Wesley Lowery, Chair
Wesley Lowery is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, and one of the nation’s leading reporters on issues of race and justice. He led the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2016 for the creation and analysis of a real-time database to track fatal police shootings in the United States. In 2018, he led a team that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Murder With Impunity, an unprecedented look at unsolved homicides in major American cities. His first book, “They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement,” was a New York Times bestseller and was awarded the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose by the LA Times Book Prizes.
Melody Drummond Hansen, Secretary
Melody Drummond Hansen is a Silicon Valley attorney whose commercial practice focuses on intellectual property and technology litigation and counseling. Melody’s pro bono practice centers on criminal defense and immigration cases. Her dedication to defending society’s most vulnerable was bolstered by a secondment to the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office where she was taught by some of the best trial lawyers in the world and represented incarcerated clients. Since then, Melody has also served as co-lead trial counsel in a RICO case in which her client was acquitted in 45 minutes after being jailed for 4.5 years awaiting trial, and she worked with a team to free a youth offender after 30 years behind bars, when his incarceration was unconstitutionally excessive.
Lawrence Bartley is the founder and director of “News Inside,” the print publication of The Marshall Project which is distributed in hundreds of prisons and jails throughout the United States. News Inside is the recipient of the 2020 Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media. Lawrence was a member of the teams behind “The Zo,” winner of the 2020 Oline Journalism Award for “Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling” and “What Do We Really Know About the Politics of People Behind Bars?” which was an honorable mention recipient for the 2020 Phillip Meyers Awards. He is also an accomplished public speaker and has provided multimedia content for CNN, PBS, NBC Nightly News, MSNBC and more.
Mei Fong is Chief Communications Officer at Human Rights Watch, leading the organization’s media work and supervising a 50-strong global team spanning communications, digital, multimedia, and campaigns work. Mei was previously director of communications and strategy at the Center for Public Integrity, and prior to that was a Wall Street Journal correspondent, winning a shared Pulitzer for her coverage on China. She is the author of “One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment,” which won a non-fiction award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Foreign Policy magazine listed her on their Top 50 list of US-China influencers. She executive produced an investigative podcast serial on power in the Trump administration that won an Ambie. A graduate from the National University of Singapore, Mei also holds a master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University, and speaks Bahasa, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Emily Galvin-Almanza is the co-founder and executive director of Partners for Justice, a new model of collaborative public defense designed to empower public defenders nationwide. Launched in 2018, PFJ has now eliminated over 4,000 years of incarceration and grown from two sites to over 20 locations around the nation. Prior to founding PFJ, Emily fought for clients inside the LA County Public Defender, Santa Clara County Public Defender, and Bronx Defenders, and also served as one of the first attorneys fighting for release of life-sentenced people with the Stanford Three Strikes Project. Emily clerked for the Honorable Thelton Henderson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and is a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School, where she earned the Deborah Rhode Prize for her work in the public interest. In 2017, she was named one of the American Bar Association’s Top 40 Young Lawyers. She believes that everyone is entitled not just to equal justice, but to equal mercy.
Cristi Hegranes is the CEO of Global Press and the publisher of Global Press Journal. She founded Global Press in 2006 to change the face of international journalism by building women-led news bureaus in some of the world’s least-covered places. Today, Global Press operates more than 40 independent news bureaus. Cristi created an industry-leading Duty of Care program to provide for the physical, emotional, digital and legal security of its journalists. The program was named one of Fast Company Magazine’s World Changing Ideas in 2022, won the 2020 Chester M. Pierce Human Rights Prize from the American Psychiatric Association and was honored by SOS International in 2021. Cristi holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University and a Bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University. She is an Emerson Collective Dial Fellow, an Ashoka Fellow and was the Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Stanford University. She is the recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists Journalism Innovation Prize, the Jefferson Award for Public Service and the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism, among others.
