Van Jones is a CNN political commentator, regularly appearing across the network’s programming and special political coverage.
Jones is a Yale-educated attorney. He is the author of two New York Times best-selling books, The Green Collar Economy (2008) and Rebuild the Dream (2012). The second book chronicles his journey as an environmental and human rights activist to becoming a White House policy advisor. He was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act. Signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007, the Green Jobs Act was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs.” During the Obama Administration, the legislation has resulted in $500 million in national funding for green jobs training.
In 2009, Jones worked as the green jobs advisor to President Barack Obama. In this role, Jones helped to lead the inter-agency process that oversaw the multi-billion dollar investment in skills training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors.
Jones has been honored with numerous awards and spotlighted on several lists of high achievers, including: the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation; Rolling Stone’s 2012 “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done”; TIME’s 2009 “100 Most Influential People in The World”; and the Root's 2014 "The Root 100." He is presently a fellow at the MIT Media Lab.
Van is the founder of The Dream Corps, Rebuild The Dream, Green For All, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of Change.
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Jessica Jackson Sloan is a human rights attorney who began her career representing California death row inmates in their appeals. She now oversees DreamCorps #cut50 initiative to end mass incarceration. Jessica currently sits on The Committee for a Fair Judiciary, serves as an Advisory Board member of the American Constitution Society Bay Area Chapter, and represents Congressman Jared Huffman on the Democratic Central Committee of Marin.
In November 2013, Jessica became the youngest ever elected official in Marin County when she was elected to the Mill Valley City Council. Jessica became the Mayor of Mill Valley in November 2016.
Jessica earned her B.A in Political Science from the University of South Florida Honors College and her Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law where she received the Dean's Outstanding Student Leadership Award.
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Matt coordinates, implements and provides policy and research direction and support for Dream Corp’s program initiatives. He develops communications, social media, and briefing materials and reports, and leads strategic policy direction and advocacy.
Matt also serves as an elected School Board Member on the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education, where he is responsible for determining policy, budget, curriculum, educational goals and standards for all pre K-12 public schools in San Francisco. In his role as a School Board Member, Matt has been a national leader on ending the “school to prison pipeline,” including authoring a landmark policy transforming San Francisco’s school discipline system.
Matt is also an Adjunct Faculty Member at the Stanford d.school, where he uses design thinking and human centered design to incubate new ideas public education and government. As the former Executive Director of the University of California Student Association, Matt worked directly for the over 200,000 students in the UC system, managing a budget of over half a million dollars and a team of dedicated professional staff, to ensure public education is protected for current and future generations. Matt is the Co-founder and Chair of Citizen Hope, a Bay Area organization which encourages civic engagement and community service.
Matt has a BA from UC Berkeley, an MA from Stanford University School of Education,a JD from Stanford Law School with a focus on education law, and an LLM in Human Rights from National University of Ireland where he was a Senator George Mitchell Scholar.
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Alex Gudich is Deputy Director of #cut50. He oversees our traditional and social media strategy, manages our website and digital campaigns, and builds partnerships to garner broad-based support for criminal justice reform.
Prior to #cut50, he led collaborative partnerships with cities and counties, working at the intersections of public, private, and social sectors. He worked with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's Office of Civic Innovation, Presidio Institute's Forum on Cross-Sector Leadership, the National Fitness Campaign, Dell's Education Technology and Corporate Social Responsibility divisions, Fairfax County's Office of Public Private Partnerships, and Ashoka's Changemaker Campus Initiative.
Alex was born in Khlemnitsky, Ukraine and is a life-long resident of San Francisco. He graduated Summa cum Laude from George Mason University, where he founded Mason Changemakers - an organization that evolved into Mason's Center for Social Entrepreneurship.
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Sandhya Kripalani is the Chief of Staff at #cut50. She grew up in Mill Valley, CA, and earned her B.A. at UC Berkeley with a degree in political science, working in corporate and securities litigation at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP before continuing her education, earning her J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law, with honors and a focus in intellectual property law.
