Happy New Year, California Criminal Justice Funders Group!
We are looking forward to another year together building our community of funders who are dedicated to abolition, healing, and liberation. As a part of our growing commitment to the movement, we’re thrilled to introduce our new Movement Advisors: Amber-Rose Howard, Ashley Rojas, Gilbert Johnson, and Morning Star Gali. See their bios below!
Movement advisors were selected by the CCJFG Steering Committee to represent a range of focus areas across the movement to end prisons, policing, and criminalization, as well as a diversity of geographic locations throughout the state. CCJFG prioritized BIPOC leaders and those directly impacted by the criminal legal system; those with a desire, experience, and/or familiarity in engaging in philanthropy; and people who work with organizations that have an active mission and/or campaign to address police and state violence, and to build models of community safety and justice and is aligned with CCJFG values.
Our desire to work with movement advisors is an effort to model our values of center[ing] and trust[ing] the experience, vision, and leadership of people directly impacted by incarceration and the criminal/legal systems, and encouraging philanthropic institutions to create meaningful collaborations with movement partners. CCJFG strives to act in solidarity with the movement to end prisons, policing, and criminalization and our inclusion of movement advisors will support us in aligning with the priorities of grassroots movements while organizing our partners in philanthropy to do the same.
Amber-Rose Howard is a poet, public speaker and organizer from Pomona, California. Experiencing a felony conviction as a young adult propelled Amber-Rose into a lifetime commitment of organizing against the Prison Industrial Complex and building up the power of Black people and all others impacted by state violence. Amber-Rose holds a BA in Communication Studies concentrated in Public Argumentation & Rhetoric from California State University, San Bernardino. She is a graduate of the Women’s Foundation of California, Women’s Policy Institute Fellowship, the Just Leadership USA, Leading with Conviction Fellowship and a proud member of All of Us Or None. Amber-Rose currently serves as Executive Director of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), a statewide coalition of over 80 grassroots organizations working to reduce the amount of people incarcerated, stop prison and jail construction and expansion, and shift state and local spending from policing and corrections to supportive human services, bridging movements for racial, economic and environmental justice in CA and across the Nation.
Ashley Crystal Rojas is a Xicana - 5th gen Fresnito mujer. Her roots span false borders from the Valle Central, and Texas to Sonora, Mexico. Valley made and Bay Area fed shes a graduate of San Francisco State University where she learned to magic of Harm Reduction and Unconditional Love with a B.S in Community Based Public Health (Health Education). With a lot of questions she moves to make things hurt less while we build futures liberated from the fallacies of supremacist delusion and rich with the wealth that has always been ours. A survivor of multiple forms of interpersonal, community, and collective violence she’s here to learn and unlearn, a forever student. She has served as a Volunteer, Peer Educator, Street based Outreach Worker, Health Educator, Community Health Coordinator, Network Director and recently as Executive Director - always working with/for multi-system impacted youth and young adults. A great-great granddaughter, a sister, a tia, a pareja, a prima, a mama, and she swims to suspend time and frequencies. As taught by womxn, the future has an ancient heart.
Gilbert Johnson is a native and resident of South Central Los Angeles and the former Lead Justice Organizer at Community Coalition, the lead social justice organization in South LA. He grew up as a ward of the court, dealt with many family issues, and was first arrested at the age of 16. He battled drug and substance abuse much of his young life and cycled in and out of jail until 2009. This marked the last year he was incarcerated and when he was introduced to community organizing which changed his life. Gilbert is a perfect example of the positivity that can occur when you give people struggling with addiction, gang involvement, and criminal background convictions the chance to grow and excel. He has led multiple civic engagement programs passing criminal justice reform policies such as Prop 47, Prop 57, and Measure J. Gilbert is now married with 5 young children and the new California Time Done Manager, working to sunset criminal backgrounds and eliminate barriers to success for millions of folks with criminal convictions.
Morning Star Gali
Morning Star Gali is a member of the Ajumawi band of the Pit River Tribe located in Northeastern California. She serves as Project Director for Restoring Justice for Indigenous Peoples (RJIP) and as the California Tribal and Community Liaison for the International Indian Treaty Council, working for the Sovereignty and Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples and the recognition and protection of Indigenous Rights, Treaties, Traditional Cultures, and Sacred Lands. She’s also the Tribal water/policy organizer for Save California Salmon. Dedicated to raising awareness and visibility within the unique climate of California’s urban and rural Native communities, Gali coordinates support of Indigenous-led organizing efforts.
Ms. Gali continues to lead large-scale actions while coordinating Native cultural, spiritual, scholarly, and political gatherings throughout California. She is deeply committed to advocating for Indigenous sovereignty issues such as missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW), climate justice, gender justice, and sacred sites protection on behalf of the tribal and inter-tribal communities in which she was raised. Prior to returning to her ancestral homelands and working for her Tribe, she served as a volunteer and advocate on behalf of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Indigenous peoples in California, working with a number of Indigenous-led grassroots organizations in the Bay Area for over two decades.
Morning Star serves as a board member for the California Indian Heritage Center Foundation, American Indian Cultural District of San Francisco, and Women’s Health Specialists of California. She serves on a number of advisory committees that advocate for the sovereignty and self-determination of California’s Indigenous peoples and sacred landscapes.
We are looking forward to convening everyone for our Member Meetings on the second Friday every other month at 10:00 am PST. Registration pages for each meeting are linked below. Be sure to register and save the date on your calendar!