Fania E. Davis, J.D., Ph.D.
Co-Founder and Executive Director
RJOY Board Member
Coming of age in Birmingham, Alabama during the social ferment of the civil rights era, the murder of two close childhood friends in the 1963 Sunday School bombing crystallized within Fania a passionate commitment to social transformation. For the next decades, she was active in the civil rights, Black liberation, women’s, prisoners’, peace, anti-racial violence and anti-apartheid movements. After receiving her law degree from University of California , Berkeley in 1979, Fania practiced almost 27 years as a civil rights trial lawyer.
During the mid 1990’s, she entered a Ph.D. program in indigenous studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and apprenticed with traditional healers around the globe, particularly in Africa . Since receiving her Ph.D. in 2003, Fania has been engaged in a search for healing alternatives to adversarial justice. She has taught Restorative Justice at San Francisco ‘s New College Law School and Indigenous Peacemaking at Eastern Mennonite University ‘s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. She writes and speaks on these subjects.
The search for a healing justice also led Fania to bring restorative justice to Oakland . A founder and currently Director of RJOY, Fania also serves as counsel to the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. She recently received the Ubuntu award for service to humanity. Fania’s research interests include exploring the indigenous roots, particlarly the African indigenous roots, of restorative justice. Fania is also a mother of two children, a dancer, and practitioner of yoga.
Project Director RJOY COSA
Katherine Culberg, RN, PHN, began her career as a registered nurse who quickly developed a passion for working in public health and social justice. Her focus has been impacted, adolescent youth in urban, under served, under resourced areas. She has worked in remote areas of Nicaragua with teen mothers. She has been active in developing and managing school based health centers in Oakland as well as providing direct service to youth as a school nurse. After years of feeling that traditional intervention and prevention models were limited, she began to look for additional ways to best met the healing needs of those youth she worked with and loved . Over the last few years , she has studied, trained and participated in Restorative Justice work ultimately resulting in a position with RJOY directing the COSA re-entry program at Camp Sweeney and facilitating Victim Offender Education groups at San Quentin State Prison with Insight Prison Project. She is also a COSA facilitator for youth coming back into community from Camp Sweeney. Her passion for and commitment to Restorative Justice continues to grow.
Camisha Fatimah Gentry
RJOY School Coordinator, West Oakland Middle School
Raised in San Francisco’s Fillmore district, then the heart of the Black community in Northern California , CamishaFatimah as a teen was caught up in the street life. After conversion to Islam and other experiences which helped to get her life back on track, CamishaFatima enrolled in Bennett College , the first African-American women’s college in the nation’s history, where she earned a Bachelor’s in Communications. Travel to South Africa and Saudi Arabia during this time broadened her horizons even further. She later pursued graduate studies at Mills College and received her Masters’ in Educational Leadership in 2009. While a graduate student, CamishaFatima facilitated a self-help course for San Quentin inmates with ‘Keepin’ It Real’, a self-development training group. CamishaFatima has also worked as a counselor and facilitator for the Oakland Parks and Recreation Office’s Radical Roving Recreation program, an initiative that focuses on Oakland ‘s most at-risk street youth. Since the fall of 2009, CamishaFatima has been employed by RJOY as a School Coordinator, assigned to Street Academy , a continuation high school in Oakland . She is responsible for implementing restorative processes at the school site, both in response to conflict and as a means of creating a stronger, healthier, and more caring school community. She demonstrates by example that it is possible for youth to turn their lives around and become effective and powerful forces of positive change in their communities. Camisha is the mother of three girls.
RJOY School Coordinator, Bunche High School
A Hurricane Katrina survivor who relocated to Oakland, California, Eric successfully facilitated Grief Circles in response to homicide and extreme violence in Oakland area schools as part of Catholic Charities’ crisis response program. He has also worked with Youth Uprising as a lead mediator. Eric was affiliated with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts’ football team in the nineties and discontinued due to injury. He is gaining increasing renown for his restorative justice work with youth in West Oakland.
RJOY Administrative Manager
Born in Nairobi, Kenya raised in the East Bay, Louise Nimo Kahara studied Business Administration with a concentration in Finance at San Jose State University. She spent her early career working for corporations such as Bank of America. In 2012, Louise traveled back to Kenya on a volunteer assignment and while in Kenya unearthed a passion for giving back to the community. She later returned to the U.S and now dedicates her business, financial and operational skills to youth driven initiatives that impact communities as she believes the future lies in our youth.
She is also a proud mother of a one year old girl and enjoys the outdoors and traveling.
Heather Manchester is an educator, trainer and convener. She has over 15 years of experience facilitating leadership, community engagement and restorative justice programs both in rural and urban settings throughout the Americas and Europe. At the core of her work she partners with young people and adults to create spaces for meaningful dialogue and build more equitable and resilient communities.
Heather grew up in California, where she worked for several state and national youth service organizations and the Oakland Unified School District in youth engagement and leadership, restorative justice and peacebuilding. She has extensive experience facilitating training’s for both youth and adults on leadership and youth engagement. Heather also helps organize and coach organizations to work in partnership with young people as researchers, funders, and policy makers through youth councils. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and completed her masters in Peace and Conflict Studies, with a focus on Youth Participation in Peacebuilding, from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. She is a soccer fan, an avid dancer and an applied theatre practitioner. She continues to explore the cross section of the oppressed and restorative justice through theater in her work. She is the oldest daughter, a proud tia (aunt), and godmother.
RJOY Summer Intern
Ashley Carter was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area where she developed a passion for helping those in need through her church. She is currently a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Law and Society. Ashley became interested in the Criminal Justice system at a young age; her ultimate goal is to become a defense attorney in an effort to help keep people out of jail. Shocked by the high percentage of people of color imprisoned or connected to the criminal justice system after release, she is determined to make a difference as the current criminal justice system appears to be unfair with its application of the law. As an RJOY intern, Ashley’s responsibilities range from administrative work to field work.
RJOY Summer Intern
Double-majoring in Justice and Law (with a concentration in Criminology) and Mathematics at American University in Washington D.C., Belen Flores lives for social reform. Born and raised in the Northern Californian, her interest in social justice work spawned when she began to witness and experience the racial disparities affecting the Latino and African American communities. Having had family and friends cycle in and out of juvenile hall, jail, and prison reaffirmed her belief that the social justice system needs to be revamped. Belen has aided the movement to create equal opportunity for youth by serving as a Jumpstart corps member, through AmeriCorps, and participating in the Leadership Program at her school, which provides her with the skills and guidance to create and execute a social action project addressing a social issue in the D.C. community. However, her work in the social justice arena began long before her college years. As a sophomore in high school she assisted Napa Peer Court as a juror, clerk, defense and prosecuting attorney. This rehabilitative diversion program adjudicates real cases in Napa County for students who committed minor offenses. In the fall, she will continue her work with Jumpstart as a team leader to decrease the educational gap between low-income students and their wealthier counterparts. She also plans to further her education by going to graduate school and then law school, along with serving for Teach for America. After gaining the necessary experience, Belen wants to focus her efforts on refining the juvenile justice system.