Since then, Sandhya has worked in litigation and at various tech companies and start-ups in their corporate legal departments. Given the state of US politics, she wanted to shift her path to an area where she could have a bigger impact on society, and where genuine potential for progress and consensus existed.
In late 2016, Sandhya came to #cut50 to organize and manage #cut50’s first National Day of Empathy. After a massively successful campaign, Sandhya was brought on to continue working on the annual Day of Empathy events, manage the Empathy Network partnerships, and as the Chief of Staff for #cut50.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/16485/attachments/original/1493763826/Untitled_design_%282%29.png?1493763826
Brittany K. Barnett
Brittany K. Barnett (formerly Byrd) is a #cut50 Fellow, attorney and criminal justice reform advocate. As the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother, Brittany knows first-hand that the impact of mass incarceration is far reaching and devastates families and entire communities.
While working as a corporate attorney, Brittany showed a steadfast commitment to pro bono representation of clients in federal prison. She was personally responsible for obtaining freedom through the federal courts for several clients who had served decades in federal prison as nonviolent drug offenders. Brittany’s dedication to this life changing work paid off tremendously – resulting in executive clemency from President Barack Obama for seven of her clients, including the nationally reported case of Sharanda Jones, who served 16 years of a life without parole sentence as a first-time nonviolent drug offender. Brittany is also founder of Girls Embracing Mothers, a non-profit in Texas dedicated to empowering girls with mothers in prison.
Brittany has been named one America’s most Outstanding Young Lawyers by the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Division; Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas by the Texas Young Lawyers Association; and Outstanding Young Lawyer of Dallas by the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers – all for her professionalism, commitment to serving the community and dedication to helping others through her pro bono work.
Brittany currently serves as #cut50 Fellow & Practitioner-in-Residence at Southern Methodist University’s newly launched Deason Family Criminal Justice Reform Center. Her focus areas include challenging extreme sentencing as it relates to the “war on drugs” and addressing the impact of the criminal justice system on women and children. Prior to becoming a #cut50 Fellow, Brittany served as Campaign Director and led the organization’s #clemencyNOW initiative supporting President Obama’s monumental use of executive clemency. Before following her passion for criminal justice reform, she was Associate General Counsel at ORIX USA Corporation focusing on mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters. Brittany is a graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. Prior to her legal career, she worked for an accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, and earned her license as a Certified Public Accountant. Brittany also holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Accounting.
Julie Mai is the Program Coordinator of #cut50. She handles various day-to-day operations for the initiative, including scheduling, event planning, policy research, creative content development, and executing other outreach activities to garner support for the criminal justice reform movement.
Prior to joining the #cut50 team, Julie worked in Development and Outreach at Human Rights Watch, where she was first exposed to the urgent need for justice reform through conversation with juvenile lifers at San Quentin State Prison. Formerly, Julie was an organizer for San Francisco Media Company, Insomniac Events, and Northern Nights Music Festival. She is passionate about collaborating with activists to educate the masses and advocating for social justice and equity through music, art, and media.
Julie graduated with a BS in Health Education from San Francisco State University in 2016, where she also founded the social action student organization, Culture Creators.
Follow Julie Mai on Twitter:@_juliemai_
Michael was sentenced to adult prison as a young person. At 15 he was told that he had no hope of changing and would spend the rest of his life in prison serving a life sentence. Through redemption, education, family support, and smart policy (SB 260), Michael would demonstrate his transformation after 17 years and prove that we can safely reduce our prison population.
Prior to joining #cut50, Michael worked at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice as a case manager. He worked with families and at-risk-youth on probation to provide wrap around services and help bridge gaps to their needs. As a member of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, he collaboratively works with a group of members who were also formerly incarcerated or impacted by the criminal justice system to build safe neighborhoods and policy that promotes equity. In addition to working on several campaign steering committees on smart policy, he also conducts workshops for people who are currently incarcerated. His work within the walls of confinement provide hope and resources that will help them regain their humanity within our societies.
In 2017, Michael will have completed his B.A. in political science at San Francisco State University and will continue to pursue a higher education.
Follow Michael Mendoza on Twitter: @