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FREE! Our Families and Communities from the culture and industry of prison

FREE! Family Leaders

STEERING COMMITTEE

Denise Barnes, Administrator, graduated Cum Laude from Lehman College with a Bachelor's in Economics, and has a Master's Degree in Special Education from the Urban Teaching Academy at Mercy College. She aspires to open a charter school, but realizes that change must extend beyond the classroom, hence her active organizing with FREE! Denise is a member of Grace Baptist Church's Prison Ministry.

Says Barnes, “For years my loved ones have grown weary behind prison walls; it is of dire importance that I fight for equality and humane conditions for those who have fallen short of the righteous path.” She is also a member of Sister to Sister, International.

Ivey Walton is a founding member of FREE! (formerly PFCF), whose son is incarcerated with a 15 year sentence. She is active in movement building including Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network and Charles Barron’s electoral campaign efforts and is a member of various prison ministries across NYC.

Kym Clark, Founder (Prison Families Community Forum), is an artist, activist, and public educator committed to social, economic, and environmental justice. “I believe that true empowerment and progressive change come from creating alternatives to systems and institutions that we now have. It’s not enough to have a changing of the guard – power must be redistributed such that it becomes shared power, not power over many by a few.” She is leading the FREE! Media Justice Project, Prison Famz Productionsand coordinating the overall work of the collective.

Marion Rodriguez, “I believe that all of my life experiences (good and bad) help to make me identify the strong and capable woman that I embody. I am happy to share them in the hopes of helping someone else. "

FAMILY LEADERS

Nettie McKeithen, an active member since 2002, is an 82 year-old retired clerical worker from the Department of Social Services. Her grandson has been incarcerated for almost 10 years under at 25-life sentence. He is currently struggling to recover from a brain anurism while in prison.

Jovita Lopez's husband, and father of her two sons is incarcerated. She currently resides in the Bronx, New York. She is a volunteer Web Organizer active in the "Stop the Contract" Campaign in the Bronx. A member to over 40 prison groups online, she helped create and manage the online "Stop the Contract" petition. Her husband is currently upstate serving his 6th year of a 17 to Life sentence.

Ruth Marshall, has been a member organizer. Ruth has a BSN (Baccalaureate of Nursing and Science), and is an Independent Nurse Consultant, and a mother of four. Her oldest son was incarcerated for ten years.

Lee, Joanne and Jessica Sinovoi

Wendy and Maya Vasquez

INTERIM BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Cheri O’Donoghue is an active spokesperson in statewide campaign efforts to repeal the racist Rockefeller Drug Laws. Her son, Ashley, is currently a first time "offender" under these mandatory minimum laws, facing a 7 to 21 year sentence for a cocaine related sales transaction on his college campus. She has served for two years on the (now) FREE! Steering Committee.

Ricky O’Donoghue

Dana Kaplan, now the Director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, JJPL, has served for two years on the Steering Committee for FREE!. Dana has been a leader in the national movement to stop the construction and expansion of jails, especially youth facilities.

WEBMASTER

Debra Cleaver is a volunteer webmaster.