Symposium Speaker Bios

Kofi Ademola

Kofi Ademola is a prison & police abolitionist who is currently an adult advisory for the youth led violence prevention org called GoodKids MadCity. He is a former leader with BLM Chicago who co-organized getting the consent decree developed and passed. He’s dedicated his life to the Pan African struggle for Black liberation & sovereignty, while also fighting to dismantle white supremacy and racial capitalism.

Emmanuel Andre

A UC Berkeley School of Law graduate, Andre is passionate about creating spaces that acknowledge the lived experiences of community heavily impacted by the criminal legal system. Andre has over 11 years of experience litigating some of the most complex criminal law cases. As a restorative justice practitioner, Andre created Circles and Ciphers, a restorative justice organization which incorporates hip hop into its work on conflict resolution independent of the courts with a path towards healing. In August 2021, Andre left Circles and Ciphers and his private criminal defense practice to join the Office of the Cook County Public Defender as its Deputy of Policy and Strategic Litigation.

Jamal Andress

Jamal Andress is an award-winning justice reporter in Chicago, IL. His wealth of storytelling experiences have taken him all the way to Ghana to cover international education disparities and back again to Chicago’s southwest side to report on the shooting of Laquan McDonald and subsequent trial of Jason Van Dyke. Jamal has found a home in criminal and social justice reporting — focusing largely on incarcerated and marginalized communities. Most recently, Jamal has told stories around police violence, speaking with George Floyd’s brother, Jacob Blake’s father and dozens of protesters and activists around the country. Jamal Andress was born and raised in Houston, TX and graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism.

David Ansell

David Ansell, MD, MPH is the Michael E Kelly Presidential Professor of Internal Medicine and Senior Vice President/Associate Provost for Community Health Equity at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He is a 1978 graduate of SUNY Upstate Medical College. He did his medical training at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He spent 13 years at Cook County as an attending physician and ultimately was appointed Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Cook County Hospital. From 1995 to 2005 he was Chairman of Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Chicago. He was recruited to Rush University Medical Center as its inaugural Chief Medical Officer in 2005, a position he held until 2015. His research and advocacy has been focused on eliminating health inequities. In 2011 he published a memoir of his times at County Hospital, County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital. His latest book is The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills was published in 2017.

Jasmin Aramburu

Jasmin Aramburu (she/her) is a Research Associate for the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Bluhm Legal Clinic. She primarily works on research and policy projects related to vehicular hijacking and gun possession. Prior to working at CFJC, Jasmin completed a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Sheila A. Bedi

Sheila A. Bedi is a clinical professor of law at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and director of the Community Justice and Civil Rights Clinic, a law school clinic that provides students with the opportunities to work within social-justice movements on legal and policy strategies aimed at redressing over-policing and mass imprisonment. Bedi litigates civil-rights claims on behalf of people who have endured police violence and abusive prison conditions. She also represents grassroots community groups seeking to end mass imprisonment and to redress abusive policing. Bedi teaches classes on legal reasoning and writing and the law of state violence to students who are incarcerated through Northwestern’s Prison Education Program. Bedi’s partnerships with affected communities on litigation and policy campaigns have closed notorious prisons and jails, increased community oversight of law enforcement, created alternatives to imprisonment and improved access to public education and mental health services. Previously, Bedi served as a deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Her honors include the NAACP’s Vernon Dahmer and Fannie Lou Hamer Award and the Federal District Court Excellence in Public Interest Award (N.D. IL). Bedi writes about race, gender, and the justice system and her commentary has been published by U.S. News and World Reports, Huffington Post and USA Today.

Eddie Bocanegra

As a pioneer in the field, Bocanegra brings years of experience in community-based organizations and programs created to address trauma and build resiliency among those most impacted by violence. Prior to being the Senior Director for READI Chicago, he served as executive director for the YMCA of Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention program, where he was responsible for the programs that focused on trauma-informed approaches, such as Urban Warriors and Bridging the Divide.

Bocanegra holds both a master’s and bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago and Northeastern Illinois University, respectively. Previously he served on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Commission for a Safer Chicago, and most recently he co-chaired Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Public Safety and Accountability Commission for a Safer Chicago.

Lakeidra Chavis

Lakeidra is a staff writer with the Marshall Project where she reports on juvenile justice and issues relating to the criminal legal system. Chavis joined The Marshall Project from The Trace, where her original reporting on rising suicides among Black people in Chicago made her a finalist for a 2021 Livingston Award. She has previously worked as a reporter for ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ in Chicago.

