoral degree from Walden University in Public Policy & Administration. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the University of Alabama Huntsville where she also earned the Certified Federal Contract Management professional designation. Shaneva has an MBA from the University of Phoenix with a concentration in eBusiness.
Shaneva is an advocate for policy reform that embraces evidence-based sustainable crime management frameworks, that’s based on judicial discretion and rehabilitation. In 2013, in the fight to see her husband freed (while facing a 235-month sentence handed down October 20th, 2005), she came across FAMM. She is honored to now be working for the organization.
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!
Alexia Pitter (sometimes referred to as Lexie Pitter) was born in Evanston, Illinois. She is a current resident of Maryland and attends Howard University. She is in her senior year and is working towards her Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Her father has been incarcerated since she was three and she grew up in a single-mother household. As she fights for the liberation of all Black and Brown people, she also fights for her father’s freedom from incarceration. Lexie can be found participating in local protests, food drives, and community outreach in Chicago, as well as D.C. Her focus is on abolition and the support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. She has worked with the Black Abolition Network, Blck Rising Organization, Black United Front, and YWCA’s Empowered Girls organization, a mentorship program for young ladies in the DMV area- and now she is working for FAMM. Whether it is volunteering for the John Walt Foundation, Project Giveback, or Safeshore DC her focus as an activist, poet and student is not only to give back to her community but to promote black liberation, equality, and a forward-moving justice system. In 2014 she performed her notable “I Can’t Breathe” poem at the opening of the Holocaust Museum: Race Are We So Different exhibit. In 2015 she received the Women of Achievement Award and has been featured in Another Magazine, Voyage Chicago, and recently the Chicago Tribune. Her daily goals are to promote unity, self-love, holistic mental health practices, and push for prison reform.
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.
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.
Rajiv Srinivasan is the Global Clients Director for LinkedIn. Rajiv Srinivasan previously held executive roles at VMware and MobileIron. Rajiv was on the founding team of Morta Security — a cyber security company funded by A16z, Greylock, and Norwest Ventures — which was acquired by Palo Alto Networks in 2013.
Rajiv began his career as a US Army Officer where he served as a Stryker Platoon Leader in Kandahar Afghanistan. He received the Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge for his service. He holds a BS from the US Military Academy at West Point, an MS in Applied Mathematics from Columbia University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.