Yukari Iwatani Kane
Yukari Iwatani Kane is a founder and CEO of Prison Journalism Project. She is an author, educator and veteran journalist with 20 years of experience. She was a staff writer and foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and Reuters, and her book Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs (Harpers Business) was a best-seller, translated into seven languages. Yukari has taught journalism fundamentals, investigative reporting and the Medill Justice Project at Northwestern University and was previously a lecturer at University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. At San Quentin News, where she still serves as an advisor, she developed a curriculum and reader for prison journalism. She is a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News’ Emerging Leaders Council and is a 2021-2022 Reynolds Journalism Institute fellow.
Lynn Oberlander is a leading media attorney and advocate for journalists, currently of counsel with the law firm of Ballard Spahr LLP. Previously, she was a senior vice president and associate general counsel, media, for Univision Communications Inc., from 2018 through 2020, while also serving as executive vice president and general counsel at Univision’s subsidiary, Gizmodo Media Group where she oversaw the legal operations of one of the nation’s largest digital news companies, including the websites Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Deadspin, The Root, and Splinter. From 2014 through March 2017, she was the general counsel, media operations for First Look Media Works, the publisher of national security website The Intercept and documentary film project, Field of Vision. She founded and led the company’s Press Freedom Defense Fund, which provides funding for cases in support of the First Amendment and other press freedoms. From 2006 until 2014, she was the general counsel of The New Yorker, where she also wrote for newyorker.com on media law topics. Earlier in her career, she spent five years each at Forbes and NBC. She is a frequent speaker on freedom of expression and media law topics and gave testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on “Secrecy Orders and Prosecuting Leaks: Potential Legislative Responses to Deter Prosecutorial Abuse of Power.” Lynn is a graduate of Yale and Columbia Law School and she teaches graduate courses in media law and media ethics at The New School in New York. She is the former board chair of the Media Law Resource Center as well as the New York Bar Association’s Communications and Media Law Committee.
Shaheen Pasha is a founder and chief education officer of Prison Journalism Project and an assistant teaching professor at Penn State University, focused on mass incarceration and prison education. Prior to that, Shaheen was an assistant professor at UMass Amherst, where she launched an immersive explanatory journalism class at the Hampshire County Jail, bringing incarcerated and UMass students together to learn. She was awarded the Knight Nieman Visiting Fellowship in 2018 to expand her work teaching journalism behind bars. Shaheen is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of experience at outlets such as Thomson Reuters, CNNMoney and Dow Jones/WSJ.
Daveen Trentman is a co-founder and co-owner of the Soze Agency, a social impact creative agency that develops strategic campaigns to uplift the values of compassion, authenticity and equity. Daveen has led major productions including the Museum of Drug Policy, the Museum of Broken Windows and Sex Workers’ Pop Up. Daveen is a co-founder of the Right of Return Fellowship; the only fellowship in the nation dedicated to funding exclusively formerly incarcerated artists. Daveen co-curated The O.G. Experience, the first art exhibit to feature exclusively formerly incarcerated artists, which was awarded a silver Clio Award for Experiential Events. Daveen also serves on the Board of Directors for Freedom Reads. Influenced by a personal connection to the issue, Daveen has invested in working deeply on storytelling campaigns centered around ending mass incarceration.
Cindy is a former corporate attorney who pivoted her career to focus on criminal justice advocacy and philanthropy through the Wenig Family Charitable Fund. She served as General Counsel of Apollo Real Estate Advisors and previously was a partner at the law firm Chadbourne & Parke. Past volunteer endeavors have included serving as pro bono counsel in the rebuilding of The World Trade Center and the development of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. She is a recipient of the Lawyers Alliance of New York’s Cornerstone Award for excellence in pro bono work. Currently, Cindy serves on the Board of Directors of Young New Yorkers, a sentencing diversion program for youth. She is an advisor to Ameelio.org, a free prison communications tech platform, as well as JobPaths, an employment platform for military veterans. Cindy graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and received her J.D. from Columbia Law School.