Maya Dukmasova

Maya is a senior reporter for Injustice Watch, covering cook county judges. Prior to Injustice Watch, Maya was a staff writer with the Chicago Reader. Her reporting has focused on the courts, housing, local politics, policing, and grassroots racial justice movements.

Father David Kelly

Fr. David A. Kelly is the founder and Executive Director of Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago, IL. In 2002, he, along with other members of his religious congregation, began PBMR to create a place for those who have been impacted by violence and conflict. PBMR reaches out to the one who has been harmed, to the one who has done harm, and to the community. They also strive to be a resource to other groups and communities who seek reconciliation.

Fr. Kelly worked for Kolbe House at Assumption, a parish-based jail ministry of the Archdiocese of Chicago, for 35 years. For more than 30 years, he has worked as a chaplain in Cook County Jail and Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. He has experience working in jails/prisons in Ohio and Florida. He received his B.S. in Bio-Chemistry from St. Joseph’s College, a Masters of Divinity, Masters of Arts in Cross Cultural Studies and a Doctorate of Ministry (D.Min) from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. His doctoral thesis is entitled Responding to Violence among Urban Youth: a Restorative Approach. He has been trained and certified as a mediator from DePaul University, as well as in the restorative practice of Peacemaking Circles.

Stephanie Kollmann

Stephanie Kollmann is the Policy Director of the Children Family Justice Center at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. Since 2010, she has managed juvenile and criminal justice research and reform projects largely aimed at ending ineffective and adult-derived approaches to young people, including youth incarceration. She has written and contributed to policy reports issued by the legal clinic, state commissions, and community groups on a range of topics (juvenile jurisdiction and criminal transfer, gun violence, mandatory minimum sentencing, youth reentry and community supervision policy, timely release from state prisons, sexual offending) and regularly advises policymakers in Illinois and elsewhere on issues of justice reform and implementation.

Tamar Manasseh

Tamar is the founder of MASK, Mothers/men Against Senseless Killings. MASK was established in 2015 ​​as a way to put eyes on the streets, interrupt violence and crime, and teach children to grow up as friends rather than enemies. A group of caring individuals in the community began to simply hang out on the block, cook food, and emanate love.

Sharone Mitchell Jr.

In March 2021, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle nominated Mitchell to serve a six-year term as Public Defender; he was confirmed by a unanimous vote of the Cook County Board and was sworn into Office on April 1, 2021. Mitchell began his legal career in the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender, first working as a clerk in law school and later as an assistant public defender with assignments in the Civil, First Municipal, and Felony Trial Divisions. In 2016, Mitchell joined the Illinois Justice Project (ILJP), a policy reform organization dedicated to supporting people, programs, and policies that can reduce inappropriate incarceration, improve community safety outcomes, reduce recidivism and increase justice in the legal system. Mitchell became Director of ILJP in 2019 and solidified its reputation as one of the state’s leading criminal justice reform non-profits. During his tenure as Director, ILJP helped lead the Coalition to End Money Bond’s successful effort to outlaw wealth-based pretrial incarceration in Illinois and worked with in coalition to convince state leaders to direct 25 percent of cannabis tax revenues towards treating the root causes of harm in objectively identified areas of the state through the R3 (Restore, Renew and Reinvest) grant program. An advocate of alternative approaches to public safety and helping men and women re-enter their communities, Mitchell has fought against proposals to make the Illinois sentencing system more barbaric and ineffective.

Robert Vargas

Professor Vargas is a social scientist and data artist interested in research on cities, law, and race, especially through a spatial lens. His writing, art works, and teaching focus on identifying and describing the forces shaping the conditions of communities. To date, the bulk of his work has focused on violent crime and health care. His multi award-winning book “Wounded City: Violent Turf Wars in a Chicago Barrio” brought a political analysis to the study of urban violence by showing how ward redistricting shapes levels of block-level violence in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. He has also published in a variety of journals such as Criminology, Social Science and Medicine, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. His forthcoming book “Uninsured in Chicago: Latinos Making Ends Meet Without Health Insurance” (Spring 2022 with NYU Press) is a longitudinal and intersectional ethnography of uninsured Chicagoans’ experiences with the Affordable Care Act.

With a team of undergraduate and graduate students at his lab, Vargas is involved in three urban comparative historical research projects: first, on the effects of redistricting on spatial inequality, second, on block-level historical trajectories of homicide in Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco from 1870 to the present, and third, on the relationship between police departments and universities.